October 28th, 2005

Italian Junk Food

Y'know how there are some writers or filmmakers who are popular who you totally "get", and some you don't?

Put me in the latter category wherein Lucio Fulci is concerned. After years of hearing these things raved, I've just seen both The House By the Cemetery and The Beyond, and I'm seriously underwhelmed. Here's the plot of Cemetery: Some nice folks move into an old house out in the middle of nowhere, and lots of gore ensues when they discover something horrible in the basement. Oh, wait...that's also the plot of The Beyond...okay, so maybe you're telling me originality is not Fulci's strong point. My answer is: What is?! If it's just about the gore, well COME ON - you've got to sit through ENDLESS EXPOSITION and long, boring shots before you get to the gore, and then most of it is either so badly staged or so obviously fake that it's worth little more than a few giggles. I like to imagine breaking a Fulci film down for a Filmmaking 101 class:

Boring-boring-boring-boring-GOOFY GORE-boring-boring-inadvertent giggles-boring-boring-FAKE GORE-boring... (you get the idea)

I can only imagine every Fulci script must bear a large rubber stamp on the title page reading "LOGIC NEED NOT APPLY". Love things like the pistol that runs out of bullets, the hero runs into another room, match cut to hero entering room - and firing the gun again. Or how about the blind girl who can suddenly run around corners and down stairs with no problem? Of course nothing's as bad as the little superfake tarantula puppets ripping into the equally-ridiculous rubber head. Y'know, maybe it's just because I used to work in special make-up effects, but...cripes, if you can't do this stuff right don't do it all.

And double cripes, could the guy rip off Argento any more? (Too bad he didn't rip off Argento's storytelling sense and cinematography as well.)

I confess to being mystified as to why these films are sexless. No sense of humor, okay, I can understand that... but was this Fulci guy celibate as well as not particularly funny? What kind of drive-in fodder IS this, anyways?! Comparing this guy to Argento, Bava or even Michele Soavi is like comparing Beefaroni to veal parmesan.

So, any Fulci fans out there - let's hear what you like about this stuff, because right now I'm just mystified.


I'm in the process of helping my good friend Rick Pickman revamp his website, and in the process of digging around amongst old photos and bits of Rick's artwork we stumbled across this way-cool photo of me and Brian Hodge at the old Dark Delicacies store, when they were still on Magnolia. I have no idea what I was signing that day, but I like Pickman's photo and thought it was fun to see the old store again: