Three years ago, I was really happy to discover that TCM was showing Lucio Fulci’s classic slasher, The House By The Cemetery.
Finally, I said, the maestro is getting some respect!
It’s the same feeling that I had when I recently came across both Zombi 2 and The Beyond playing on Showtime. Sure, there’s a huge difference between one of your movies appearing on Showtime or Cinemax and being a respected filmmaker. I mean, Uwe Boll’s movies are on all the time. But still, just the fact that Fulci’s films were being shown meant that there was a chance that others would see them for the first time and maybe — just maybe — that person would get it. That person would watch Fulci’s films and they would understand why horror fans like me continually describe him as being one of the best and most important filmmakers of all time.
Indeed, when it comes to Fulci, you either get it or you don’t. When he died in 1996, Fulci was reportedly living in poverty and, despite all of his past cinematic successes, was struggling to find the financial support necessary to keep making films. Sadly, he did not live to see his films rediscovered by horror fans like me. Today, I’d say Fulci is still an underappreciated filmmaker but, slowly but surely, the Cult of Fulci is growing. If nothing else, the current zombie movie boom would never happened without the efforts of both Lucio Fulci and George Romero.
Lucio Fulci: Beyond The Gates is a short, 79-page booklet that was published in 1996, immediately after Fulci’s death. It’s really less a book than an extended essay written by a fan named Chas Balun. The book, which covers Fulci’s filmography and pithily defends his work against his detractors, was really written mostly for Fulci fans. It’s a booklet that we can read and laugh to ourselves as we say, “Can you believe those people who really don’t get it?” As such, it’s probably not the book to give to someone who isn’t already a fan. But, for those of us who already get it, it can be a fun read. At the very least, it’s an important historical document as a tribute to the director that was written directly after Fulci’s death. It’s the loving eulogy that Fulci deserved.
It’s also a bit of a collector’s item. If you go on Amazon right now, you’ll find that copies in “new” condition are going for $100. Used copies are going for $70.94. I found my copy at Half-Price Books in Dallas and I paid $1.50 for it.