Director: Lucio Fulci

Lucio Fulci had a thing for characters opening the gates to Hell. Like in his superior 1981 flick The Beyond, the nonetheless commendable City of the Living Dead centers on reluctant heroes trying to close the portals to Lucifer's playpen, since, in this case, a priest's churchyard suicide has unleashed packs of murderous corpses upon a town named after the fictional setting of author H.P. Lovecraft's tale "The Dunwich Horror."

What gives City of the Living Dead its sharp edge is the story's race-against-the-clock conceit: If the protagonists, a New York reporter and a psychic medium, don't figure out a way to close the aforementioned, figurative gate, the world is basically over. Being that this is a Fulci movie, don't expect that to actually happen; instead, expect puke to drown a person's intestines, a drill press to pierce through a dude's skull, a rainstorm of maggots, and numerous brains ripped out of people's heads.

Admit it, you'd prefer all of that to a happy ending, anyway.