October is defined in Webster’s Dictionary as “31 days of horror.” Don’t bother looking it up; it’s true. Most people take that to mean highlighting one horror movie a day, but here at FSR, we’ve taken that up a spooky notch or nine by celebrating each day with a top ten list. This article, about the best Lucio Fulci horror movies, is part of our ongoing series 31 Days of Horror Lists.
When it comes to cinema, masters of horror are a dime-a-dozen. That’s not meant to throw shade on auteurs like John Carpenter and Wes Craven, or even new macabre impresarios like Robert Eggers, but we’re so eager to give out that title the moment a horror film makes an impact that we begin to lose sight of what really constitutes a genius. Still, there are certain directors who absolutely warrant that lofty moniker, none more worthy than the Italian Godfather of Gore, Lucio Fulci.
A grandfatherly man with a knit cap and coke bottle glasses that rivaled George Romero’s own specs, Fulci did what so few horror directors ever even attempted: he created artistically impactful horror films that just so happened to be wrapped in gleefully sadistic sex and violence.
He spun his inherent Artaudian sensibility into splatter flicks that are able to straddle the line between arthouse and grindhouse in a way other masters of horror were less inclined to do. Beneath the layers of sleaze and stomach-churning deaths, you can see Fulci’s visual eye veer more towards surrealist filmmakers like Luis Buñuel than his fellow Italo contemporaries like Mario Bava and Dario Argento. The arthouse horror movement that’s popular today just wouldn’t be the same if it wasn’t for Fulci’s contributions to the genre.
Fulci’s output is as vast as it is diverse, so to cut through to the meat of his filmography, Anna Swanson, Brad Gullickson, Chris Coffel, Kieran Fisher, Meg Shields, Rob Hunter, Valerie Ettenhofer, and I have chosen the ten films that truly exemplify why Lucio Fulci has earned his title as master of horror.