This obituary was originally published in the book, Lucio Fulci: Beyond the Gates and appears here through the kind courtesy of its author, Massimo Lavagnini, who is the co-author of 35 Millimetri di Terrore and the co-director of Sick-O-Pathics.
BEYOND THE MEMORY
I would have never thought that some day I would be writing an obituary for Lucio Fulci. But, here I sit in front of my computer and words are starting to run fluently.
To begin, I'd like to quote the popular Italian poet Vittorio Alfieri. "It's necessary that a man dies to make others verify his right merit."
Lucio Furci is dead. In life he was ignored by the official criticism which hurriedly labelled him as a "good artisan." Those dull people didn't understand they were dealing with the Bard of the Underground. His movies were low budget; but even the lesser productions have that special "touch" which gives you the thrill of watching a Lucio Fulci movie.
I remember my adolescence when I was sitting in some moth-eaten cinema to watch House by the Cemetery. Fourteen years ago, I was drawn into the summer-sweltering darkness of the screening room and I was thinking, "whoever has done this movie must be a great man. Someday, I have to meet him." My wish came true. Several years later in a region not far from Rome, I met him on the set of Demonia. Once again, the film had no budget and Lucio was sitting there, pissed off with some assistants and the so-called special FX technicians dealing with the gory "death" of a rubber dummy dismembered by a trap.
"Oh, my God," I thought, holding tight to my camcorder, "He will never give me an interview; he's so angry." But I was wrong. He took a break and kindly asked me to switch on the camera. (Just a few minutes before the producer of the movie wanted me to destroy the tape...in perfect Killing Fields style.) Ignoring the producer, I drew near Lucio Fulci. He didn't know me. Nevertheless, he was very friendly and we talked in a funny English of some of his movies.
Years passed and I met him again at the 1994 edition of the Rome FantaFestival. At the time, he was sitting on a wheelchair but in his eyes was still shining the old flame of the revolutionary artist that we all know. We became friends. When he gave a lecture, he liked me to intervene with some sharp questions ("You're an asshole, but I like you.") Our frictions were obviously jokes. He needed a sparring partner who could match him. He knew everything about cinema and he knew the wildest stories I ever heard!
Then came the experience of Sick-O-Pathics, the movie I've shot with Brigida Costa. We were in the study of his house in Bracciano, when I asked him to play a cameo in front of the videocamera. He impulsively agreed, effervescent when he saw that he had to play in a "fake TV commercial" publicizing a nonexistent erotic comic book, "Lokula." He showed an uncommon sense of self irony and he was incredibly nice when he told us that "young people have to be helped."
I made him happy when I gave him a copy of the Hindu flick 100 Days, which is the template of The Psychic. He was so happy that he nicknamed me "Super Rat of the Videoshop!" After that, Lucio asked me to contribute with some information for an article commissioned from a national newspaper on his "Most Wanted Films."
Soon after, I became aware of his sudden death. couldn't believe it. Lucio was unlucky even in death, as the newspapers gave little coverage of the news because of the demise of another director, the Polish filmmaker Kieslowski, who died the same day. With all respect, I say who cares about a Polish director when we lost the only brain the Italian cinema ever had.
I stigmatize the behavior of some people who went to his funeral just in hopes of getting some free publicity in a fashionable situation. Fans are the only people who really loved Lucio Fulci. He knows it and approves it, from up there.