posted 00/00/2011

Directed by:
Bruno Mattei

Margit Evelyn Newton ... Lia Rousseau
Franco Garofalo ... Zantoro
José Gras ... Lt. Mike London
Gabriel Renom ... Max

Country: Italy, Spain
Runtime: 101 min
Original title: Virus
AKA: Night of the Zombies,
Zombie Creeping Flesh

Lab worker one, "There must be a source of leakage along the terminal." Lab worker two, "My God, the needle is running right off the scale." So begins another lab-accident-zombie-film. This cheesy Italian B-flick is directed by Bruno Mattei (Rats - Notte di Terrore, Scalps) and co-directed by Claudio Fragasso (Troll 2). When you wander onto Italian B-cinema you can often expect a fantastic schlock-fest. This was a fairly good example of that and a somewhat entertaining zombie jungle adventure.

Hope Labs are developing a gas-like virus to control overpopulation. Tucked away in the remote New Guinea jungle, the lab mishap spawns flesh-eating zombies that massacre everyone and spread out across the jungle. Independent reporters question the ethics of dousing surplus folks with deadly gas. Before the media can expose the zombie accident a special swat team of incompetent clowns are sent in to blow up the compound and kick some zombie ass. Lia, a reporter, and her cameraman Max are also there to get in the way... I mean get the scoop on a socially relevant story. Eventually the swat guys meet the reporters and are forced to travel together when their jeep breaks down.

The local tribe is doing their jungle mumbo-jumbo and trying to deal with the zombie infestation as best they can. Lia thinks it’s a good idea to communicate with them on their level so she strips down to just a grass skirt, paints her oh-so-tender body and struts their way. We are given a cheap bonding scene where the swat men and the tribe laugh and relax to a drumbeat conga. There is also a sweet disembowelment of man or animal, I really couldn’t tell. Be sure to watch out for several close ups of dried up black breasts during the festivities. I have a newfound respect for brassieres. Anyway, the zombies crash the party and chomp on some people. The swat dudes shoot down as many as they can before continuing into the jungle. Shots of them traversing the terrain are interspersed with wild nature stock footage to make the place feel more dangerous, you know?

Meanwhile it seems that the zombies have spread further out and the news picks up on this. There are some really boring scenes of political officials and African leaders debating the zombie outbreaks. The swat team and reporters find a large abandoned house with a zombie Grandma on a rocker and a zombie cat eating her guts. Soon more zombies show up and there’s more headshots and zombie taunting. That’s right zombie taunting. Zantoro, a swat jackass, thinks it’s funny to get in the middle of zombie crowds and taunt them. He does this on two separate occasions. Thankfully, during the latter, he wasn’t so lucky. Dumb-ass! The group figures out early on that ONLY head shots kill zombies but they seem to forget this and waste ammunition shooting up their torsos? It’s as if the director said, "Go ahead and shoot around like crazy!". Another swat dork decides to dress up in women’s clothes he found downstairs. Once again, thankfully, he gets eaten for his idiotic behavior.

The survivors eventually arrive upon a conveniently placed raft on the beach. They head towards the island laboratory. As soon as they get there they split up and get killed. There are some decent gore gags and zombie craziness. I couldn’t have asked for a better ending to such dumb characters. They ALL get eaten and we get to see the reporter lady’s boobs, which is pretty sweet. If she lost her clothes and fought the zombies naked, to her death, I would have stood up and rooted. Later we see zombies attacking a couple in a city park. Seems like the blood has just begun to spill!

I thought this film was decent for a lazy weekday pick-me-up. There’s nothing new in the way of exciting gore kills or character depravity except for the zombie cat and Zantoro’s zombie taunting. If you really dig Italian zombie movies this might entertain you but for me it’s just another zombie movie.

- Jorge Antonio Lopez


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