Gruesomely crammed with sexual and abusive undertones, director Lucio Fulci takes the haunted house genre under his directorial wing, updating it with his trademark sensationalism. While illogical, the horror works for its sheer willingness to hide nothing. House by the Cemetery is exploitation sleaze, down to the crummy dubbing, yet embracing humanity’s worst qualities in a way few films dare. It’s cynical, crude, and abrasive, perfect ’80s crassness then for a decade so embroiled in murder.
Taking Blue Underground’s 35mm 4K master from their House by the Cemetery Blu-ray, the distributor adds a Dolby Vision pass to give these near-perfect visuals added energy. Black levels never find their mark (visible from the opening shots), yet contrast provides a notable bump. It was questionable whether House by the Cemetery was over-brightened for HD, yet on UHD, the highlights look natural.
Resolution adds significant definition, wide shots benefiting the most. House exteriors with surrounding wooded areas produce incredible details. Sharpness doesn’t waver unless at the source. In close, the UHD proves a smidgen better over an already stellar presentation. Increases in facial texture register in side-by-side comparisons, if not in general viewing.
Superb encoding manages a thin, organic grain structure. A spot of chroma noise (or two) hardly impact the overall impression. Stray hairs aside, the print itself shows no damage. Precise color reproduction adds vibrancy without a digital streak. Natural flesh tones work alongside stout primaries, bold and pure. Like the everything else, consistency keeps rolling along, no stumbling or errors to report.
In 5.1 on Blu-ray, this release moves to Atmos. Expect nothing new, or any engagement in the heights (except a little from a bat attack). It’s front-loaded throughout.
It’s not a mix sailing into the rear speakers; they never see use. Rather, the score expands to the stereos naturally, firm even in the upper registers. The electronic peaks hold up decades later. Even some mild low-end organically flows, resolved well.
However, there’s no way around the dubbing. Every voice echoes from a cheap studio interior, while sound effects grate due to their harshness. Not even modern audio remastering techniques can fix this.
Identical to the previous Blu-ray set, but minus the soundtrack CD and essay booklet. The UHD holds the movie itself with a recently recorded commentary by author Troy Howarth. A deleted scene, trailers, and galleries follow.
The second disc is stuffed with interviews. That includes author Stephen Thrower, co-writer Giorgio Mariuzzo, and Q&A session with star Catriona MacColl. A dozen people total discuss their roles and careers, running between 10-20 minutes each.
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The House by the Cemetery
A genuine shocker predicting a decade of cruel criminality, Lucio Fulci’s House by the Cemetery spares few details, if ultimately let down by pace and crude dubbing.
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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 51 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD: