An Ode to the Gut Vomit in The Gates of Hell


Resident poet Nigel Parkin pens a poem celebrating one of the most disgusting scenes in Lucio Fulci's The Gates of Hell

Resident poet Nigel Parkin pens a poem celebrating one of the most disgusting scenes in Lucio Fulci’s The Gates of Hell


Tommy has chosen the worst part of town

To park,  right by the dilapidated

Old hotel, exhaling decay in cold

Mist, sighing with secrets, half heard horrors,

Whispered tales of visions and perversions,

Deviant acts of witches’ descendants.

‘That stupid Salem witch stuff,’ Tommy likes

To call it, while really relishing it.

That’s why he’s here, holding Rose in place with

Tight, insistent arms, unbuttoning her

Shirt to reach for a reluctant breast, his

Mind crowded with images of naked

Virgins writhing in the grip of demons.

One day, he tells himself, he’ll film such things.

But in the meantime Rose cannot relax.

She pushes him away, telling him she

Feels they’re being watched, suggesting maybe

Some Satanic sixth sense stirs within her,

Bubbling, churning,  ready to turn her

Inside out.

Sensing his moment slipping away

Tommy resorts to the rational, switching

His lights on to penetrate the creeping

Gloom and to reveal what stands before them –

A stack of shadows…nothing more.

For a moment Rose is satisfied.

Then Hell reveals itself. Father Thomas,

Hanging from a beam, haggard, haunted,

Oh so dead, his head pulled at an angle

That speaks violently of self inflicted

Punishment…or release? Did he tighten

This noose around his neck to open

A door to another dimension, where

Angry souls convulse in worm infested

Catacombs? Has he become their master?

Certainly he has a power beyond

Our understanding, a hold over all

That rots or writhes. And now he has a hold

Over Rose, commanding her senses as

He moves invisibly closer to her,

Forcing her to turn, mesmerising her

When he reappears in a cold blue glow

At her side, his spirit penetrating

Her mind with unholy force, crushing her

Brain within her skull. She is a picture

Of petrified terror, eyes weeping blood.


And now comes the real horror. From somewhere

Deep within her comes the sound of violent,

Agonised retching, weird, disembodied,

As if some hideously sick creature

Has taken root in her gut, dragging up

Her intestines as it heaves and lurches

In its own corrosive pain. Bilious,

Bloody froth bubbles and spits in her mouth

As an acidic warning, a sign of

The outpouring to come. Her mouth will be

The passageway for all sorts of matter

Dredged up from Hell – a knotted ball of curled,

skinless bodies, chaotically entwined,

Unravelling and spilling as a mass

Of tiny human legs and arms, rodents,

Worms, giant roaches and maggots, tumbling

And slopping in a soupy cascade – slurped

Finally by the flopping terrible

Tongue of a bowel-busting bottom feeder.

And poor Tommy thought he’d come here for kicks!

The only kick here is the brutal boot

To his own gut. Doubled up in disgust,

He coughs up stuff he didn’t know he had

Inside him but the shock has just begun.

A hand, unknown, inconceivable, grabs

The back of his head, squeezes, crushing bone

And pulping brain, which oozes through fingers

That now push what’s left of Tommy’s head

Down with a satisfying, final SPLAT!

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Weekend: Apr. 25, 2019, Apr. 28, 2019

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