Saturday, October 10, 2015
Fulci is the late Italian filmmaker known for his extremely gory movies such as Zombie (also known as Zombie Flesh Eaters and Zombi 2 because it was advertised as a sequel to Dawn of the Dead, which was released in Italy as Zombi) and City of the Living Dead (also known as Gates of Hell). He was insanely prolific; most filmmakers with decent track records of success make a movie every couple of years, sometimes longer. Fulci in his heyday made two or three movies a year, and IMDD credits him with having directed 56 titles. For fans of low-budget, violent, graphic shlock, Fulci is highly regarded.
The problem with Fulci's films is a complete disregard for narrative clarity. I can describe the basic set-ups of his movies I've seen, but explaining them is a futile endeavor that usually ends with me becoming dizzy and blood flowing from my nose. How one event relates to another is beyond my comprehension, and the behavior of the characters doesn't resemble humans so much as it resembles the behavior of lobotomized aliens who have no concept of survival or intelligence. The Beyond in particular plays more like a collection of nightmares Fulci had that he decided to film and have the same characters appear in them.
But even these effective moments have nagging logical questions. This flooded basement resembles a dungeon, and it's hard to believe one plumber with a tool belt was expected to fix all of it. And why is no one bothered by the fact the plumber is clearly murdered? How did that woman, in feeling around for the drain plug, not notice a corpse in the tub (never mind that she would reach inside that filthy water)? And why does the autopsy room have an elevator in it? How can the plumber's widow walk in to see him, and why would she be the one to dress his body? Why is an open bottle highly corrosive acid left out in the open? And that's just those scenes; the movie's packed with so many illogical pieces that you'd go crazy thinking about them
All that said, the climax of the film is impressive and worthy of being enshrined in the genre hall of excellence. Our two protagonists end up at a hospital. It begins eerie and spooky because all the halls and rooms are empty, and it's so weird to see a hospital without any people in it. Then, slow, lumbering zombies turn up around every corner, and it all ends on the shores of Hell, literally, as the protagonists are blinded by the power of this unholy netherworld. No explanation is offered or needed. I just wish I could say the same about the rest of the movie.