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In Lucio Fulci's genre classic "Zombi 2", the dead rise once again to terrorize and consume the flesh of the living, this time Caribbean style! Those new to Fulci should note "Island of the Flesh-Eaters", "Zombi 2", and the more commonly known "Zombie" all refer to the same film. Though there is no "Zombi 1", Fulci's film was titled "Zombi 2" to capitalize on the commercial success of Romero's "Dawn of the Dead". Though marketed as a sequel in Italy, the only similarities to Romero's classic are the title and the fact that the dead rise to eat the flesh of the living. Instead of being a metaphor for consumerism, "Zombi 2" is a straight-out adventure story that ends in a horrific, apocalyptic nightmare. The plot is fairly straightforward, and more or less exists simply as a structure to hang scenes of extreme gore and terror on. Dr. Bowles's boat floats into New York Harbor missing its crew and carrying an undead passenger. The doctor's daughter (Tisa Farrow), dead set on finding out what happened to her father, teams up with journalist Peter West (Ian McCulloch) and heads to the cursed island of Matool, where a zombie epidemic is growing and Dr. Bowles's friend, Dr. Menard (Richard Johnson), is desperately trying to find a cure. Will Anne find her father? Will Dr. Menard find a cure? Will our heroes escape? In all honesty, who really cares? Because those in the "know" already know you don't come to a Fulci film looking for Shakespeare. What "Zombi 2" lacks in plot development and continuity, it more than makes up for in atmosphere, intensity, and of course the trademark Fulci gore. Some of the unique high points are the never-duplicated zombie-versus-shark vignette, the rising of the Spanish zombie conquistadores, and Fulci's trademark eye shot. Fans of Italian/apocalyptic/cannibal/zombie films should not miss "Zombi 2". Along with "The Beyond", it defines the genre. "--Rob Bracco"
From the Back Cover
In 1979, director Lucio Fulci (The Beyond) set out to create a movie experience that would become the ultimate in flesh-eating terror. Fulci's film quickly became a worldwide sensation and more than two decades later remains one of the most graphically depraved shockers in horror history. Tisa Farrow (Manhattan), Ian McCulloch (Zombie Holocaust), Richard Johnson (The Haunting) and Olga Karlatos (Keoma) star in this carnage classic about an onslaught of ravenous corpses that threatens to devour an island in the Caribbean and head straight for the streets of New York City. This is the notorious disc that DVD Review says "belongs in every horror film collection". This is the bloody mother of all Italian zombie epics presented in all its eye-gouging, throat-ripping, gut-munching glory. This is Zombie!
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One particularly imaginative, visually stunning and powerfully shocking sequence takes place entirely underwater and depicts a skin divers confrontation with both a live shark and an apparently amphibious ghoul. The said shark appears first, thus establishing a sense of menace and impending peril ( so that one expects a shark attack on the skin diver to ocure ), then the divers subsequent encounter with the aquatic ghoul provides an unexpected and horrifying twist!
Another amazing and horrifying scene, featuring very good acting, editing and make up effects work, is set in a graveyard and depicts a freshly revived corpse, with a hideous rotted visage, slowly rising, like an erecting penis, from the soil while a young girl observes visibly transfixed with intense amazement, revulsion and horror ( which is very convincingly conveyed by her facial expression ), the viewer cutting repeatedly between the two subjects all the while.
Another very creepy and well done scene has a terrified woman urgently attempting to push a door closed, while another, yet unseen force pushes simultaniously from the other side. Then the viewer pans over to a close up of the doors gape, through which a rotted human hand, pressing against the door, is barely visible!
In this same previously related scene, the zombie, having punched it's arm through a wooden vent in the door, grabs the womans hair and pulls her by her scalp. Then a large jagged splinter ( formed by one of the busted and protruding wooden shingles ) pierces her eye ( graphic close ups of the jagged wood puncturing and slowly demolishing the soft moist orbal tissue ),then breaks loose and remains deeply embedded in the eye of the now screaming woman! This scene is not only grisly and explicite ( which it certainly is indeed ) but, moreover, it also effectively demonstrates the zombies utter lack of pity and humanity ( they'll stop at nothing to gain their victim and sate their hunger, and will commit the cruelest enormity in the process of same ), thus making them more sinister and terrifying!
The scenes depicting the plague victims ( set in a rather crude makeshift hospital converted from an old spanish mission ) are also very creepy, grotesque and disturbing. Particularly a scene in which a heap of bloody, bound and shoud-covered corpses are collectively dumped into a large grave, to the aural accompaniment of loud, ominous, haunting and very authentic sounding native chants, wails and drumbeats.
Now, this movie gets routinely dismissed, by many reviewers, as a "rip off" or "imitation" of George Romero's Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead for the obvious fact that it features the same basic theme of contagious cannibalistic zombies but, none the less, this film really is a classic in it's own right. And, despite that standard old "rip off" allegation, it actually does have some elements which do distinguish it from Romero's zombie movies,.. like the island setting, voodoo theme, the rotted look of the zombies and much grimmer over-all tone. I've always thought that Fulci did basically the same thing with flesh eating zombies that Hammer studios did with the old Universal monsters ( Dracula, Frankenstien, The Mummy, Werewolf, Phantom of the opera,.. etc. ) or that Sergio Leone did with the western,.. . that is he took the basic theme and gave it a completely different and unique look, ambiance and mood,.. recaste it into a whole different meilieu, so to speak. And for that he definitely deserves his fair share of admiration and acclaim.
The gore and make up effects ( by Gianetto DeRossi ) are certainly one of this films strong points. The zombies ( in divers states of disfigurement and decay ) are very realistic and frightening looking. They are also even better portrayed than in most other films. Though they ambulate very slowly ( as other reviewers have already noted ) they're also completely silent with no expression. They don't leer or stagger and make allot of noise ( grunt groan or go "Ehhh!.. Ehhhh!! .. Ehhhhhhh!!" ) like in other zombie flicks. These zombies actually seem to sort of sneak up on their victims. Approaching them very slowly, silently and sedately ( in a seemingly mesmerized or somnambalised state ), then suddenly BITING real quickly them when they get near, which makes them more creepy and frightening to me.
The soundtrack and original musical score ( by Fabio Fizi and Giorgio Cascio ) is another of this films noteworthy qualities. Truly eerrie, nightmarish and, at times, even sensual,.. almost like a more macabre version of Tangerine Dream. And it perfectly suits the mood and imagery of this film. And, even despite these many alLegations, made by other posters, about "poor writing and bad acting", it actually does have some interesting plot elements and a few interesting characters and decent performances from some talented actors among it's cast. In particular, Richard Johnson as the scientist character who's trying obsessively to determine a "rational cause for the phenomenon" ( right,.. he is NOT a mad scientist "creating" the zombies, as some other "reviewers" have erroneously stated ) while scoffingly dismissing the natives assertions about "voodoo" and "demonism", and being driven increasingly perplexed and frustrated by his own futile efforts ( "Nothing fits!!!" ), and his terrified and distressed wife ( played by a certain Olga Karlatos, most recognizable from the 1980's blockbuster hit Purple Rain ) who just wants to depart the "damn island" before the ever-amassing menace overruns the place and claims her victim,. .. which it indeed does eventually ( she's the victim of the grisly eye puncturing related previously )!
If you want a creepy, atmospheric and, oh yes, gruesome horror film ( and THOSE are qualities which I certainly value and admire in a horror flick ) then this is a flick that I would definitely recommend to you.
"Too late!! Too late!! It's a waste of time to lock the doors!! For they will be here soon, . . to destroy us,.. . ALL!!!!
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Zombie (1979), directed by Lucio Fulci, is a classic gory zombie film. The story follows Peter, a reporter looking for a story, and Anne, a woman in search of...Read more