For the best of the Horror/Cult/Exploitation film experience
City of the Living Dead (1980) - (Blu-ray)
As one of the best and most recognizable names in horror history director Lucio Fulci it’s no surprise that his films would eventually make it to high def formats. Now it’s finally that time as his classic 1980 zombie flick “City of the Living Dead” is finally getting the Blu-ray treatment from the great folks at Blue Underground. Now some people like to make the argument that films like these don’t really offer much to the HD market and although in a lot of cases that is the truth, that’s not the case with “City of the Living Dead”. Considering I’ve enjoyed Blue Underground’s releases of other genre films such as “The Crazies” and “The Toolbox Murders” I was anxiously awaiting to see how Fulci would fare in full 1080p HD. I have to say that it’s a success the full way through as the new Blu-ray looks outstanding and is packed with great special features. But first lets take a look at the film itself shall we?
The “City of the Living Dead” takes place in the small New England town of Dunwich where a priest hangs himself in the local church’s cemetery and manages to open up the gates of hell in the process. Now it’s up to a reporter named Peter (Christopher George) and a psychic named Mary (Catriona MacColl) to find out how to stop it all. They eventually meet up with Jerry (Carlo De Mejo) and Sandra (Janet Agren) and figure out a way to close the gateway before All Saints Day, otherwise all of the dead will come back to life and take revenge on the living.
Very much like Fulci’s best work, this film has been criticized for the lack of sense that the plot makes. This is certainly the case in the film but if that is your only argument against this film, I find it a rather weak one. “City of the Living Dead” is easily one of the most atmospheric and visceral horror films ever made. It’s so down and dirty, filled with gore and is guaranteed to stand as a film that vividly exists in your mind after you have seen it. The imagery in the film is just so undeniably unforgettable and unsettling that it’s no wonder why it’s managed to capture quite the following over the years since it’s release.
Although I find Fulci’s best film to be “The Beyond” I would have to say that “City of the Living Dead” is my favorite film that he made. There’s just something about it considering the gore, the great characters in the movie (like the unforgettable character of Bob played by Giovanni Lombardo Radice aka John Morghen) that make it the maestro’s finest hour. Fulci at this point had been on quite the roll since directing Zombie (aka Zombi 2) and continued the best work of his career including this film. He would then go on to make “The Beyond” completing a wonderful trilogy of terrifying and exceptional films.
The Blu-ray of “City of the Living Dead” looks and sounds excellent. Seeing the film in it’s full 1080p potential was incredible and an experience every Fulci fan will most likely appreciate. The disc is also packed with awesome extras including a making of featurette that includes some excellent interviews. There’s also separate interviews with people such as Catriona MacColl, Giovanni Lombardo Radice, and others. There’s also a pretty stacked gallery of poster and still art that is worth a watch as well.
Overall I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this film as I find it to be one of if not the best film Fulci ever made in his impressive career. The Blu-ray is worth the pick up because of the special features and wonderful transfer that will ensure the best viewing experience possible for a film of this type. You won’t be disappointed with it and it also warrants an update over the previous DVD releases as well.
Rating - ****
Blu-ray rating - ***