The House by the Cemetery (1981)

The House by the Cemetery (1981) movie poster

director Lucio Fulci
viewed: 05/31/2014

The third and final entry in Lucio Fulci’s so-called “Gates of Hell” supernatural horror films is a bit less gruesome and a bit less far out than its predecessors, City of the Living Dead (1980) and The Beyond (1981).  It actually seems to take more of its inspiration from Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (1980), something that has been noted before.

A family moves from New York to a small village near Boston into an old house, haunted by the evil spirits of their predecessors.  In fact, the house seems to have driven the father’s colleague to murder his girlfriend and commit suicide.  And then there is the weird ghost girl in a photo who appears to the little boy (one of the world’s most annoying little boys) and befriends him.

In a lot of ways, it’s far more coherent of a story than Fulci’s other “Gates of Hell” films, a more conventional haunted house story, though with more gruesome elements than most, though it typically dissolves into a semi-unclear finale, one that perhaps helps connect it to the other two films.

Frankly, I’m still noodling on the whole series. City of the Living Dead was shockingly gory and a bit of confused fun, which I think makes it the one that I liked the most of the three.  The Beyond has its moments and values too.  I don’t know.  More time is needed to let all the putrescence sink in.

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