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I think most lovers of horror movies love a zombie picture, but to be perfectly fair how often does a zombie give you a scare. Yes people will always say that George Romero's Dawn Of The Dead is the finest movie of its style, but did it give you any scares? While American George Romero and Italian director Dario Argento were feverously working away in Pennsylvania, another Italian director called Lucio Fulci was filming another zombie movie all across the globe. Although they filmed at the same time Romero's movie was released first, and the feisty Italians who saw Dawn Of The Dead released in Italy as Zombi chose to sneakily release Fulci's movie as Zombi 2 (UK audiences saw it as Zombie Flesh Eaters while in the US is was known as Zombie) an unofficial sequel to Romero's movie (which in turn was a sequel to the movie Night Of The Living Dead). The result saw Fulci's movie quickly sold across the globe, but while Dawn Of The Dead scored for gore, Fulci's scored on the grounds of scares, and was promptly banned in almost every country across the globe.
In New York a deserted boat runs havoc with passing ships and ferries, the harbour patrol head in to investigate and discover a giant walking zombie with a thirst for human flesh. The boat belongs to Anne Bowles' (Tisa Farrow, sister of Mia) father, and she is very concerned as to his whereabouts' having not heard from him in some considerable time. After teaming up with reporter Peter West (Ian McCulloch) the pair head for an island in the vicinity of the Dominican Republic in search of answers, teaming up with an American couple, arriving on the island reveals a horror darker than they ever expected, chances of survival, minimal.
While not exactly a movie that rewards the viewer with repeat viewings, Zombi 2 is by far one of the best made and most harrowing zombie movies ever. Although some of the performances are a little weak every single scene is beautifully shot, every moment of terror a real edge of your seat affair. Fulci's zombies are utterly disgusting looking, and far more terrifying than Romero's ever could be.
You cannot help but think of Texas Chainsaw Massacre as the first zombie makes its appearance, in TCM the first time you see Leatherface he pulls open a door at speed and clubs a young man over the head with a hammer, here the first zombie crashes through a door grabbing a man; slightly different but the comparisons are striking. This is arguably one of the most aggressive scenes of the movie.
While the above scene is striking its not the most memorable, one scene caused the censors in the UK and other a few other countries a lot of headaches. A character whilst trying to protect herself from a zombie onslaught is grabbed through a hole in a door, and slowly pulled forward. It's when you see what the character is pulling pulled onto however that the captivation for the scene begins, you see what is happening, you understand what's happening, but in your head your saying you don't want to see it, however like a car crash you cannot help but look. This now famous eyeball penetration scene sees a piece of wood puncture the woman's eye and then pull it out. The next time you see her its equally as uncomfortable, she is laid on the floor while zombies pick lumps of flesh off her corpse and eat it. In most countries those censors had difficulty editing the eyeball scene, obviously seeing its importance but not wanting to traumatize the viewer.
Slightly more laughable is the also now famous (most recently due to an advert for Windows 7) zombie verses shark scene, in which a zombie and shark have a battle on the ocean floor. It's very silly but at the same time so incredibly clever, to film a fight scene underwater with a very small budget is a tremendous achievement, and for the actor playing the zombie no clear breathing equipment.
The performers make the movie what it is, British Actor Ian McCulloch heads up the cast, and rather surprisingly has not found himself redubbed for a English language release like a lot of other Italian movies. Best known in the UK McCulloch starred in the popular TV series the Survivors, he also had a three hit run of successful Italian horror movies firstly Zombi 2, then Zombie Holocaust AKA Dr Butcher MD, and finally Contamination AKA Alien Contamination. Richard Johnson a much established and successful actor of the day makes a somewhat surprising appearance as Dr Meynard, while popular actors often turned up in Italian movies more often than not it was at the end of their prime, Johnson at this point was still a very known and current performer. Popular Italian actor Al Cliver also appears alongside Tisa Farrow who I can only presume was cast due to the Farrow name and her relationship to Mia. While the likes of Cliver, and other Italian stars suffer from a touch of bad dubbing on English language releases the performances are of a much higher standard than a lot of similar movies of the day, director Fulci is known for not caring too much about his cast as his career in the horror industry continued here near the start its clear he did care.
Zombi 2 has a lot of great trivia and tales that surround it, the fact that they turned up in New York and filmed in very public locations without any permission being the most interesting aspect. A little known tale is the fact that the movie was in a pre-production state for some years and was originally ordered as a Zombie Western based on a popular Italian comic. Most interesting especially if you have not ever heard of the movie before is the fact that profit wise it's the most profitable zombie movie of all time, coming hot on the heels of Dawn Of The Dead the world was wanting zombie movies and the film had made its initial cost dozens of times over before anybody had even seen it, in Italy alone it had made over a billion lira profit before even the makers had seen it properly.
Most importantly the film changed the direction of a once hugely successful director, making Lucio Fulci immortal in the world of horror. While he had touched on horror with Lizard In A Woman's Skin and Don't Torture A Duckling, (although unconventional horror) the director was known only for comedies and musicals at that point. A bad run of financial luck meant that he sold himself cheaply to work on Zombi 2 and as a result became the most wanted Italian horror movie director of the day. From Zombie 2 Fulci's horror output increased dramatically building successful movie after successful movie, all of which were either banned or heavily censored across the world.
The UK release is a scattered affair, the Vipco/Black Horse editions released after 2004 has portions of the eye scene cut, after 2004 more specifically on the Box Of The Banned Edition is pretty much uncut except for about a second. The US Version on the Shriekshow label is by far the best, completely uncut and with an exciting new documentary, and a number of other features.
If you have never seen Zombi 2 before then I suggest you do with some haste, and if you have never experienced the wonder of Italian horror there are few better starting places, but I worn you this genre can be incredibly addictive.
The most well-known of all of Italian director Lucio Fulci's films, the 1979 horror 'Zombie Flesh Eaters' opens with a seemingly uninhabited yacht floating aimlessly into New York Harbour, but when the coastguard board the craft and investigate they discover it to be occupied by several hideous, rotting, reanimated corpses, with one officer getting bitten to death before they can open fire on the ghouls.
The police discover that the boat belongs to a scientist whose last known whereabouts are a remote carribbean island where he was carrying out reasearch, and along with a newspaper journalist eager for a story the missing man's daughter sets off to find out what has happened to the scientist, hitching a ride with on a young couple's yacht. When they get to the island they are horrifed to discover that the dead have begun rising from the ground to consume the living, and become involved alongside in a desperate struggle to survive.
Zombie Flesh Eaters has some truly memorable scenes, such as one in which an underwater zombie has a fight with a real-life tiger shark, and scenes in which a local scientist sits worriedly by piles of corpses trussed up in canvas bodybags, raising his revolver every now again to shoot the corpses in the head as they return to life and begin to sit up. Another scene sees a scientist's wife get dragged by the hair onto a giant splinter after a zombie smashes its way through the door, her eye slowly becoming impaled on the splinter in graphic detail. The film builds to an impressive finale too, with its protagonists trying to hold off the advancing zombie horde with shotguns and molotov cocktails.
Its a film full of clunky b-movie charm, yet it manages to possess a genuinely creepy and unsettling atmosphere, helped along no end by an eerie synth soundtrack courtesy of Fabio Frizzi. The film makes the most of its low budget, with an abundance of over-the-top gore and old-school latex monster-effects, whilst the ropey editing and photography and average acting only make the film more endearing. All things considered Zombie Flesh Eaters is a cracking old-school zombie flick, and its sequels, whilst not as good, remain worth a watch as well.
Zombie Flesh Eaters, Lucio Fulci's unofficial sequel to George A. Romero's Dawn Of The Dead (or Zombi as it was known in Italy, and as Fulci's film is known in certain territories) isn't up to the delirious, surreal, intoxicating standards of the two undisputable masterpieces in Fulci's oeuvre - The Beyond and City Of The Living Dead - but it IS nonetheless a glorious, deranged and deranging Caribbean-set carnival of excess chock-full of voodoo shenanigans, sinister synth and absurd, hyperbolic gore.
Some of the most memorable Fulci moments are contained herein - the zombie VS shark sequence; the opening scene involving a seemingly abandoned boat, a couple policemen and a fella with the wildest craving for some throats; the rising from the dead of a horde of maggot-riddled Spanish Inquisitors...
The zombies themselves are uniformly excellent - dusty, ruined, ruptured monsters far more rancid and repellent than Savini's offerings for Dawn Of The Dead. Similarly, the gore quotient far exceeds that of its hardly-tame forbear - a totally Uncut version is still unavailable in the UK.
The acting is uniformly dodgy, the dubbing is atrocious, but look beyond that - and really, it's not so difficult - and Zombie Flesh Eaters is revealed - at least once the action locates to the island - as a beautiful, relentlessly violent, claustrophobic horror picture on a par with most anything else the Italians were offering in the 1970s.
Fulci's Zombie Flesh Eaters, or Zombie in America, starts with an empty boat floating into America. Two cops check it out and one gets bitten by a zombie, the only passanger on the boat. The zombie is then shoot and falls into the water. The boat is owned by a professor who had been on a remote Carribean Island. The daughter of the professor and a reporter decide to go and investigate because his daughter, Ann has had no contact with him since he sent a letter saying he had contracted a disease and would die soon. The hitch a ride with a couple of underwater photographers who are going on holiday in the area. On the way they stop and the female photographer goes underwater to get some shots. She is attacked by a shark but is saved when an underwater zombie attacks the shark for to get some lunch. The arrive at the island where they meet another professor who tells them that the locals used voodoo to ressurect the dead. When bitten by these walking corpses you get a disease whihc makes you die and rise again. He set up a hospital to stop this and to shoot the dead so they don't rise again. He tells Ann her father got the disease. He asks the four to go and check on his wife, who is now being devoured. The four run, but crash and have to travel on foot. They rest for a while and are surrounded by zombies, one of them die and they go to the hospital. They now barracade it while the undead slowly break in and kill them. This is an obvious rip off of Romero's Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead. The ending is almost identical to Dawn, and the end shoots, whenthe credits are rolling are almost identical, except in this the zombies are on the bridge. The end doesn't work as well in this film, it tries to be bleak and depressing but the characters are so annoying and stupid, you want them to die and don't really care what happens, where in Dawn you are willing them to survive. The acting in this film is bad and the story is
hardly original. Some of the camera shoi#ts and angles are just annoying. Also this pace of the film is slow and you find yourself looking at the clock finding out that only ten minutes have passed but it felt like an hour. Also they is meaningless nudity, liek going underwater to take pictures topless???? However this film does have its good points, the music, although it does sometimes sound like a chessy computer game is quite haunting and builds a suspensful atmopshere, the only thing that does. Also there is lots of gore, close up's of people getting their necks ripped open and a classic close up of someone getting their eye impaled on a piece of wood. This film is worth a look but don't set your expectations high, lots of gore but no plot or acting. Be warned
Zombie Flesh-Eaters is a nicely conceived, reasonably competently executed horror film from Italian horror maestro Lucio Fulci. It is far from representing the best of Italian horror, and is not even among the director’s own best work, but since this was the film that initially brought Fulci to the attention of horror fans outside Italy it has remained well known and even pretty well liked among Euro-horror fans. Unfortunately, however, the British DVD release does not do the film any favours at all and, as we shall see, it might very well be better to head off and get the film on import (foreign titles include ‘Zombi’ and even ‘Woodoo’) to see the film at anything near its best… THE FILM A boat enters Hudson Bay, New York. It is apparently abandoned, but the two coast guards who board the vessel to investigate and attacked by a man whose flesh is ravaged by disease … a Zombie. The owner of the boat, a scientist, cannot be contacted, and so the police bring in his daughter, Ann, who, it transpires, has not seen her father for months. Meanwhile, a journalist, West, is sent to investigate the case by a local newspaper and, upon investigating the facts of the case, journeys with Ann to the Caribbean where they hope to contact Ann’s father. Upon arrival, they agree to share a boat with Brian and Susan, a couple who were going out on a tour of the islands, and the four set off to find Mutal, the last known location of Ann’s father. Unfortunately, the boat is rammed by a shark and damaged, and the group know that it will require repair soon; luckily, at that moment they come across an island which appears to be Mutal, and land, where they soon meet up with a haggard-looking Doctor who informs Ann of her father’s recent death. It would appear that the dead on the island are coming back to life and, as a local legend says, “when the earth spits out the dead … they wil
l return to tear the flesh of the living.” Whilst the Doctor resolutely refuses to believe that Voodoo has any real power, he is forced to acknowledge that the situation on the island is rapidly spiralling out of control, and that all their lives are in grave peril… THE DISC · Distributor: Stonevision Entertainment [SVD5002]. The only other Stonevision Entertainment DVD I have personally come across is ‘Zombie Holocaust’, a Marino Girolami feature which has many similarities with this film, including Ian McCulloch in the lead and many of the same filming locations. That DVD is uncut, but unfortunately that film is not nearly so good. The Stonevision website is quoted on the back of the sleeve as www.fantasyblue.co.uk; this, as well as the Film Flash extra on this disc, contain reference to Laurel and Hardy DVDs, the US horror film ‘Inseminoid’ and soft porn such as ’11 Days 11 Nights’. · Rating: 18. As expected for a rather bloody Euro-horror affair, although it seems even the assigning of this rating could not save the film from the censor’s scissors. · Region: 0 (PAL encoding). Not region protected, so the disc should play on virtually any player … any player, that is, which supports PAL playback (hence UK, Australia, etc., etc.). · Type and case: DVD5 with dark grey keepcase. The most basic kind of DVD on general release: 12cm, single sided, single layer. The case is a generic keepcase which is somewhat less well designed than the standard Amaray keepcase. · Running time: feature 1:27:07. CUT. Cut cut cut! Cut! Yes, that’s right, this film has been censored, exorcising in particular the end of the one scene for which this film is particularly notorious, in which a zombie pulls a woman’s head onto a wooden splinter, puncturing her eye. When the sleeve of a DVD states that the release “includes materia
l banned since 1983!!” together with warnings such as “contains footage that will shock!”, to find the film cut by the censor is very disappointing indeed. The rest of the disc is actually put together with some competence, but no cut horror film is ever going to get more than two stars out of me. · Picture format: 2.35:1 letterbox widescreen. Very often in the past Zombie Flesh-Eaters has been available only on blurry and scratched VHS copies (often, if truth be told, as nth generation pirates — this is that kind of film) in a cropped 4:3 aspect ratio, and it is nice to see the film here in its original 2.35:1 exhibition ratio with many of the film crackles cleaned off. The print is not anamorphic, and as ever this is rather disappointing, but it is of reasonably good quality for a film of this nature. The resolution is good (helped by the PAL encoding), scratches are present but not numerous, and colours, whilst definitely washed-out in comparison to a modern or big-budget film, are easily watchable and probably faithful to the original prints. · Audio: Dolby Digital Surround. Not a particularly well-defined surround track (the rear speakers just seem to play a lower volume version of what the front ones are playing), but this is somewhat better than the usual mono horror DVD fare. · Subtitles: none. · Extras: Theatrical Trailer, Director’s Filmography, Actors’ Filmographies, Film Flash. The theatrical trailer is the usual Italian horror affair, essentially a slightly scratchy 3 minute clip selection from the film accompanied by the film’s theme and without a voiceover, in 1.85:1 letterbox widescreen. Still, the inclusion of a theatrical trailer is always welcome. The Director’s and Actors’ filmographies are the usual text screens. Filmographies are provided for actors Richard Johnson, Ian McCulloch, Tisa Farrow, and Al Cliver. The Film Flas
h is a rather disappointing and very pointless static screen showing the front covers of several other Stonevision Entertainment releases: four Laurel and Hardy comedies, Inseminoid and 11 Days 11 Nights (under ‘The Joe D’Amato Experience’ series title). · Menus: The main menu is animated, consisting of clips from the film superimposed over the cover artwork and accompanied by the (in my opinion quite catchy) theme tune from the film. The other menus are not animated but are nicely designed and conform to the template set out by the main menu. The menus here are actually rather nice — it is just a shame about the other contents of the DVD. CONCLUSION Actually this DVD is, by the low standards of the horror genre, slightly above average. Animated menus, surround sound and a rather clear print are all a cut above the average (especially when considered against the multitude of UK horror DVDs which are Vipco releases). However, when the film itself is cut, there is little to do but be disappointed. There is, however, some good news on the horizon. Since the BBFC have recently been more lenient with the horror genre and have now passed several infamous horror films uncut, including ‘Zombie Holocaust’ (also released by Stonevision, this is unfortunately a rather poor film) and ‘The Beyond’ (which is a good film, but released in this country by the detestable Vipco — take my advice and import the US release), the Stonevision crew have submitted Zombie Flesh-Eaters to the BBFC again. It is hoped that, on this occasion, the BBFC will pass the film completely uncut, and Stonevision will hence be able to release the film again. The obvious conclusion to be drawn, therefore, is that the UK horror fan should wait just a bit longer before purchasing a copy of Fulci’s Zombie Flesh-Eaters. On the other hand, should anyone want to buy mine…
Lucio Fulci's "ZOMBIE FLESH EATERS" or... "zombie,zombie 2, island of the flesheaters..." as it was called (to cash in on George Romeros living dead movies) is a fun, gore packed late 70's euro horror movie. and is also one of the most notorious "video nasties" of the early eighties... This movie was director Lucio Fulci's first real leap in to the horror genre... (there were hundreds of european cashins of american movies made in the late seventies Fulcis are remembered because they are actualy quite good) he followed Zombie Flesh Eaters" with titles such as "The Beyond", House By The Cemetary" and "City Of The Living Dead" all of which suffered at the hands of the british censors. A sailboat is spotted un manned in the New York harbour, when the harbour patrol board the ship they discover a severed hand... oh yeah and a flesh eating zombie who attacks one of the patrol men and ripps his throat out before being shot several times and falling over board. when the boat is secured the police track down the daughter of the boats owner "Ann" playey by Tisa Farrow (Mia's younger one eyed sister*,Ann confirms thattheboatisdefinately her fathers, but has to admit that she's unsure of his whereabouts Working with a local journalist "Peter West" (played by british actor Ian McCulloch) Ann discovers a letter from her father saying that he has contracted a strange ilness and is unable to leave the carribean island of "Matul" where he has been staying... Ann and Peter fly out to the carribean , and hitch a lift to the island with "Brian and Susan" a couple who own a small boat... After encountering a shark eating zombie(yes) the four make it to the island safe and sound, only to find that things are not as they seem... flesh tearing, scull splitting, brain eating, eye popping fun ensues... I dont t
hink Fulci himself took this genre to seriously, so what you get is a fair, fun and very gory movie, obviously borrowing from other movies of its genre, but who cares it's just fun. Jaws was a classic of the late seventies, but seeing a person eat a shark is much more fun, and in my view quite an amusing parody. After over ten years on the "banned list" the movie was re released in the uk, sadly missing most of the gore scenes it was famous for, it has since been re certified and re released again in a slightly longer form... (f buying the movie go for the unrated euro/us dvd's) The film is not great, but it's not bad either. Not my favourite of Fulcis movies but has a good vibrant feeling to it, doesn't lag, is well paced and if squeemish will make you ill.
This probably has one of the best titles of all time. Fortunately, the film has the guts to back it up, and it delivers the gore goods. 'Zombie Flesh Eaters'.....well, with a name like that, what do you think happens in the film? There are zombies. They eat people. Ok, so there's a little more to it than that. The film, a pretty blatant cash in on the success of Romero's slightly classier undead goons, starts in New York, when a boat turns up in the harbour with a couple of flesh eating passengers. Swiftly, we relocate to a tropical island, where a mad doctor is performing experiments, and the dead are returning to life. You have to love a film with a plot like this.....so simple, yet so intriguing. Well, maybe not, but after all, there's a fine line between stupid and clever. So the dead rise and eat the living. Whats important for a film like this is the grue, and Fulci dishes it out, with the red, red vino on tap flowing fast. This film contains one of the all classic shock scenes, the infamous eyeball puncture. There's plenty of similar action, and much for fans of the zombie sub-genre, or for horror fans in general to enjoy. Its well directed, the acting is fine, and the tropical setting provides a nice background for the carnage. It does ape Romero's flicks, but thats not a bad thing, and it is worthy enough to attain classic status itself. I think there's plenty of room in the world of zombies for two big shots, and those would certainly be Romero and Fulci. I have to admit that this film works really well for me as a comedy as well. I do love zombie flics, but there is something inherently funny about the shuffling corpses. 'Zombie Flesh Eaters' has the most wonderful scene, where a skin diver is saved from a vicious shark attack by a gallant underwater zomb. Inspired ! So, I guess overall there's not much point in reccommending this to horror hat
ers or zombophobes. But if you're into the scene, then this is a gut-munching classic, no doubt.
You look at Zombie Flesh Eaters and you think...Why is it sooo good???? Now the start of the film leaves you in no doubt about where the film is going....A zombie get's his head blown to bits(Although this is missing on the UK version,I think as I haven't seen the newly classified(June2000)version).. The good thing about this movie is that it doesn't have a massive amount of poor plotting and can sometimes even leave you thinking about what you watching.... It doesn't suffer from the usual italien horror vices(Poor sets,too much gore)...and so is considered by many to be a stand-alone work....rather than an imitation of some other film.... If you love horror films go and buy it....If you love Zombie Films go and buy it......If you love Fulci go and buy it....If you want a good laugh go and buy it... Although watch out for the UK BBFC approved version...It utter tripe....
Cunningly entitled Zombi 2 around most of the world to try and trick them into seeing it thinking it was a sequel to George Romeros vastly superior Danw of the Dead (which was titled Zombi in Italy and surrounding areas) this is a film of dire proportions. Directed by Lucio Fulci (An Italian director who has made only one good film - The Beyond) this is all out gore after a slow start. The film starts with some of the best music in an Italian horror film no tmade by Goblin, the keyboard playing in theopeneing tunes is execelent and returns to haunt you throughout the film (which is the only thing that does). The film starts with a boat heading into the harbour, there seems to be no one aboard and when it just drifts in the police go to check it out. Two police men board and when they cant find anyone on deck one goes down to the cabin area. After searching around for a bit he finds a piece of meat of unknown origin covered in bugs and maggots. Suddenly a rather large man attacks him taking a large chunk out of his arm in the process. Hearing his screams the other police man sees the strange man appear on deck. He shhots him a bit before he falls into the water. The boat is found to be owned by doctor who seems to have disappeared after gonig to do some work on an island, When a reporter and the doctors daughter meet both trying to get on the obat to investigate they decide to head to the island to find out what is going on. They hitch a ride with a couple of deep sea divers who are going in that direction. The first thing you notice is that Fulci cant direct ans is nowhere near Dario Argento in terms of style. Argento uses colour through his films to great effect while Fulci uses gore to get him by. Made to cash in on the success of the first two of Romeros Dead trilogy (soon to become a four part series) it looks very cheap and as no plot compared to Dawn of the Dead which has a lot of depth in its characters. When they get to th
e island they discover the zombies are made from somekind of voodoo curse and that the doctor had been infected and hence terminated. Dawn Of The Dead had covered new ground a few years before the release of Zombie Flesh Eaters, and had introduced a very graphic display of carnal horror. Fulci took this approach a few steps further with his films that were produced in Italy, completely detached from the American MPPA rating system that made and still makes American horror filmmakers’ lives quite hard. The filmcontains a number of the most memorable and gut-wrenching scenes of its time, earning both, the film and the director, immediate cult status among horror fans and critics. Most notable are certainly the underwater sequence in which a zombie fights a tiger shark, and the screen filling close-up scene when Olga Karlatos’ eye is pierced by a wooden splinter. Both scenes perfect examples of Fulci’s explicit visual style, that makes good use of extreme close-ups and very dynamic camera work. The scene is also an example for the top notch special effects displayed in the movie. Fulci’s zombies are different from the zombies that graced the silver screen before. Unlike the undead bodies of Romero’s films, which were effectively and frighteningly staged actors with blue face paint and some gushing wounds, Fulci’s zombies resemble walking corpses more than anything else. Usually heavily decayed, unrecognizable creatures, these zombies represent horrors that don’t only come from beyond death, but also from beyond the graves. Every time they enter the screen you can almost smell the scent of their decay and rotten flesh. The ending of this film is good and very bleak, the John Carpenter style music kicks in again and you never find out what becomes of the heros that survive. THe two set off from the island on the boat with their friend who is turning into a zombie, they take him as an example of what ha
s happened on the island so people believe them. They have hope and are pleased they survived, they turn on the raido to hear reports that the whole of New York has been taken over just has the friend locked below has changed and is banging on the door to get out. The films final scenes than cut to New York and we see Zombies walking around and finally over the bridge.....then that music again. The scene in which the eye is stabbed is cut further when the zombies feast on her dead body. The original UK video release of Zombie Flesh Eaters was the uncut version , but fell foul of the Obscene Publications Act, and was prosecuted as a "video nasty". Fulci died a couple of years ago and Anchor Bay are releasing all his films on DVD but dont buy the version currently available by them as its crap, a new special edition is to be released early next year.
What does a viewer really expect (and want) from a zombie film? Well, zombies, of course, but what else? The key, obviously, is lots and lots of blood and gore, including footage of zombies biting into the living and tearing lumps of flesh out of them, killing the person and hence creating more zombies and thereby perpetuating the terror. In addition, viewers expect the main characters to be trapped in some obscure location, usually an abandoned house, and surrounded by the zombies, since due to their slow-moving and clumsy nature the poor creatures pose relatively little threat in the open. Zombie Flesh Eaters does not disappoint on any of these scores, and nor does it fail to contain the other elements common to films of this sub-genre: an almost complete lack of reasoned plot development, characters who are there either to die, be saved, or do the saving, a very cheesy musical accompaniment, and some good old full frontal nudity. And nor should it, since it is directed by none other than Lucio Fulci, the veteran Italian director responsible for seemingly thousands of these type of movies, which I tend to see as the horror genre’s equivalent of the spaghetti western. The film begins as the New York coast guard are alerted to a boat heading into Hudson Bay which appears to be on a collision course with “just about every boat in the harbour.” A patrol boat is sent out to investigate and two officers board the craft. At first the sailing-boat appears to be abandoned, but then one of the coat guards is attacked and killed by a huge man who appears ravaged by disease (he is, of course a zombie, and this should come as no surprise to anyone in a film entitled Zombie Flesh Eaters!). The other coast guard shoots the assailant repeatedly and he falls into the water. The owner of the boat, a scientist, cannot be contacted, and so the police bring in his daughter, Ann, who, it transpires, has not seen her father for months. Meanwh
ile, a journalist, West, is sent to investigate the case by a local newspaper and, upon investigating the facts of the case, journeys with Ann to the Caribbean where they hope to contact Ann’s father. Upon arrival, they agree to share a boat with Brian and Susan, a couple who were going out on a tour of the islands, and the four set off to find Mutal, the last known location of Ann’s father. Whilst diving in the ocean, Susan is attacked, first by a shark and then by a zombie, and manages to make her escape whilst the two fight each other. Unfortunately, the boat is rammed by the shark and damaged, and the group know that it will require repair soon, but at that moment they come across an island which appears to be Mutal, and land, where they soon meet up with a haggard-looking Doctor who informs Ann of her father’s recent death. It would appear that the dead on the island are coming back to life and, as a local legend says, “when the earth spits out the dead … they will return to tear the flesh of the living.” Whilst the Doctor resolutely refuses to believe that Voodoo has any real power, he is forced to acknowledge that the situation on the island is rapidly spiralling out of control, and that all their lives are in grave peril… Right from the very start, the viewer is left in no doubt as to what this movie is all about. This is not a film about love, the human condition or the answer to life, the universe and everything. This is a film about people getting ripped to shreds, zombies getting shot straight between the eyes, corpses rising from the grave, a woman getting a shard of wood stuck in her eye (one of the infamous scenes from the film which is cut to varying degrees in the various versions that are available), as well as other general unpleasantness. This isn’t high art, it’s a zombie movie, and a bloody good one as well, so get the curries and cans of Carlsberg in, tur
n down the lights and enjoy!