City of the Living Dead title

AKA: The Gates of Hell, The Fear, Fear in the City of the Living Dead, Paura Nella Citta Dei Morti Viventi,
Twilight of the Dead, Frayeurs La Paura.

Tag Line : From the bowels of the Earth, they rose to collect the living.

City of the Living DeadThere's trouble in store for the townsfolk of Dunwich, when they discover the town is built on a gateway to Hell. After Father Thomas, the local priest, decides to hang himself in the cemetery, the gateway opens and all sorts of weird things to start happening in the town.

Zombies appear, terrorising the local bar fly's and chasing people around their homes, before finally squishing their brains and just disappearing again. Peoples window pains suddenly shatter inwards and sprayed with showers of maggots, paintings drip blood, and the late Father Thomas keeps popping up here and there, causing locals to bleed from their eyes before dieing by vomiting up their intestines.

Mary Woodhouse (Katherine MacColl), a clairvoyant, arrives at Dunwich after foreseeing these events during a seance. Aided by Peter (Christopher George), a newspaper reporter from New York, and Jerry (Carlo De Mejo), one of the locals, they attempt to re-close the hell gate before the arrival of all saints day. Knowing that if they fail, all hell will literally break loose.

Now the plot may seem a little confusing here, but then that's what is to be expected considering it was directed by Lucio Fulci, who regularly excelled at producing surrealist, low-budget absurdity, but I seriously think he must have been smoking something peculiar when he envisioned this film. The story seems to make little or no sense and is only saved by the phenomenal amount of gore during some of the scenes, most of which was unfortunately cut by the UK censors for its original video release (has since been re-issued uncut though I'm pleased to say).

The films title should NOT be confused with any of George Romero's "Night of the Living Dead" movies, although it did seem to owe more than a passing resemblance to hammer films "Plague of the Zombies", especially the ending where the zombies start to burn for no real reason. If you enjoyed Fulci's earlier "House by the Cemetery" you may quite like this one, but if you detest tacky, low-budget horror, particularly those that don't make sense AVOID!!!!!

Overall Marks : 4/10.

Terrifying Trivia.

  • Alternate tag lines, "When the moon turns red, the dead shall rise", "And the dead shall rise and walk the Earth".

  • Kathrine MacColl also starred in Fulci's "House by the Cemetery" and "The Beyond". Janet Agren had previously starred in cannibal film "Eaten Alive" and Video Nasty regular John Morghen also starred in "Cannibal Ferox" and "Cannibal Apocalypse" .

  • For the US release, the distributors originally re-titled the film "Twilight of the Dead", but got into litigation over the name with United Film Distributors, who'd produced George Romero's "Day of the Dead". The film was subsequently re-released as "The Gates of Hell".

  • Director Lucio Fulci has an uncredited appearance as the police pathologist.

  • The German title "Ein Zombie hing am Glockenseil" translates as "A Zombie Hung on a Bell Rope"

  • The special effects were by Gino De Rossi who also worked on Fulci's other zombie pics "House by the Cemetery", "The Beyond" and "Zombie Flesh-Eaters". The music was by Fabrio Frizzi who also scored Fulci's "House by the Cemetery" and "Zombie Flesh-Eaters".

  • Fellow Italian director Michael Soavi appears in the film as the guy in the car who's girlfriend pukes her intestines up.

  • Every time the German distributors have released the film onto video, it has been banned by the government there, even though the last couple of releases were very heavily cut and hardly contained any trace of gore.

  • Fulci was an avid pipe smoker on set, and was quite alarmed when somebody filled his tobacco pouch with the maggots they'd been using in an earlier scene. Though the culprit was never caught, it was believed Christopher George probably did it, as he did not get on well with him.

  • When first released to UK cinema's, the BBFC cut 1:01s out of it, removing the infamous 'industrial drill' scene, before passing it. This same version was initially released onto UK video in the early 80s, but was withdrawn following the introduction of the 'Video Recordings Act', though was never actually listed as a video nasty. All subsequent post-VRA UK VHS releases where more heavily cut, which lost 4 scenes totalling 2:30s. The 1999 release faired better, with only 30s of cuts, which trimmed down the scene of a girl getting a poker in the neck and decapitated. The full uncut version was finally passed by the BBFC for a DVD release in 2001.

Extra Info.

Cast & Crew.

Cover Gallery.



Video Clips.
MP4 format.

Theatrical trailer. (8.08MB)

John Morghen has a "drilling" headache. (2.35MB)

Buy Online.

Buy the UK DVD.

Buy the UK BD.

Buy it at Amazon.Com.

Buy the US DVD

Buy the US BD

Notes on affiliate sites.


Other Lucio Fulci zombie films.


Reviews A-Z.

Reviews index. Home. Menu.