Lucio Fulci Godfather of Gore Biography
There aren’t too many people in this world that I truly idolize. Most of them are represented on this site. One of my list whose work I worship is Lucio Fulci godfather of gore. He might not have been the nicest person to work with, but his dedication to his genre is the only thing that was important to me. I had thought about trying to attend his first American visit at the Fangoria Weekend of Horror in January 1996, but a few obstacles got in my way.
First, I was just starting to make some good money at work. But second, the SNOW. We had just gotten hit with over 30 inches of snow, I wasn’t going anywhere fast. I thought to myself, Fulci will be back. Boy, I do really regret that now.
It was around April that I heard about the master’s passing. He had died on March 13 from complications from diabetes. Fangoria had mentioned it in passing and did a nice really piece on him in their July issue. I was shocked and deeply saddened. I mean I saw “Dawn of the Dead” and “Zombie” at about the same time and I think “Zombie” was every bit as good or better than Dawn. That night I stayed up and watched “Zombie“, and “The Gates of Hell“ and remembered the man and rejoiced in all the joy he brought me through the years. But I just didn’t leave it at that.
No, I began searching out Fulci’s work and truly saw that his mastery transcended more than these two films. I saw “The Beyond” “House by the Cemetery”, “Zombies 3”, “Demonia” and “Cat in the Brain”. Not all were masterpieces, but “The Beyond” and “Zombies 3” were pretty damn entertaining. IMHO Fulci did more for pure horror than any of the other Italian directors, including Argento, Bava, Lenzi, Deodato.
Why do I like the work of Fulci? Let me think….. Oh yeah, the GORE!!!! (i.e imagery) Fulci had mastered the technique of bringing the audience to the edge of their seats and then shocking the shit out of them. I will never forget the eyeball puncturing scene or the shark attack from “Zombies“, the drill scene from “The Gates of Hell“, the little girl having the side of her head removed by a gunshot in “The Beyond“, or the guy being quartered in “Demonia”.
Fulci used gore to its fullest potential without making it the main focus of his films and for those who think it was, you are missing out on the atmosphere and beauty of his work. He never sold out his work to the censors either. Also, Fulci just as Argento was wonderful at using music for the atmosphere of his films.
Fulci’s zombies are my favorite. They are the slow-moving type. I love the look of the zombies, all decayed with maggots. I can’t stand those fast-moving zombies that can use the weapon and all that other crazy shit (i.e. like talk). Well, there are a few exception of course (Return of the Living Dead, The Dead Next Door), but overall Fulci’s zombies RULE!!!!!!
Lucio Fulci was an amazing filmmaker. He was a genius, a pioneer, and man who never received the credit he deserved. He was always overshadowed by Dario Argento, who IMHO has made nothing anywhere nearly as good as “Zombie“, “Gates of Hell“, and “The Beyond“. Fulci’s work will continue to live in my heart and hopefully in the hearts of all the fans that visit this site. Requiescat in Pace, Maestro–we will never forget the joy you brought us with your work. Your memory and films will never die.
NEW FLASH–WE DID IT!!!! With the help of the fans, we got Lucio Fulci Elected into Fangoria’s Horror Hall of Fame. The fans spoke and Fango had to listen. Thank you all!
Lucio Fulci Fanspeak
RE: Maestro Lucio Fulci
Fulci was, without question, the best of the Italian horror directors. He was able to provide a combination of the stylized work of Argento and the more gore oriented work of Deodato. This made Fulci’s work not only extreme horror masterpieces but also commercially acceptable. He was also able to avoid the late 70’s-early 80’s ripoff atmosphere of directors like Lenzi, D’Amato and Mattei. Fulci’s work could not fall prey to the criticisms of “too artsy”, “too cheap”, or “too disgusting”. Fulci’s genius allowed his work to stand out in a world of Italian horror and exploitation. I recently had the privilege to see Zombie at a special screening in Toronto. As a young horror fan who was too young to see Fulci’s work in its original theatrical release, this was a dream come true. Seeing Zombie in its true g[l]ory was a near-religious experience for me.
I also got to see a special screening of Cutting Moments, Aftermath and Nacho Cerda’s newest short film Genesis. I got to meet Cerda and the director of Cutting Moments. Genesis was not complete at the time of my viewing because it was the world premiere screening. Although it is not horror, I feel that fans of the Aftermath will find this to be a fitting conclusion to Cerda’s love trilogy.
RE: Lucio Fulci
You are absolutely correct. Lucio Fulci never got the credit he deserved. There was always and still is someone who says “He ripped off this, he ripped off that.”
He always was criticized for imitating George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead in his classic Zombie. The film has nothing in common with Dawn of the Dead except for zombies roaming around and tearing the flesh off people’s throats. I once heard someone say “The Beyond” has ripped off just about every movie of its genre. It is most visible as to recall The Sentinal for dealing with gateways to Hell. Inferno for having relation to a supernatural book and an intro with a woman reading in voice-over.” That is a false statement. “The Beyond” is the best zombie film ever made and Fulci’s greatest work. Another passing away beside Lucio Fulci’s has also upset me. David Warbeck’s. He was the doctor in “The Beyond”. At the Fant-Asia film festival, he was supposed to introduce the film and answer questions about it’s creation. Instead, he passed away from cancer. Fant-Asia paid him their respect by having a tribute of clips of films he was in before playing “The Beyond”. Lucio Fulci was, is, and always will be the godfather of gore and the Maestro. Fulci Lives, alright. He lives on in our hearts with the films he has made. Fulci lives!!!!!
Troy R. Howarth
RE: Fulci’s masterpieces
When he made his film debut in 1959 with a little-seen comedy called The Thieves, nobody–including Maestro Fulci himself–could’ve predicted the strange path his career would subsequently take. Yes, in 1959, one full year before the greatest of all horror directors, the late Mario Bava, jump-started the Italo-horror scene with Black Sunday, Lucio Fulci was well on his way to creating one of the most distinctive signatures in all of film. Violent, uncompromising, bleak, yet sickly humorous– these are all characteristic elements of Fulci’s work. Unfortunately, with the emphasis which his loyal followers place on blood and guts, the more general public tends to forget that his films were about something. The Beyond and Gates of Hell capture the feeling of a nightmare with facile eloquence. Don’t Torture a Duckling and Beatrice Cenci are heartfelt attacks on the Catholic Church.
The Smuggler speaks of a world ruled by violence and greed, while New York Ripper presents an image of the titular city as a Hell on Earth which makes Taxi Driver look positively staid. Doubtless, it has escaped most critics notice that NYR and Murder-rock (a cheesy, but hard to dislike a film with some of Fucli’s most elegant visuals) speak of the heartless quest for success that rules American life. Fulci was more than a cheap-jack schlock specialist.
Though he had his flaws (thrillers like Lizard in a Woman’s Skin, though brilliantly realized, suffer from mechanical narrative techniques, plus he had a tendency– unlike Bava–to lapse into exploitative tactics like gratuitous nudity), they were more than compensated by his intelligence and–dare I say it–artistic sensitivity. Fulci may be gone now, but his legacy lives on. The time has come, I believe, for people to recognize his enormous abilities. True, he knew how to shock the hell out of an audience, but he also knew how to get at us on an emotional level–anybody who has seen his greatest work, Don’t Torture a Duckling, knows that. Equal to Argento in his own humbler way, and second only to his maestro Mario Bava, Lucio Fulci remains one of the horrors most distinctive voices.
Troy R. Howarth