ZOMBIE (1979)
posted 00/00/2008

Directed by:
Lucio Fulci

Tisa Farrow ... Anne Bowles
Ian McCulloch ... Peter West
Richard Johnson ... Dr. David Menard
Al Cliver ... Brian Hull

Country: Italy
Runtime: 91 min
Original title: Zombi 2
AKA: Zombie Flesh Eaters,
Zombie 2: The Dead are Among Us,
Island of the Living Dead

Classic splatter-cinema would be nowhere without the excellent efforts of one overweight, bearded gentleman named Lucio Fulci. To some, the name conjures up images of violent disemboweling and eye-gouging, but to many others he is relatively unknown. My guess is that if you are reading this right now then you have some idea who Fulci is and you probably also know that he is the king of Italian gore films. Forget Bava's mood pieces and Argento's pace, Fulci makes movies that deliver. When you plop your weary ass (why it's weary, I won't ask) down on the couch and watch a Fulci film, you are transported to a gruesome, hyper-fantastical world of decadent violence with flourishes of brilliance splattered about. Now, I will agree that not all Fulci films are wonderful works of gut-punching art, but a great Fulci film is like a sledgehammer to the groin, and this movie, Zombie, is a spiked sledgehammer set ablaze.

We begin the film in New York, where a seemingly abandoned boat drifts into the harbor. When the coast guard boards the boat, they are instantly attacked by a zombie and mayhem ensues. Afterwards, we find out that the boat was owned by a doctor who disappeared somewhere in the Caribbean while researching something or other. The guy's daughter, Anne Bowles, and reporter Peter West decide to investigate. Anne is played by Tisa Farrow from Antropophagus and Only God Knows. They team up with some tourists, another couple, and come upon the deserted island of Matul in the Antilles which looks pleasant enough until the living dead start to rise from their graves! So begins the wildest, greatest zombie massacre ever filmed, and yes I think in some respects it tops Dawn of the Dead.

First of all, the zombies in this movie are the best I've ever seen. Especially the famous skull-faced gentleman with the worms in his eye socket! AWESOME STUFF! Second of all, the kills in this film are beyond amazing! There is an amazing, cringe-worthy scene in which a beautiful naked woman has her head forced toward a broken doorway by a rather violent zombie, and the closer she gets you start to realize that he's going to poke her in the eye with a splintery piece of door, and the final gory finish has to be seen to be believed. If you have seen it, then it has probably stayed with you for a long while. It still gives me the chills and that scene tops anything from Romero's movies. And those great weird touches throughout like the zombie fighting a REAL SHARK? Come on, where else are you going to see that!

The end is a gory, violent assault that ends in fiery heaps, and when you reach the credits you realize that now even New York has been zombiefied because of that zombie from the beginning! Which would make this film a pseudo-prequel to Romero's movies, but in actuality this film was presented in Italy as a sequel to Dawn of the Dead, which was co-financed by Argento and re-cut by him for the Italian release. But in any case, if you love zombies or gore or violent kills, then you owe it to your disturbed self to go out and buy this film, because it is definitely a crucial part of any red-blooded horror fan's collection.

- Jose Prendes


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