From the bowels of the earth they came… to collect the living!
A reporter and a psychic race to close the Gates of Hell after the suicide of a clergyman caused them to open, allowing the dead to rise from their graves.
City of the Living Dead (Italian: Paura nella città dei morti viventi, lit. ‘Fear in the city of the living dead’) is a 1980 Italian horror film directed by Lucio Fulci. The film is set in the small town of Dunwich, where the priest Father Thomas commits suicide which results in a gateway to Hell opening which releases a pack of zombies. During a seance in New York, Mary Woodhouse sees visions of the priest’s suicide and its consequence. After which she seemingly dies, only to be rescued by the journalist Peter Bell. The two travel to Dunwich to destroy the grave of Father Thomas in order to stop the mass zombie invasion. City of the Living Dead was developed after the financial success of Fulci’s previous film Zombi 2, leading him to work with screenwriter Dardano Sacchetti to write a new horror film. During production of Contraband, the film was green-lit, which led to Fulci leaving production of the film to begin working on City of the Living Dead. The film was shot predominantly on location in the United States with interiors shot in Rome.
The film was released distributed in Italy in 1980 and was followed by a release throughout Europe including a screening in Paris where Fulci won the “Grand Prix du Public” (The Audience Award) at the Festival international du film et de science-fiction. In West Germany, the film became part of a scandal which of releasing violent films to minors, leading the film to be banned from several home video releases from the mid-1980s to 2001. The film was released in the United States as The Gates of Hell. The film received reviews in Europe and the United States which reviews commenting on the poor acting, excessive violence, and incoherent plotting.