The House By The Cemetery (1981) Movie Review (Blue Underground Blu-ray Review)

The House By the Cemetery Blu-Ray

The House By The Cemetery
Directed by Lucio Fulci
Reviewer: Horrorphilia Jason

The Lowdown: Their’s no denying this is a Fulci movie through and through. Great gore, music, atmosphere and wtf moments all intact.

Fulci is a unique filmmaker, I don’t think anyone ever has or will ever be able to duplicate his style. No matter what type of movie he directs it always seems to have that distinctable “Fulci” atmosphere. THBTC (for short) unmistakably has this going for it, and that is probably it’s greatest asset. Like a lot of Fulci movies, logic, for better or worse is not the movie’s strong suit.

Dr. Norman Boyle, his wife Lucy, and their young son Bob Boyle, move into an old house, you guessed it, by a cemetery. The house had once belonged to a Dr. Freudstein, and Dr. Boyle is continuing research of a previous collegue that recently passed. Their son Bob, who has one of the worst dubbed voices in cinema history, starts to see a little girl that warns him of living in the house. Once they move into the house the discover the tomb of Dr. Freudstein built into the floor and macabre things start to happen like a grisly looking bat attack, killings such as a throat slashing and beheading, and one nasty looking neck wound with spurting blood that Fulci seems to revel in. There is something lurking in the basement and the Boyles will have to fight for their lives to survive their stay.

I’ve seen this movie a few times and there are still a few things that I’m confused about. This is part of a “loosely connected themed” trilogy with City of the Living Dead and The Beyond, and all three of them have wtf endings. Some people may have problems with the logic behind the movie but I rolled with it possibly cuz I knew what to expect. The special features on the new Blue Underground Blu-Ray did shed some light on one thing that I was wondering about, but then that opened up even more confusion.

Forget logic, what people are going to remember about the movie is the atmosphere, make up effects, and the gore. All the the kills have the Fulci nastiness to them like tons of blood, ripped flesh, maggots and other fun stuff. The make up effects on Dr. Freudstein are fantastic and iconic. Yeah some of the stuff looks hokey, ala the bat scene, but I still prefer old school practical effects instead of bad cgi.

Ok you may have to read close what I’m about to say about the blu-ray edition of the movie. It is reportedly the best looking version of THBTC to date, but I do have to warn you the print is not in pristine condition like you may be used to seeing. There are no scratches or annoying things like that, but in layman’s terms there are moments where the print looks a little grainy. This may bother some people and others may not give a damn. A majority of the special features are interviews with cast and crew and most of it was pretty entertaining. Like I said earlier, I did find out one plot point that I never realized while watching the interview with the grown up kid actors. There are trailers and promotional artwork and to be honest the lamest deleted scene I’ve ever seen. Having said all that, the movie looks better than ever and has some solid interviews, so if you love this movie and/or a Fulci completist then it’s a must buy. You can pick it up from Blue Underground by clicking here.

With the exception of the badly dubbed son, most of the acting is pretty solid and Fulci favorite Catriona MacColl is great as usual. The babysitter Ann (Ania Pieroni), I’ve hear other people say she was hot, but for me personally those thick eyebrows freaked me out. That’s why fellas, when you go to the store it’s better to ask for paper instead of plastic for when instances like this come up.

While I do enjoy the movie I personally think it’s somewhere in the middle range of his filmography. It’s nowhere near as good as Zombie, The Beyond, or Don’t Torture A Duckling,  but it’s at least on par with City of the Living Dead and others. I can’t end the review without mentioning the fantastic score by Walter Rizzati. It complements the movie perfectly. Remember people “no one will ever know whether children are monsters or monsters are children.” That quote from the movie makes about as much sense as the movie itself.

Final Rating: 6.5/10