2008 - 200m.
For fans of European horror movies, Lucio Fulci is one of the names that is instantly associated with the genre. Although his work was at times inconsistent, the fact that Fulci gave us The Beyond, Zombi 2, and City of the Living Dead is enough to cement his place in history as these films alone provide some of the more classic scenes that gore fans refer to when discussing their favorite moments. In addition to horror, Fulci visited a variety of sub-genres including the spaghetti western (Four of the Apocalypse), giallo (Don't Torture A Duckling), crime (The Smuggler), post-apocalyptic (The New Gladiators), and sword and sorcery (Conquest). As a result, he has a large resume and has worked with numerous people over the years. These experiences combined with a troubled personal life have given Fulci a legendary reputation that varies from genius to mentor to misogynist to complete asshole. As a result, fans have had trouble determining what type of man their hero was and other than knowing he was vastly unappreciated by the mainstream world have had little insight into Fulci's character. This DVD attempts to clear this up through a variety of interviews with cast and crew members that Fulci collaborated with as well as a number of his peers in the Italian movie industry.
Mike Baronas and Kit Gavin are huge Fulci fans whose names you may recognize from the numerous DVD features that they have provided for companies such as Shriek Show and Blue Underground. These guys spent a number of years amassing this impressive collection of interviews contained in Paura that paint a relatively positive picture of Fulci and combined end up being a fitting eulogy to the man and his work. As this is a tribute piece, most of the interviews focus on how Fulci was misunderstood and how did not receive the proper respect for his work while he was alive. This ends up being quite touching in moments where people bid their farewells to the man and reflect on how he impacted their lives and careers. In the process, we get a picture of a man who was quite brilliant but who suffered greatly from the personal pain endured by his failing health as well as the emotional distress of dealing with the suicide of his wife and a series of failed relationships. This helps to explain why Fulci had an unpredictable and sometimes volcanic temper as well as his reputation from not being too concerned with his appearance and coming off as somewhat of a slob. Overall, however, we get the sense that although he may have not have been pleasant to everyone all of the time, he was an intelligent human being who had great talents in the medium of cinema.
The DVD is divided into three sections: accomplices, peers, and victims. Each interviewee is introduced with a brief filmography so you can put into context how the person was associated with Fulci. There are also a number of photos showing the person from their younger years to present. This is a nice touch as it is interesting to see how people have aged and also to remember what they looked like in the films they are discussing. With some of the actors (for example the kid from City of the Living Dead), it would have been difficult to remember them, as they look so different. The interviews are shot in a variety of locations and Baronas and Gavin have made an effort to provide interesting backgrounds rather than plunking the subjects in a chair in from of a black sheet. All of the interviews are on-camera and recorded in present day with the exception of two individuals that consist of voiceovers and stills from the films they were involved with. I was pleased with all of the inclusions but would liked to have seen Dario Argento, Tisa Farrow, Giovanni Frezza, Fred Williamson, and Janet Agren. It is also a shame that David Warbeck is no longer with us as his performance in The Beyond is one of my favorites from any Fulci film.
The interviews themselves average about five minutes and range from under a minute to almost ten. This is a great tactic as it keeps the viewer interested and makes it easy to watch the DVD in snippets. The disc is designed in a way that each interview is a separate menu item under one of three main sections so viewers can easily see their favorites or play all of them in a row. The "accomplices" sections focuses on crew members and some of the highlights for me include composer Riz Ortolini and makeup artist Rosario Prestopino (RIP). Next is the "peers" section, which focuses on people who were involved in the Italian film industry when Fulci was active. Some of the highlights in this section are Enzo Castellari who talks about Fulci's hygiene, Umberto Lenzi, and Bruno Mattei (RIP) who surprisingly doesn't talk about Zombi 3. The final and largest section is the "victims" section which focuses on cast members. There are a number of highlights in this section including Catriona MacColl (The Beyond, City of the Living Dead), Giovanni Lombardo Radice (City of the Living Dead), Cinzia Monreale (the blind girl from The Beyond), Beatrice Ring (Zombi 3) sharing a rather bitter moment, and Brett Halsey who offers some great anecdotes.
Overall, this is an excellent disc and I am looking forward to Volume 2. The way that this disc is presented is very unique and I do not think it has ever been done before. The result is that it is feels very personal like it was made specifically for the die-hard fans and more importantly for Fulci himself. I hope this is bringing him some joy wherever he is. He was one of a kind.
Visit Paura Productions for more info. (Josh Pasnak, 2/1/09)
Directed By: Mike Baronas, Kit Gavin.