Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Hell's Gate (1989)

It's Leeeeeenzi-time! Yes, Umberto Lenzi is one of my favorite directors from Italy, he can also be a bit uneven. But I think mostly that has do with what he put's his heart in and nothing else. Some days it's just a paycheck, another day passion. And hopefully both most of the time. I've always been fond of his horror production from the eighties, and Hell's Gate is far from perfect, but still an entertaining piece of b-movie heaven.

Giacomo Rossi-Stuart plays Dr Johns (with a perfect hair cut by the way) who's leading an experiment how long a man can stay down in a cave. On the 78th day they're gonna bring him up, but everything goes wrong. First he disappears in the caves, screaming that "they" gonna kill them all, and then it's exactly what happens. Because in the 12th century seven heretic monks where buried there... or something... and now they want revenge from beyond the grave! So now they have to kill seven heretics to... come back to life maybe?

Ok, I've seen this movie many times but I've never understood every detail. As usual I like to focus on the good things and except the very, very low budget this movie is quite an entertaining little flick, but far from a masterpiece. The setting of a cave is of course great, and this cave is also connected to some underground tombs belonging to a nearby church - so there's everything you need for a horror movie set in the underground. But the budget is noticeable in the TV-style execution of the movie (maybe it was made for TV?) and that it drags on some scenes too long - like they need to focus one the spectacular stuff to hide that the rest of the movie is very cheap.

But still, it never drags. It's hardly exciting and fantastic like Nightmare City (but how many movies are like that one?), but still manage to throw in two gory killings (Lenzi sure loves that axe in the back of the head, I think it's in most of his horror movies from the eighties), some spiders, explosions, a burning cross and a lot of running in tunnel to not be boring. The script is very simple (by Lenzi's wife Olga Pehar), and the final echoes of Nightmare City with a nightmare that becomes reality. I think the actors, especially Barbara Cupisti works fine and there's also a very short cameo by Paul Muller in the end.

It's not better than Black Demons or Ghosthouse, but I have a soft spot for this one. Can't help me, so shoot me if you want.

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