Since February 2017 is such a special month to us this year, we at the Horror Syndicate wanted to give Lucio Fulci first class treatment. By honoring this month to him, Fulci February. In doing so, we also wanted to bestow our finest honor and dedication upon him. HORROR ICON. What better time than Fulci February? We’ve given you reviews and a Top 10 list to sink your teeth into, now we attempt to give the mild-mannered Italian man his due as an icon of horror.
When we think of Horror icons, certain names will instantly pop up. Lugosi, Karloff, Craven or Carpenter. I could keep going. But, where does Lucio Fulci fit in? He’s not a name you immediately think of in horror. He’s also not a name you think of when contemplating Italian filmmakers. Bava and Argento are the most well-known. What does Fulci bring to the table? All the gore we can handle, buffet style, that’s what!
As with most Horror enthusiasts, my first experience with Fulci was his zombie masterpiece Zombi 2 (1979).
Here’s a list of the other names Zombi 2 went by:
The Island of the Living Dead
Zombie Flesh Eaters
Zombie: The Dead Walk Among Us
Gli Ultimi Zombi
L’Enfer de Zombies
Zombie 2: The Dead Are Among Us
Whew… As you can tell, it went by many names, but the end result is the same. This would have been 2002, 2003ish when I first saw it. Fresh off of scraping the surface of Italian horror with Ruggero Deodato’s cannibal opus, Cannibal Holocaust. Until that point, I had never quite seen terror acted out on screen so real. Like Johnny-5 from Short Circuit, I needed more input. Needless to say, after viewing Zombi 2, I was forever transfixed by everything Lucio Fulci.
A year or so later, I came across this film at a second hand store:
Being aware of Fulci already, the cover alone piqued my interest. But, not knowing fully what I was getting myself into, Seven Doors of Death also known as The Beyond (1981) would be a game changer for me. (This one didn’t go by near as many titles). The version you see above, is the heavily edited U.S. release of The Beyond. Don’t waste your time on it, it will only leave you wanting more. I know. But, once I actually procured an un-edited copy of The Beyond in 2009 or so, it was all over. The Beyond made me believe in horror again, in a way. Feeling somewhat stunted over my teen years by endless slashers and classic horror, The Beyond instilled in me a lust of the macabre, of the unknown and BEYOND! For that, I am eternally grateful for Lucio Fulci as a storyteller.
The Beyond started a frenzy in me. Over the years, I have painstakingly tracked down all of Lucio’s films I could find, that were readily available. Most of his movies, believe it or not are not even horror flicks. Spaghetti Westerns, Cop movies, dramas and even children’s films. Say what? In 1973-74, Fulci directed two White Fang films and you know what? They’re actually pretty good. This gives you a slight idea of how obsessive I have become over this man. Lucio Fulci directed 56 films over his 32-year directing career. 56. At the time of this publication, of those 56 films I have seen 34 of them. Pretty decent. Considering a lot of the other films are pretty obscure and have never had an English release.
This should tell you something about the man behind the legend. He is just a damn fine storyteller. The fact that he cranked out as many movies as he did during his career, is a testament to his hard work and love of his ‘craft’. The fact that most of them are awesome is a good thing too, all bias aside. In closing, Lucio Fulci is the epitome of hard work and one of the reasons the horror genre is always evolving. His blue-collar ethic will always be remembered even after his eventual death in 1996 at age 68. I just wish he was still around to see the footprint he has left on a new generation of horror fans, myself included.
This one’s for Lucio…