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!