The Gates of Hell (1980)

Produced & Directed by: Lucio Fulci

Written by: Lucio Fulci & Dardano Sacchetti


Christopher George .... Peter Bell
Catriona MacColl .... Mary Woodhouse
Carlo De Mejo .... Gerry
Antonella Interlenghi .... Emily Robbins
Giovanni Lombardo Radice .... Bob
Daniela Doria .... Rosie Kelvin
Janet Agren .... Sandra
Fabrizio Jovine .... Father William Thomas
Luca Venantini .... John-John Robbins

Release Dates: Theatrical: August 11, 1980 (Italy); December 10, 1980 (France); February 5, 1981 (Netherlands); March, 1981 (UK); March 16, 1981 (Spain); October 19, 1981 (Brazil); June 24, 1982 (Portugal); May 6, 1983 (USA); NatFilm Festival: March 29, 2003; Tokyo Intenational Zombie Film Festival: February 28, 2011; Night Visions Film Festival: October 30, 2011 (Finland); Iik!! Horror Film Festival: November 12, 2011 (Finland) ; Cinemadrome Film Festival: November 19, 2011 (Finland)

*Certain images courtesy at and











In a small town in Dunwich, New England, a young psychic named Mary Woodhouse (Catrioni MacColl) is in a trance and senses that a priest named Father William Thomas has committed suicide and opened the gates of hell which awakens the dead from the grave while she is doing a chant with other people. Then she passes out and supposedly dies out of sheer fright.
The detectives don't believe such a story but then they experience a flame coming out of the floor.
There are suddenly other causes occurring like broken mirrors in bars, walls cracking open, animals acting vicious
A New York journalist named Peter Bell (Christopher George) wants to do some research about Mary Woodhouse's death and what she meant about the apocalypse. He realises that Mary is not dead as he hears her screaming in her coffin as she is nearly buried alive and saves her.
Peter also realises that in Dunwich the gates of hell is about to open and that he must close them before the all saints day occurs as Father William Thomas is back from the dead and cursing deaths on many innocent victims and having their dead bodies come to life


We have an odd interesting moment with a group of women performing a ceremony as well as someone tripping out and spotting hallucinations on Father William Thomas hanging himself and so fourth which adds some nice chemistry to the story psyching you out while watching all of this.
Also we have many cheesy discussions involving two bumbling employees on their break at a graveyard while the lead character Peter Bell is talking to them which didn't do much for me and could've been a bit more convincing while watching all of this.
A nice dark shot on someone inside a coffin and waking up as well as panicking and struggling to open the door but finding no hope as this is a total psychological feel to everything imagining if you weren't really dead and trying to get out which looked well done as well as Peter using a pic to open the door and shots on it slicing and just missing this woman which makes you cringe within all of this.
More cheesy discussions happening at a bar and talking about stuff of what might be happening aqs well as a cheesy moment on the mirror behind the bartender cracking as this was supposed to make you jump. It almost works but slightly fails. However a nice cracked open wall in the bar with mist floating out which looked well done.
A nice dark foggy shot on two teenagers near a neighborhood alley as it leaves a great creepy feel to one of them running away and the girl being pitted against a ghoulish looking William putting gunk on her as this for sure looked twisted to watch.
Plus we spot a moment with a couple in a car making out and then seeing the ghoulish William disappearing and reappearing with the girlfriend as this was cheaply done special effects in which you could tell they turned off the camera and back on for the actor to look like he did this. But yet we spot some perfectly shocking horror violence with a good close up on Williams eyes staring hard at this girl as well as gruesome results on her which doesn't look pleasant and not good for anyone whom has a strong stomach.
Another nice spooky moment is when we spot a little boy John-John Robbins acting spooked hearing things from outside and peeking at a window and a nice reappearance shot on his dead sister which had good make up effects and dark looking as the makers did something right here.
We spot some stale discussions between Gerry and Emily on situations but things start to grow intense which seemed to draw in your attention but nothing to brag about either.
Perfect moment on a window blowing up with maggots flying in on people which looked incredibly creepy and gross to watch.
We spot an evil parent pinning a teenage boy against a drill coming his way for accusing of messing with his daughter as there's good shots on this and makes you wonder or not if he will continue trying to kill this poor kid and it for sure looked pretty messed up on someone doing this which you don't see in an everyday film.
Many good close up shots on people at the bar being invaded and cornered against the zombies as this for sure looked disturbing to watch.
Nice moment with a ghoulish zombie approaching someone in the misty neighborhood area as this is impressive for a horror film such as this one.
The fun does briefly happen when the main characters go underground froma coffin to try and find the preacher who opened the gates of hell with good surroundings as well as some of them being pitted against one of their friends which is now a ghoul as things look good and dark within this as well as the survivors being pitted against other zombies as this also looked good and dark but yet nothing too spectacular in what he see in the plot.
The film looks very interesting but when it starts to get spooky it becomes dull and pointless. It picks up again and then goes in circles. It's not much of a zombie flick as they don't really seem to appear till quarter way through the film but there are moments of it and more like a voodoo type flick. If you're in a sad mood you sdon't want to watch this film period.
Also it drags and a bit too long with many cheap effects as mentioned and a bit slow too. An italian horror film that travelled to the US to do this one.

Alot of the acting isn't all that noticeable and most of it was overdubbed since most of the cast were from Italy but I will do my best here to point out on who should be reviewed here.... Cult horror and western legend the late Christopher George (Peter Bell) really brings a bit of wit and outgoing performance to his character. Shows off a convincingly charming type of behavior as well as being on the ball with certain moments in the film. He was a true character actor within everything that I saw him in and adds some good spunk into his part of it. Bless his soul.
Catriona MacColl (Mary Woodhouse) seemed to add some spunk into her role as well as came across sharply in certain spots adding a good seriousness whenever she stressed a situation which was an attention grabber but at times she was a bit stiff within her performance here. However she adds an okay outgoing attitude too as well as showing an average energy whenever she screams in terror.
Carlo De Mejo (Gerry) had his voice overdubbed by a US actor which sounded terrible probably due to his italian accent but he seemed to draw in your attention with his performance in which he seemed to be on the ball with things. He added some okay energy within whatever he did here. His looks were in rough shape though.
Antonella Interlenghi (Emily Robbins) had her voice overdubbed too but she had the nice pretty girl looks which helps for a horror flick and seemed to show off some frightened and intense energy when she loses it as this shines off nicely. Seemed to really know her craft by what she did here as well as acting expressionless when she turns into a ghoul adding a somewhat okay versatality here.
Fabrizio Jovine (Father William Thomas) seemed to do well with his work as a troubled preacher and seemed to show good intensity when he hangs himself during a flashback sequence as well as showing nice cold expressionless evil glances while doing his deadly deeds. He really got into his part nicely within whatever he did even if he didn't have any lines. He was a perfect ghoul and had the right appeal for this.
Child actor
Luca Venantini (John-John Robbins) seems charming and convincing in his role throughout the film as well as showing some nice frightened expressions or acting cautious on stuff just really adding a perfect hype to everything and showing off a ton of energy when stressing his situations as this looked well performed too even if his voice was overdubbed as well but you can tell by how he does to show that he worked hard on his role.

A gruesome looking corpse is found in a shack of a house with worms surrounding the body.
Blood starts pouring out of a woman's eyes and mouth as well as her insides (Gross)
A brain is torn out of a guy's head
Blood is being drained out of a corpse
A pinky finger of a corner is bloodily chewed off
There's a corpse with a scarred face seen in a child's closet
A mechanical drill is grinded through a teens head
A ladys scalp is torn off
There are gruesome looking zombies too
People in a bar are chewed up
A mans scalp is torn off and his brains ooze out
A man stabs a zombie woman with his shotgun and then stabs a hole through another ones stomach

Italian composer Fabio Frizzi is perfect with his cheesy horror music for the film with the deep piano pounding and synthesizer wavy music too along with some thumping sounds. We have some screeching sound effects too. We also hear at times highly intense piano playing and some howling sounds in which makes things seem perfectly gloomy. Also we have some drum tapping and other synthesizer sounds for the final moments involving the underground zombies in a sort of war type of fashion. However this didn't do much for me. Plus we hear the odd string type of playing and old fashioned keyboard music in certain brief scene's as this came across quite average.