The Greatest Horror Trilogy You’ve Never Seen, Stream Without Netflix

By Brian Myers | Updated

gates of hell trilogy

Famed Italian horror director Lucio Fulci shocked audiences with his 1979 unofficial sequel to George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, Zombie 2. His next foray into horror was creating what is referred to as his Gates of Hell trilogy, a set of stand-alone films that are all centered around demonic forces invading our world. Each of the three movies are uniquely grotesque and horrifically violent, giving giallo and mondo horror fans three films to immerse themselves into.

City Of The Living Dead (1980)

The first film in the Gates of Hell trilogy, City of the Living Dead, sees director Fulci inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s The Dunwich Horror. The movie begins with a seance conducted by a medium named Theresa, whose ceremony causes participant Mary to have vivid visions of a priest hanging himself. Upon revealing this to the circle of people participating, Mary keels over and is thought to have died from a heart attack.

However, Mary is merely in a trance so deep that it slowed down her vital signs. Moments before she is to be buried, she snaps out of it and is saved from premature burial by a journalist who was graveside covering a story about her unusual “death.” The two of them pay a visit to Theresa, who informs them that the gates of Hell were opened by the priest’s suicide and will lead to legions of the undead spilling into our world.

One Of The Most Violent

gates of hell trilogy


The Gates of Hell trilogy proves to be aptly named as City of the Living Dead shows hordes of zombies attacking those in their pathway. The film shows that Fulci’s foray into gore with 1979’s Zombie 2 wasn’t an outlier, as this installment is considered one of the most violent movies to come out of Italy

City of the Living Dead can be streamed for free with Tubi.

The Beyond (1981)

The second installment in the Gates of Hell trilogy, The Beyond, was released in 1981. Despite its being filmed on location in New Orleans, this ultra-violent film wasn’t released in the United States for two years after its initial Italian theatrical run, and was subjected to heavy censorship. While not a critical favorite from Fulci’s expansive body of work, the film’s score and special effects are particularly noteworthy.

The Beyond begins with a warlock named Schweick completing a painting in his room at a New Orleans hotel. Schweick has been tasked by guarding one of the seven gates of Hell, although his duties as sentinel are rudely interrupted when he is attacked and killed by an irate lynch mob for being in league with the Devil.

The Least Of The Three

gates of hell trilogy


The Gates of Hell trilogy feature gets really gory really fast when the film fast-forwards to 1981 and sees a contractor working beneath the same hotel to discover a leak. After he uncovers an area that’s bricked off, the seventh gate of Hell is opened and he is ripped apart by the first demonic creature to emerge.

As the bloody action continues, the gates of Hell open further and threaten the residents of the hotel as they get torn asunder one by one.

The Beyond can be streamed for free with Tubi.

The House By The Cemetery (1981)

The final Gates of Hell trilogy film was definitely the best of the lot. The House by the Cemetery, like the first two installments, was filmed in the United States. The Boston, New York City, and Concord, MA filming locations added a greater sense of realism to the film as it follows one unfortunate family’s story after moving to the Big Apple.

Young Bob Boyle and his parents have recently arrived in the former home of his father’s colleague, a doctor who is said to have gone mad and murdered his mistress before committing suicide. Their arrival at the home triggers an ominous warning to the kid when he sees a young girl (that he earlier spotted in an old photograph) tell him to stay away from the house.

The Best Of The Three


As it turns out, this house has been the home of multiple deaths. The gory killings are attributed to the home’s former occupant from more than 150 years before, Dr. Freudstein. As the final Gates of Hell trilogy continues, audiences will see graphic deaths on screen while Bob and his ghostly new friend Mae work to reveal the horrible secret that’s being contained in the basement.

House by the Cemetery can be streamed for free with Plex.