A woman inherits an old hotel, which is built on top of one of the seven gates of hell. From Lucio Fulci, director of cult 'video nasty' Zombie Flesh Eaters, comes another gory classic of Italian horror featuring the undead, inventive killings, and bad voice dubbing.
And while that might sound like a criticism, it's the odd combination of extreme violence and splatter, with a hint of cheesiness, that gives me such fondness for films of this subgenre. While the gruesome special effects don't always look fully convincing, they do get full marks for inventiveness. There are eye gougings, face meltings, nails hammered through wrists, and so on. There's a sequence involving flesh-eating tarantulas, using real spiders.. and one or two with stiff legs that seem to be pulled along on a piece of string. But it's still hard not to wince when they start tearing off bits of their victim's face.
As with Zombie Flesheaters, Fulci does great work creating an atmosphere and building a sense of dread. The cinematography is impressive, with creative use of close-ups, along with a great score and clever use of sound. From its shocking pre-credits sequence to its disturbing and haunting ending, this film is a lot of dark, grisly - and yes, sometimes cheesy - fun. 4/5