Zombie (1979)


aka Zombi 2 by Lucio Fulci

This is a gore masterpiece and my husband and I were lucky enough to catch a remastered big screen revival at the Alamo Drafthouse the other night. This was not a sequel but was originally called 2 so as not to confuse it with Romero’s Dawn of the Dead which had just been released in Italy under the name Zombi. But it was also trying to exploit that film’s success.

It stars mostly people who I haven’t heard of, including Tisa Farrow, very clearly Mia’s sister, who quit Hollywood and became a nurse. Can’t say I blame her. And lots and lots of terrible, out of sync dubbing. No one seems to have spoken the same language here.

At this point in his career Fulci was supposedly quite bitter and calling it in, but this is so good I doubt that. First, many shots bespeak of his director’s eye, like the well-chosen locations and excellent composition. Second, shark versus zombie, yes I am writing that again, shark versus zombie. Brilliant! Who thinks of such an amazing thing when just calling it in? Also, nude scuba diving is a nice touch.

Fulci’s other flicks are also known for their gore and extreme drama and while not as stylish as say Argento was with Suspiria, I think he is important and explored horror in gorier ways than his Italian contemporaries. He was out to shock, and that’s fine by me.

There are the same old sexist, Italian elements, pretty girls, kinda dumb and easily stunted by fear. Macho, but older guys, telling the women to calm down while really not accomplishing much themselves. And there is a good bit of boring exposition and dumb arguments about nothing between characters. But that passes quickly enough and gets to the fun stuff. Fulci isn’t making any great social commentary here, which is one of Romero’s strengths in his zombie films, but this movie is a blast and does give a gore loving audience what it wants.

Molotov cocktails, head chopping, head-shooting, shoddy hospital practices, voodoo, dismemberment and revived conquistador zombies. Great big bites of jugulars with lots of blood squirting out. However, there are also pretty islands, underwater shots and the Brooklyn Bridge (one of my favorite places) so in other words, great scenery. This is something my partner in crime astutely names as a strength of the Euro directors – they really appreciate and utilize the local settings. And once again, shark versus zombie, and honestly the zombie really seems to be getting the upper hand in this battle.

Finally, it’s hilarious, the poor dubbing coupled with extreme gore is a laugh-out-loud riot. And did I mention, SHARK VERSUS ZOMBIE? In what has to be the best (only?) underwater zombie fight scene ever.


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