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November 07, 2007

A Handful of Fulci

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The Eroticist/The Senator likes Women/All'onorevole piacciono le donne (Nonostante le apparenze... e purche la nazione non lo sappia)
Lucio Fulci - 1972
Severin Films Region 0 DVD

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The Psychic/Seven Notes in Black/Sette Note in Nero
Lucio Fulci - 1977
Severin Films Region 1 DVD

I know that there are some who will disagree with me, but the more films I see by Lucio Fulci, the less I feel enthused about his work. As Andrew Sarris would say about another director, the debits outweigh the credits. I admit to enjoying Perversion Story and Lizard in a Woman's Skin and though Fulci's version of The Black Cat was pretty good. What little appreciation I have for Fulci does not go much beyond those entries.

The Eroticist seems to have lost some of its impact as an import. The DVD interviews help put the film in context as a political comedy with quite recognizable satire, at least for the Italian audience. Between Bill Clinton and Larry Craig, the story of a senator and potential President, who has trouble keeping his hands off women's posteriors, may seem quite trivial. Even worse, when watching the film, it is hard to imagine that Fulci actually began his career with comedy.

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I almost wished there was an English dubbed version of The Eroticist, only to listen to the inimitable croaking of Lionel Stander. Stander portrays a Cardinal with more than a little interest in Italian politics. Lando Buzzanca was cast in part because of his resemblance to a top politician of the day. He is much funnier in the DVD interview. Fulci's anti-Church feelings get a more humorous play with Stander's occassionally profane cleric and the semi-nude nuns that appear in the fantasy scene. The fantasy is somewhat reminiscent of Fellini, but cruder. Laura Antonelli and Agostina Belli provide the eye candy. And speaking of Belli, why isn't Dino Risi's original Scent of a Woman out on DVD? View image

The Psychic is in turn an even greater disappointment because the expectations were much higher. Quentin Tarantino has championed this Fulci film which should have made me immediately suspicious. The craftsmanship makes this one of Fulci's better films, and Jennifer O'Neill is beautifully photographed. The story of a woman who misreads her visions of murder should have been more engrossing than the dialogue heavy film at hand. The use of red is particularly interesting as the dominant color within the room where at least one murder has taken place. Fulci may have been too tasteful as there is no nudity and little blood. There were times when I actually wished for one of Fulci's eye gouging zombies to appear to goose the film from its its lumbering pace. Based on how The Psychic ends, it appears that Fulci even had The Black Cat on his brain well before he made his version of Poe's story.

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Posted by Peter Nellhaus at November 7, 2007 12:22 AM


Very interesting... as always! Cheers from Switzerland.

Posted by: Dog training at November 22, 2007 01:49 PM