REVIEW / MOVIE.. GATES OF HELL’ A MONUMENT TO BAD TASTE.. THE GATES OF HELL - DIRECTED BY LUCIO FULCI , FROM A SCREENPLAY BY DANNY.. SACCHETTI AND FULCI, WHO ALSO DID THE HAIRSTYLES, STARRING CHRISTOPHER.. GEORGE, KATHERINE MACCOLL AND ROBERT.. SAMPSON, AT THE CINEMA 57AND SUBURBAN THEATERS, RATED R.
Boston Globe - May 28, 1983
Author: Jay Carr Globe Staff
Spaghetti westerns have been supplanted by spaghetti sauce horror movies. "The Gates of Hell," an example of the genre, is a film that only a diehard necrophile could love, but not if he or she has any taste.
When a priest wearing bad eye makeup strolls into a graveyard and for no apparent reason hangs himself, he and the other corpses start rising up out of their graves. Predictably, they do not look their best.
Matted, maggoty, in various stages of slimy decomposition, they stalk the town, squeezing the scalps of victims, with unpleasant consequences.
The gory effects are amateurish. So is what passes for plot and characters. This is the kind of film that could have been squelched by a single crucifix, and should have been. Inept and woebegone, it is, let’s face it, no "Night of the Living Dead.
IT’S ’HELL’ JUST TO WATCH
Miami Herald, The (FL) - June 13, 1983
Author: TERRY KELLEHER Herald Arts Writer
The Gates of Hell can’t be accused of misrepresentation.
You’ve probably seen the ads in this newspaper: a decomposing (and ugly, to boot) head under the caption, "When the moon turns red the dead shall rise." The art work is cheap, the pitch is disgusting.
So it’s no upset that The Gates of Hell is cheap and disgusting. This is the kind of movie that gives rise to gloomy meditations on how low modern man will go for a buck.
It would be a mistake, however, to imply that this three- year-old junker is without touches of drollery. How’s this for subtle humor? The only recognizable name in the cast is Christopher George, who once starred in a TV series called "Rat Patrol." George’s character dies horribly near the end of The Gates of Hell, and rats nibble at his brain.
Let’s see now. Other funny bits in The Gates of Hell. The local pervert, the one who appears to be dating an inflatable doll, wears a Notre Dame windbreaker. George and a concerned young woman search a graveyard for the stone of a priest who hanged himself at the cemetery. "I’m glad he didn’t hang himself at Arlington," George says. Arlington, right? Where all the stones look the same? OK, here’s a sight gag. A uniformed cop wears a hat so big, it covers his eyes.
Do unintentional laughs count? A weird hag gives a trenchcoated detective an improbable (not to mention badly dubbed) spiel about the dead rising when the moon turns red. "You’re either on grass," he responds, "or you’re pulling my leg." When the dead start pushing against the sod, the sound effect is that of a squeaking door. There are so many tight closeups of eyes that optometrists will mistake this for a training film.
That’s about it for the lighter side of The Gates of Hell. It’s hard to grin and bear the sight of a drill boring through a man’s head or a girl vomiting up her insides or armies of worms having their fill of human flesh. The weird hag promises "horrendously awful things," and director-writer Lucio Fulci delivers.
How low will modern man go for a buck?
The Gates of Hell (R) No stars
Christopher George, Katriona MacColl, Robert Sampson, Janet Agren, Carlo de Mejo
Director: Lucio Fulci
Producer: Robert Warner
Screenwriters: Lucio Fulci, Dardano Sacchetti
Cinematographer: Sergio Salvati
Music: Fabio Frizzi
An MPM Release
At the America, Colonial Village, Palm Avenue, Marina, Northside, Homestead, Movie City, Southland, Thunderbird, Lake Shore, Movie Center