The commercial success of George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead (1968) in Italy, and the contribution of famed Italian filmmaker Dario Argento as producer to its sequel Dawn of the Dead (1978) (recut and released as Zombi in Italy), kick-started an enduring cycle of zombie films in the passionately celebrated, yet equally oft-derided tradition of Italian horror. The foremost artistic voice in this subgenre cycle is notorious gore-meister Lucio Fulci, whose Zombi 2 (1979) returned the zombie film to its religious as well as pulp-cultural roots in Caribbean "voodoo." Fulci followed up this success with his thoroughly harrowing "Gates of Hell" trilogy of films, City of the Living Dead (1980), The Beyond (1981) and The House by the Cemetery (1981). This essay outlines how Fulci's 1980 masterpiece City of The Living Dead resists (by design) the social and cultural commentary typically ascribed to American zombie films. City of the Living Dead is a stark vision of "Hell on Earth," one marked by a rejection of the rational, a reverence of the scriptural, and recognition of the horror film as a form of apocalyptic religious vision.


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pp. 76-88
Launched on MUSE
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