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The House by the Cemetery (Quella villa accanto al cimitero)

by on Mar.19, 2010, under Daily Review

This is another r fine example of Fulci at his peak. It’s also one of the most accessible of his films from this time with a more coherent storyline and a lot less vagueness to confuse the humble viewer. Again, stunning artistic vision from the eye of Salvati, in what could be argued as being his finest work. It’s a beautiful film to watch. It’s well paced and balanced with liberal sprinklings of blood, but a much great focus on the cinematic value of the aesthetic. It’s strong point being a slow building movie which a supernatural feel or is it a psychological piece, cleverly questioning Lucy’s (Catriona MacColl) deranged mind?

The premise is, a young family move from the big city to a huge country house on the outskirts of Boston. It soon becomes clear that there is more than meets the eye in this spooky old house. And what about those noises coming from the cellar? And why is the door to said cellar locked? A grave stone is uncovered in the garden, then another inside the house. The father gets attacked, quite viciously, by a bat from the cellar, soon after having a tussle in MacColl’s hair. The bat scene is bloody brutal actually. It’s a difficult task to pull off, but here, the viewer is cringing with pain as Norman (Paolo Malco, later seen in Ripper) stabs the bat as it bites and clings onto his hand. It’s a nasty mess.

It soon becomes clear, there is something or someone in the house with the family. Young Bobby (Giovanni Frezza, Manhattan Baby) has a secret invisible friend who is passing on thoughts and chats of the mind, tipping off the young lad about the Freudstein’s, the previous tenants. Dr Jacob Freudstein might just be living in the basement.

This is a great film. It’s easy to enjoy as it looks amazing. The colour and light are terrific and the moments of gore and suspense are perfectly executed. A scene mid way sees an estate agent attacked with a metal poker, stabbed in the neck, which is one of the most amazingly well filmed scenes I have ever seen. The lighting is brilliant, cinematographer is crisp and perfect. Spurts of blood gushing up over Dagmar Lassander’s face. I must mention, Lassander’s inclusion, although a small role, brilliant in it’s subtlety, seen earlier in Fulci’s Black Cat and Bava’s Hatchet for the Honeymoon. Another moment later on is also worth mentioning. Suspenseful, Lucy and Bob try to escape the thing in the basement via escape route through a grave stone. It’s a real highlight of the film and you can really feel every bump of the head as Lucy is dragged down the steps.

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3 Comments for this entry

  • Helen

    I enjoyed this film but gotta admit to not completely understanding the ending – (which infuriates me!) Plus the closing line on screen confused me further! Is this relevant to the ending? Your thoughts and interpretations would be appreciated! 🙂

  • Geoff

    Ah, ok. The ending. I would say it’s little Bobby imaginary friend and her mother, echoes from the old house, ghosts. I’d suspect Bobby was torn apart by the beast in the basement, but his spirit saved and crossed over into the ghost world.
    Just an idea though. A little twist thrown in by Fulci to leave us questioning the meaning. These don’t always work well, and here, it’s not the greatest of endings:)

    Thanks for the comment. Really glad you watched it.

  • Helen

    Thanks for that Geoff – the film makes alot more sense now 🙂

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