So, I did an article about Eli Roth before and how I felt he was overrated and I was hoping to make it a bit of a recurring segment. Well, I am back with the second entry in the "Overrated Horror" bit I am going to start. And I figure I am going to draw a bit of flack for this one, but I have to say it: I think Lucio Fulci is overrated.
Now, I have to start this off by saying I don't think all of his movies are bad. I still think that Zombi is quite a good movie. I might even call it great. And The Beyond (or as I have it on DVD, Seven Doors of Death) is quite entertaining with some great scenes. And of course, I feel that he is an inspiration for many of the filmmakers today. But really, I haven't seen any other Lucio Fulci movie that I have liked that much.
I was first introduced to Fulci upon buying Zombi on VHS at the behest of a friend. I loved it and still love it today. There are so many iconic scenes: from the zombie vs shark, to the zombies coming up from the graveyard (about 8 minutes into the clip), and, of course, the eye gouging scene. So after that, I picked up Seven Doors of Death and enjoyed it enough. I was a bit disappointed that it wasn't as good as Zombi, but then again, I didn't expect it to be as good. Of course I like both movies, so I couldn't really complain. Seven Doors of Death was a 5 dollar cheap DVD, so I searched that same rack and found The House By The Cemetery there. Seeing that it was Fulci, I had to have it. That was where I started to dislike him.
The House by the Cemetery isn't very good. All of Fulci's movies were pretty low budget, but this one is a bit ridiculous. The fact that the doctor in the basement of the house is "Dr. Freudstein" (an obvious mash up of Freud and Frankenstein) was pretty lame. And the bat attack was pretty lame. And the whole movie was pretty lame. It didn't have the fun of his other movies. Now, don't get me wrong, I actually enjoy watching that movie. Not because it's good you see, but because it's great to make fun of á la Mystery Science Theater 3000. But, I still liked 2 of the 3 movies I had seen from Fulci, so I went back in for more...
I watched The New York Ripper next. Pretty forgettable for me. I then watched The Black Cat. Snore. I watched A Cat in the Brain then. Gah. Everything I have watched since The Beyond (Seven Doors of Death) has been downhill. I am not a huge gorehound, so Fulci's movies don't really have that much appeal for me(as with most grindhouse directors of that era). So when the movies start having stories I am not that interested in, the movies lose my interest. Fulci's movies aren't that engaging if you don't care about the gore in the kills. There's just not that much substance to them.
I know that's pretty much what he was going for, don't get me wrong. I know what a grindhouse director is. I just feel like everyone seems to think Fulci was something amazing when he really wasn't. As I said before, I can appreciate what he did and how he inspired modern directors, but really, I don't think he's all that great. I compare him to eighties thrash/speed metal: I don't particularly care for it, but I can respect those bands for how they inspired my favorite bands today.
And while I am on the subject of Italian directors, I feel that Dario Argento is pretty overrated as well. The thing with him is that I haven't seen enough of his movies to really judge him as well. Suspiria was good, but anything that I have seen from him beyond that has been pretty mediocre at best(I really disliked both of his Masters of Horror entries). Again, with me not being a gorehound, I am not that interested in his movies. And of course, both Argento and Fulci are high on Eli Roth's list of inspirations.
I guess what it comes down to is that I don't like their style of horror. I just can't get into the movies as much. I enjoy a good grindhouse-style film on occasion (Planet Terror, From Dusk til Dawn, Feast, Slither), but I just can't get into a Fulci or Argento film because they try to take themselves too seriously. I don't hate Fulci (or Argento), but I don't think they are as great as they are often revered.