“Violence is Italian art”-Lucio Fulci
I find that Lucio Fulci is a misunderstood genius in Horror. The mention of his very name in some circles creates disgust, and he’s been vilified by critics and fans alike. I started wondering why Fulci was so hated by some fans in the genre. I believe that it’s because Lucio Fulci strived to be different.
He wanted to give the viewer the ultimate in Horror entertainment. Obviously the staple of a Lucio Fulci film is the large amounts of gore. He delivers gore by the bucket loads. Fulci was a true pioneer in Splatter horror. I remember watching City Of The Living Dead (The Gates of Hell) for the first time. The scenes in that film especially the scene where the girl pukes her own guts made me lose my lunch. Right then and there, it made me realized that Fulci was a genius, if one scene could do that; then Fulci was a force to be reckoned with. I was immediately a fan. Lucio Fulci went to extra mile with his actors, like in the gut spewing in the City Of The Living Dead, the actress really needed to swallow sheep guts and puke them out when the cameras rolled (talk about actor abuse). Fulci always gave the ultimate in gore, you appreciate Fulci work for his use of gore and he never over did it either. He knew when and how to use it. To call the late Maestro Lucio Fulci a hack of George A. Romero is like comparing Lady Gaga with a Heavy Metal band. Fulci had a different style and creative genius than Romero (I’m not bashing Romero). Whatever your opinion on Fulci he definitely left his mark and will be remembered for pioneering gore effects in Horror films. Lucio Fulci was born in Rome, Italy on June 17, 1927. After briefly studying in med school, Fulci picked up a camera and the rest is history.
He soon developed a talent that spawned many genres including, Comedy, Drama and Westerns. In the early 1970′s he directed thrillers and ultimately Horror. One of the very first horror films he made that showcased his well-known talents was Don’t Torture a Duckling released in 1972. It wasn’t until 1979 when he released Zombi that he was an international success. Zombie was an ultra violent, gory Zombie flick and was marketed as the sequel to George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead. Zombi is now regarded as the best zombie film in the Horror genre NOT directed by George A. Romero. The film is famous for large quantities of gore and the famous eyeball, which is very creative and awesome in my opinion. What made the film also memorable was the look of the decaying zombies; many fans have said that they’re the best looking zombies on film. After Zombi solidified Lucio Fulci’s reputation, he directed the film Gates of Hell aka City of the Living Dead, which featured the infamous gut spewing scene and the head drilling scene. Fulci Followed up City of the Living Dead with The Beyond, which is considered by many to be one of Lucio Fulci’s greatest works and concluding his trilogy with The House by the Cemetery . After completing his Gates of hell trilogy, Lucio Fulci would make one of his most controversial pictures, The New York Ripper which was released in 1982. The New York Ripper is a Giallo film but feels more like a Slasher film. Fulci’s unrelenting use of violence made many Slasher films of the time to be children’s films by comparison. The New York Ripper was a fine return to the Giallo genre for Fulci, and it proved to be one very violent film. After this films release, the quality of Fulci’s work began to suffer. Even though after 1982, his films became less elaborate and impressive; Lucio Fulci’s influence on Horror is unmatched. To this the day people wonder, who was better between Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci? My answer is they both were in a league of their own. Both filmmakers had a significant influence on horror films over the years, and their films are still enjoyed by the most elite of horror fans.
Lucio Fulci has made a significant impact on horror cinema. No matter what your opinion of Fulci may be, his films have broken new ground, have stirred up controversy and above all become classics of the genre. Fulci was one of the best. When it comes to grossing out an audience, no one did it better than Lucio Fulci. Upon viewing many of Fulci’s works, I now understand his genius. Comparing him to Argento seems very unfair because they were both so talented. Fulci was a master of the genre, and to those who think he’s a hack, well you shouldn’t call yourself a horror fan.
Lucio Fulci passed away on March 13, 1996 from complications of Diabetes at the age of 68. Even though the Maestro is gone, his legacy endures. His films are classics, unmatched by some of today’s horror films. Fulci has had such an impact on directors such as Quentin Tarantino who considers Fulci a major source of inspiration. Tarantino would later re-release Fulci’s The Beyond to theatres . Lucio Fulci was a legend in horror, and his films speak for themselves.