Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Crossing A Sacred Line

This is a film that goes beyond the pale, trafficking in violence, hate and despair. Lucio Fulci, its director, was well known from creating horror movies featuring gore, extreme violence, and for being made on relatively low budgets. Even though I found the only other movie I've seen from him, The Beyond (1980) to be a messy and mediocre film, I actually thought that Don't Torture a Duckling, made eight years prior, to be somewhat decent. Perhaps this is due to his obvious giallo film being far more focused than The Beyond, which was meant to be a nightmarish landscape devoid of hope, joy, puppies or love, a hell feeding on our own fears.

Instead, Fulci creates what almost amounts to a crime mystery driven slasher film of sorts, as the police desperately try to solve a string of horrific and shocking child murders. Fulci's attempts to keep the viewer guessing probably worked better in the 1970s, as having viewed too many slasher movies at this point I kind of guessed who was and who wasn't responsible in the end. Furthermore, the film does drag a bit, taking way too long to finally get started and thus only becoming truly interesting in the second half. Based on what I've seen and read this movie dials down the gore factor a bit, although a scene where a woman is savagely beaten is quite disturbing, and Fulci cannot help but toss in some stark, bloody violence near the end of the movie.

Even though Fulci does also attempt to address religious intolerance, he tosses that bit aside in favor of trying to horrify the audience, as he did make a movie where children are the victims-something quite rare when it comes to horror movies. Certainly in the hands of a better director this could have been a rare gem, but having finally viewed a movie from him that I actually liked perhaps I'm willing to give Fulci another chance. Even though I will have to upgrade my Netflix plan to be able to see some of his more famous and well known movies. 70

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