ZOMBIE HOLOCAUST (1980)
posted 00/00/2008

Directed by:
Marino Girolami

Starring:
Ian McCulloch ... Dr. Peter Chandler
Alexandra Delli Colli ... Lori Ridgeway
Sherry Buchanan ... Susan Kelly
Peter O'Neal ... George Harper

Country: Italy
Runtime: 84 min
Original title: Zombi Holocaust
AKA: Dr. Butcher M.D.
Dr. Butcher, Medical Deviate
 
 
   

This is neither a zombie movie nor a holocaust. Though this UK title (the one I have) is the closest to the original Italian title: Zombi Holocaust, I prefer the U.S. video title better: Dr. Butcher, Medical Deviate; I feel it best describes the movie as a whole. It’s basically one deviate doctor running experiments on an island using the native cannibals and turning some of them into zombies. But the zombies don’t show up till 50 minutes into the movie and this is an 84 minute film. They really don’t do much but get attacked, smashed and burned.

The weird thing about this movie is that I can’t figure out whether the cannibals and their sect and practices are the plot or "Dr. Butcher" and his whacked out experiments on the island are the main plot. Watch the movie and you tell me. What a mess we have got here on our hands. I stated above that the "Dr. Butcher" main plot seems best but if you watch the film all through, the cannibals and their practices could very well be a stand alone main plot.

In a New York city hospital corpses are being vandalized. A hand and then a heart goes missing. Aparently this has been happening elsewhere in N.Y. city? Soon they catch a nurse cutting out a heart and eating it. Startled, he jumps out the window to his death. They recognize an X tattoo on his chest as being a member of the Sect of Kito, supposedly a vicious cannibal sect on the island of Kito. Dr. Lori Ridgeway who works as a doctor in the hospital just also happens to be an archeologist familiar with the Kito crap. She even has an authentic Kito ceremonial sword in her apartment. Someone, most likely a Kito goon, breaks into her apartment and steals the sword. This warrants an expedition to Kito to figure out what’s going on.

Dr. Peter Chandler organizes the expedition with the help of Dr. Obrero aka Dr. Butcher, a man that is familiar with the island and has worked there in the past. Along for the ride are George, Peter’s assistant and Susan, a journalist. Dr. Butcher warns the party that the Kito natives are "cruel, superstitious and absolutely unwilling to accept any form of civilization."

Soon the laborers are turning up dead in various ways: mauled and impaled by booby traps, disemboweled and eaten. While Lori is sleeping a cannibal sneaks into her tent and she emotionlessly whacks him with a machete to the top of the head, killing him instantly. Later the whole party gets attacked. Susan gets chased into the woods and lassoed with a bright red ribbon (I kid you not). Peter is captured and George has his eyes poked out, is disemboweled, and eaten. Very nicely done poking out of the eyes.

Then a couple of zombies walk into the scene and the cannibals flee (I guess they are frightened. They are bloodthirsty cannibals for crying out loud, oh, I almost forgot, they are superstitious!) leaving Peter and Lori alive. Lori calls them "the strange creatures who saved us". Later they meet up with Dr. Butcher on the island. He has prepared a small rubber raft with a motorized propeller on the back waiting for them at the beach so they could escape to safety. When Peter and Lori get there one of the strange creatures who had saved them (zombies) attacks Peter. He rips off the motorized propeller and smashes the swift moving blades into the zombie’s head. This scene was excellent and the best executed gore scene in the movie.

Meanwhile Dr. Butcher, operating in a large barn on the island, has scalped Susan and plans to remove her brain and put it into a native’s head. He says his work will extend the human life span one hundred years more. Sure it will! Peter and Lori head back to the barn. Peter gets tied up and prepped for brain surgery and I don’t remember how Lori ends up with the cannibals inside a large cave, fully naked, having cannibal girls paint blue flowers on her body. Maybe they were trying to rip off the scene from Mountain of the Cannibal God. Lori appears not to have been drugged but passively accepts her preparation for ritual sacrifice.

Peter manages to break free. Some zombies come at him but he sets them on fire. The natives and cannibals break in, attacking the zombies (not afraid anymore) and Dr. Butcher. They bring Lori with them who they have apparently decided not to sacrifice. (Why not ?) The shack burns down with Dr. Butcher in it.

This movie was mediocre, and I hate mediocre movies. It felt like the director worked half-assed. If you see the interview with him in the extras he really doesn’t seem to care much for his work. He says he has never seen this movie, not even the dailies. The gore and half decent nudity help the film. I like cannibal movies and I love bad movies. Hey, it could have been worse.

- Jorge Antonio Lopez

 

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