The House By The Cemetery (1981)

DVD Cover (Blue Underground Special Edition)
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Overall Rating 62%
Overall Rating
Ranked #3,295
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Connections: The Gates Of Hell

A young family moves from their cramped New York City apartment to a spacious new home in New England. But his is no ordinary house in the country: the previous owner was the deranged Dr. Freudstein, whose monstrous human experiments have left a legacy of bloody mayhem. Now, someone - or something - is alive in the basement, and home sweet home is about to become a horrific hell on earth. --TMDb
Review by Tristan
Added: July 07, 2007
Our movie opens in an old abandoned house (by the cemetery) where two teenagers have just finished what it is teenagers do in an abandoned house. As the girl calls out for her beau, she sees a light down the hall, and goes to investigate. Will they ever learn? Of course, this doesn't turn out in her favor, as she finds her boyfriend dead and pinned to the back of a door with scissors. As she screams, a knife wielding hand appears from the dark, and stabs her through the back of the head and out her mouth, in a scene very similar to one in Pieces. This is how any good film should start. A little bit of nudity, the clichéd female investigation, and a pair of nice brutal murders. I'm in love already, and the credits haven't even rolled.

After the suicide of a colleague, who was researching suicide ironically, Dr. Norman Boyle (Paolo Malco) is leaving the New York City university to finish his friend's work in a quieter, more isolated location. Tagging along with him are his wife Lucy (Catriona MacColl) and his son Bob (Giovanni Frezza). They move into the Freudstein house, where the late Dr. Peterson was completing his research in the nearby town's library. However as this story unfolds, there are many more problems for Dr. Boyle to deal with. His son is claiming that he's being visited by a young girl (Silvia Collatina) who told him not to move to this house. Also, his wife has suffered a nervous breakdown in the past, requiring her to have frequent fits of hysteria, after which she takes quite a lot of medication to calm herself.

Things quickly take an even worse turn. While cleaning the house, Lucy pulls bag a rug to discover the tomb of the house's late owner, Dr. Jacob Freudstein. Soon after, the doors around her begin rattling, the floor creaks, and she begins to hear noises, all the usual haunted house fare. Needless to say, this sends her into another one of her fits. Norman comes home, gives her some pills, and she seems to be alright afterwards.

Through Peterson's research, Dr. Boyle has discovered that Dr. Freudstein was banned from practicing medicine for life, after being convicted of performing horrendous experiments in the cellar of the home. Boyle also discovers a tape made by Peterson, that speaks of supernatural activities taking place in the house. The cellar is really the gateway between this world, and one of the seven gates of hell. After opening the cellar door, and venturing into it, the nightmare the Boyle's are living has only just begun. Evil Dead, anyone?

This movie is your standard Fulci fare, weak storyline, weak acting, but great gore. Every Fulci film has some memorable scenes, and this one was no exception. A throat slash is one thing, but a triple throat slash? That's just awesome. This film concludes the "Gates of Hell" trilogy that started with City of the Living Dead, and continued with The Beyond. All are excellent films, with this one being the weakest. It's a great film in it's own right, but didn't keep the feel of the first two movies. The film kind of went nowhere, and the ending was really weak sauce. But like I mentioned before, some nice scenes here and there, and it was still entertaining to watch.

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