Italian Director Lucio Fulci has a unique vision for how to do a horror film. Like Dario Argento, Fulci has a passion for blood as well as the grotesque which he portrays on film in artistic and squirm-worthy ways. A year before City of the Living Dead was released, Fulci gave us Zombi 2 which was his homage to the zombie films of George Romero. As I sat down to watch City of the Living Dead, I expected more of the same. Boy was I surprised!
City is it's own film with a very different look for the zombies as well as the rules by which they behave. It's a bit surrealistic, creepy as hell, and inventively disgusting. This movie is definitely not for everyone. You have to have a pretty high tolerance for graphic violence. I must admit this is not my favorite kind of horror film, but I do admire the way Fulci handles the horror elements in City of the Dead. I don't think I've seen anything else quite like it and that's saying a lot considering all the hundreds of horror films I've seen over the years. The "drill bit through the head" and the "woman whose intestines spill out of her mouth" are prime examples of Fulci's disturbing imagination and he films these shots to absolute disgusting perfection.
If there is any weakness in City it is in terms of the acting which is a bit uneven at times and tends to lean toward the overly melodramatic. Furthermore, while the main story line is rather straightforward, things get a bit confusing along the way. You're not quite sure what's going on as the film progresses. If this is intentional, which I believe it is, then the film succeeds admirably.
The main reason to watch City of the Living Dead is because it's zombies embody pure terror and evil. They are even more menacing than Romero's zombies if that's possible. City is a unique and disturbing film that is a must see for fans of zombies and blood splatter.
RATING: Very Good.
For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.