- City of the Living Dead
- Paura nella città dei morti viventi [Fear in the city of the living dead] (Italy - original title) | Gates of Hell (US - alternative title) | Twilight of the Living Dead
- Year of Film
- Lucio Fulci
- Christopher George, Catriona MacColl, Carlo De Mejo, Antonella Interlenghi, Giovanni Lombardo Radice, Daniela Doria, Fabrizio Jovine, Luca Venantini, Janet Agren
- Origin of Film
- Genre(s) of Film
- Type of Poster
- Style of Poster
- Origin of Poster
- Year of Poster
- Size (inches)
- 21 6/16" x 30 13/16"
- SS or DS
Nicknamed The Godfather of Gore, the late Italian director Lucio Fulci is responsible for several memorable entries in the horror genre and City of the Living Dead is one of what I consider to be the ‘big four’ Fulci films (the others being Zombie Flesh Eaters, The Beyond and The House by the Cemetery), which were all made within two years of each other. The director tried his hand at various genres, including westerns and comedies, but it was horror where he found the greatest success and for which he is best remembered.
City of the Living Dead is the first film in the unofficial ‘Gates of Hell’ trilogy of Fulci films and was followed by The Beyond in 1981. It stars British actress Catriona MacColl (credited on the poster as Katherine MacColl) who then collaborated with Fulci on the next two entries. The plot sees Father Thomas, a priest in the small New England town of Dunwich, hang himself in a misty cemetery. For reasons that aren’t made clear, this causes the gates of hell to open and the dead to return from the grave. Meanwhile in New York City, Mary Woodhouse (MacColl) is taking part in a séance where she sees the priest’s actions and apparently dies from fright.
A reporter named Peter Bell (Christopher George) hears about the situation and tries to gain entry to the building before being turned away. He later visits Mary’s grave, discovers she has been buried alive and frees her with a pick-axe. The pair then decide to travel to Dunwich where they meet up with a local psychiatrist called Gerry (Carlo De Mejo) and attempt to locate the tomb of Father Thomas to try and close the gates of hell. However, the evil is spreading through the town and ghouls have begun to rise from the ground.
As was typical with all of Fulci’s output during this period, the film features several scenes of brutal, graphic gore and the Thai artist has decided to go for broke, depicting the more memorable moments on this poster. There’s one death scene in particular, featuring a giant drill, that would fall foul of the BBFC, the folks responsible for passing the film for release in the UK. Upon its original cinema release the drill scene was cut from the film, as was the case with the initial VHS release. The film was then caught up in the infamous Video Nasties situation in the early 1980s and, although not on the infamous list (unlike The House by the Cemetery), the VHS had to be resubmitted and had almost two and a half minutes excised from it. An uncut version finally saw UK release in 2001.
This Thai poster features artwork that is largely unique to it and was painted by an artist whose signature is on the poster but I don’t recognise. The montage does feature a reproduction of the artwork found on the Italian locandina poster that was painted by the Italian artist Enzo Sciotti. It’s worth noting that there is an alternative Thai poster with the US release title of Gates of Hell (see here) that features some elements of this poster and was apparently painted by the Thai artist Noppadon. If anyone recognises the signature on this poster, or knows who was responsible, please get in touch.
Although folded and not in great condition this is a scarce poster and one that’s getting increasingly hard to find. I’ll continue to try and locate one without the fold lines but suspect it won’t be easy.