Saturday, August 8, 2009

Zombie (aka Zombi 2) (1979)

Fear 1/5
Gore 5/5
Entertainment 4/5
Creepiness 1/5

Despite the fact that this film is truly a bad film, I love it to death. This may be due to the fact that underneath the cheese and goofiness, the glaring continuity errors, the poor dialogue and the general overall ugliness of the film, it's remarkably entertaining. It is, after all, an Italian gorefest from the 70's, so really, it couldn't fail.

Lucio Fulci became an icon of the horror world after this film hit theaters - in some places at least. It was banned in a few countries for the violent content and ridiculous gore. Fulci would go on the direct a few other notable horror classics ( The House by The Cemetery, The Gates of Hell, The Beyond, etc.) but none would pack the punch that Zombie did.

Story wise, Zombie is pretty straight forward: A reporter with an awesome comb-over and whose office is an historical artifact of it's own - desks with ashtrays where computers should be - joins a woman in search of her father who was last heard from doing research on a remote island in the Caribbean. They catch a ride out to the island with a bearded Gordon Lightfoot looking dude and his wife who spends half of the movie naked. They find the island, but find that the woman's father is long dead and that most of the island's population has also passed on. Or so they think. They soon learn from the other doctor working there that most of the dead are coming back to life. Oh, also, the boat they arrived in has a busted crankshaft or something and they can't leave. There you go - Night of the Living Dead, but on an island instead of in a house.

A few notable scenes:

1) There is an amazing scene where a zombie wrestles and starts to eat a shark. Though filmed in a salt water tank with a shark who was given sedatives and fed a pile of food before hand, it's still pretty crazy that a man in zombie makeup actually fought a live shark. He's got no air tank and the shark appears to have a real set of choppers. After seeing actual footage of a guy getting his calf bitten off by a shark on the Discovery Channel the other night (who doesn't love "Shark Week") I have to say, that scene alone is priceless.

2) The infamous eyeball scene. Simply put, a woman's head is slowly pulled into a chunk of splintered wood and her eye is brutally, slowly and painfully stabbed and pulled out. For latex and syrup styled effects, it's pretty effective. I've seen this movie maybe 10 times and I still cringe. . . and laugh.

It's not a flawless film. In fact, it's overflowing with them. The doctor's beard flips from 5 o'clock shadow to full and thick from scene to scene. Great effort appears to have been spent on realistic gore effects like the afore-mentioned eyeball scene, or the scene where the zombies are gut-munching on the torn apart remains of the doctor's wife: both truly gruesome. And some of the details are pretty icky too - zombies rising from the ground with live worms crawling in their eye sockets. But at other times, the effects almost feel like an afterthought. Bullets to the head of the zombies are nothing more than slight splatters of red on their foreheads. And the majority of the zombies seem to just be covered in some crunchy looking fake skin and raspberry jam.

Still, perfection and quality take a backseat when you come knocking at Zombie's door. Boobs, eyeball gore, gut-munching mania and pure, squirmy, dumb-ass entertainment are what you're going to get.

I'll say it, I'll say it!! One of the greatest zombie films ever. There. Suck it.

- Complaint Dept


Radiation Cinema! said...

POT: I still don't know how the got the footage with the shark! Was the shark drugged, maybe, or was the actor just crazy? Either way, a real jaw-dropper of a scene! -- Mykal

Tower Farm said...

I'm not a huge fan of this movie, but I agree the effects are actually pretty good compared to similar movies of the time. Love the eyeball scene!