The House by the Cemetery, 1981 Italian supernatural horror

a.k.a. Quella villa accanto al cimitero (original Italian title)

Country: Italy
Director: the unforgettable Lucio Fulci
Horror themes: undead, murder, creatures, blood, body parts, cellar, H.P. Lovecraft, corpses, haunted house, gorefest, mannequins, decapitation, zombie, ghost girl, psychic warning, tombstones, medical experiments, psychotronic, bats

This is REAL HORROR… none of that remake sh%t or teen preppy horror. This is the real deal!! (Source: Quote about The House by the Cemetery from YouTube)

The House by the Cemetery: U.S. trailer for Lucio Fulci’s Lovecraft inspired… (1:50)

Synopsis of The House by the Cemetery

A deranged killer lives in the basement of an old mansion and pops out occasionally to commit grisly murders that include be-headings, ripped throats, and stabbings with a fireplace poker. The killer needs fresh body parts to rejuvenate his cells. He also has maggots for blood.

About The House by the Cemetery

The House by the Cemetery represents the third installment of Lucio Fulci’s Gates of Hell trilogy which also includes City of the Living Dead and The Beyond. Its plot revolves around a series of murders taking place in a New England home – a home which happens to be hiding a particularly gruesome secret within its basement walls. Themes and motifs from popular horror films such as The Shining, The Amityville Horror and Frankenstein are readily on display.

Trivia about The House by the Cemetery

Bob’s voice – the voice of Bob in English is irritating because it has been doubled by a girl and unfortunately also in the Italian version it is the same. That’s because at the time girls doubled little boys (also in the cartoons). Luckily nowadays the voice of kids stays the same. I know that The House by the Cemetery and other Fulci movies are difficult to understand and this is because they have a psychological meaning you have to interpret; also, The House by the Cemetery leaves a lot to the imagination.

The House by the Cemetery:Trailer for the gore classic by Italian splattermaster Lucio… (3:26)

These older psychotronic exploitation horror movies directed by Lucio Fulci are in a class by themselves. The House by the Cemetery
is disquieting as hell, even ominous – but to me this is a different type of creepy/scary than most modern horror movies (e.g., Paranormal Entity, Insidious). Fulci-branded horror is more disturbing and unforgettable than most other horror titles. American horror fans who have not yet ventured into Italian horror have a few surprises waiting for them, that’s for sure.

The highly controversial film art of Lucio Fulci was initially met with disgust by critics and movie industry moguls the world over. Dario Argento and Mario Bava (two other great Italian horror directors) tended to employ a certain amount of artful technique in their films, but – by contrast – Fulci’s direct approach certainly did not skimp on the gore. Even so, the best Lucio Fulci horror titles are not just gorefests; they were not merely gore for the sake of gore… they are so much more. Although this blogger and supernatural horror fan looks down on excessive gore, generally speaking – Fulci gets a pass!

The scariest Lucio Fulci horror movies

In chronological order…

  1. Zombie, 1979 (a.k.a. Zombi 2) – IMDb (Rating: 67)
  2. City of the Living Dead, 1980 – IMDb (Rating: 61)
  3. The Beyond, 1981 (a.k.a. Seven Doors of Death – the U.S. censored version)

Resources: The House by the Cemetery, 1981 Italian horror

Originally written on Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Reeds, 2009 U.K. horror film

Country: U.K.
Directed by:
Verdict: 7/10… Very good, somewhat original supernatural horror movie
Horror themes: Troublesome teens, ghosts, murder, injury, boating accident, fire, corpses, drowning, doom of repetition, survival, remoteness, lunatic with a gun…

Here we have another After Dark Horrorfest offering, a designation that does not alone portend a high quality horror movie, necessarily. Although not every flick hits a home run, many of the After Dark Horrorfest titles turn out to be quite good – and sometimes excellent – horror films that accomplish exactly what I wish them to: they creep me out.

Brief plot summary of The Reeds

A weekend boating party turns into a nightmare for a group of young Londoners when they stumble upon a terrifying secret hidden in the reeds.

Movie trailer: The Reeds, 2009 (1:56, YouTube)

Verdict: The Reeds (2009)

I thought The Reeds was an excellent, unique, unpredictable, and even creepy supernatural horror film; I’ll give it a 69.

Based on numerous online reviews and comments about The Reeds, many viewers consider this movie to be average at best; however, I count The Reeds as being in the top third or so of the 8 Films to Die For bunch. For this supernatural horror junkie, The Reeds gets credit for featuring proper horror: supernatural horror. (I’ve always felt that the most frightening movies of all time can be categorized as either supernatural horror or psychological horror films.)

Movie trailer: The Reeds: After Dark Horrorfest (1:52, YouTube)

I was pleasantly surprised at how riveted I found myself to be throughout The Reeds; based on its lackluster IMDb rating of 48, my expectations were low. (IMDb happens to be my most frequently used movie resource; perhaps one of these days I will join other screen junkies and get an IMDbPro account.)

Thoughts about The Reeds

This is one of those movies where to divulge even the mere basics of the story might be revealing too much. Of course, if you’ve read many of my posts, you know I can hardly refrain from dropping occasional (OK, frequent) spoilers – but not to the point of revealing everything, much less a unique and shocking plot twist. Even I would not do that.

2010 After Dark Horrorfest: The Reeds (2009) Official Trailer

I was mislead (in a good way) during the first quarter of The Reeds; I had been thinking this film would go in the direction of so many other horror movies wherein the protagonists are harassed, then terrorized, then God-knows-what, by groups of children or teens. Initially, the strangest events experienced by the group of boating Londoners involved a few potential troublemakers running around amongst the reeds: Probably a group of local, rural teens with nothing else to do on weekends but build a campfire and party down.

Other fans of supernatural horror will be quite pleased to hear that The Reeds is NOT one of those all-too-common thrillers masquerading as horror. The Reeds is real supernatural horror.

Creepy horror vs. typical horror

Is it just me, or are there other devotees out there like me who strongly prefer supernatural fright to the basic psycho killer anxiety? I cannot tell you how many times I’ve experienced disappointment at those movies that give the appearance of including creepy supernatural antagonists or weirdnesses – and then there turns out to be no supernatural creepiness whatsoever.

A great example of my hopes and expectations for a scary supernatural plot being dashed was the 2006 French film Them (French title: Ils), which received strong reviews and critical acclaim all around… and really it is a good film, but… This laid-back couple in their remote farmhouse heard noises downstairs. In the end, it was nothing but a pack of troublesome tweens. Granted, the consequences were awful, and I’m not saying Them was a bad movie… it wasn’t. It’s just that I thought it was going to be a supernatural horror film, and I was wrong.

Them (Ils), 2006 – IMDb (Rating: 66)

If there were any real fans of this supernatural horror blog, they would know based on other accounts that I do not use the descriptive term creepy very often – that I reserve the word creepy to describe only a handful of horror films. Well, IMHO, The Reeds does succeed at being creepy – at times, at least. I am not saying The Reeds is the creepiest or most atmospheric horror movie ever, but those terms can be honestly applied to this film.

Gore level: 35/100

The only gore I can recall during The Reeds was the horrible injury resulting from a freak accident that happened to one of the group (the guy who was being such a jerk during the card game). I consider the realistic portrayal of that injury to be a definite plus; tossing in extra gore does not represent real horror to this fan. The frequent addition of gore to horror movies just for gore’s sake is almost always an unsuccessful attempt to increase the scares.

Resources: The Reeds, 2009 U.K. horror

The Resurrected, a.k.a. Shatterbrain: 1992 supernatural horror

Country: U.S.
Director: Dan O’BannonIMDb
Horror themes: Corpses, resurrection, occult, witchcraft, black magic, mad scientist, medical experiments, gore, madness/insanity

Synopsis of The Resurrected

movie poster - The Resurrected, 1992 supernatural horror movieCharles Dexter Ward’s (Chris Sarandon) wife, Claire Ward (Sibbett), hires private investigator John Marsh (Terry) to look into Charles’s increasingly bizarre scientific experiments. Charles, a chemical engineer for a cosmetics company, is coming under increasing suspicion from neighbors and local law enforcement officials because of his unusual behavior, the awful smells wafting from his property, as well as deliveries of what appear to be caskets, animal remains, and blood at odd hours. Charles has become obsessed with the occult practices of raising the dead once practiced by his ancestor Joseph Curwen (played by Chris Sarandon
in a dual role). As the investigators dig deeper, they discover that Ward is performing a series of grisly experiments in an effort to actually resurrect his long-dead relative Curwen. The Resurrected is based on the H.P. Lovecraft story The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.

Thoughts on The Resurrected

The Resurrected, 1992 supernatural horror movieDan O’Bannon also directed The Return of the Living Dead. The Resurrected is a highly sought-after item for DVD collectors, with recent prices topping $50 for a DVD or even $90 for a VHS copy! Chris Sarandon is perhaps most celebrated in the horror universe for his portrayal of a vampire in Fright Night, the classic 1985 vampire flick. [ Fright Night reviews, DVD, downloads, & more at Amazon ]

Robert Romanus, another actor appearing in The Resurrected, will spark memories of Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

The Resurrected, 1992 supernatural horror movieIn some spots the special effects used in The Resurrected are similar to the special effects in The Return of the Living Dead; The Resurrected utilized a limited amount of stop motion animation. The quality of the special effects is rather mixed; some of the still-living resurrection mistakes are truly grotesque. Other effects are just plain bad, particularly the depiction of the large amounts of electrical energy occurring during the reanimation process.

The Resurrected is definitely worth a look for fans of the horror genre; one quality its relative uniqueness, as so many horror movies suffer from a complete lack of originality. The experiences in the dark catacombs under the country house are definitely memorable.

For a lot more information about The Resurrected, check out It was a pleasant surprise to find so much detail about a relatively obscure horror movie, including photos, video, trivia, viewer comments, and much more.

Resources: The Resurrected (1992), aka Shatterbrain

last watched Saturday, June 18, 2011

Resident Evil, 2002 horror movie

Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Marilyn Manson worked on the soundtrack, so it’s no surprise that Resident Evil is best enjoyed by headbangers, goth guys, and PlayStation junkies. Like the interactive game it’s based on, this horror hybrid pits a small band of SWAT-like commandos (including Milla Jovovich and Girlfight’s Michelle Rodriguez) against a ravenous hoard of zombies, resulting in a gorefest that only sociopaths could love. The tenacious heroes are trapped inside the Hive–an underground complex where an evil corporation conducts illegal research with a deadly virus–and the zombies (reanimated corpses of sacrificed employees) are fodder for endless rounds of gunfire. It’s utter nonsense (not unlike director Paul W.S. Anderson’s previous Event Horizon), so your best defense is to wallow in it or avoid this trash altogether. A few cool sequences are borrowed from better films (that slice-and-dice laser is cribbed from the 1998 Canadian shocker Cube), but if you’re in the mood for heavy-metal carnage, this movie’s for you. –Jeff Shannon
# Actors: Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez, Eric Mabius, James Purefoy, Martin Crewes