The Final Gate by Wesley Southard & Lucas Mangum

If Italian director Lucio Fulci were alive today, creating movies at 94-years-old like those he’d filmed four decades ago, this novella could be the novelization of his newest masterpiece. Southard and Mangum display a sincere and passionate love for the atmosphere, over-the-top gore, and idiosyncratically disjointed flow of Fulci’s oeuvre. That deep and abiding adoration is necessary to so accurately capture the feel of a Fulci movie with The Final Gate.
The more dedicated fans will perhaps experience a sort of wavering, rippling effect in their imaginations, seeing the face of Bob from House By the Cemetery transitioning into the much older face of Robert, the caretaker of St. Luke’s Orphanage. As pleased as we are to make his acquaintance again–and to see that he’s grown into a man who found a way to help children who were orphaned just as he was–it would seem that Bob’s encounters with supernatural horrors aren’t over. After racing into the orphanage in response to a young boy’s desperate cries for help, Robert’s story comes to an end when he enters Bryce’s darkened bedroom.
The rest of the book follows Brandon, Bryce’s older brother, and various other characters as Brandon desperately tries to make up for the mistakes of his earlier years. He hopes that by locating his younger brother and rescuing him from an orphanage that seems increasingly sinister, the deeper he digs into it, he’ll find a sense of fulfillment and redemption.
With the assistance of Jillian, his girlfriend, and Jillian’s ex-boyfriend, Dan, Brandon faces something far more mysterious and awful than he could have anticipated.
In true homage to Fulci, the authors leave you wondering who–if anyone–will survive and whether there’s any chance of a happy ending when the gates of hell are involved.
Any fans of Lucio Fulci, Dario Argento, Mario and Lamberto Bava, Ruggero Deodato, Umberto Lenzi, Bruno Mattei, and the other Italian greats should immediately pick up a copy of this book in August when it releases. No other book I’ve read has so perfectly demonstrated the Italian exploitation cinema tone the way this one has.

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