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Le Porte dell'Inferno

Hell's Gate
Gate of Hell

Italy 1989
produced by
Antonio Lucidi, Luigi Nannerini for Alpha Cinematografica
directed by Umberto Lenzi
starring Barbara Cupisti, Pietro Genuardi, Lorenzo Majnoni, Giacomo Rossi-Stuart, Gaetano Russo, Andrea Damiano, Mario Luzzi, Paul Muller
story by Umberto Lenzi, screenplay by Olga Pehar, music by Piero Montanari, special effects by Giovanni Corridori

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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A team of scientists has sent a man, Maurizio, into a cave deep down to pend 78 days in absolute isolation and this way break a record, and for the most part, the experiment goes just fine, until on the last day, he suddenly seems to lose it and the surveillance cameras go down - which means a quartet of our scientists led by Dr Johns (Giacomo Rossi-Stuart) and a couple of archeologists go down the caves to save him - and while the scientists go looking for Maurizio and find him, his leg caught under a rock, the archeologists find a scripture about a septet of satanic and fanatical monks, who are to return every 700 years to kill 7 heretics. However, our archeologists do not live to tell the tale, they are both killed, each by seven blows.

Soon, our scientists figure out there's something wrong, and it has to do with the number seven (7 monks, 700 years, seven blows, 7 heretics - and they themselves were seven at first). And soon too, Maurizio is killed by seven spiders that leave 7 bitemarks, and another of the scientists, Manfred, disappears and is eventually found dead, with exactly 7 wounds on his body.

The last three, Doctor Johns, Erna (Barbara Cupisti) and Paul (Pietro Genuardi) desperately try to get out, but for the longest time they find no exit and seem to almost go crazy. Then though Erna is attacked by seven spiders, but she throws her lamp at them which makes them go up in flames ... which seems to have killed the seven monks because suddenly their curse seems to be lifted and the radio - our heroes' only connection with the outer world - starts working again so they can call for help.

Later, a rescue party arrives, consisting of seven fireman - who actually turn into seven monks and ...

Erna wakes up from a nightmare. Everything that happened up to now was just a dream, it is still the day on which Maurizio is to return from his cave in which he spent 78 days. Then though, just like in the beginning of the movie, he goes mad and the surveillance cameras go down and ...

 

Though Umberto Lenzi has made worse films, this is hardly among his better ones either, a clichéd horror shocker set in not very convincing cave sets, with a script that merely throws one not particularly effective special effect after the other at the audience (lots of explosions actually) without achieving all that much. Plus, the actors for the most part are just cannon fodder which makes it hard to identify with any of them - and makes their deaths less than shocking.

Not really worth your while.

 

By the way, while the film somehow resembles Lucio Fulci's City of the Living Dead, the it was all just a dream ending is of course a rehash of Lenzi's own earlier Nightmare City but is also reminiscent of the British anthology shocker Dead of Night from 1945.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD