Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Happy Birthday Lucio Fulci !

Today marks what would have been the 88th birthday of Lucio Fulci, just a few days after the passing of Richard Johnson. It’s appropriate enough in my case that these two points on the calendar are close together, Zombie Flesh Eaters remains my favourite Fulci film – it’s full of delicious directorial flourishes like the memorable head shot of the zombie framed against the backdrop of Manhattan in the opening sequence, the sudden camera jerk when Menard’s wife realizes a sinister presence has entered the house, and a fabulous camera arc around a wandering zombie. And there’s Richard Johnson looking suitably grizzled, brow and beard perpetually bathed in tropical sweat. But more than that, Zombie Flesh Eaters is a hugely important film in my life, it was my jumping off point into European Cult Cinema in that heady summer of 1992. (I cringe when I think what might have happened if it had been Franco’s Devil Hunter!) So, grazie e buon compleanno Maestro.



I’m looking thru Lucio Fulci’s cannon of films and it’s as knotty and difficult a filmography as I’ve ever seen. I might have been watching his films for 20 odd years but I’ve only scratched the surface with his signature films. I usually think of 1966’s Massacre Time as ground-zero in the Fulci filmography, and Murder Rock from 1983 as the out-door - I’m not so enthused about the comedies and youth pictures Fulci cut prior to 1966, or the diminishing returns of the late-era films dogged by the director’s ill-health. Still there’s a bunch of films I have yet to see, even within my narrow confines - the aforementioned Massacre Time and Silver Saddle, Perversion Story and The Psychic (both sit on my shelf unopened to my eternal shame), Young Dracula, The Black Cat, Rome 2072: The Fighter Centurions and the late-entry exception Nightmare Concert. One film I have seen and am eager to revisit is 1973’s White Fang starring Franco Nero and Fernando Rey. Ostensibly a family film, but it sports enough rough n' tumble action and a few moments of surprisingly vicious violence to make this a minor Fulci classic…


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