on 18 March 2015
A family move from New York to a small Boston town. There they rent an old, large house unknown to them it was once owned by a crazed man- Dr Freudstein, soon all sorts of horrors start happening to the family and people at the house.
Outstanding Lucio Fulci horror which contains a lot of his best work. Almost certainly his most terrifying film, there is a very creepy atmosphere maintained throughout, tension & suspense are (especially in the lead up to the finale) remarkably high for a Fulci film and the jumps scenes are actually scary. The violence is strong - throats being ripped out, throat slashings and severed limbs & many others, but although gory it never detracts from the film if anything it adds to the tension and the make-up & gore effects are also great. A strong exploitation Italian cast- Paolo Malco, Dagmar Lassander, Ania Pieroni & (British) lead Catriona McColl all are very good, however Giovanni Frezza who plays young Bob is excellent and steels every scene he's in. If there are any minuses some may find the conclusion is a little incoherent (a fault with many Fulci films), however I didn't find it a negative at all indeed it added to the films feeling of the dead never die.
The film crosses several horror genre's, from haunted house, monster, splatter, possession and something I felt was strongest a kind of stalk 'n slash/slasher film. One of if not the best film on the video nasties list & also one of Fulc's greatest films, a wonderful terrifying film.
on 2 September 2000
Frightening,bizzare,gory and trippy horror film.The films plot is a mixture of many famous horror films,including the shining,frankenstien,dont look now and the amytiville horror.However this film is somehow more than the sum of its parts and is genuinly nightmarish and frightening. On seeing this film as a kid who had seen a lot of horror films,this was the one that made the most impression on me and my friends,and was talked about in school for years afterwards,(even my father was impressed by it!) I wont give away too much plot but the film is based around a scary house on the edge of a cemetery,the family that moves there ,a ghoulish monster and a terrible secret. Strange close up camera shots (in typical fulci style)permeate the movie,and terrible dubbing,but great creepy music,and very gruesome scenes.Not for the faint hearted! I highly recommend this film.
on 30 March 2006
If you are a Fulci fan, you will probably want to add this to your collection as "House by the Cemetery" comes from Fulcis generally recognised "golden age" of movie making. The plot tells of Norman and Lucy Boyle, a young couple who move to a remote mansion with their young son Bob for a summer of rest and relaxation, only to find that the place is haunted by an evil presence living hidden in the cellar. After several near misses and lots of spooky bad omens, the family discover the identity of the sinister occupant and end up fighting for their lives to escape his twisted plans.
The film tries to weave a web of unease and mystery around the secret in the cellar, and for a while it really works. The camera work and the general look of the locations is pretty good, with a sense of brooding gothic mystery hanging over the poor family. The house itself looks particularly impressive in most of the external shots. However the story rapidly unravels as the film proceeds to throw countless red herrings into the mix and then either completely abandons them (people claiming to have seen Norman at the house in the past, the things that Bob's mysterious playmate Mae tells him about the house's former occupants), or blatantly contradicts itself (most notably the Boyles babysitter, Ann, who's behaviour suddenly swings from one style to the total oppostive with no explanation). But if you can put the irregularities of the script to one side, you should enjoy the ride on a purely shallow level. Lots of scenes are drenched in great atmosphere, such as those involving the enigmatic Mae, and especially the last portion of the film when we get to see exactly what has been going on in the depths of the cellar.
The acting's pretty good, and even though poor Bob has been given a thoroughly unconvincing vocal dub, the scenes with him in peril are among the best that Fulci has ever filmed. I would point out his "axe through the door" scene as one capable of producing a real jolt from any first time viewers. It's also one of the only Fulci films with an enigmatic ending that actually works - I love the other-worldly closing scene and find it very fitting. Plus, it's extremely gory, especially the death of one character who is slowly and repeatedly stabbed with a poker, with blood shown jetting out of every close-up wound. Another character has her throat repeatedly slashed with a large knife until her head appears about to drop off.
So worth adding to any horror collection, as long as you don't mind a plot with quite this many loose ends. However, to the shame of the UK, the British censors are still too squeamish to release the film totally uncut, so I wouldn't recommend this Vipco version, even though it is pretty cheap, because all the gory excesses of the murders have been trimmed. Fulci's trademarks are his gore set-pieces, always presented with lots of suitable build up to, so tampering with them as has been done here dilutes the film's power considerably. You get what you pay for, which is why the Vipco version is forever languishing in the bargain bins. So leave it where it is...The Anchor Bay Region 1 import is the one to go for.
The House by the Cemetery is directed by famed splatter meister Lucio Fulci, and it pretty much reverts to Lucio's type. Which of course is often enough for fan's of Fulci's work. Plot is irrelevant, but basically a family moves into a creepy house in New England and discover a flesh eating ghoul is in residence down in the basement. The ghoul needs to continue its bizarre medical habits to remain, well, a ghoul! Cue screams, serious bloody gore, bad dubbing and incoherent narrative.
Visually, as you would expect from Fulci and cinematographer Sergio Salvati, it has inspired moments, the whole irreverence of it draped in Grand Guignol textures. The ghouls lair is a place of nightmares, while the appearance of a scary bat and doll further add to the weirdness. Yet it undoubtedly is a hack job by Fulci, where he clutches from some famous American horror movies and just inserts a bloody killing at regular intervals. The whole film serves only to shed some blood for the gore hounds delight, regardless of if it actually matters to what was left on the writing table.
Its reputation, certainly in Britain in the 1980s when it was ridiculously banned during the even more ridiculous Video Nasty craze, is that of a blood thirsty cult movie unfairly held from interested eyes. The banner proudly proclaiming that the work of an Italian horror visionary was being stymied, that's unfair for anyone looking at it now because it's more funny than scary. Had I saw it as a early teenager back then? I'm sure I would have felt disturbed to my guts, though I do believe that even then I could spot a messy hack job when I saw one! This has some skills, but it's not great and really only for Fulci and pulp splatter completists only. 5/10
on 12 June 2012
Why does this keep happening? You take a great film, you promise a great release, and what happens? You botch it up... Again!
Firstly, some copies may have the wrong second disc in them. If you have a DVD labelled Disc 1 (or it has the movie on it in Standard Definition), you'll need to get it returned or replaced. Whilst Arrow did discuss this on their website, and Arrow blame the disc manufacturers for the problem, some of these faulty sets are still being sent out to customers. Either Arrow needs to stop using this manufacturer, or else invest in some major Quality Control checks. Which leads me onto this...
Arrow has ballsed-up the subtitling. The Opening Credits are all in Italian, and there's no English subtitle translation. Fair-enough, I can live with that minor issue. However, the ending of the film has a prophetic quote from Henry James, in Italian. All fine-and-dandy, but there's no English translation for it... unless you leave the English subtitling on all the way through the entire film! Well done, Arrow! Yet another bad mark, and yet another reason why your releases smack of absolutely NO Quality Control whatsoever! Does nobody at Arrow check the discs before replication? Did no one actually think to themselves "Uh, guys? We're using an Italian-produced HD master, and the film has Opening and Closing Credits all in Italian. Maybe we should, perhaps subtitle the ending of the film, so that our English-language audience can understand it"?! Clearly, not!
There is artifacting, digital noise, and some bad compression artifacts in scenes involving pure black. Even on my 37-inch Panasonic TV, I could see the problems! So god-knows what it's going to look like on a 50" TV or a Projection Screen! It's not horrific, by any means, but it is there, and it is noticeable. For that reason, again, Arrow needs to either start using a different authoring team, who know what the difference is between film grain, digital noise, and digital artifacting!
The second disc, the DVD containing some of the Special Features, has 20 Italian film trailers on it. Unfortunately, bar about two of these, many are even worse than some of the low-res trailers on YouTube. It's as if Arrow just cobbled together 20 trailers, stuck them on a disc, and said "That'll do"! What should have been a very good hours-worth of trailer-watching, is a frankly embarrassing mess of hideous proportions. I know some of the trailer are old and rare. They're not the ones I'm blaming. I'm talking about the trailers which have been released on other discs, or by other companies, and which we know and have seen in far better quality editions, than the ones showcased here.
Arrow need to get their head out of their backsides, and start doing some serious Quality Control, as I'm sick of so many of their films having problems, errors or other QC issues! Just how many "botched" releases do Arrow need to do, before someone at Arrow Headquarters decides that Quality Control is important?! One? Two? Five? Ten?!
Initially, I was forgiving of Arrow. I ignored people who said that Arrow weren't good, and didn't produce good releases. I thought that people were being overly-sensitive ove minor issues in Arrow's films. But the more I spend my money on their releases, and the more problems I keep finding, AND the more I keep hearing from them that they DO care about making great UK Blu-Ray and DVD releases, the more I feel like they just don't give a damn! It appears to be purely about making money. Nothing more, nothing less. If you praise them, they are happy. Make a single negative comment, and they lambast you, ban you from their hideously-patrolled-by-jackbooted-morons forum, or try and placate you with cries of "your comments are unfair criticism", because "we're a small label, with little money"!
Well, look, enough's enough! Start checking things out, before you manufacture them. Start making sure that when you produce an HD-master, that the print doesn't contain lots of scenes of digital noise or artifcating in scenes feturing large amounts of pure blackness; double and triple-check your prints, so that English subtitles are available for the pertinent parts of your Italian-language films; stop allowing your manufacturer to bodge your releases, resulting in recalls, delays, and problems for your customers. And stop, whinging that customers are ungrateful when we're the ones keeping you in business in the first place!
No customers buying your products, means no sales. No sales, means goodbye Arrow, and hello unemployment line at the Jobcentre!
I'm sure I'll receive numerous comments from other people, saying I'm being overly picky; overly sensitive, or even comments telling me to stop whining or to grow-up. Well, to those of you who are happy spending £10-£15 on each Arrow release, and finding problems and errors, go ahead and waste your money and time. However, for the rest of us in the real-world, we deserve better!
on 19 June 2012
The title says it all folks. Even after the slip shod job Arrow did with "The Beyond" I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt. Bad ieda! This will be the last Arrow release I purchase. This transfer makes "The Beyond" look like the Mona Lisa.
The transfer of "House" is the worst Arrow release I've had the displeasure of viewing. The whole prsentation is covered in constant video noise. And I'm not talking modest amounts here. The video noise is so severe you cannot even watch the film, as your attetion is constantly on the poor picture quailty!
I have a Sony 54" set and the video noise just overruns the picture to the point that I had to stop watching the film. Additionally it was encoded at a fairly low bitrate which further degrades the image by further removing fine object detail. I cannot believe that Arrow had the gall to release this title in such poor quality!
OK Arrow what is going on??? You claim to be the number one cult film releasing label in the world. You claim to value your customers. Clearly neither could be farther from the truth. You release title after title with terrible picture and audio quality, defective or wrong discs, and you expect die hard horror fans to keep buying your titles.
Wake up!!! We consumers are not morons! Can't be bothered do a decent mastering job? Don't care about quality control? Then close up shop and get out of town! Let another label fill the void that will treat horror titles and horror fans with the resepect they deserve. Your company should be ashamed of the garbage you put out. The low qaulity of your film tranfers is what really stikes fear into horror fans hearts and chills our blood.
And Amazon, you're not off the hook either. You condone Arrow by knowingly selling these discs, even in cases like "The Beyond" when you know they are defective. I spend a great deal of my hard earned wages on your site. I expect that in return you won't sell defective and subpar products like these Arrow films. You have a good reputation. I should think you'd work hard to keep it.
I want to call on all horror fans, who love these Fulci films as much as I do to email Arrow and Amazon. Tell them we want better releases. And let them know that we refuse to buy knowingly defective, poorly mastered films, that clearly passed through no quality control whatsoever. Only when we hit them where it counts-their bottom line- will they treat these horror films and the horror fans with the respect they deserve.
In this day and age, with all the film restoration and mastering technology there is simply no excuse for Arrow to be releasing films like this.
If Lucio could look at what you'd done to his films, Arrow would the the next one to be dragged down the stairs and into the cellar by Dr. Freudstein.