Ectovember: Ghosts of Sodom (1988) - Fulci Gets Spooked
Lucio Fulci. I highly recommend everyone go back and look at other reviews I've done of his films to see those things because there's not going to be so much of that here. The late 80's were not a high point in Fulci's career. Starting with 1984's Murder Rock, Lucio went into nearly a decade long slump that he didn't break until 1991's Cat in the Brain (which grafted the usable parts of several of his late decade films into one film.) Ghosts of Sodom was nestled right in this period. Fulci penned the original story and collaborated on the screenplay with Carlo Alberto Alfieri (writer, Shanghai Joe). It's a mystery how Fulci alone, much less with help, could have penned such a laughable, predictable script. I mean seriously, lost kids end up at a haunted house where their car won't work, the phone goes out, and the doors lock them inside. Perhaps Fulci was looking to hearken back to haunted house films of the '50's and '60's, but did so by way of placing as many naked people as he could into the aforementioned stock context. Lucio knows how to do sleazy. Lizard in a Woman's Skin and Perversion Story are both sleazy films, but Ghosts of Sodom should top them both. With a title like that, drawn from the work of Marquis de Sade (which is where the connection to his work ends), and Nazis to boot, I expected a Salo, or The 120 Days in Sodom level of sick, debauched, perversion. However comparing Pasolini's film to Fulci is like comparing Se7en to Beverly Hills Cop.
Shredder). Robert Egon, who played the strangely named Willy the Nazi, would go on to make a couple of brief appearances in bigger films playing "Perfect Young Italian" in the 1990 Captain America film and "Italian Street Boy" in My Own Private Idaho. It appears that if you had a vague Italian character, he was the go to guy of the moment. The film's high point may be the synth score by Carlo Mario Cordio, composer for Fulci's previous two films and later of the soundtrack for that best worst movie, Troll 2, which attempts to focus some mood on Fulci's wan film making.
Before I sign off, let me take a moment to talk about the ghosts of Ghosts of Sodom. First off, there's not nearly enough of them. Only Willy the Nazi shows up regularly to menace the students (though in one scene he has card playing co-horts), and his plans to scare and kill seem awfully convoluted. Taking a look at the film's spirits from a paranormal point of view, it seems logical that Nazis killed mid-drug and sex orgy might haunt the building in which they were killed. I don't think they'd try and lure people into Russian Roulette games as Fulci has Willy do in the film, but many paranormal researchers believe people that meet a violent and emotional end often stay here as spirits. This is exactly why if you're in the market for a French mansion you really need to check out who the previous owners were. Was it just a kindly old Madame who lightly used her home and only left for church on Sundays or was it inhabited by drug snorting Nazis with a predilection for sex parties?
That brings us to the end of the first installment of Ectovember, and I'll be back next Friday with another installment. Until then, join me back here Sunday for my thoughts on Megaforce, Monday will see my review of Jeff "Project:Valkyrie" Waltrowski's new film It Came From Yesterday, and then Wednesday will see another treat when once again It Came from TCM. Stay tuned until then, and keep an eye out for ghosts. They're keeping two out for you!
There's no dialog to this, which is probably for the best, but it does feature the score and one of the film's better effects shots. I would consider this a spoiler if it actually made sense in context, but it doesn't so no worries.