Chattanooga Film Festival 2020: FULCI FOR FAKE is a Glimpse into the Private Life of a Genre Legend

Zombi 2 is easily one of my favorite horror films of all time.

So, when I saw a biopic on Lucio Fulci in the screening room at The Chattanooga Film Festival, it was the literally first thing I checked out having not read or seen a thing about it before I clicked to play. The hook here being that even today, when it seems like the lives of even the most obscure of genre directors have their own books or documentaries, Lucio Fulci’s personal life is still relatively unknown to most fans of his work. Unlike an Argento or Deodato, Fulci was more than happy to let his work speak for itself and this doc illuminates just why that was probably the case.

With a meta approach invoking the director’s own A Cat in the Brain, the film follows Italian actor Nicola Nocella who is tasked with interviewing those who knew him, in order to play the director. Thankfully the film was more documentary than biopic, as Nicola speaks with not only both of Fulci’s daughters, a but a few close friends and even his biographer to help illuniate the life of this man. Fulci has about 60 films to his credit from the late 1940s to the early 1990s, consisting of mostly gun for hire type directing gigs for standard theatrical fare. The director eventually found his calling in the giallo craze, which was his gateway into finally finding international recognition crafting such genre classics as The Beyond, Zombie, New York Ripper and The House by the Cemetery.

What we get in these interviews is a much deeper glimpse, into both the good and the bad of the auteur. Enough time has passes that most of the subjects are surprisingly candid in their takes on Fulci discussing the man who was known to be a bit of a tyrant with on set. We find out that this attitude carried into his personal life alienating one of his daughter with the big revelation here being how the suicide of this wife in 1969 was possibly catalyst for the darkness that inspired that later filmography. As the film comes to a close, you’re still left with plenty of questions, but you do have more of an understanding to just what made him tick and what drove and inspired him.

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