City of the Living Dead (Blu-ray) - Dread Central
Connect with us

Reviews

City of the Living Dead (Blu-ray)

Published

on

blucity.jpg

City of the Living Dead on Blu-ray (click for larger image)Reviewed by Uncle Creepy

Starring Christopher George, Catriona MacColl, Carlo De Mejo, Giovanni Lombardo Radice, Fabrizio Jovine

Directed by Lucio Fulci

Distributed by Blue Underground


“The city of the dead. The living dead. A cursed city where the gates of hell have been opened.”

In all its simplicity that’s probably my favorite bit of dialogue from Lucio Fulci’s zombie apocalypse masterpiece City of the Living Dead. Like many flicks of its ilk, the film has had many names over the years including The Gates of Hell, Fear in the City of the Living Dead, and even Twilight of the Dead. Honestly, it doesn’t matter what you call it as long as you see it and drink in every ounce of its splattery goodness.

The storyline is pretty convoluted, as most were from Italian zombie imports back in the day, although to refer to City of the Living Dead as simply a zombie film is really shortchanging it because it truly is so much more.

While taking part in a séance in New York City, a young psychic named Mary Woodhouse (MacColl) dies (well, sort of) after receiving the ghastly vision of a priest, Father William Thomas (Fabrizio Jovine), hanging himself in the small New England town of Dunwich. However, this is no mere act of suicide. By taking his life, Father Thomas has unlocked the gates of hell, and it’s up to a newly resurrected (but not zombified) Mary and ace reporter Peter Bell (George) to head there and close the gates before midnight on All Saints Day when the dead will rise and take over the Earth!

City of the Living Dead on Blu-ray (click for larger image)Does it make much sense? Of course not. Does it need to? Hell no! What we have here is probably the spookiest of all of Fulci’s horror films. One that’s riddled with phantoms, an extreme amount of insects, gallons of grue (both regurgitated and otherwise), and atmosphere so thick you can cut it with a knife. Fans who aren’t acquainted with the movie (and shame on you if you’re not already) may be disappointed to learn that the film’s zombies don’t get much action until the last third of the flick, but rest assured there’s enough shit going on in the first two acts to keep you more than busy until then.

The only disappointment to be found here lies in the fact that most of City of the Living Dead‘s phantom zombies are of the pizza-faced variety and therefore lack that classic look we’ve come to love. Still, I guess that just boils down to personal preference regarding how dead you like your dead to look. We can chalk that up to the absent argument of running vs. shambling zombies. In this flick they teleport, but that’s a whole other can of worms.

The good folks over at Blue Underground have done an outstanding job bringing this classic to Blu-ray. Presented here in 1.85:1 1080p high definition mastered from its original, unedited camera negative, City of the Living Dead looks nothing short of stunning. Even the best of DVD remasterings have never even come close to looking this damned good. To go along with the eye candy, you can either watch the flick with its original mono track or dig on some new mixes in 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround EX and 7.1 DTS-HD. Fans are going to be blown away. I know I was.

In terms of supplemental material, in true Blue Underground fashion we get a fine haul. Things kick off with the over thirty-minute The Making-of City of the Living Dead featurette, which is home to many cast and crew interviews, including the legendary international F/X artist Gino De Rossi, that is pretty much what you would expect. From there we have three more featurettes that generally are extended interview bits with Catriona MacColl coupled with a look at the director himself. Sprinkle on your usual collection of trailers and radio spots, and we are finished!

City of the Living Dead is a film that deserves its place within your horror library, and if you’re a fan and possess the tech to watch it, this Blu-ray is a must own! Bless your black horror loving hearts, Blue Underground! Now bring on The Beyond and Zombie please! Thanks, we’ll be waiting!

Special Features

  • The Making-of City of the Living Dead featurette
  • Acting Among the Living Dead featurette
  • Entering the Gates of Hell featurette
  • Memories of the Maestro: Lucio Fulci featurette
  • Marketing of the Living Dead featurette
  • Theatrical trailers
  • Radio spots
  • Still gallery

    Film:

    4 out of 5

    Special Features:

    4 out of 5

    Discuss City of the Living Dead in our Dread Central forums!

  • Continue Reading
    Comments

    Reviews

    IAMX’s Alive in New Light Review – A Dark, Hypnotic, and Stunning Musical Endeavor

    Published

    on

    Recording eight albums is an achievement no matter the artist, group, or band. This is especially true for Chris Corner’s IAMX, his solo project after the trip hop group Sneaker Pimps, which has enchanted listeners since 2004’s Kiss + Swallow with its dark electronic aesthetic. There’s something fascinating about the music Corner puts out as IAMX. Perhaps it’s the underlying melancholy that seems to pervade the music, almost certainly a result of the musician’s battle with depression and chronic insomnia [Source]. Perhaps it’s the unexpected melodies that reveal themselves with each new measure. Whatever it is, IAMX’s music is a constant delight.

    On Alive in New Light, Corner reveals that his eighth album was a product he created as a way of “…breaking free from demons that have long plagued him,” per an official press release. Strangely enough, this uplifting attitude may easily be overlooked but repeat listens unveil a sense of hope and wonder that are simply breathtaking. The title track echoes with almost angelic choir pads that positively shine as Corner exultingly cries in a shimmering falsetto, “I’m alive in new light!” This comes after the Depeche Mode-esque “Stardust”, which offers the first collaboration with Kat Von D, whose pure voice is a beautiful addition to the pulsating track.

    The third track, “Break The Chains”, has an opening that immediately called to mind Birds of Tokyo’s “Discoloured”, which is meant as a compliment. It’s followed by the Nine Inch Nails influenced “Body Politics”, which meshes Corner’s crooning vocals with a 90’s industrial backdrop. “Exit” has an almost sinister progression lurking in the background that builds to an aggressive, in-your-face third act. The cinematic Middle Eastern flairs of “Stalker” mutate effortlessly into a heartbeat pulse that features back-and-forth vocals between Corner and Von D. The haunted circus vibe that permeates through “Big Man” is mirrored by its playful gothic aura, ghostly “oohs” and “aahs” sprinkled carefully here and there.

    While the album has been a delight up to this point, it’s the final two tracks that took my breath away and left me stunned. “Mile Deep Hollow” builds layer after layer while Corner passionately cries out, “So thank you/you need to know/that you dragged me out/of a mile deep hollow/and I love you/you brought me home/because you dragged me out/of a mile deep hollow.” The way the song’s melodies back these wonderfully uplifting lyrics feels grand and epic, as though a journey is coming to an end, which is where “The Power and the Glory” comes in. Far more subdued, it’s a beautiful song that feels almost like a religious experience, a hymn of a soul that is desperate to claw its way to salvation and escape a life of pain and darkness.

    What makes Alive in New Light so wonderful is how much there is to experience. I got the album and listened to it no less than five times in a row without pause. I simply couldn’t turn it off because each return revealed something new in the music. Corner also makes fantastic use of Von D’s vocals, carefully placing them so as to make them a treat and not a commonplace certainty.

    While some may be disappointed that there are only nine tracks, each of the songs is carefully and meticulously crafted to be as powerful and meaningful as possible. It really is a stunning accomplishment and I’m nothing short of blown away by how masterfully Alive in New Light plays out.

    • Alive in New Light
    5.0

    Summary

    IAMX’s Alive in New Light is a triumph of music. Full of beauty and confidence, it doesn’t forget the foundation that fans have come to know and love for over a decade but instead embraces that comfortable darkness with open arms. Corner states that this album was a way to break free from his demons. It certainly feels like he’s made peace with them.

    Sending
    User Rating 5 (2 votes)
    Continue Reading

    Reviews

    The Hatred Review – A History Lesson Dug Up From The Depths Of Hell

    Published

    on

    Starring Zelda Adams, Lulu Adams, John Law

    Directed by John Law


    I don’t know about the scholastic interests the masses had (or have) that read all of the killer nuggets that get cranked out on this site, but when I was an academic turd, one of my true passions was history, and it was one of the only subjects that managed to hold my interest, and when the opportunity arose to check out John Law’s ultra-nightmarish feature, The Hatred – I was ready to crack the books once again.

    The setting is the Blackfoot Territory in the late 1800s, and the pains of a lengthy conflict have taken their toll on the remaining soldiers as food has become scarce, and the film picks up with soldiers on the march in the brutal cold and snow covered mountainside. In tow is a P.O.W. (Law), and the decision is made by the soldiers to execute him in earnest instead of having to shorten their rations by feeding him, so he is then hung (pretty harshly done), and left to rot as the uniformed men trudge along. A short time later the group encounters a small family on the fringes of the territory, and when the demands for food are rebuked, the slaughter is on and the only survivor is a young girl (Adams) who prays to an oblivious god that she can one day reap the seeds of revenge upon those who’ve murdered her family. We all know that there are usually two sides to any story, and when the good ear isn’t listening, the evil one turns its direction towards those who need it most, and that’s when the Devil obliges.

    The answer to the young girl’s prayers comes in the resurrection of the prisoner that was hung a short time ago, and he has been dubbed “Vengeance” – together their goal will be achieved by harshly dishing out some retribution, and the way it’s presented is drawn-out, almost like you’re strapped into the front-row pew of a hellfire-cathedral and force-fed the sermon of an evil voice from the South side of the tracks. It’s vicious and beautiful all at once, Law’s direction gives this visually-striking presentation all the bells and whistles to please even the harshest of critics (hell, you’re reading the words of one right now). The performances, while a bit stoic in nature, still convey that overall perception of a wrong that demands to be righted, no matter how morally mishandled it might be. Overall, I can absolutely recommend The Hatred for not only those wanting a period-piece with ferocious-artistry, but for others who continue to pray with no response, and are curious to see what the other side can offer.

    • Film
    3.5

    Summary

    The Hatred is a visually-appealing look into the eyes of animus, and all of the beauty of returning the harm to those who have awarded it to others.

    Sending
    User Rating 0 (0 votes)
    Continue Reading

    Reviews

    Before We Vanish Review – A Quirky and Original Take on Alien Invasions

    Published

    on

    Starring Masami Nagasawa, Ryûhei Matsuda, Hiroki Hasegawa

    Written by Kiyoshi Kurosawa

    Directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa


    During the J-horror rampage of the late 90’s and early 2000’s, Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Kairo (aka Pulse). A dark, depressing, and morose tale of ghosts that use the internet to spread across the world, the film’s almost suffocatingly gloomy atmosphere pervaded across every frame of the film. Because of my love of this film, I was eager to see the director’s upcoming movie Sanpo Suru Shinryakusha (aka Before We Vanish), which follows three aliens who recently arrived on Earth and are preparing to bring about an alien invasion that will wipe humanity from the face of the planet. Imagine my surprise when the film turned out to be barely a horror title but was instead a quirky and surreal dramedy that tugged at my heartstrings.

    Admittedly, I was thrown completely for a loop as the film begins with a scene that feels perfectly at home in a horror film. Akira (Tsunematsu), a teenage girl, goes home and we enter moments later to blood splashed on the walls and floor and bodies strewn about. However, the disturbing visuals are spun around as the young girl walks down a highway, her clothes and face streaked with blood, Yusuke Hayashi’s music taking on a lighthearted, almost jaunty attitude. From there, we learn of the other two aliens (yes, she’s an alien and it’s not a secret or a twist, so no spoilers there): Amano (Takasugi), who is a young man that convinces a sleazy reporter, Sakurai (Hasegawa), of his true form and tasks Sakurai with being his guide, and Shinji (Matsuda), the estranged husband of Narumi (Nagasawa).

    What sets these aliens, and their mission, apart from other invasion thrillers is their means of gathering information. They’re not interested in meeting leaders nor do they capture people for nefarious experimentations. Rather, they steal “concepts” from the minds of people, such as “family”, “possession”, or “pest”. Once these concepts are taken, the victim no longer has that value in their mind, freed from its constraints.

    While this may seem like a form of brainwashing, Kurosawa instead plays with the idea that maybe knowing too much is what holds us back from true happiness. A man obsessed with staking claim to his family home learns to see the world outside of its walls when “possession” is no longer a part of his life. A touchy boss enters a state of child-like glee after “work” has been taken. That being said, there are other victims who are left as little more than husks.

    Overly long at 130 minutes, the film does take its time showing the differences between the aliens and their individual behaviors. Amano and Akira are casually ruthless, willing to do whatever it takes to send a beacon to begin the alien invasion, no matter how many must die along the way, while Shinji is the curious and almost open-minded one, whose personal journey finds him at one point asking a priest to envision and describe “love”, a concept that is so individualistic and personal that it can’t be taken, much less fathomed, by this alien being. While many of these scenes are necessary, they could have easily been edited down to shave 10-15 minutes, making the film flow a bit more smoothly.

    While the film begins on a dark note, there is a scene in the third act that is so pure and moving that tears immediately filled my eyes and I choked up a little. It’s a moment of both sacrifice and understanding, one that brings a recurring thread in the story full circle.

    With every passing minute, Before We Vanish makes it clear that it’s much more horror-adjacent than horror. An alien invasion thriller with ultimate stakes, it will certainly have appeal to genre fans. That being said, those who go in expecting action, violence, and terror will certainly be disappointed. But those whose mind is a bit more open to a wider range of possibilities will find a delightful story that attempts to find out what it means to be human, even if we have to learn the lesson from an alien.

    • Before We Vanish
    4.0

    Summary

    Before We Vanish is a beautiful, wonderful tale that explores what it means to be human when faced with the threat of extinction.

    Continue Reading

    Recent Comments

    Advertisement

    Join the Box of Dread Mailing List

    * indicates required

    Go Ad Free!

    Support Dread Central on Patreon!

    Trending

    Copyright © 2017 Dread Central Media LLC