Lucio Fulci's visceral, gory, and confusing horror flick House By The Cemetery returns to Blu-ray for the second time from Blue Underground minted from a fresh 4K restoration, loaded for bonus features, and includes the score on CD. It's a weird film. It doesn't always make sense, but it's a gnarly piece of Italian splatter horror. If you're a fan you'll love the upgrade, if you're new to the show, tread cautiously. Overall this new set is Recommended.
When Blue Underground first released House By The Cemetery on Blu-ray in 2011 - we did some excellent coverage which I encourage you to take a look at for a great Review of the film.
In truth, I can't add much to that review. House By The Cemetery is just a damn bizarre movie. Is it a zombie movie? Is it a gothic horror movie? A ghost show? All three at the same time? Stuff just happens, characters are thinly drawn, and motivations make little sense. But it does have a hell of a lot of amazing gore! Considering the director, this shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. So on that level, it excels.
For myself, this is one of those movies where I have no real idea why I like it. It's confounding really. If you break down the elements that make up a great movie from performances to editing to direction and storytelling - House By The Cemetery lacks on all fronts - and yet I love to watch it? I've seen this movie dozens of times over the years and I always come away feeling it's not a good movie - but I love to sit down and give it another go.
I have thousands of other better movies but when I'm stuck finding something to watch, I'll browse past this one and be like "yeah! that one!" I'll give the show credit for building mood and atmosphere along with some gnarly gore effects - that Bat Attack still makes me gag - and the primary baddie is a true creature feature delight. But if you're expecting the film to make sense - House By The Cemetery barely holds itself together.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Blue Underground digs up House By The Cemetery for another grand 3-Disc Limited Edition release. Included with the film is an extra bonus disc of features along with a CD with the film's haunting soundtrack by Walter Rizzati. All three discs are housed in a sturdy 3-disc case with reversible artwork and identical lenticular slipcover. The disc loads to an animated main menu with traditional navigation options.
Blue underground makes a big leap forward improving House By The Cemetery with an often stunning 2.35:1 1080p transfer. I don't have the Arrow release for comparison, but this one easily leaves behind the 2011 Blu-ray. The first big improvement is controlling contrast and whites. House has always been a very bright movie and that led to some problematic blooming on previous Blu-ray and DVD releases over the years. That bright white is still present, but it's not as intrusive. The next big gain is in overall detail level and image quality. All of the bloody delicious gore effects - including Bat Attack - are on screen to devour. Film grain is apparent but stable giving a nicely film-like appearance. Black levels also look much improved over previous releases giving the image some true three-dimensional depth. Free of any age-related issues, this is a practically flawless transfer!
Blue Underground goes the extra mile delivering three audio tracks for you to choose from. An organic and on point DTS-HD MA Mono track, a DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround mix that's pretty damn effective, and a solid DTS-HD MA Italian Mono mix for a traditional flavor. All three tracks sound newly minted and are great to listen to - but for this review, I'll focus on the English tracks. My personal preference is the Mono mix over the 5.1 strictly because that's how I've always heard the film. The 5.1 mix absolutely knocks it out of the park providing space and dimension without adding silly needly sound effects to prop up the soundscape. The dialog is uniformly excellent throughout all three audio tracks. Bloody sound effects get that extra gurgle and scoring nicely resonant.
NEW Audio Commentary featuring Troy Howarth
NEW Deleted/Extended Bat Attack Sequence (No Sound)
NEW House Quake - Interview with Giorgio Mariuzzo
NEW Calling Dr. Freudstein - Interview with Stephen Thrower
Meet the Boyles - Interview with Catriona MacColl and Paolo Malco
Children of the Night - Interview with Giovanni Frezza and Silvia Collatina
Tales of Laura Gittleson - Interview with Dagmar Lassander
My Time With Terror - Interview with Carlo De Mejo
A Haunted House Story - Interview with Dardano Sacchetti and Elisa Briganti
To Build A Better Trap - Interview with Sergio Salvati, Maurizio Trani, Gino De Rossi, Giovanni De Nava
DISC THREE - CD
House By The Cemetery Soundtrack by Walter Rizzati
If you love your horror very Italian and with a few splashes of red gurgling blood and visceral gore effects and slightly under-dubbed actors, Lucio Fulci's oddball House By The Cemetery delivers the goods. On paper this is not a great movie, it's certainly no Zombie - but it's still a wild ride even if it doesn't make a lick of sense! I readily admit it's not a good movie, but I can't get enough of it. Blue Underground delivers a worthy update to this Italian splatter classic offering up a fresh 4K restoration and tons of bonus features on top of the film's soundtrack! If you're a fan looking to upgrade from the old 2011 release, this is the one to aim for. Recommended.