HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY a.k.a. The House Outside the Cemetery, Qilla Accanto al
Cimitero, Aquella Casa a Lado del Cemeterio, La Maison Pres du Cimetiere, Quella Villa
Accanto al Cimitero, Freudstein.
1981. P-Fabrizio DeAngelis, SP-Dardano Sacchetti, Giorgio Mariuzzi, Fulci. 78 min. (Vestron Video)
Fulci's last film to feature some kind of zombie was actually my introduction to his work at the age of 11. Aahh..those great memories!! Professor Peterson and his wife had committed suicide in their New England house while researching a sinister Dr. Freudstein (Giovanni De Nava) who had conducted some horrible experiments. It seems the Doctor was able to devise a way of prolonging his life using transplants from his victims.
Norman (Paolo Malco), his wife, Lucy (Catriona MacColl), and their son, Bob (Giovanni Frezza), move into the house so Norman can follow up on some research he shared with Prof. Peterson. One thing leads to another and Norman finally realizes the truth about Dr. Freudstein. Unfortunately, it is too late as he and his wife are killed in the basement by our lovable monster in a vain effort to save their son, who by the way is saved when the ghost of Mrs. Peterson shows up to pull little Bob out of the basement. He sure does seem unaffected considering the fact that his parents were just killed in front of his eyes.
Fulci adds several nice touches to the film propelling it above his normal gore galore outings. Don't get me wrong, there is some good gore to please fans. The opening scene shows a disemboweled man and his girlfriend stabbed through the back of her head with the knife exiting her open and screaming mouth. We get a spurting chest stabbing, a severed head, oozing blood over an indoor grave, throat slashings, a severed head rolling down stairs, scores of maggots dripping from Freudstein's open stomach, a bat attack scene, and more! But really, Fulci adds a really nice touch to lighten up the proceedings and show a good contrast of moods in the form of Bob and his ghostly girl playmate. Before moving into the dreaded house, Bob notices a little girl looking out of the window of the house in a picture. She warns him not to go. Of course, Mom and Dad don't pay too much attention to what their son has to say and move in anyway. This is a nice parallel between the world through a child's eyes as opposed to the 'adult' world of his parents. It almost seems as if the children are the ones who really know what is going on. Fulci has commented that children are 'little monsters' and live in a completely different world than adults do.
The music by Walter Rizzatti is great and accents several of the moods nicely. The effects are nicely executed courtesy of Gianetto DeRosi and good camera work by Sergio Salvati as well. We are also treated to lots of eye close-ups in the typical Fulci fashion. The uncut print runs 86 minutes, is letterboxed, and featured two scenes not included in other versions. One early scene features Fulci in a cameo speaking to Norman about the research. Not only does this scene run 1 minute and 40 seconds but it also adds some good insight to the plot, eliminating some of the confusion early on. The other scene happens in the library where some extra deluge is added between Norman and the proprietor, who implies that Norman had come to see Dr. Freudstein previously. Norman is puzzled, since he has never been there before. Even though this scene takes you nowhere and I can plainly see why it was eliminated from other prints, I feel that it adds a little extra mystery to the plot. Perhaps he knows something Norman doesn't, or someone else had come to see the Doctor before? Outside of these scenes there is some minor rearranging of others that doesn't affect the film.