Thursday, October 15, 2015

Ranking The Gates Of Hell Trilogy

The Gates of Hell trilogy is an interesting little nugget.  This truly is one in theme and feel as the movies, while not directly connected, feel related to one another.  Some of that is in the thematics, but I'm sure a lot has to do with Lucio Fulci as well.  its interesting as these just started basically with Fulci wanting to continue exploring an idea with a film he just finished.  I do wonder if this was always meant to stop at three movies, or did he just never get the opportunity to return to this well.  He did return to do Zombi 3/Zombie Flesh Eaters 2, even if he wound up not finishing the film.  I do like the Gates of Hell Trilogy and it comes in the middle of the heart of Fulci's best work.  Aside from this Trilogy, his quality straight horror and non-giallo work would probably only latch Zombi 2/Zombie/Zombie Flesh Eaters, New York Ripper and Cat in the Brain to the list.  Yeah, Zombi 3/Zombie Flesh Eaters 2 is a hoot, but I'm not going to call it anything great.

Without further adieu, here's the short ranking and maybe we tackle some more Fulci down the road.

3. The House By The Cemetery (1981)

Yeah, no surprise here.  Still a solid horror film, but a little too streamlined and a little less put together than the rest of them.  Fulci's signature gore and weirdness is still on display here if not in a more restrained fashion.  By itself, this is a fine little grindhouse horror film, but when propped up with the other two, its easily the one that stands at the end of the line.

2. City of the Living Dead (1980)

Here's one that is both a unique take on zombies and a bit of a head trip in its own right.  The film features a very eerie atmosphere with haunting spooky imagery.  It also has a few iconic horror kills in just one movie.  There's stuff like the drill through the head and the woman coughing up her insides.  This one definitely moves and has a finale with a very cool environment.  The ending confuses, but feels like its solved for the most part anyway after that hook.  If anything, this one ends the happiest of the trilogy.

1. The Beyond (1981)

This film has pulled the feat of being a film I kinda saw and moved on from right away to climbing back into my conscience and working its way to being one of my favorite horror films.  It gets better every time I see it.  My mind has fun wandering around this one and trying to grasp and realize the dark concepts and ideas on display here.  Its a movie who's ambiguity absolutely works for me.  The film has great horror, atmosphere, gore and also works in some fun campiness and giggles at some amounts of silliness.  For me, its something I'm finding myself going back to with more and more frequency. I've watched this one 3 times this year already (Thanks to the new Blu-ray) and its definitely in my fall rotation now.

Thanks once again for reading.  I know this retrospective has been on the more obscure side, but they are also films and a director I want to recall from the past and maybe make some more familiar with. As for next time, shed no tears, we'll get slightly more familiar in the horror trilogy in theme series...

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