This week I have mostly been having flu.
This has nothing to do with the movie, but will effect the review, for one thing it will have less time spent on it than normal, and for another I was so ill when I watched the movie that I probably misjudged parts of it horribly, which is a shame, because from the films opening shot it is obvious that this is a cut above the previous 4 week's films, actually looking like a 'proper movie'!
I don't know if the budget was any higher on this than on the last 4, or if Fulci and Salvati (Director and DP respectively) just did a better job of putting what money they had on screen, but this is the first nasty on our list not to look like a student film!
In the opening segment we meet a Painter / Alleged Warlock by the name of Shpike, who (along with a blind girl) is the current keeper of the 'Book of Eibon' a 4000 year old collection of prophecies - throughout the movie we will learn little of these prophecies, save for the fact that they tell us that the hotel in which the opening (and most if the rest of the film) is set, is built on one of the 7 gateways to hell.
Shpike is crucified and brutally murdered in the hotel by an angry mob, and so the gate-way is opened... Except it seemingly lays dormant for another 50 years until our Heroin, Ilisa, inherits the place from a rich uncle she was only vaguely aware that she had.
Speaking of the Shpike's murder, which is unnecessarily prolonged and gory (Yay!), there was one thing really bothered me about it, which sadly plagued almost every subsequent death in the movie; is apparently unfamiliar with the phrase "blood is thicker than water" - while there is plenty of the red stuff, it looks more like a full bodied merlot than actual blood.
Anyway, Ilisa inherits the hotel in a hell of a state (no pun intended), it's completely run-down, everything is inch-thick in dirt, building work is needed, the basement is flooded and baths are full of water so old and dirty that you couldn't see a submerged body in one untill it reached out and grabbed you... Which is odd, because it comes with staff; What exactly mother/son care-taking team Martha and Arthur have been up to these last few years is anyone's guess, but now they have the unenviable task of cleaning the dump up and getting it ready for re-opening, as Ilisa has decided to move in and run the place.
We also meet our other main protagonist John McCain (I think that's what my notes say - stoopid flu) - a doctor who seemingly knows everyone in town (to the extent that if he doesn't know them, he deems it odd, Joe- a not long of this world plumber, Emily- a blind girl with an uncanny resemblance to the girl from the films opening and Dickie - Emily's absolutely adorable German Shepard guide-dog.
Large chunks of the plot (and most especially it's surreal ending) go unexplained, but in that way that horror movies can sometimes pull off as 'dreamlike' - if you arn't a fan of ambiguity though, best give this one a miss - it rivals even Japanese horror in that department!
Finally, I can't review this movie without mentioning eyeballs! Until I get further down the list of movies I can't comment if this is a Fulci trademark or if it's unique to this movie, but the dude seems to love a good eyeball gag (in the special effects sense, Not the joke sense) at least half of the deaths in the movie seem to involve eyeballs being graphically punctured, removed or eaten by spiders - Nice! How this got removed from the List, while Axe got a prosecution, I will never understand...
Body Count: 6
Animal Body Count: 0
Boob count: 0
Most Memorable Death: Melted by Quicklime
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