A family moves into a New England home that's
hiding a deadly, gruesome secret in the basement.
The House by the Cemetery (1981)
Directed by Lucio Fulci
Written by Dardano Sacchetti, Giorgio Mariuzzo, Lucio Fulci
Starring Catriona MacColl, Paolo Malco, Ania Pieroni, Giovanni Frezza, Silvia Collatina, Dagmer Lassander, Giovanni De Nava
The House by the Cemetery is easily the weakest of Lucio Fulci's Gates of Hell Trilogy, following City of the Living Dead and The Beyond. Maybe there's something that hardcore horror purists see in this film, but I don't. Simply put, it's just a dull film. The characters don't pop, and the story has very little to do with Fulci's ongoing thread about, well, the Gates of Hell. This time, it's a half-dead scientist who is keeping himself alive by hacking up other people and regenerating his blood cells. Look, I won't bash anyone who enjoys Fulci's work, but I can't seem to connect with it.
There's a house in New England where a scientist murdered his mistress and then hung himself. He was researching the work of a Dr. Freudstein (De Nava). A friend of the murdered scientist, Dr. Boyle (Malco) moves his family upstate to live in that house and continue the research. His young son Bob (Frezza, with the most ridiculous overdub I've ever heard) sees the ghost of a young girl who repeatedly warns him not to go in that house. The ghosts and the Lovecraftian alchemist bad guy are never really explained (as per usual), and the horror is so sparse. Most of the film is spent waiting for something to happen.
After watching four of his films and not really connecting well with any of them, I'm starting to think Fulci just isn't for me. The House by the Cemetery is the worst one I've seen so far, but I'm not quite ready to give up hope. There's still a little bit left. I respect the adoring fans, but I don't think this film was good.