ANOTHER TAKE ON: The House by the Cemetery (1981)

Have I ever told you how much I love Lucio Fulci?

Oh, I have? Like, thousands of times?

Like when I talked about this movie a few years ago?

And when I talked about Don’t Torture a Duckling?

Or when I talked about his deeper cuts, like ConquestMurder Rock and The Devil’s HoneyAenigmaContraband and Perversion Story?

Yeah, I love me some Fulci.

So this review isn’t going to objective.

You have no idea how happy I am to own the 4K version of Fulci’s classic Quella Villa Accanto al Cimitero. Blue Underground has been releasing some astounding versions of Fulci’s masterworks this year, such as Zombie and The New York Ripper. Now, they’re giving the same high quality treatment to Dr. Freudstein and, of course, little Bob.

Norman and Lucy Boyle (Paolo Malco, Thunder and Catriona MacColl, who is also in Fulci’s City of the Living Dead and The Beyond) have just left New York City behind to live in the country, which Norman will work on the same research that his friend Dr. Peterson was undertaking — you know, before he went nuts and killed his mistress and himself.

Why should Norman tell his family that they’re moving into such a frightening house? He can just scream at his wife and demand that she start taking her pills again when he isn’t exchanging sex eyes with Ann the babysitter (Ania Pieroni, Mater Lachrymarum!).

70’s scream queen Dagmar Lassender (The Iguana with the Tongue of FireHatchet for the Honeymoon) shows up as a real estate agent, Fulci himself appears as a professor and Giovanni Frezza owns the film as the female-voice child Bob Boyle. You’re either going to hate Bob or love him. I belong to the latter camp. Frezza also shows up in Warriors of the WastelandDemons and Manhattan Baby.

Hey Blue Underground — I’m the only one asking for it, but where’s the 4K Manhattan Baby?!?

I adore this movie because it’s really all over the place. It’s kind of, sort of The Amityville Horror by way of The Shining while also being a zombie picture and at other times, becoming a slasher. Dr. Freudstein is a mess, falling apart, losing his hand and killing everyone Bob loves for reasons that are left up to you — the viewer — to define.

It also ends up a great quote — “No one will ever know whether the children are monsters or the monsters are children” — that is attributed to Henry James but really came from Fulci. I have no idea how it ties to this movie at all and I’ve watched this film potentially hundreds of times.

I’ll be honest — I first discovered this movie at an all-night drive-in series of zombie films. I wondered why it was part of the show and thought that it surely would suffer compared to the other movies shown that evening. I was completely wrong.

You can watch this on Amazon Prime, but really, you owe it to yourself to purchase the Blue Underground set. Beyond the best that this movie has ever looked — and will probably ever look, until they figure out how to beam it directly into your skull — you get an entire disc full of extras, such as new audio commentary by Troy Howarth, author of Splintered Visions: Lucio Fulci and His Films, interviews with MacColl, Marco,  Lassander, Carlo De Mejo, Giovanni De Nava and child stars Giovanni Frezza and Silvia Collatina.

But this set goes even further, spending time with co-writers Dardano Sacchetti , Giorgio Mariuzzo and Elisa Briganti, as well as interviews with cinematographer Sergio Salvati, effects artists Maurizio Trani and Gino De Rossi. There’s also a new Q&A with MacColl and an interview regarding the film with Stephen Thrower, author of Beyond Terror: The Films of Lucio Fulci.

Is that enough? No. It’s not. Blue Underground also throws in a lovely book — which has much better printing than the one inside The New York Ripper set — and a CD of the film’s soundtrack.

Now, do you aleady own this film? Are you someone like me who has purchased it more than twice? Do you really need another copy? Do you need the good doctor to come to your house and seep maggots all over your hardwood floor to convince you?

Take one look at the lenticular cover of this gorgeous set and try and say no. It’s impossible.

DISCLAIMER: This movie was sent to us by Blue Underground, but we were going to buy it regardless. I love this movie so much that there’s no way I wans’t going to love this. Sorry guys. I promise to be more objective in my non-Fulci reviews.

 

 

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