George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead was called Zombi in Italy and was a hit, so when Italian Horror master Lucio Fulci created his own zombie gore classic, it was released in Italian theaters as Zombi 2 to cash in on Dawn’s popularity, but Zombie, as it’s known in the USA, is it’s own movie. The action and eating take place, after a bloody opening sequence of a zombie occupied boat entering a New York City harbor, on the remote Caribbean island of Matul and is the product of voodoo being used to raise the flesh eating dead from their graves. The boat entering NYC waters belonged to a doctor and the story centers on reporter Peter West (Ian McCulloch) and the missing doctor’s daughter, Anne (Tisa Farrow), traveling to the fictional island to find the doctor’s whereabouts. Once there, they and a couple, Bryan and Susan (Al Cliver and Auretta Gay) whose boat they rented, soon discover a living nightmare and that a horrible fate may be in store for all of them as their boat is damaged and they are trapped on the island with the ravenous dead.
The gore is shocking and the zombies are far grosser looking then even Romero’s and while it is smaller in scope, it is very creepy and atmospheric when not splattering blood and guts all over the screen. Much like all of Fulci’s horror films, Zombie has a surreal nightmarish quality to it to go along with all the gore such as the climactic battle against the army of walking dead set in a burning church turned hospital ward. The film’s haunting visuals are courtesy of cinematographer Sergio Salvati and has a haunting score by frequent Fulci collaborator, Fabio Frizzi. The film has many shocking moments, but is most famous for the ‘eyeball’ scene and the underwater shark v.s. zombie scene witnessed by shapely topless diver Susan. I personally prefer the work of Fulci over the more popular, but in my opinion somewhat overrated, Dario Argento.
One of my all time favorite horrors and a must watch during the Halloween season. Recently remastered on a beautiful blu-ray from Blue Underground. Still one of the greatest zombie movies ever made.
4 Fulci zombies!
WARNING: TRAILER IS VERY GRAPHIC!
ZOMBIE HOLOCAUST (1979)
Zombie Holocaust is a gore-soaked Italian cult classic also known under it’s more infamous title (and edit) of Dr. Butcher M.D. It’s the story of an outbreak of cannibalism in NYC and across the U.S. and the investigation into these horrible events which leads Health Dept. Dr. Peter Chandler (Zombi’s Ian McCulloch) and his team to a small island in the South East Pacific. Not only does Chandler and company find a tribe of cannibals waiting there, but a mad scientist, Dr. Obrero (Donald O’Brien) and his horde of zombies as well. Can any of them escape alive?
Not only was this film inspired by the success of Lucio Fulci’s Zombi, it also borrows stars McCulloch and Dakar, as well as, films on some of the same sets and locations. Director Marino Girolami is no Fulci, but he delightfully takes us through this goofy story filled with cannibal feasts, hideous surgical procedures and zombie attacks. And when he’s not spilling blood and entrails, he’s finding ways to get sexy anthropologist, Lori (Alexandra Colli) out of her clothes…and that happens almost as often as the spilling of body parts. The gore isn’t quite up to Zombi’s standards either, but there is plenty and it spatters in the appropriate…or inappropriate, depending on your point of view…amounts. And who can pass on a flick that has both cannibals AND zombies!
This is a fun midnight movie and a welcome addition to any Italian gore film festival so, crack open a brew…or three…and have a bloody good time. Due to the films’ similarities, this is also know as Zombie 3 in some parts of the world thought there actually would be a Zombie 3 with Fulci attached later in 1988.
3 not quite up to Fulci standards zombies!