The House by the Cemetery (1981)
(Aka the House outside the Cemetery)
Directed by Lucio Fulci
Cast: Katriona MacColl, Dagmar Lassander
Anja Pieroni, Paolo Malco, Giovanni Frezza.
Moving his family off to New England to continue the studies of one of his colleagues (who hanged himself there during his research) whilst digging into the research materials Norman (Paolo Malco) finds out about a strange case of a Dr Freudstein. Who over a century earlier was barred from practising medicine as he was carrying out some longevity experiments a la Baron Frankenstein.
His wife Lucy (Katriona MacColl) stressed by the move and with a history of depression comes upon a tombstone right in the middle of the house, saying that said Dr Freudstein is actually buried in the house. Well of course she freaks out, and wants the hell out of there, not knowing of course that Freudstein is not buried there, but is freely wandering around the basement and chopping to bits anybody who comes across his path.
Of course Freudstein is about 150 years old by this point, thanks to the help of his longevity experiments, where he needs bits from his victims to renew his cells. But he trots around the basement with the energy of man half his age. And has a canny knack for slicing and dicing all his victims in the right places, though he doesn’t seem to have any eyes, as all that corpse sucking has took a face ache of a toll on his wormy cadaver.
While they wait for the estate agent Laura (Dagmar Lassander) to find them a new abode, their weirdo nanny Ann (Anja Pieroni) gets a bit of a slicing in the basement which their son Bob (Giovanni Frezza) partially witnesses. Ignoring all the warnings from Bob, whom has also been told by his new friend Mae (Silvia Collatina) that they should not even be in the house. They have a couple of close shaves in the basement with old gooey puss, until finally circumstances drag them down there to fight it out toothless and nail less with the wormy old corpse sucker.
GORE SCORE: – Decapitations, dismemberment, throat slicing and general stabbing’s and a dried out butt face of a zombie, SQUELCHY!
This is the fourth of Fulci’s zombie quartet and the weakest of the four. Where the rest of the films are full of dozens of brain and gut munching zombies, this film has only ONE old gooey faced zombie to its credit. And I think this is the films major fault, whereas with the other three you have the apocalyptic threat of hordes of zombies taking over islands and inevitably the world, here we have one who basically never leaves his basement, like an old zombie hermit.
The people he munches down on don’t turn into zombies either as is usual. He sort of just dispatches them and has a wee bit of a buffet (finger buffet? euchh). So you don’t have hordes of recently offed cast members returning from the dead to munch on more, or in the case of Zombie Flesh Eaters (1979), to come back and munch on their loved ones, which gives the characters a whole moral dilemma. “Gee I loved him and it looks like him, but he’s eating my arm, do I blow his head off?” Well shit of course you bloody do!
This still has a bit of the old goose bump factor due to a little supernatural element going on with Bob and his girlfriend May, which comes in to play at our unpredictable (and in keeping with the other three movies in the quartet) style of ending. So it’s not ruined completely by the uno zombie theme.
The music isn’t quite as good either in this one as the others; some of it is a kind of period style to go with the 19th century Freudstein’s, which is understandable. The rest is OK but it doesn’t have the same menacing animal rhythm as Zombie Flesh Eaters (1979), The Beyond (1981) or City of The Living Dead (1980) for that matter! But it’s still worth a bit of attention. This of course is due to the fact that Fabio Frizzi who did the score for the other three movies didn’t work on this one. The score on this film was by Walter Rizzati.
Review by Giovanni Pistachio, Giovanni can be contacted at: –
© Owned Giovanni Pistachio.