I was born a poor white child in the waning winter days of 1979. Never was I able to step foot inside a grindhouse theater, and the only time I ever went to a drive-in theater that wasn’t doubling as a flea market was to see Fletch when I was barely old enough to remember going in the first place. VHS, DVD, Blu-ray, and spending a lot of time at the houses of friends and relatives with access to pay cable movie channels helped fill me in on the deranged cinematic greatness I was too young to catch first run in its proper theatrical venue. Being born in the wrong place at the seriously wrong time was no excuse for me to not become a fervent admirer of the finest exploitation movies ever made.
B-movies, C-movies, Z-movies, I’ve seen a lot. If I lived a few extra lifetimes after my first ran out I could never be able to see all of the movies I ever wanted to see. My DVD and Blu-ray collection isn’t massive (getting there though) and yet there are still a few titles I have yet to sit down and watch. Sue me, I stay pretty busy most of the time. Once upon a time there were theaters from the largest metropolises to the smallest one-horse burgs that specialized in playing the kinds of offbeat, occasionally undefinable, made-for-a-quick-buck flicks that were too gonzo to show its grimy celluloid visage in mainstream cinemas that primarily attracted bored suburbanites and their spoiled, hateful children. You could see a lot of these schlocky gems in double or triple feature bills or “dusk ’till dawn” marathons that cost substantially less for a ticket than a IMAX 3D screening, even with inflation taken into account. You definitely got your money’s worth, that could not be denied.
The late Italian filmmaker Lucio Fulci has been a legend to fans of hardcore international horror for more than three decades, and with good reason. His movies are dripping with creepy atmosphere and overflowing with brutal violence and copious amounts of unrestrained blood and gore. Sometimes they can even be terrifying as hell.
Long before he made his name as a master of over-the-top fright flicks Fulci had made many features in various genres, from erotica to spaghetti westerns and crime dramas. When he started branching out into darker tales of psychological torment and relentless carnage like Lizard in a Woman’s Skin and Don’t Torture a Duckling the director believed he had discovered a new niche in his cinematic output and stuck with it for the rest of his career. Horror ultimately became the enduring legacy of Lucio Fulci, and many of us doubt he regretted that outcome.
Carlo Rambaldi, the three-time Academy Award-winning Italian-born visual effects artist responsible for creating the alien E.T. in Steven Spielberg’s E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, died today in Lamezia Terme, Italy after a long illness, according to the Washington Post. He was 86 years old.
Born on September 15, 1925 in Vigarano Mainarda, Emilia-Romagna, Italy, Rambaldi got his start in the Italian film industry providing visual effects for films such as Bloody Pit of Horror and Mario Bava’s highly influential sci-fi chiller Planet of the Vampires. He would later reunite with Bava to execute the gory murder sequences for one of the acclaimed filmmaker’s finest films, Twitch of the Death Nerve (a.k.a. A Bay of Blood). In 1971, Rambaldi’s mutilated dog effects for Lucio Fulci’s psychedelic giallo Lizard in a Woman’s Skin were deemed so realistic that the director was prosecuted in Italian court on charges of animal cruelty. Only after Rambaldi presented the fake dog effects in court was Fulci exonerated.
Many classic movies are getting the royal treatment on Blu-Ray: Citizen Kane, The Good The Bad and The Ugly, and even the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Later this year another unparalleled achievement in the annals of cinema history will be released in the highest of definitions: Lucio Fulci‘s ultraviolent gorehound epic Zombie. Long a staple of the grindhouse circuit and a film beloved by fans of horror around the world, the film is being released by Blue Underground on Blu-Ray and DVD in an all-new 2-disc Ultimate Edition on October 25, 2011 with a brand new widescreen transfer, enhanced sound, and a walking dead-plagued island full of bonus features.
You can check out all the details below at the end of this article along with a new promotional trailer for the Ultimate Edition. (Click the image at right for larger view of the Blu-ray cover.)