The House by the Cemetery is a horror film by the late Lucio Fulci, released in the year 1981. It is the third and final film that he did with actress Catriona MacColl, and is the unofficial third entry of the "Gates of Hell trilogy", after City of the Living Dead and The Beyond (both of which starred MacColl).
It is a mind screwy slasher film, where the Boyle family (consisting of Norman, Lucy and their son Bob) move into a new house due to Norman's work. There they encounter its deadly secret: A certain Dr. Freudstein who has been hiding in the basement's cellar for decades, prolonging his life by salvaging the organs of those who set foot in his old house.
It was one of the Video Nasties.
This film features the examples of:
- Apocalyptic Log: The cassette detailing Dr. Peterson's last moments is found by Norman.
- An Axe to Grind: Norman defends himself with an axe at one point.
- Bald of Evil: Dr. Freudstein.
- Body Horror: Dr Freudstein - who despite replacing his body parts with those of other people is actively rotting and has maggots and worms, amongst assorted gore, falling from his wounds. His face is pretty damn freakish, too - although it's difficult to discern if that's a mask or his actual face. Oddly enough, there's also no trace of his Glowing Eyes of Doom when he's finally revealed, despite them being the thing that cause Bob to shit himself and run back upstairs.
- Comforting Comforter
- Creepy Basement: Dr. Freudstein's base of operations.
- Cute Ghost Girl: Mae.
- Death by Sex: The young couple in the opening.
- Everything's Better with Bob: Excellent name for your offspring, Mr. and Mrs. Boyle.
- Gainax Ending: Dr. Freudstein manages to kill both Norman and Lucy (though we only see her being dragged from the ladder and don't see her death outright), but when he sets out for Bob, the late Mrs. Freudstein pulls Bob to safety into the realm of the dead. Or into the past. Or Bob just snapped mentally and imagined running off with his ghost friend at the moment of death, sparing himself the gruesome death he would endure.
- Glasses Pull
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: Bob sees a pair in the dark basement and promptly freaks out.
- Haunted House
- Hollywood New England: Averted. Outdoor scenes (notably the library and the store with the mannequin) were filmed in Concord, Massachusetts. Both buildings look almost exactly the same nearly three decades later.
- Knife Nut: Freudstein prefers knives.
- Lovecraft Country
- Menacing Stroll
- Mind Screw: the original US release of the film had the studio underlings mislabel several of the film reels sent to theaters, leading to the middle sections of the film getting mixed up; as such, the nanny's death takes place earlier than it should, leading to a scene of her appearing afterwords after her death scene.
- Off with His Head: Ann's death.
- Offscreen Teleportation: Dr. Freudstein does it once at the ending.
- Once Is Not Enough
- Peek-a-Boo Corpse: Steve in the opening.
- Psychopathic Manchild: It is hinted that Freudstein might be one.
- Red Herring: Hints of Norman's past in the house.
- Also Ann, the explicitly weird and creepy babysitter, who...isn't part of the problem at all and ends up killed off like everyone else.
- Theres No Kill Like Overkill: Laura's death at the hands of Dr. Freudstein.
- The Undead: Dr. Freudstein is a Construct Type.
- Video Nasty
- X Meets Y: The movie could be accurately summarised as "The Shining meets Frankenstein".