26th Sep2011

‘The House by the Cemetery’ DVD Review (Arrowdrome)

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Catriona MacColl, Paolo Malco, Ania Pieroni, Giovanni Frezza, Silvia Collatina | Written by Dardano Sacchetti | Directed by Lucio Fulci


Lucio Fulci sure had a way with films, especially his “Gates of Hell” trilogy. Arrow Video now complete their Blu-Ray release of the trilogy with The House by the Cemetery (the other two being City of the Living Dead and The Beyond) and what a release.

The House by the Cemetery starts off by throwing blood and gore at you then changes tone with a Shining style warning to a boy from a picture of a little girl at the window of the titular house not to enter it. In a way that’s the perfect way to start to film, we know something is wrong with the house and we also know that the parents of the child won’t listen to him; they will just drag him along not caring what a photograph told the child. Once they are there people start getting killed and the history of the house is revealed as they discover who Dr. Freustien was and why his infamous past still haunts the house, especially the basement.

The House by the Cemetery is typical of a Lucio Fulci film, it never holds back on the punches. Throats are ripped out, people are decapitated and we are given all the gore we could ever want, all within the confines of one house. Of course this is not without its annoyances at time, one of the biggest is the voice of Bob, it’s amusing that the actor who played him (Giovanni Frezza) does an introduction for the film and apologises for it, and even pointing out that it is not his but was in fact dubbed by an adult. Getting past the voice though it’s easy to see that The House by the Cemetery is a classic. The story although very fragmented at times is genuinely interesting and the creature in the basement is probably one of the creepiest you’ll find in any Fulci film, it’s childlike crying gives it an edge for me.

As mentioned the story is quite fragmented and it’s arguable that the film itself uses the gore to hide this fact. You don’t really get any real explanation of exactly what is going on in the house making that a slight disappointment; the ending is very cryptic too leaving a lot to be pondered over in the minds of the audience, many will come up with their own explanations and that’s half the fun of it. We get no definitive answer in the film though with its typical Fulci style abruptness in its ending.

The fact is though this Arrow Video release is presented in its full uncut version, making this a must own for Fulci fans, especially in the UK where we tend to get so many versions of the same films with the same old cuts. This is arguably the best quality you will get the film and the restoration has definitely been done with love and attention, The House by the Cemetery is definitely one for the fans and people who want an introduction into Fulci’s world.

The House by the Cemetery is out now on DVD from Arrow Video.


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