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"How many have wandered innocently into the waiting spider web? How many more are doomed to follow? The smell of the rooms terrifies me and lures me on. The smell of blood, how many more are still to come?"
-Professor Peterson (private audio tape cassette recording)
Doctor Jacob Tess Freudstein is a supernatural zombie created by Italian horror icon Lucio Fulci (1927-1996) and appears in the movie: Quella villa accanto al cimitero (1981) aka. The house by the cemetery. The house by the cemetery is the third and final movie in Lucio Fulci's Gates of hell trilogy.
LifeDr. Freudstein was a human being living in the city of New Whitby, New England in early 1800. With his wife Mary Freudstein and their daughter Mae Freudstein. In a secluded villa next to a cemetery.
Dr. Freudstein's early work on degeneration on human cells and mitosis had been dismissed by his colleagues. Mostly because of his questionable methods involving living human experimentation. He did manage to get some financial funding for his work on binary fission.
The death of the Freudstein family in the early 1830's is undocumented and locals believe the cause was the second cholera pandemic (1830 - 1851) whitch originated from India and spread across the globe by trade routes to New England.
The graves of Mary and Mae Freudstein can be found outside the villa in the cemetery. Dr. Freudstein's tomb is placed on the floor in the living room in the villa and is a secret entrance to his laboratory below.
Secrets of the flesh
Dr. Freudstein's work on embryonic stem cells and inner cell mass lead to his discovery of immortality. To become immortal, he has to harvest and replace fresh organs and blood. Consumed by his groundbreaking work and finally immortality within his grasp.
Dr. Freudstein's selfishness pushes him beyond madness. Sacrificing himself, his wife and daughter as raw source material in his new experiments. Resulting in a secret formula recipe for immortality, he has no intention to share his secrets with his financial funders resulting in his supposed death.
After his supposed death. Dr. Freudstein continues on his work in the basement of his former home. Perfecting his secret formula recipe. He continues to relentlessly torture and slaughters families, upstairs in his former house, one by one.
For long periods, the house is empty. Forcing Dr. Freudstein to step outside, into the cemetery, pilfering graves and sometimes harvest townspeople to survive. His body has turned into a state of living necrosis and his eyes and mouth have atrophied to mere slits.
For over 150 years, the effects of his secret formula recipe has transformed Dr. Freudstein into a supernatural being with abilities like immortality, regeneration, supernatural strength and slender walking.
Dr. Freudstein attract his victims with the voice of a sobbing, crying child. Sometimes he reveals his glowing eyes in the comfort of darkness to strike fear into his victims.
"Mae, time to go home and remember your manners. Now that Bob is staying with us, be sure to treat him like a Freudstein. For other guests are surely destined to drop in"
For every action, there is a reaction. Even beyond death. The spirit of Mae Freudstein reaches out to the innocent like children, warning them about the villa.
Unable to stop her husband, Mary Freudstein appears sometimes to the dead victims of her husband. Trying to guide them to safety.
The bizarre Peterson murder case
In 1981, Professor Peterson's supposed mistress was found slaughtered in the villa. Right after, Prof. Peterson was found dead, hanging from a railing in the New Whitby city library. Where Prof. Peterson did his obsessive research on the villa's history and missing persons cases, going centuries back.
Prof. Peterson's wife and their two children where also missing from the villa and where never found.
The Boyle family
A few months later, Doctor Norman Boyle, Prof. Peterson's Protege. Moves with his wife Lucy and their son Bob to the villa. Hoping to find what Prof. Peterson was working on and figure out what happened to his mentor and good friend.
How could Prof. Peterson just leave such a prestigious medical project behind so suddenly?
The obsessive and frightening changes in Prof. Peterson's paranoid behavior and rambling the last week, was confirmed by the library workers. The ongoing investigation and theories concluded that Prof. Peterson suffered from an agressive mental deterioration condition.
Dr. Norman Boyle tries to make sense of Prof. Peterson's research in the library. He finds rare old highly controversal
articles and bizarre handwritten notes on higly advanced surgery and different biofluids theories dating back to the early 1800. Most of the notes and articles are written by Doctor Jacob Tess Freudstein.
Dr. Norman Boyle finds an audio tape cassette hidden among the articles and notes marked with "Peterson private" and a audio tape recorder. The playback of the audio tape reveals the increasingly disturbed voice of Prof. Peterson of the presence of Dr. Freudstein in the villa. It haunts his dreams and Dr. Freudstein's sobbing voice tortures his mind and consumes his thoughts.
Dr. Norman Boyle belives that Prof. Peterson has gone insane, until he feels the same presence of Dr. Freudstein in the villa too.
The house by the cemetery HD trailer
The house by the cemetery cast
- Catriona MacColl as Lucy Boyle (credited as Katherine MacColl)
- Paolo Malco as Dr. Norman Boyle
- Ania Pieroni as Ann (babysitter)
- Giovanni Frezza as Bob Boyle
- Silvia Collatina as Mae Freudstein
- Dagmar Lassander as Laura Gittleson
- Giovanni De Nava as Dr. Freudstein
- Daniela Doria as the first female victim
- Gianpaolo Saccarola as Daniel Douglas
- Carlo De Mejo as Mr. Wheatley
- Kenneth A. Olsen as Harold (credited as John Olson)
- Elmer Johnsson as the Cemetery Caretaker
- Ranieri Ferrara as a victim
- Teresa Rossi Passante as Mary Freudstein
- Lucio Fulci as Professor Mueller (uncredited)
The beginning: Zombie flesh-eaters (1979)
Zombi 2 (IT), aka. Zombie (US) aka. Zombie flesh-eaters (UK) was released in 1979. The story was written by Elisa Briganti and Dardano Sacchetti. Directed by Lucio Fulci. The Italian movie title: Zombi 2 was chosen by the producers to cash in on George Romero's Dawn of the dead (1978) entitled: Zombi, in Italy.
Despite being called Zombi 2 in Italy, the movie is not a sequel to Dawn of the dead.
The movie follows the journalist Peter West, investigating a zombie killing a coastguard on a boat off the coast of New York. The zombie was shot by the coastguard several times and fell into the sea and vanished. He teams up with Anne Bowles who tells him that the boat belongs to her father, a famous scientist who is missing. Leading them to the unknown island of Matool. Where the dead are coming back to life and feeds of the flesh of the living.
The movie was hailed for the gorgeous atmosphere and cinematography, unbelievable special effects and a sense of a dark adventure. But the violence, torture and extreme gore soon made the movie a video nasty and was banned. The zombie special make up and effects were done by renowned Italian master make up artists: Giannetto De Rossi and Luigino "Gino" De Rossi.
Gates of hell: The rise of the supernatural zombie
Zombi 2 was a smash hit Internationally and breaking Lucio Fulci into the international market. The producers wanted to repeat the succsess and make more zombie movies and offered Lucio Fulci a contract for three more movies.
After Zombi 2, Lucio Fulci tweaked the popular zombie outbreak formula. Exploring the gates of hell further.
"Something my granddad used to tell us. You know Macumba? Vodou. My granddad was a priest in Trinidad. He used to tell us, When there's no more room in hell, the dead will walk the Earth"
-Peter (Dawn of the dead)
Gates of hell trilogy: City of the living dead (1980)
Paura nella città dei morti viventi (IT), aka. The gates of hell (US), aka. City of the living dead (UK) was released in 1980 and is the first movie in the gates of hell trilogy. Story and screenplay by: Lucio Fulci and Dardano Saccetti. Loosely based on H.P. Lovecraft's short story: The Dunwich horror.
The movie starts with Father Thomas hanging himself from a tree branch in a cemetery of the remote village of Dunwich. Opening the gates of hell. Father Thomas returns as a supernatural zombie. Now with the supernatural abillity to teleport and a mesmerizing stare, making the victim eyeballs bleed and vomit their entire guts out. Making a new zombie serving hell.
Lucio Fulci made the movie darker and with a more surreal and intense creepy atmosphere. With over the top special effects by Luigino "Gino" De Rossi and Franco Rufini. The intense torture scenes was made more realistic and intense. Upping the levels of violence and gore.
Gates of hell trilogy: The beyond (1981)
...E tu vivrai nel terrore! L'aldilà (IT), aka. 7 doors of death (US), aka. The beyond (UK) was released in 1981 and is the second movie in the gates of hell trilogy.
Gates of hell trilogy: The house by the cemetery (1981)
Quella villa accanto al cimitero (IT), aka. Zombie hell house (US), aka. The house by the cemetery (UK) was released in 1981 and is the third movie in the gates of hell trilogy. The story was made by Elisa Briganti and the screenplay was written by Lucio Fulci, Dardano Saccetti & Giorgio Mariuzzo. The story was loosely inspired by a H.P. Lovecraft's short story, Cool air.
Home video nasty history
In the United States, one of the early VHS issues of the movie had several of the film's reels out of order, further confusing the already erratic story.
In the United Kingdom, the movie has had a history of problems with the BBFC over the years. The original cinema version was heavily cut with edits to the poker murder and the slashing of Ann's throat, and this print was later released on video prior to the UK's Video Recordings Act 1984 and subsequently banned as a video nasty.
The movie was made officially available in 1988, though the print had been pre-edited by 34 seconds (removing the cinema cuts) and then additionally cut by 4 minutes 11 seconds with further cuts to the opening stabbing, the bat attack, Norman's throat being torn out by Dr. Freudstein and tracking shots of mutilated bodies in the basement.
The movie was again released in 1992 with this version heavily pre-cut by the distributors, removing 7 minutes 27 seconds of footage and rendering much of the film unintelligible.
The 2001 Vipco DVD issue restored nearly all of the film's prior edits but was cut by 33 secs by the BBFC with lesser edits made to the poker murder and a throat cutting. Although willing to release the movie uncut, the movie had recently been prosecuted under the Obscene Publications Act following the discovery of bootleg copies of the uncut version, leaving the BBFC no choice but to cut the movie.
All the cuts were finally waived for the 2009 Arrow DVD. The Anchor Bay DVD version was later released uncut, containing all the gore and violence from the original version.
The movie was released by Blue Underground on Blu-ray (as well as a new DVD edition) on 25 October 2011 with a new 2K transfer.
The movie's original shooting title was Freudstein.
All of the movies in Lucio Fulci's death trilogy was banned by the BBFC in the UK and labeled as video nasties. Beginning with: paura nella città dei morti viventi (1980) aka. city of the living dead. Followed by: ...e tu vivrai nel terrore! L'aldilà (1981) aka. the beyond. And last: quella villa accanto al cimitero (1981) aka. the house by the cemetery.
Doctor Jacob Tess Freudstein last name can be seen as a tribute to another famous scientist, Doctor Victor Frankenstein from Mary Shelley's classic Gothic novel from 1818 "Frankenstein: or the modern Prometheus"
There are many references to the works of writers such as H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe.
Though the final line in the movie "No one will ever know whether the children are monsters or the monsters are children" is attributed to Henry James, It was actually fabricated by Lucio Fulci.
Lucio Fulci cameos as Professor Mueller, the professor who talks with Norman Boyle on the New York City street.
In Rob Zombie's movie: house of 1000 corpses from 2003. There is a character named Dr. Satan whitch are inspired by Dr. Freudstein.
Bloodsoaked musical inspiration
Many extreme bands has taken inspiration from the movie and the brutality, a few selected are presented here.