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 Post subject: Lucio Fulci
PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2011 4:57 pm 
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[Reveal] Spoiler: NSFW
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2011 12:41 pm 
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Re: Nicholas Philibert - Back To Normandy had previously been re-released by Articial Eye in 2009 after taking over the rights after Tartan Video became defunct (along with the film that Normandy is revisiting: I, Pierre Rivière), so it does seem strange that they would throw it into this set. But then I suppose it is a continuation of AE's 'everything and the kitchen sink' bundling policies where you have to keeping re-buying certain films to get boxset exclusives.

Here's the explanation of the Don't Torture A Duckling boobies cover from the Cult Labs forum:

Sarah@Cult Labs wrote:
As far as I'm aware, nudity or semi-nudity on the cover art did not damage the sales of Venus in Furs, Ratman, Night Train Murders, Baba Yaga or Satan's Baby Doll. Shameless have been doing this for a while now so they do know what they're doing. They wouldn't put a naked woman on the cover if they thought for one minute that it would damage sales.

As for people saying that this isn't what the film is about - fair enough. As fans, we all know that. But Shameless has always done this with their artwork: harking back to the glory days of video when the cover art was usually far from being representative of the film inside the box. It's an exploitation strategy and it's one that Shameless have used for most of their titles, partly out of nostalgia for the days of video, and partly as a way of increasing sales amongst the uninitiated.

For the rest of us, there is the reverse art. Like I say, I've seen a prototype and it's stunning, in my opinion, and very fitting for the film. But it wouldn't sell half as many copies if it were used as Panel A, I'm afraid.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2011 3:15 pm 
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Same old tune. I guess I just can't imagine that many people blind-buying a movie based on a naked girl being on the cover. You have to either be sexually obsessed or have a lot of dough. And there will be a huge sticker covering the naked body anyway...


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2011 3:46 pm 
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When will people learn? Sex just doesn't sell!


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2011 4:46 pm 

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Well, to be fair, it is SHAMELESS Entertainment.

Navel-gazing thread title: "Der Spieler Doesn't Like Boobies."


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2011 5:14 pm 
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Perkins Cobb wrote:
Well, to be fair, it is SHAMELESS Entertainment.

Navel-gazing thread title: "Der Spieler Doesn't Like Boobies."


Not sure, but I think you might be missing the point...

Boobies or not, I find the cover pretty fugly.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2011 5:15 pm 
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Quote:
It's an exploitation strategy and it's one that Shameless have used for most of their titles, partly out of nostalgia for the days of video, and partly as a way of increasing sales amongst the uninitiated.

Which makes that cover all the more appropriate, given that Fulci only included that totally unnecessary (and pretty disgusting) scene to sell more tickets. Fulci was an exploitation filmmaker at heart.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2011 5:22 pm 
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Yeah, I don't see what's wrong for selling something for what it is. It's not like Spirits of the Dead where you have (mostly) high brow film makers making high brow films. It's a grungy Italian low budget screamer so selling via tits and gore makes plenty of sense. It's not like it was marketed any differently back in the '70s. By the way is the movie any good? Haven't seen any Fulci films and I find one of the alternate titles funny.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2011 5:26 pm 
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I wasn't posting this because of the tits, by the way.

I just think it looks cheap, that's all.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2011 6:21 pm 
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knives wrote:
By the way is the movie any good? Haven't seen any Fulci films and I find one of the alternate titles funny.

Don't Torture a Duckling is one of Fulci's best films, although the english dub is pretty bad.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2011 6:22 pm 
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Any DVD you recommend for it?


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2011 6:53 pm 
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knives wrote:
By the way is the movie any good? Haven't seen any Fulci films and I find one of the alternate titles funny.

It's regarded as among his best, if not his best, by a lot of people, and indeed it's the best of his movies that I've seen. That's not saying much, tho', since it's the only one of them that I thought even began to approach competence. It's still a pretty middling giallo. It has nothing on Bava or Argento's best, let's put it that way, but it has a few things that make it worth a viewing. I saw it on the R1 Anchor Bay DVD and it looked and sounded fairly good, considering it's a cheap Italian genre title from the seventies.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2011 7:28 pm 
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If you are going to rent the title, either the OOP Anchor Bay or Blue Underground DVD is fine (they are the same disc). However, if you want to blind buy it, the Shameless disc will have the Italian audio with English subs, so I'd wait and get that one. (Note: I don't recommend blind buying Fulci. Mr. Sausage is correct, Fulci's films don't come close to those of Mario Bava or Dario Argento.)


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:19 pm 
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I think DTAD is an effective giallo. This and Seven Notes in Black (a.k.a. The Psychic) are both pretty good Fulci efforts.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 12:10 am 
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Fucli didn't completely give himself over to schlock until Zombi in '79, so I'd recommend it. Not that I don't like many of his post-79 films, but Sausage is right in that the moments of brilliance are saddled with a lot more moments of seeming incompetence (on a Joe D'Amato-scale).


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 5:15 am 
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Back to the sleeve, it's worth noting that all Shameless releases have reversible covers, one side usually contains something resembling the original poster art.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 5:22 am 
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Anchor Bay/Blue Underground cover artwork is ugly in its own right. I prefer striking image of Florinda Bolkan that was on Italian poster that they duplicated on DVD from Medusa...


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 5:31 am 

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Personally I find Fulci's efforts more enjoyable and have better replay value than Argento's - his gory zombie/undead films are great fun and in terms of gialli, I think Lizard in a woman's skin and The Psychic are comparable to Argento's best (Deep Red and Tenebrae for me). Argento is quite repetitive in some of his stories - many of his stories concern a protagonist figuring out something he saw and you can easily guess the killer's identity in some of his films once you've seen The Bird with the Crystal Plumage. His later efforts are not that great - for example, although Sleepless had some well-executed kills, it was a boring plodding mess not helped by charisma free leads.

And although Goblin is good, I'd take Fabio Frizzi any day.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 5:36 am 
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To one of your points I doubt the story matters at all and it's more about the set pieces. He forms films like a musical where there's semi-interesting but overall unimportant stuff to fill out between the real meat of the matter in this case being the kills. Him doing the same song and dance in between the kills is just because it's been proven to work (his one serious attempt out of that proves how much it works). I think even by Bird everyone knew it will always be the female that isn't the love interest or heroine.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 12:55 pm 
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Most of Lucio Fulci's films are worth watching up to around the mid-80s (with the possible exception of Cat In The Brain in the 90s coming as a kind of 'greatest hits' compilation), and I'd highly recommend Stephen Thrower's beautiful and exhaustive book Beyond Terror (Apparently Thrower's current project is a similar tome on Jess Franco which, given the prolific nature of that director, sounds quite a daunting challenge!) One of the fascinating things about his works are the ways that many of the non-horror films (except perhaps the broad comedies, though I have not yet seen them!) thrum with transgressive, rather disturbing qualities - the White Fang films get surprisingly brutal at times for ostensible kids films.

If you didn't like that cover, you'll hate the one for Umberto Lenzi's Almost Human. It's even lenticular!


Last edited by colinr0380 on Wed Aug 03, 2011 2:09 pm, edited 7 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 12:59 pm 
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Even if you hide those images in spoiler tags, our work computers still download them. It's better to post links.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 5:22 pm 
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colinr0380 wrote:
Most of Lucio Fulci's films are worth watching up to around the mid-90s (with the possible exception of Cat In The Brain), and I'd highly recommend Stephen Thrower's beautiful and exhaustive book Beyond Terror (Apparently Thrower's current project is a similar tome on Jess Franco which, given the prolific nature of that director, sounds quite a daunting challenge!) One of the fascinating things about his works are the ways that many of the non-horror films (except perhaps the broad comedies, though I have not yet seen them!) thrum with transgressive, rather disturbing qualities - the White Fang films get surprisingly brutal at times for ostensible kids films.

If you didn't like that cover, you'll hate the one for Umberto Lenzi's Almost Human. It's even lenticular!

I really don't understand the veneration for Fulci among horror fans. There's stuff in them that I can't believe exists outside of a parody. Especially in his late gore movies, it's just a mass of silliness, with poor pacing, no sense of timing, and the occasional outrageous gore scene that, half of the time, is shot in such a way that it looks fake instead of impressive. House by the Cemetery is perhaps the most incompetent horror film to have such a high reputation that I can think of. The Beyond isn't much better. Zombie is slightly better, with City of the Living Dead probably the most tolerable (tho' it lacks any coherent logic to it. By the time zombies are transporting between locations at random, you know that it's all for plot convenience and have stopped caring).

Haven't seen Lizard in a Woman's Skin, tho', so we'll see if it fits the broken clock rule.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 6:40 pm 
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I think the utter lack (or rather lunatic abandonment) of logic is one of Fulci's greatest charms though. There's a strange quality that feels both like a total disregard for simple rules of continuity or character congruence and yet also feels like it retains a strange dreamy 'anything can happen' quality. It is not just the teleporting zombies but the strange character motivations (for example in House By The Cemetery after Dagmar Lassander's character is killed the maid played by Ania Pieroni is seen the next morning cleaning up a gigantic blood stain, but this is never commented on as strange. This suggests that the maid is in cahoots with the evil force in the cellar, but then she herself is killed. A person could go crazy thinking too much about whether this is a character who is betrayed, has plans that don't pan out, or is simply a badly written character! I prefer to see that character as similar to Scatman Crothers's caretaker from The Shining - someone who is suggested to have a bigger role but is dispatched without much of a chance in the end) and wonky locations (the hotel room number on the inside of the door in The Beyond; the tombstone in the living room in the therefore misnamed House by the Cemetery!) that make the films feel both incompetent and unreal at the same time.

While I never have problem with the dubbing in Italian films anyway, some of the bizarre choices in Fulci's films straddle that same divide between 'is it intentional or expedient or just plain incompetent?'. As does the 'overly' drawn out nature of the gore scenes which reveal themselves in a mercenary manner to be both the whole point of the film's existence (what more point is needed?) to the point of destroying narrative momentum at certain points whilst the camera just takes in all the gory details with an empty gaze.

I still have not seen a few of the key Fulci giallos though - I haven't yet seen Lizard In A Woman's Skin (which I hope doesn't fit the broken clock theory :P ) or The Psychic (which I've long been interested in so that I can see Jennifer O'Neill in a role outside of Scanners - I could watch Rio Lobo, but I'm not that desperate!)


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 5:21 pm 
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colinr0380 wrote:
I think the utter lack (or rather lunatic abandonment) of logic is one of Fulci's greatest charms though. There's a strange quality that feels both like a total disregard for simple rules of continuity or character congruence and yet also feels like it retains a strange dreamy 'anything can happen' quality. It is not just the teleporting zombies but the strange character motivations (for example in House By The Cemetery after Dagmar Lassander's character is killed the maid played by Ania Pieroni is seen the next morning cleaning up a gigantic blood stain, but this is never commented on as strange. This suggests that the maid is in cahoots with the evil force in the cellar, but then she herself is killed. A person could go crazy thinking too much about whether this is a character who is betrayed, has plans that don't pan out, or is simply a badly written character! I prefer to see that character as similar to Scatman Crothers's caretaker from The Shining - someone who is suggested to have a bigger role but is dispatched without much of a chance in the end) and wonky locations (the hotel room number on the inside of the door in The Beyond; the tombstone in the living room in the therefore misnamed House by the Cemetery!) that make the films feel both incompetent and unreal at the same time.

I've heard people claim before that Fulci's logical absurdities give the films a dreamlike quality, but I've never shared their experience. For example, when Argento's films defy logic, I don't feel that's because there is no logic; quite the opposite: there is, it's just that I'm not privy to it. The workings of his universes take on an incomprehensible malice; the motives are somehow beyond understanding. With Fulci, the illogic always has a clearly traceable motive. When the zombies are teleporting for no reason, you can tell it's because he needs some extra shock scenes to liven up the movie; when characters behave incongruously from one scene to the next, it's because he needed a red herring for one scene, and it hardly matters who, or because there hasn't been a death in a while so he needs someone to do something dumb. The mechanics are always showing; you can tell what the filmmaker needed it for, and thus things don't feel dreamlike, they feel indifferently constructed.

Colin wrote:
As does the 'overly' drawn out nature of the gore scenes which reveal themselves in a mercenary manner to be both the whole point of the film's existence (what more point is needed?) to the point of destroying narrative momentum at certain points whilst the camera just takes in all the gory details with an empty gaze.

I don't mind when he destroys narrative momentum (although, to be fair, there's rarely much momentum to kill); what I hate is when he takes an effective gore scene and includes a shot that ruins it. The worst offender is the gut-spitting in City of the Living Dead. It's disgusting and disturbing, with the actress' eyes bleeding and she's making these awful burping sounds as entrails slowly protrude and fall out. It's really well done, and just as you are about to applaud, he includes a close up shot of a hilariously fake open mouth expelling whole internal organs like they were being poured out of a bucket. It was an effective gore scene up until that moment.

Almost as bad is the (otherwise great) ending to Don't Torture a Duckling. The flashbacks, the voice-over, the curiously elegaic music, are all nice touches, but Fulci just can't help himself, and keeps cutting to this shot of a barely human looking dummy bouncing off rocks in slow motion (and emitting sparks!). Even worse is that the stunt guy in the other shots is clearly rolling down a small incline, while the dummy is plummeting straight down in its shots! Fulci ruined an effective ending just so he could include some unimpressive gore shots. Rather a sign of things to come.


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 Post subject: Re: Lucio Fulci
PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 6:39 pm 
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It's some time since I watched any Fulci film, but I remain largely on the fence as to his merits.

I do like The Beyond though - that may be in part to my buying the old Anchor Bay DVD at a collector's fair whilst it was still technically banned in the UK. I actually taught in on a course I ended up covering at the last minute on The Living Dead - I told my students that there was a surprise film that week which we would watch and then discuss. I gave them the 'it really is quite gory' warning should anyone want to skip it, but nobody did. The details are a bit hazy, but IIRC there was a good discussion about it afterwards - nobody found it shocking (there were several laughs in the killer spider sequence) and most seemed to find it at least interesting. I tied it in to Michael Grant's essay on the film which can be found in the Unruly Pleasures book - which gave them something meaty (to put it mildly) to think about.

I do think, at least in this one, there is a solid dream like logic to the film - or perhaps nightmare logic. There is both a randomness (as in WTF?) about it as well as a certain inevitability about the film's ever increasing outrageousness. And as for the ending...

Interestingly, I've recently watched both of Hammer's Wheatley horrors over the past couple of days - and both of them (especially To The Devil A Daughter) rely on previously unmentioned lore suddenly being introduced to end the film. To The Devil has a particularly notorious - and hastily rewritten - ending which sees
[Reveal] Spoiler:
Richard Widmark throw a rock at Christopher Lee. There's some guff about it having the blood of his disciple on it and so the demons will protect Widmark, but I don't buy it at all.
It seems little different to be honest to the random killer zombies just turning up in Fulci's films.

They are however markedy superior in just about every other respect.


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