Plot: What’s it about?
A family has moved from the hustle & bustle of New York to the more relaxed setting of New England, but as they soon discover, their new home isn’t as peaceful as they might think. The new house is a lush one and has spacious surroundings, but it has a troubled past, as the previous owner was the nefarious Dr. Freudstein. The basement of the home was a lab of sorts, where Freudstein would conduct strange experiments, usually involving humans. It seems that while the Doctor has moved on, part of his experimental legacy has remained behind, as there is something eerie that still calls the basement home. A monstrous creature is present down in that dank basement and it needs to kill, in order to gain more cells from the victims, which in turn keep it alive a while longer. This beautiful home is about to be terrorized and while the family thinks this is a restful place, they’re about to be thrust into a battle for their very lives!
This is what Lucio Fulci flicks are all about, lush sets, intense visuals, eerie atmosphere, and of course, buckets of blood. I am so pleased to own this one in high definition, especially in this complete and uncut edition, to be sure. Yes, the plot gets a little muddled, but this is a horror movie after, so we need to keep that in mind, I think. The storyline is stable enough to hang the other elements on and that proves to be enough, although some instances do seem out of place, I have to admit. But then again, I think the strange plot movements are a part of Fulci’s cinema, so fans of his work won’t be taken back, not by any means. So if you’re a jerk and want to pick out problems, then you can, but why would you in a flick like The House by the Cemetery? In the end, this movie has some great suspense, entrancing visuals, and enough gore to keep the Fulci devotees more than pleased. I highly recommend this release to fans of blood soaked horror movies, as the film more than delivers and this disc is a very good edition.
I wouldn’t call this his best work, but The House by the Cemetery is a great movie and I think it ranks with director Lucio Fulci’s better efforts. He sticks in plenty of his trademark elements, such as well crafted visuals, a tense atmosphere, a supernatural scope, and in this case, he paints the screen red with blood, which adds to the experience. I am a fan of gore movies and Fulci knew when to pile it on, so while not all of his efforts were soaked in the red stuff, this flick has a good amount and the effects are executed well also. As usual, he seems to allow the story to wander off the beaten path, which seems to be the main complaint people have here, although I think the oddball moments just enhance the unusual atmosphere. Other films directed by Fulci include The Smuggler, Manhattan Baby, Zombie, The Black Cat, The Beyond, The New York Ripper, and Slashdance. The cast here includes Paolo Marco (The Sinful Nuns of St. Valentine), Ania Pieroni (Tenebre, Inferno), and Giovanni Frezza (A Blade in the Dark, Demons).
Video: How does it look?
The House by the Cemetery is presented in 2.35:1 widescreen. This is a Blue Underground release, so of course the movie looks better than ever. The print looks great, putting previous releases to shame. This allows the detail to come through like never before, almost like watching it for the first time again. The dark visuals are bolstered by consistent, accurate contrast, so even in the shadows, the visuals never become murky. Another top notch visual effort from Blue Underground.
Audio: How does it sound?
An Italian mono soundtrack is provided and while not remarkable, it sounds good. The track has a lot less unwanted noise than previous editions, so hiss and other age related woes are minimal. The music sounds quite good and sound effects are fine, though a touch thin at times. So for a mono soundtrack from 1981, this sounds more than reasonable. This disc also includes an English language track, as well as subtitles in English, Spanish, and French.
Supplements: What are the extras?
A host of interviews (all presented in HD) can be found here. You can view conversations with numerous cast members, the writers, special effects team members, and the cinematographer. So you’ll have varied perspectives and a wealth of behind the scenes information to explore. This disc also includes a deleted scene, promotional artwork, a television spot, and two of the film’s theatrical trailers.