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October 31, 2011

Movie Review: The House By The Cemetery (1981, Blu-ray)

If the mammoth two-disc edition of Lucio Fulci's Zombie wasn't enough, the braintrust at Blue Underground have chosen to release yet another heralded spaghetti-splatter classic with their brand-new Blu-ray of Fulci's 1981 The House By the Cemetary. Blue Underground has not only re-mastered the film digitally for the Blu-ray market but sweetened the release up with some quality extras.

Dr. Norman Boyle (Paolo Malco, The New York Ripper) and his wife, Lucy Boyle ( Catriona MacColl, The Beyond ) move to Boston to live in a very old, mysterious house with their young son, Bob (Giovanni Frezza, Manhattan Baby). For its age the home looks livable enough, the only problem is that mad doctor who made his home there, Freudstein (Giovanni De Nava) hasn't left the basement and occasionally partakes on the eating of the fresh body parts of not-so lucky visitors.

The House By the Cemetary is rather reserved when compared something like Zombie as it strives much  on the creepy atmosphere and effective camera-work. Cinematographer Sergio Salavati captures the "haunted house" feel perfectly. The body count isn't particularly huge but when people die it's as vicious and bloody as any Fulci offering. Freudstein tears out throats, stabs large knives through heads and does a fare share of dismemberment. The finale in "House" is really something special.

The transfer overall is gorgeous. Salvati and Fulci's work is as colorful and vibrant as ever without taking anything away from image. The English language dub ( Featuring Giovanni Frezza's notorious dub) sounds very good and fairs a little better than the Italian language track. The Blu-ray also features both English and Italian subtitles as well.

Four featurettes are included among the strong extras producesd by Blue Underground and supplement specialists Red Shirt Pictures: Meet the Browns has some solid interviews with stars Paolo Malco and Catriona MacColl, My Time with Terror features actor, Carlo De Mejo, Dagmar Lassander lends a few anecdotes to Tales of Laura Gittleson and my favorite, The Children of the Night. The House by the Cemetary's child stars, Giovanni Frezza and Silvia Collatina (who's grown up very nicely) give a kid's point- of-view on the set with Fulci. Frezza talks about how Fulci had his good and bad days and how the film scared him when he was a youngster. To round out the extras, trailers, a promo gallery and a deleted scene from Boyle's bat attack are here. The deleted scene shows a little more of the aftermath of the attack after Malco disposes of the bloody bat.

Blue Underground has done a fine job with The House By The Cemetary and will certainly recieve plenty of praise from Fulci-philes. Highly Recommended!                    

                                 (Screencaps courtesy of Rock! Shock! Pop!)

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