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We start the movie back in 1921 Louisiana, where a painter is dragged out of his hotel room and murdered by a group of Southern yokels due to the fact that they think he's a warlock. He's beaten with chains, nailed to the wall, and finally has acid thrown on his face. Fast forward to modern day (1981) Louisiana, and Emily (Sarah Keller) has just inherited a hotel in Louisiana... the same one that this man was murdered in, of course. Things don't go too well from the very beginning, as a house-painter falls off a scaffold after seeing a woman with purely white eyes. A doctor by the name of John (David Warbeck) comes out to take the man off to the hospital. Later, Joe's plumbing service shows up to take care of the flooded basement, and finds a hidden room down there. As he's investigating things, a hand shoots out of the wall and rips his eyes out. The maid of the house finds his corpse along with another severely decayed corpse, and John comes right back out to the hotel to take care of this. Emily eventually meets up with Liza (Catriona MacColl), a blind woman who warns Emily to get out of that hotel building due to it being one of the seven gateways to hell. Apparently, when the gate is opened, the dead will walk the earth. Of course, Emily doesn't listen to this advice and tells John what she's heard from Liza, and also of various things she's seen and heard in the hotel. John starts to believe that she's crazy, but as more and more things start to happen and more people start dying, he starts to realize that maybe she's not so crazy after all.
Review by Chad
Added: September 09, 2004
In terms of effects and originality, this is one of Fulci's better films. There's a high number of kills to be found here, and most are done in some very interesting and original ways, such as the scene in which he does an updated version of the classic "eye scene" from Zombie. Now, not to take anything away from that scene in Zombie, but comparing that to the eye scene found in this movie, I think that this one was done much better and should be the one that gets more attention. There's plenty of other great scenes like this, including a group of tarantulas eating away at a mans face and the aforementioned chain-whipped and acid-covered warlock in the opening of the movie. Mix up the excellent gore-effects that we've come to know and love from Fulci with a good deal of original killing methods, and you definitely have a good time.
The only thing that hurts this movie is the way that the storyline is presented. While the storyline itself is a good one, it jumps around way too much for my liking and just seemed as though Fulci didn't quite know the best way to present his ideas and link them together at the same time. For example, we'll have Emily and John discussing the recent events, then John will be back at the hospital, and then we cut over to a subplot which, even though it resulted in one great scene, should have been cut from the movie altogether. The ending of the film was also a bit of a disappointment, as it seemed to be a cheap and easy way to finish up the storyline. I'm not going to say I could have done better with the finish, but I'm sure that given the time, Fulci could have (and should have) found a better way to wrap the film up that that. Now, these storyline problems aren't exactly a huge enjoyment-killer, as the movie is plenty watchable the way it is. It's just a minor annoyance in the overall experience, and with a bit of editing and reshooting to fix this, we could have had a movie which is even more classic than it already is.
Even though I bitched about the storyline enough, this movie was still quite enjoyable throughout, and featured some of the better effect-scenes that I've seen in my time. Overall, worth a 7/10.
grain of sand
- added 02/08/2007, 04:46 PM
I bought this movie as a split dvd with night of
the living dead/seven doors.. and really enjoyed
the gore scenes are great, I
didn't mind the 'renovation' of the eye scene and
it was done with better effects, but I don't feel
it matched the suspense of the zombi eye scene,
still good though.
I personally enjoyed the
end of the movie, I thought it was neat how it all
played out, morgues are scarier than graveyards in
my opinion. but I definitely agree that with more
time and planning it could have been a lot better.
- added 07/06/2007, 11:27 PM
I finally got around to buying this, and I want
to murder someone. It's from Hong Kong (which is
fine) but the bloody thing is cut. Like, hard. You
don't see any of the good stuff, and you don't
even see Emily die at the end. She just pets the
dog. Fortunately, I've seen it a few times before,
and know what I'm missing. But for any first
timers, do NOT watch the cut version. It
completely ruins the movie, and it makes no sense
with certain parts cut out.
- added 12/30/2008, 10:50 AM
Got the box set just to see Phil play guitar in
Necrophagia's "You Will Live In Terror".
I love the ever so smart doctor that cannot seem
to get it in his head to aim for the head and then
reloads...down the barrel! Catch Catriana's
chuckle at that?