Lucio Fulci’s seminal gut-muncher Zombie (or Zombi 2 as it is sometimes known, as in Italy it was released as a sequel to Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, which is known there as Zombi…confused yet boils n’ ghouls?!!) has always been a favorite of your’s cruelly, and before we even get into the review proper I will whole-heartedly state that every horror hound, zombie lover, and gore aficionado should have this fright flick in their creepy collection…no excuses!
For those unfamiliar with the film, the plot goes like this; Journalist Peter West (Ian McCulloch) is called on to investigate a strange ship that drifted into the waters outside of Manhattan…a ship that seemingly contained flesh hungry zombies! Before long, Peter is joined by Anne Bowles (Tisa Farrow), the daughter of the boat’s owner, and the duo make for the Caribbean to investigate just what in the hell happened to Anne’s father. Once there our heroes hook up with Brian Hull (Al Cliver) and Susan Barrett (Auretta Gay), who just so happen to own a boat agree to take them to the island of Matul to continue their investigation. On Matul, Petey and the gang meet Dr. David Menard (Richard Johnson) who has been researching voodoo rites (and the zombies that result from such practices). Of course this shit goes over like a fart on a submarine and before you can say “This fuckin’ island is absolutely chock full o’ zombies” the fuckin’ island becomes absolutely chock full o’ zombies, and our heroes are in for the fight of their lives to keep from ending up on the undead flesh-eater’s buffet!
There isn’t much I can say that can add to the legacy of this monsterpiece. Director Fulci (along with screenwriters Elisa Briganti and Dardano Sacchetti) created magic in a beastly bottle, as their unofficial sequel became every bit as iconic as the film it took a grain of inspiration from. Everything from it’s tropical locale, to it’s unbelievably gore-soaked effects, to the unique zombie make-ups (the worm eye zombie alone has become legendary), to it’s voodoo inspired story line make the film stand head and severed shoulders above any walking dead fracas presented since, and the showstopping set pieces (eyeballs getting impaled on wood, a zombie fighting a shark underwater while a topless woman looks on, a zombie feast…wait, shark…boobs…wtf?!!) can still drop jaws today!
Along with a gorgeous 4k transfer from the original camera negative, there are plenty of beastly bonuses to be found on this release from our sexy pals at Blue Underground! First up we have a brief introduction to the film from legendary horror Director Guillermo Del Toro, and two audio commentaries; one a brand new conversation with author and Fulci expert Troy Howarth and the other an archival piece with actor Ian McCulloch moderated by Diabolik magazine Editor Jason J. Slater. The former is an amazing scholarly analysis not only of the film’s production and place in horror history, but it also contains a deep dive on the film’s that influenced Zombie as well; while the latter is an anecdote filled account of what life was like on Fulci’s set (though some of the dreaded long pauses creep in here and there). Following that we get an informative interview with author and Fulci expert Stephen Thrower (who also provided the excellent essay contained in the collectible booklet that accompanies this release) detailing the Director’s career and how he came to be involved with Zombie, as well as the creation of the film. Finally we have a collection of trailers, TV and radio spots for the film as well as a poster and stills gallery.
And all of that is merely Disc One!
Disc Two brings us a veritable mountain of interviews including conversations with Actors Ian McCulloch, Richard Johnson and Al Cliver, Actor/Stuntman Ottaviano Dell’Acqua, Co-Producer Fabrizio De Angelis, Co-Writers Elisa Briganti and Dardano Sacchetti, Cinematographer Sergio Salvati and Production and Costume Designer Walter Patriarca, Special Make-Up Effects Artists Gianetto De Rosi and Maurizio Trani, Special Effects Artist Gino De Rossi, Composer Fabio Frizzi, and Fulci’s daughter Antonella. Rounding out the disc is a chat with Guillermo Del Toro describing his love of the film.
As I said; you simply have to own a copy of Zombie, and there is no better looking edition than this one in my not-so-humble opinion, so what are ya waiting for creeps?!!
Trailer not sourced from this release.