It is not unfair to say that Fabrizio De Angelis and Ugo Tucci’s decision to hire Lucio Fulci as director for their horror production Zombi 2 (1979) saved his career. The pair embarked on a wave of excessively gory and increasingly incoherent horror pictures, inflicting such delights as The Beyond (1981), The House by the Cemetery (1981), The New York Ripper (1982), and Manhattan Baby (1982) on an unsuspecting public. These were all critical titles in Fulci’s cult resurgence in the 1990’s and beyond, and for many, Fulci’s work under the auspices of De Angelis represents his most impressive. Unfortunately some time between the release of Manhattan Baby and pre-production on Fulci’s next picture Conquest the two parted company. Little did Fulci know that whoring himself out to the highest bidder - in this case Giovanni Di Clemente - would have such a devastating effect on the quality of his films. I’m not arguing that the De Angelis produced films were masterpieces, only a complete asshole could make a case for Manhattan Baby. But Conquest is so nonsensical and drab, and so utterly bereft of intelligence and charm, that one cannot help but conclude that Fulci’s current standing amongst horror aficionados is as much down to De Angelis as it is Fulci.
© Shaun Anderson 2012