One of Lucio Fulci’s more pedestrian efforts, “The House by the Cemetery” plays as a classic Italian horror film that has been dumbed down for mass consumption. The “gorefest” was also disappointing since the total number of on-screen deaths can be counted on one hand and – by todau’s standards at least – aren’t that gory for the most part.
The tale of a house that holds a terrible secret, Fulci still insists on just a bit of a twist but the overall result is nonetheless a straightforward slasher without Fulci’s usual psychological flair. The logic also breaks down a bit – something that Fulci admittedly tends to ignore, but without his otherworldly trappings to explain it all away, it stands out in this film.
Despite its shortcomings, Fulci’s fingerprints are all over the film. The score is great, the set pieces are incredible – this is a gorgeous film from a technical standpoint. The acting is passable but heavily damaged by particularly bad dubbing – the young protagonist of the film, Bob, made the film borderline unwatchable.
A mediocre slasher flick with enough minor differences in it premise to make it stand out a bit, it would be a good film from anyone else. By Lucio Fulci’s standards, it comes up short. That said, slasher fans will like it and Fulci fans will forgive it.