Friday, 22 March 2013



Lucio Fulci is one of those awkward filmmakers: when he's good he's very very good, but when he's bad he's absolutely terrible. His run of surreal, gory zombie movies (The Beyond, Zombie Flesh Eaters, City Of The Living Dead) are fascinating and weirdly entertaining, Sette Note In Nero and The House By The Cemetery are terrific, but The New York Ripper is problematic in its relish of sadistic violence, Manhattan Baby and The Black Cat are just plain weird, and A Cat In The Brain is ranting gibberish. (I used to have Voices From Beyond and Aenigma on VHS years ago, but they've not stuck in my memory.) So if you're going to make what is essentially a nonsensical, injokey horror movie using Fulci as a reference point, it's really got to centre around that handful of wild and crazy video nasties, not the later works that really didn't match up.

The Dead Hate The Living is a low-budget gore quickie from 2000 with numerous references to Fulci and Italian gore films: his name's on a cardboard gravestone, the ending is the same as The Beyond's, the villain is a Dr Eibon (after The Beyond's Book Of Eibon), and David Warbeck is namechecked in the dialogue by someone wearing a Blackest Heart Media T-shirt. And you could also suggest it harks back to Fulci in that it's all a bit on the daft side. A young film crew are shooting a microbudget zombie movie in an abandoned hospital: exploring, they discover a basement with a mysterious coffin, complete with occupant. Swiftly writing it into their horror opus, they inadvertently bring Eibon back to life and the coffin becomes a portal for the living dead to cross into our world....

Director Dave Parker obviously has a love of horror movies of that era: he went on to make The Hills Run Red (about a filmmaker tracking down a famous lost splatter film and coming to regret it). The Dead Hate The Living (which mysteriously has an exclamation mark in the opening titles but not at the end) isn't brilliant, and it's made with more enthusiasm than resources, which you'd probably expect given that it's made by Charles Band's Full Moon outfit. But it's enjoyable enough and it's decently put together. Though it's as silly as any of Fulci's films, and it doesn't have any of the morbid atmosphere of his classics, it's done with gusto and the characters are not as hateful as they could have been and for all the blood and death it's not mean-spirited or repugnant. It's hardly a must-see, but it pretty much gets by as a passable Friday night rental.


You ungodly warlock!

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