After studying medicine, he opted for a film career, working in a wide variety of genres in Italy. In the early 1970s he moved into the thriller arena, directing giallo films that were both commercially successful and controversial in their depiction of violence and religion.
In 1979 he achieved his international breakthrough with Zombi II, an excessively bloody zombie film made to cash in on the popularity of Dawn of the Dead (1978), released in Italy as Zombi (it is not connected in any meaningful way to the George Romero series). He followed up with several classic tales of horror and the supernatural, many also featuring zombies, which are widely regarded as some of the goriest films ever made. The nightmarish City of the Living Dead (1980), The House by the Cemetery (1981), and The New York Ripper (1982) are considered milestones of on-screen blood and cruelty.
ZOMBIE (1979) - A reporter and his beautiful female partner travel to an island in the Caribbean after a policeman in New York City is killed by a zombie on a deserted boat. The reporter is determined to find the source of the zombie attack. A mysterious epidemic is killing off residents of the island, and it's not long before the zombies are taking over the island...and the streets of New York City.
CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD (1980) - A priest in the New England town of Dunwich commits suicide on the verge of All Souls Eve, causing the dead to come out of their tombs as flesh-eating zombies. Now a reporter and a psychic must kill the priest, who is also a zombie, to save Dunwich from an invasion by the undead. A scene showing a man's head being perforated by a power drill caused howls of protest from British censors, and the movie was not released on video in the UK for several years.
THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY (1981) - A college professor and his family move from their upscale house in New York City to a more traditional old house in New England. Only problem? The house was the scene of a brutal murder during the 19th century, and the killer is still bumping off victims to keep himself alive.
THE BEYOND (1981) - A woman opens a hotel in New Orleans over one of the seven gates of hell, triggering a zombie invasion. Many people consider this Fulci's masterpiece. With scenes involving crucifixion, acid poured onto faces and flesh-eating tarantulas, it's easy to see why.
Fulci's films were so graphic and shocking that many of them were given an X-rating in the US, meaning they couldn't be seen by anyone under the age of 17.
At his peak his fame and popularity was on a par with that of his Italian contemporary Dario Argento, with whom he coloborated on the 1997 film Wax Mask before his untimely death. His films remained generally dismissed by the mainstream, who regarded his work as pure exploitation, but he was immediately embraced by horror fans, and later much of his work began to be re-appraised as pioneering works of art.
The period from the mid-1980s onwards was less successful for Fulci, suffering from personal and health problems, and marking a decline in the quality of his work. His death in 1996 is clouded in mystery: he did not take his insulin to treat his diabetes and died that night. Some suggest this was a deliberate suicide.
Lucio Fulci Facts
|Birthday||June 7, 1927|
|Date of death||March 13, 1996 (Rome, Italy, age 68)|
|The Black Cat|
|City of the Living Dead|
|Four Of The Apocalypse|
|The New York Ripper|
|House by the Cemetery|
|Cat in the Brain|