The Final Gate, by Lucas Magnum and Welsey Southard
I'm not a huge fan of Italian horror, but I like it well enough. I dig the Zombi and Demons movies, and a handful of others. But I really like Fulci's Gates of Hell trilogy – The Beyond, The House by the Cemetery, and the City of the Dead. So, when I came across The Final Gate, which reviews have called almost a fourth story in that series, I was definitely interested.
Honestly, though, I was pretty skeptical, too. I didn't think it was possible for fiction to capture what makes those movies so great. But, I tried to go in with an open mind. Turned out that was a good thing, because I really dug this book. No, it doesn't totally capture what makes the Gates of Hell movies so much fun, but I don't think any book really can, so that's not really a mark against it. This is probably as close as you're gonna get to a faithful adaptation of a Fulci movie.
What Magnum and Southard really did that worked was capture the feel of the characters, their attitudes, and the general air of a Fulci movie. The plot felt weird and off kilter, yet it made a weird sort of sense, too, which is what I like best about those movies. Actually, by the numbers, what's going on at St. Luke's Orphanage makes more sense that a lot of Fulci or Argento movies, but that's a point in its favor.
My only complaint was that there was a part in the third act that dragged a bit. Felt like it could've ended, but then it just went on. Other than that, though, I'd have to say the reviews are pretty on the money. If you really dig Fulci's Gates of Hell trilogy, The Final Gate, by Lucas Magnum and Wes Southard, is about as close as you're ever going to get to a final story in that saga.
4 rotting zombie heads out of 5.