City of the Living Dead (1980)

As a leading UK script consultant I’m fully aware of the new popularity of the horror genre. For me, the real ‘heyday’ for the genre was during the video boom of the 1980s, and now with the advent of Blu-Ray re-releases we can now enjoy many of the great films made during this era.

Lucio Fulci was a director active in the horror genre during this period and City of the Living Dead (1980) is one the key films in his career and it kicks of the 80s decade of gore and terror nicely.

Now, I’m a fan of classic cinema and I love the work of great directors like Kubrick, Welles, Coppola, Peckinpah – vintage Scorsese, Jean Pierre Melville, Wim Wenders and Paul Schrader (far too many blokes in this list…)  But, I also love ‘real’ genre filmmakers like John Carpenter, Walter Hill and (yes, he makes the list) Lucio Fulci

Fulci often worked on very low budgets – the acting in his films (which are sometimes badly dubbed into English) is generally below par (although there are some good performances too).He was a working director and a craftsman – used to making the best film he could with the money available to him.

He had big hits – most famously with Zombie Flesh Eaters (one of the films many titles) also released in 1980 and sometimes credited with saving the Italian film industry at the time (I love that film so much…) despite big hits, he continued to toil with low budgets, but even his lesser works show remarkable creativity.

Fulci will split film fans, some people will find his films laughable or unwatchable. I personally see a lot in them. He’s a master of atmosphere, and the films are often brilliantly photographed and contain startling imagery (and lots of gore…)

City of the Living Dead is as good a place as any to start with Fulci – don’t blame me if you find the film hard going to start with – stick with it, and revisit it. Fulci was a master of sorts, pulling together low budgets and buckets of blood. He wasn’t much celebrated in his lifetime, but these films continue to grow and live – like the dead that refuse to rest…

Matthew Cooper has been a script writer for hire for over 20 years. He’s written for most of the UK soaps, including writing award winning episodes of Emmerdale, EastEnders, Hollyoaks and Family Affairs and has been BAFTA shortlisted and Royal Television Society nominated as a script writer. He’s also a leading UK script consultant. You can find some of his broadcast credits on the IMDb. You can get in touch with Matthew on or hire him on Peopleperhour