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Revisiting the Classics: THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY

It’s Fulci, man. Fulci is known for the gore. The guy who bequeathed the world ZOMBIE (aka ZOMBI, aka ZOMBIE 2, aka ZOMBI 2, aka ZOMBIE FLESH EATERS—blame all this nonsense on the movie being given a different title for each country in which it was released) is known for the gore. Copious amounts of gore. With THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY, though, I actually think the production suffers a little because of all the grue. Otherwise it would’ve served just fine as an atmospheric ghost story, a mystery, even, had the subplot involving the husband and the babysitter been followed up on. Maybe the latter was intended as a red herring. I don’t know, but I found it the only weak spot in an otherwise solid film. Except maybe it went a little overboard with the blood and guts.

The plot is straightforward: dude moves his wife and young son into the creepy old house (on the edge of a cemetery, naturally) once occupied by Dr. Freudstein, a Victorian-era surgeon who was known for conducting scandalous and inhumane experiments on people and who is, they discover, entombed inside the house itself. Except he isn’t. He’s living in the cellar, still alive after all this time thanks to those aforementioned experiments, although he has to refresh himself every so often with the blood of fresh victims; also, his prolonged existence has taken its toll on his appearance. When he finally makes his appearance towards the end of the film he serves as a capable, creepy villain. (Too bad they never gave the character a sequel.) This one gets my recommendation, but be wary if you have a weak stomach. It’s nowhere near as grisly as ZOMBIE but it delivers several over-the-top segments, managing to go through several gallons of blood in a relatively short time. NOT a popcorn movie.

TheCheezman • August 29, 2018

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