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Zombi 2

Zombie
Zombie Flesh Eaters / Gli Ultimi Zombi / Woodoo - Die Schreckensinsel der Zombies / Zombie 2: The Dead are Among us / Island of the Living Dead / Island of the Flesh Eaters / Nightmare Island

Italy 1979
produced by
Fabrizio De Angelis, Ugo Tucci for Variety
directed by Lucio Fulci
starring Tisa Farrow, Ian McCulloch, Richard Johnson, Al Cliver, Auretta Gay, Olga Karlatos, Stefania D'Amario, Dakar, Lucio Fulci, Ugo Bolognia, Ramón Bravo, Franco Fantasia, Leo Gavero
written by Elisa Briganti, music by Fabio Frizzi, Giorgio Tucci (= Giorgio Cascio), special effects by Giannetto De Rossi, cinematography by Sergio Salvati

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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An abandoned yacht is drifting into New York bay, and all 2 cops find aboard is an overweight zombie below deck, who immediately kills one of the cops before he can be shot dead ... well, deader. Of course the dead cop turns into a zombie himself before long and starts killing other people ...

And as if all that wasn' t bad enough, both nosey newspaperman Peter (Ian McCulloch) and Anne (Tisa Farrow), the daughter of the owner of the yacht (Ugo Bologna), decide to snoop around in all of these goings-on a bit, and soon they decide they have to go to the island Matul in the Antilles, where Anne's father was last seen alive and from where he sent Anne a message, claiming he has contracted a terrible disease ...

Peter and Anne hitch a ride to Matul with yachting couple Brian (Al Cliver) and Susan (Auretta Gay), who promise to take them to Matul even if nobody knows exactly where Matul is, The way to Matul is of course easily found when Susan, on a diving expedition in all her topless beauty, meets a zombie (underwater!), who as a matter of fact saves her from a shark when the 2 start to devour each other.

On Matul itself, our quartet soon meets up with doctor Menard (Richard Johnson), who runs the local hospital but  has eventually found the island overrun by zombies - and Anne's father was one of them - and even though he tries to study the zombies' symptoms now, he finds himself at a losing post ... but at least the zombies are only on the other side of the island - or so he thinks. When Menard sends our quartet off to make a social call to hiss wife (Olga Karlatos), they find her already being devoured by zombies, and soon find the zombies going after them too. Peter, Anne and Brian (not Susan) make it back to the hospital eventually, only to find it attacked by zombies as well, an/ pretty much the whole staff including Doc Menard are taken out soon ... and even Brian is injured when his girlfriend Susan - naturally a zombie by then - takes a bite out of his arm. With their last reserves, Peter, Anne and Brian make it to their boat anyhow, and embark on the journey back home, but they have no idea what world they'll be returning to ...

 

It's no secret, Zombi 2 was produced as a quick cash-in on the success of George Romero's Dawn of the Dead (called simply "Zombi" in Italy), and some sources have it that it did even outgross that film in pure revenues - and I will say this, taken on a story level, Zombi 2 is not even in the same universe as Dawn of the Dead: Where Romero's film was an almost satirical piece of social commentary wrapped into the mainstays of modern zombie cinema (a genre Romero of course invented himself with Night of the Living Dead), Fulci's film is rather blunt in narrative and first and foremost focusing on the story's shock moments. And true, Zombi 2 might not even be Fulci's own best zombie movie (at least in my opinion it's beaten handsomely by his Gothic trilogy), it might be his most important film, as it not only cemented his status as a horror great (he had done all sorts of genre movies before, from comedy to western, cop movie to giallo), it also introduced the zombie formula to the Italian filmworld, and arguably, no other country had a higher output of zombie movies in the early 1980s, with the movies usually following this film's mold: A thin storyline carried by over-the-top ideas, explicite violence, an emphasis on decaying bodies, and a certain disregard of narrative logic.

And all that said, for a horror film fan like myself, there's more than plenty to like in Zombi 2, from  its rather slick direction to its very impersonal yet eerily atmospheric score, from its awesome setpieces (the splinter in OIga Karlatos' eye, the shark vs zombie fight) to its underlying feel of creepiness throughout. And as formulaic as this movie may seem, it really grows on one more with each viewing.

Of course, not for the mainstream crowd, but a must for genre fans!

 

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Tales to Chill
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
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Tales to Chill
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Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD