In the little village of Dunwich - supposedly built on the ruins of the
original Salem - a priest, father Thomas (Fabrizio Jovine) hangs himself,
& right in the cemetary, too ...
In a seemingly unrelated event, in New
York City Mary (Catriona MacColl) dies from shock during a seance. The police
suspects something drug-related & tries to put the blame on spiritualist
Teresa (Adelaide Aste) but unsuccessfully so. Only nosey reporter Peter
(Christopher George) suspects something else & is soon found in the
graveyard when Mary is to be entombed ... when he suddenly hears her shouting
out in terror from inside the coffin, & ultimately saves her from a
premature burial (but almost kills her in the process when he repeatedly rams
his pick into the coffin's cover ...)
He is soon convinced by Madame Teresa
& Mary that the source for everything lies in Dunwich, & that he has to
go there with Mary to shut the gates of Hell that were opened by Father Thomas'
& really, the city of Dunwich could need some help, as the
undead Father Thomas & his zombies repeatedly kill villagers in all sorts
of gruesome ways, but the villagers, unable to even begin to grasp what is
menacing them, blame all the murders (& whatever else bad might happen) on
village idiot Bob (Giovanni Lombardo-Radice) - & ebventually one of the
villagers (Venantino Venantini) can even get hold of Bob, & he promptly
kills him with a powerdrill ... not that this would stop the zombies of course
In all Dunwich it seems only psychiatrist Jerry (Carlo de Mejo) &
painter Sandra (Janet Agren) seem to keep a cool head, figure there might
something else than Bob be wrong with Dunwich, & start investigating ...
& before long they meet up with Peter & Mary (in the cemetary, quite
fittingly), & figure they have to enter Father Thomas' grave in order to
shut the Gates of Hell, & prepare to go down, except for Sandra, who
instead takes care of a little boy (Luca Venatnini) & is killed by a zombie
as a little thank-you.
The city it seems is overrun by zombies by now, when
Peter, Mary & Jerry finally enter Father Thomas grave, which turns out to
be nothing less than a giant cave, where they meet zombie Sandra, who promptly
disposes of Peter before she herself can be dealt with.
Soon Jerry & Mary
face Father Thomas, pretty much the leader of the pack, & it seems they are
done for, when Jerry notices a cruzifix handily lieing around, picks it up
& stakes the Father with it.
All the zombies go up in flames, Dunwich is
saved. Or indeed, is it ?
Lucio Fulci is a director whose output
varies remarkably in quality, even his cheapo horror flicks might be anything
from great to unwatchable.
His gothic trilogy (a series of at best
loosely connected films, consisting of this one, L'Aldila/The
Beyond & Quella
Villa accanto al Cimitero/House
by the Cemetary, all starring Catriona MacColl) however shows him at
the height of his talent: In these films Fulci takes us into a world all of its
own, where the laws of logic & indeed nature are suspended, where
storytelling as such takes a back seat, & whhere Fulci instead confronts
the audience with a series of gory or otherwise ghastly shocks. The
moviesprobably best resemble nightmares ... & what could be nicer to say
about a horrorfilm than it resembles a nightmare ?