The Final Gate (Giallo Zombie Horror)


Having never seen a Lucio Fulci movie, I feel like I went into this book with a fresh set of eyes. The authors make it clear at the start that they take huge inspiration from the director, and his films influence this book hugely. The Final Gate sets the pace early; it’s very quick moving and without any unnecessary dialogue or writing. I managed to read this in one sitting because of this! The plot is brilliantly done with a classic, almost cinematic feel. Descriptions of the main location, St. Luke’s Orphanage, create tension and even some claustrophobia as characters walked (and sometimes snuck uninvited) through its halls. With its mixture of mystery, horror, supernatural, and zombie-like undead, all intertwined, it makes for a cool read. 


“Bright, fresh blood stained the man’s ruined mouth. Between his shredded lips, a noxious black bile ran between the weathered yellow tombstones of his teeth, dripping down his chest and adding to the mess at his feet. His dead, clouded eyes glared her way as a bubbling moan gurgled from his throat. Kay mewled in fear as the liquid outpour increased from his maw, and with it came a wave of wriggling insects that tumbled onto the floor. The man then pitched forward, regurgitating loudly, and spat out a large wad of grey meat that went splat onto the pile. Beetles and centipedes immediately dined on the remains of a severed tongue.”


The horror and gore aspects, which were nicely spaced out for this kind of story, were extremely reminiscent of old horror films. The way blood, bodily fluids and gore is described reminded me of 70s and 80s horror, where SFX was over the top in the best way. I could envision the different textures and thickness of blood and bloody, clumpy eye sockets of the undead. Colors come across as bio-hazardous, bright, and vile. The characters were great, and it didn’t feel like there was any one who had more focus. I love the old guy that arrives in the latter part of The Final Gate, with his classic adventure-mystery vibes, just being in the right place at the right time, knowing everything about the evil the orphanage. All in all, this was a really fun read! Super energetic, fast-paced, and gross in all the right parts. A brilliant recommendation for my vintage horror lovers, this is very reminiscent of one.


Written by Arianne, Sovereign Deity of the Damned

The Final Gate  (2023)
Lucas Magnum and Wesley Southard
Encyclopocalypse Publications
Cover Art: Frankie Madrigal
4.5 / 5