Monday, October 31, 2016
Also known as Zombie Flesh Eaters and Zombi 2 (in Italy, it was advertised as a sequel to Dawn of the Dead, which was released as Zombi), Zombie returns the living dead to their Voodoo origins. They still eat people and their bodies are horribly decayed, but they're back in the Caribbean. They may not have Bela Lugosi ordering them around, but they're just as mindless and gory as ever (like a typical Lucio Fulci movie).
Following an incident in New York harbor involving her father's boat, Anne Bowles (Tisa Farrow) journeys to an isolated island where her father, a scientist, was last reported to be. Joining her is investigative reporter Peter West (Ian McCulloch). They find Dr. Menard (Richard Johnson), who is researching a disease sweeping through the island, and before you can say "George Romero," the entire island is crawling with flesh-hungry zombies.
Fulci really gives the film a sense of Hell on Earth, a feeling that world itself is poisoned and decayed. While George Romero's zombie movies have more of a comic-book aesthetic, Fulci's film is darker and nastier. These zombies are rotting, barely held together skeletons with chunks of flesh and maggots crawling all over them. I like how they all lumber with their arms hanging at their sides, as if their limbs are too heavy for them to hold up.
The other famous set piece is the fight between a zombie and a shark. This is a letdown. The shark clearly wants no part of this movie business and tries to swim away while the actor grabs on to it and pretends to wrestle it. Just leave that poor creature alone.
Zombie is blunt, crude, dumb, violent, atmospheric, and bloody. Italian horror of the 70s and 80s is something of an acquired taste, but Fulci knew how to create some unforgettable imagery and include some unintentionally funny nonsense. The final shot of the zombies marching across the bridge into New York would have been one of the coolest images to ever end a horror movie if not for all the passing cars that do not in anyway seem impeded by this impending apocalypse.