– March 13
) was an Italian
, and actor
. He is perhaps best known for his directorial work on Gore films
, including Zombi 2
(1979) and The Beyond
(1981), although he made films in genres as diverse as giallo
, and comedy
Fulci was born in Rome
and had a Catholic
background. After studying medicine, he opted for a film career, working in a wide variety of genres in Italy
. In the early 1970s he moved into the thriller arena, directing giallo
films that were both commercially successful and controversial in their depiction of violence and religion. The first film to gain him notoriety in his native country, Non si sevizia un paperino
(Don't Torture a Duckling) mixed scathing social commentary with the director's soon-to-be-trademark graphic violence to stunning, hallucinatory effect.
In 1979, he achieved his international breakthrough with Zombi II, a violent zombie film that was marketed in European territories as a sequel to George Romero's Dawn of the Dead (1978). He followed it up with several tales of horror and the supernatural, many also featuring zombies. His features during this time were described by some critics as being among the most violent and gory films ever made. City of the Living Dead (1980), The Beyond (1981), The House by the Cemetery (1981), The Black Cat (1981), and The New York Ripper (1982) were some of his biggest hits, all of which featured extreme levels of on-screen blood and cruelty. Several of Fulci's movies were censored by the film distributor to ensure an R rating (such as The Beyond, which was originally released in edited form as Seven Doors of Death) or were released unrated in order to avoid an X-rating (as with Zombi II and The House by the Cemetery), which would have greatly restricted the films' target audience to adults only. The unrated films often played worldwide in drive-ins and grindhouses to hordes of delighted teenagers and horror fanatics.
Many of Fulci's movies were banned in Europe or released in heavily cut versions. Most of his movies became synonymous with video nasties in the 1980s. After viewing Fulci's New York Ripper, the British Board of Film classification not only refused the film a certificate but also ordered that all copies of the offending film be removed from the country.
Some of Fulci's fans have retroactively argued that at his peak, Fulci's fame and popularity were on a par with that of Dario Argento, another famous Italian horror film director that Fulci had avoided working with and openly badmouthed. The two finally agreed to collaborate, but Fulci died before the project was finished and the film, M.D.C. - Maschera di Cera (The Wax Mask, 1997), was eventually directed by Sergio Stivaletti.
Fulci's films remained generally ignored and/or dismissed by the mainstream critical establishment, who regarded his work as pure exploitation. However, genre fans appreciated his films as being stylish exercises in extreme grue, and later, some of his splatter films (notably The Beyond and House by the Cemetery) began receiving occasional positive critical retrospective notices outside of the Fulci cult. His earlier, lesser-known giallos (notably A Lizard in a Woman's Skin (1971) and Don't Torture a Duckling (1972), starring Barbara Bouchet, as well as the western Four of the Apocalypse (1975), received some critical acclaim as they became more widely available around the world.
After the mid-1980s, Fulci was far less successful. He moved onto TV production horror movies, some of which never aired due to the high amount of gore and violence. Soon after he began to suffer from personal and health problems, somewhat due to a marked decline in the quality of his work. He died in Rome on March 13, 1996, allegedly by not taking his insulin injection to treat his diabetes, in effect suicide.
In 1998, Fulci's The Beyond was re-released to theaters by Quentin Tarantino, who has often cited the film, and Fulci himself, as a major source of inspiration.
Fulci vs. Sacchetti
Fulci and screenwriter Dardano Sacchetti
share many screen credits from the late 1970s to the early 1980s. Their relationship deteriorated over the 1987 film The Changeling 2
. Luca M. Palmerini
and Gaetano Mistretta
's book Spaghetti Nightmares
, publishes two full interviews, one with Fulci and one with Sacchetti, explaining the reasons for the fallout.
Fulci's version is as follows: "One day I told him the story of Evil Comes Back (later retitled The Changeling 2), a sequel on a fantastic note to The Postman Always Rings Twice and he proposed it several times over with my name on it as director and then, one day, he registered it with his name on it (laughs). I later found out that he'd sold it to a friend of mine - Martino, but, in view of our past friendship, I decided not to sue him, I just broke off all relations with him. He is, indeed, a very good scriptwriter."
Sacchetti's version differs: "When I proposed him the treatment, which was nothing more than a sequel in fantasy style to The Postman Always Rings Twice, in which a dead man returns, he became really enthusiastic and had it read by a producer, who then commissioned me to write the script. Then, for various reasons, problems arose and the film wasn't made. Four years later, Bava used the script to make Per Sempre and Fulci, who wasn't working at the time got angry with me and started hurling these accusations. It's one thing to say that we were supposed to make this film together, but to claim that the story was his and that I stole it from him is pure science-fiction".
- Used to be a medical student and an art critic before his career in films.
- Was an orthodox Marxist.
- Of the original 74 films on the infamous video nasty list in the United Kingdom, 3 belonged to Fulci: Zombi 2 (1979), The Beyond (1981), and The House by the Cemetery (1981).
- The New York Ripper (1982) was not only banned from the United Kingdom after its initial release, but all prints of the film were exported from the country.
- Is commonly referred to as the "Godfather of Gore".
- "Fulci Lives!" is often exclaimed by fans in adoration of the director and his films.
- Refused to finish Zombie Flesh Eaters 2 after being tired of working with a terrible script, the film was later finished by an uncredited Bruno Mattei
- In the British zombie comedy Shaun of the Dead, Shaun tries unsuccessfully to make a reservation at a romantic Italian restaurant called Fulci's.
- The Spanish death metal/grindcore band Machetazo has a 7" split EP with the band Rise Above entitled "Lucio Fulci", released in 2000 by Sterilized Decay Records. The cover artwork is a photograph of Fulci. Also, in Machetazo' "Maggot Sessions" EP, a portrait of Fulci is featured. The artwork by Dennis Dread represents a tribute to Iron Maiden' "The Number of the Beast" and shows Fulci as Eddie, hanging the three Machetazo members by their intestines. In their interviews, Machetazo members have reported being huge Fulci fans.
Filmography (as director)
- I ladri (1959)
- I ragazzi del juke box (1959)
- Urlatori alla sbarra (1960)
- Colpo gobbo all'italiana (1962)
- I due della legione (1962)
- Le massaggiatrici (1962)
- Uno strano tipo (1963)
- Gli imbroglioni (1963)
- I maniaci (The Maniacs, 1964)
- I due evasi di Sing Sing (1964)
- I due pericoli pubblici (1964)
- 002 agenti segretissimi (1964)
- Come inguaiammo l'esercito (1965)
- 002 operazione Luna (1965)
- I due parà (1965)
- Come svaligiammo la Banca d'Italia (1966)
- Le colte cantarono a morte e fu... tempo di massacro (Massacre Time, 1966)
- Come rubammo la bomba atomica (1967)
- Il lungo, il corto, il gatto (The Long, the short, and the Cat) (1967)
- Operazione San Pietro (1967)
- One on Top of the Other (1969) aka "Perversion Story"
- Beatrice Cenci (The Conspiracy of Torture, 1969)
- A Lizard in a Woman's Skin (1971) aka "Schizoid"
- All'onorevole piacciono le donne (Nonostante le apparenze e purché la Nazione non lo sappia...) (1972)
- Don't Torture a Duckling (1972)
- White Fang (1973)
- The Challenge to White Fang (1974)
- Il cavaliere Costante Nicosia demoniaco... ovvero Dracula in Brianza (Young Dracula/Dracula in the Provinces (1975)
- The Four of the Apocalypse (1975)
- La pretora (1976)
- Seven Notes in Black (The Psychic, 1977)
- Silver Saddle (1978)
- Zombi II (also known as Zombie Flesh Eaters/Zombie, 1979)
- Contraband (1980) aka "Luca The Smuggler"
- City of the Living Dead (also known as The Gates of Hell, 1980)
- The Black Cat (1981)
- The Beyond (censored video version released as Seven Doors of Death), 1981)
- The House by the Cemetery (1981)
- The New York Ripper (1982)
- Manhattan Baby (1982) aka "Evil Eye", aka "The Possessed"
- Conquest (1983)
- I guerrieri dell'anno 2072 (The New Gladiators/Rome 2033 - The Fighter Centurions, 1984)
- Murder-Rock (1984) aka "Murder Rock - Dancing Death"
- The Devil's Honey (1986)
- Aenigma (1987)
- Zombi III (1988)
- When Alice Broke the Mirror (also known as Touch of Death, 1988)
- Sodoma's Ghost (also known as The Ghosts of Sodom, 1988)
- The Sweet House of Horrors (1989, TV)
- The House of Clocks (1989, TV)
- Demonia (1990)
- A Cat in the Brain (Nightmare Concert, 1990)
- Voices From Beyond (1991)
- Door to Silence (1991)
- Il terrorista dei generi, tutto il cinema di Lucio Fulci by Giacomo Cacciatore, Un mondo a parte, Rome (2004)
- Beyond Terror, the films of Lucio Fulci By Stephen Thrower - Fab press (1999)
- Spaghetti Nightmares by Luca M. Palmerini and Gaetano Mistretta, Fantasma Books, Key West, Florida, 1996.