If you have ever strolled down Factor’s Walk by River Street on a foggy night then you have tread in the footsteps of Italian master of horror Lucio Fulci. Fulci shot much of his 1980 horror film “City of the Living Dead” in Savannah, using our otherworldly city as the town of Dunwich.
Fulci has a reputation for some of the goriest special effects in Italian horror and giallo cinema, including eyes stabbed out with splintered wood, brains squeezed out of living skulls, heads slowly cooked in microwaves, and a zombie wrestling an actual shark underwater!
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Italian horror obsessed death metal trio, Fulci, took their name from the gore maestro and have recorded several albums based on his films, including their 2017 debut, “Opening the Gates of Hell,” which was inspired by the trilogy that includes “City of the Living Dead.”
Savannah’s connection to Italian horror makes it all the more exciting that Fulci are making a stop on their U.S. east coast tour at the Lodge of Sorrows on Thursday.
Formed in 2014, Fulci are Fiore (vocals), Klem (bass), and Dome (guitar/synths). As a genre, death metal is gore and horror obsessed by default, but Fulci focus their themes specifically on Italian horror.
“I saw my first horror movie when I was very little,” said Dome. “Then I discovered heavy metal music with Iron Maiden, so it had that monster aesthetic that I link to the horror movies.”
The first Fulci film Dome saw was “City of the Living Dead,” which opened a new world for him.
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“Fulci, in my opinion changed the game,” said Dome. “Before, zombies were just a little bit white face painting, a little bit pale. For example, the zombie in Romero movies was just a socio-political image of the zombie. While Fulci, when he started to do horror movies, he did gore that was just aesthetic without any deep meaning or cultural value. Just something aesthetic and spectacular. The gore effects were very exaggerated. For example, in one movie you can see the drill entering the head of the actor until the end. There is no cutting, so it was real gore. That’s why we love it.”
Fulci play with a drum machine instead of using a live drummer, which works fine for them. However, not having a drummer wailing on the kit behind them leaves a lot of empty visual real estate on stage, so Fulci began to screen scenes from the movies that inspired the songs they play, which has since become one of their trademarks.
“It becomes a more cinematic death metal experience,” said Dome.
Fulci recently released an atmospheric, funereal, goth-tinged music video for the song “Cemeteries + Nightmares,” directed by their regular collaborator, Tanner McCardle.
“The inspiration for the video came from a Fulci movie called ‘Voices from Beyond.’,” explained Dome. “It’s a movie from the late Fulci era when he was sick, and a few years before he died, so it’s a very decadent movie. You can feel the low budget of the movie, but it’s got something cool anyway because he directed very good and the story is very nice. So we were inspired by that sort of mood, like a foggy home video from the nineties.”
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Fulci’s music is fast and heavy, with head-banging grooves and bowel-rumbling guttural vocals. However, Dome has been adding more haunting synthesizers to their songs under the pseudonym of TV-CRIMES, to generate a more creepy, retro atmosphere.
“When I started to watch movies they were [Dario] Argento movies or [George] Romero movies where the soundtrack was played by Goblin,” recalled Dome. “It was not so common for us to see movies where the soundtrack was like a prog rock soundtrack. We thought it was very cool and we imagined writing soundtracks for movies that were heavier, so we thought it was cool to have death metal in the soundtracks. In 2000 we began to make short videos, very homemade horror videos we put death metal soundtracks ourselves.
“In later years we understood sometime you don’t have to be so heavy to let people feel fear or anxiety through music. We started to listen to John Carpenter soundtracks, Fabio Frizzi soundtracks, and we thought the atmosphere was very cool and we tried to link the synthesizer to the death metal.”
Fulci’s latest release is a split-album with Phoenix’s Fluids. The records features two new songs (one death metal and one synth) which were inspired by Lucio Fulci’s lesser known 1988 film, “Touch of Death.”
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“The protagonist in the movie has a double personality, so the theme was very nice for a split album, so you have this double personality of Fulci and Fluids,” explained Dome.
Copies of the split will be available at the show. Fulci will be joined at Lodge of Sorrows by Florida thrash metal band Rhythm of Fear.
What: Fulci w/ Rhythm of Fear
When: Thursday at 7:30
Where: Lodge of Sorrows, 415 West Boundary Street