Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Euro-Horror Double Feature

I made two journeys into the world of European horror, both with directors I did not know (knew of them, but had not seen their work). Jean Rollin and Lucio Fulci.

First up was Lucio Fulci's City of the Living Dead (1980, aka The Gates of Hell). I have to tell you, when I think Fulci, I think cannibals. I don't know if this is a fair impression, but it has kept me away from Fulci. CotLD was streaming on Netflix, so I gave it a shot.

Here we have a tale of creepiness. It is gory, yes, but not as violent as zombie movies can be. A priest in the town of Dunwich, which of course has an odd history of weirdness, kills himself. Some psychics in NYC pick up the ~disturbance in the force~ and know that some shit is about to go down. They get the name Dunwich off a tombstone in their vision, and send their sexiest member (obviously) to investigate. There is also a doctor looking into things, and a journalist. Once they put all the pieces together, they swoop in on the cemetery to stop the coming orgy of the damned.

The undead are a bit odd, for us D&D types. The priest, as undead, kills by staring hard and making you bleed from the eyes. His zombie minions rip off the crown of their victim's head. All the undead can teleport, and seem to disappear if ignored... The most violent killer, however, is a human. He kills a boy he thinks is sleeping with his daughter using a drill press. Just out of the blue. "Hey, there is my drill press. Let's protect my daughter's virginity with it."

I am going to have to branch out, Fulci-wise, I think. Any suggestions?

Next, we have The Living Dead Girl (1982) by Jean Rollin. I became interested in Rollin because of his sequence work with Jess Franco. When I asked on Twitter what film to try, both Tenebrous Kate and The Vicar of VHS were in agreement here. Only a fool would argue with that.

What we have here is (somewhat inexplicably) men storing toxic waste in a chateau's catacombs. The men decide to rob the corpse of one of the women entombed there. Suddenly, a can of toxic waste tips over, spilling its contents. The deadly gas penetrates the coffin of Catherine, a girl who died two years ago, and restores her to a semblance of life. Like all undead, she must feast off the living to survive.

First, Catherine feeds off the realtor selling the now-unoccupied mansion who has brought he boyfriend over for some unwise open front door living room sexcapades. Catherine does them both in, just before her childhood friend, Hélène, arrives unexpectedly (as well as inexplicably). When they were children, they vowed to always be together. Now that Hélène has her friend back, she is determined to keep her. Hélène rounds up some victims for Catherine. Catherine, however, wishes to die. She knows her existence is wrong, but her undead survival instinct prevents her from refusing the food.

Again, we don't quite know if Catherine is a ghoul, or zombie, or vampire, but it does not matter as the real monster is Hélène. I imagine if there is a moral to the story (morals are not my strong suit), it might be that love will make you do horrific things.

So, now I need Rollin suggestions as well.


dfordoom said...

I'v tried a few of Fulci's movies and I've been bitterly disappointed by all of them.

As for Rollin, one of my all-time favourite directors, I'd go for Fascination next. It's the most accessible of his vampire movies.

Darius Whiteplume said...

I have Fascination in my queue. I need to perhaps rearrange a bit. As for Fulci, I have The Beyond queued, though I have not heard good things. I have always been fascinated by the cover art, so I plan to fall prey to good marketing. :-D

Darius Whiteplume said...

Oops. Fascination is unavailable on Netflix. Grr...

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