Zombie Flesh Eaters (1979)
(aka Zombie 2/Island Of The Living Dead)
Directed by Lucio Fulci
Cast: Tisa Farrow, Al Cliver, Ian McCullough,
Richard Johnson, Auretta Gay, Olga Karlatos.
With the appearance of an abandoned boat in the Hudson Bay of New York, and the attack on the two harbour patrolmen by a crazed flesh eating zombie, an investigation begins into the whereabouts of the owner of the boat.
Ann (Tisa Farrow, little sister or Mia) who’s father’s boat it is and Peter West (Ian McCullough) a journalist eager for a story decide to make their way to the island of Matoul (Matul, spelling varies) in the Antilles where Ann’s father was last known to be. On their arrival in Antilles, with the help of a local taxi driver, they find Brian (Al Cliver) an ethnologist/entomologist (who cares! One of them is bugs anyway, of no help with zombies either way!) and Susan (Auretta Gay) an underwater photographer, a fellow American couple, and convince them to help them on their search, by dropping them off at the cursed island of Matoul.
Before they get to Matoul though, Susan whilst taking some photographs, has a close encounter with a man eating shark, they end up with a broken boat and are dumped on the nearest island, which just happens to be; Yup you guessed it Matoul! They arrive on the island only to find it over run (make that sauntered) by rampaging zombies.
They meet Dr Menard (Richard Johnson) the island’s doctor, who has been trying to find out what is causing people to rise from the dead. They agree to go get his wife and bring her to the hospital, where all six of them plan to leave the island together, before it is totally consumed by the rampaging dead. They go to pick up Mrs Menard (Olga Karlatos) only to find out that she is party to a buffet that she didn’t get an invite for. They head back to the hospital, thinking it might just be time to leave the island, and on the way encounter dozens of zombies, creeping out of the woods to greet (kinda like a greet and eat!) them.
They inform Dr Menard about his wife’s lunch date, board up all the doors and windows and get ready to make their last stand against the hoards of flesh eating zombies in a last ditch attempt to escape the cursed island alive.
GORE SCORE: – Marauding Spanish Conquistador’s (who look particularly well fed considering they’ve been dead for 400 years!), the magnificent, infamous, sometimes unseen and must have really smarted eye gouging scene (which i can show you here in a picture, but which is still cut out of some versions of the movie; most notably in the UK) a lovely slow motion throat ripping, and underwater man eating shark scene that has to be seen to be believed! (Jaws has nothing on this!) and more zombies than you can throw and armful of reused stock footage shots at (which of course Fulci does)! God don’t these guys ever use napkins?
The gore in Zombie Flesh Eaters is unrelenting, and bloody as hell. But may lose some of it’s hard gore impact on today’s audiences where horror film viewers eyes are saturated with dozens of very gory movies that have not much else going for them but the gore! Whereas Fulci’s Zombie masterpiece is a stroke of pure genius in a world over populated by shite but very gory imitations, where remakes, sequels and poor copies almost obliterate the brilliance of the films they are copying and certainly lose most of the atmosphere and style of the originals in the process. Do yourself a favour and unearth this masterpiece, and forget the dozens of bad imitations that came after, and immerse yourself up to your neck, in zombie gore, atmosphere, a soundtrack that kicks the competition’s ass out of the park and just sheer brilliance that is the zenith of zombie flicks!
Zombie Flesh Eaters is one of the biggest European horror hits of all time. In some cinemas in Holland the film ran for over a year. And stories of people barfing up their lunch during it are not untrue!
Followed the year after by City Of The Living Dead (1980), and in 1981 by The Beyond (which I’ll be reviewing soon) and The House By The Cemetery (1981), completing this outstanding zombie quartet of movies, with haunting atmosphere and menace permeating through all of them. Truly a wonderful Saturday nights viewing, with a pizza and a partner that would take some beating!
There are some sequels to Zombie Flesh Eaters. Zombie Flesh Eaters 2 (aka Zombie 3/Zombie horror/La Notti del Terrore 1980) directed by Andrea Bianchi (which a reviewer not so far away tells me is an Unofficial sequel! Oh my god some of these things are official!? Well who’da thunk it?) we will be filled in on this and other Zombie Sequels sometime soon. This is the official one Zombie Flesh Eaters 2 (1988).
A film that is outstandingly directed, with a great atmosphere contributed to greatly by the precision use of the wonderfully menacing score by Fabio Frizzi, and perfectly chosen moments of zombie and victim point-of-view camera angles, which greatly add to the unease and tension of this masterpiece, which is one of the best, if not the best, zombie films ever made!
Tisa Farrow is a little less famous than her big sister Mia, but can be seen in a range of films from more horror like The Initiation Of Sarah (1978), Joe D’Amato’s Grim Reaper (Anthropophagus The Beast 1981, which also has Tinto Brass Girl Serena Grandi. But which you do not want to view unless you are a hard core horror fan!) to Winter Kills (1979) with Jeff Bridges, and Woody Allen’s Manhattan (1979) in just a small role.
The DVD I got recently was a brilliant Japan Shock. Which includes tons of extras including the complete musical soundtrack, which is absolutely marvellous. Trailers, Fulci filmography, slide show, and of course, is completely uncut in widescreen PAL Region code free edition. Check out their link below, for more info. THIS IS EXTREME CINEMA ADULT VIEWING SO OPEN MINDED ADULTS ONLY PLEASE!
Review by Giovanni Pistachio, Giovanni can be contacted at: –
© Owned Giovanni Pistachio 01/02/2003