Zombie (1979)

When the earth spits out the dead, they will rise to suck the blood of the living!
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Zombie - When the earth spits out the dead, they will rise to suck the blood of the living!

In 1979, horror director Lucio Fulci droppped Zombie. Confusingly the movie was known as Zombi 2 in various parts of the world as the makers cunning marketing ploy tried to fool the public into thinking that this movie was a sequel to George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead which was renamed Zombi when released in Italy. To further confuse the issue this movie was known as Zombie Flesh Eaters in the UK but this added element of confusion did not last long as the movie was banned a few years later as part of the UK's Video Nasty Act.

Zombie is regarded by many as the definitive zombie movie and has influenced many, many horror movies since, it has been accused of being an imitation of Dawn of the Dead (even though the screenplay was completed months before Dawn's release) but those who appreciate the work of Fulci realize that this movie stands alone as a true horror classic. Zombie was the first of many collaborations between Lucio Fulci and producer Fabrizio De Angelis including other zombie classics such as House by the Cemetery and The Beyond.

The movie begins when a seemingly abandoned sailing boat floats into Manhattan bay, a couple of police go to investigate and are greeted by piles of gore and a slow moving, decaying fat-man who has obviously seen better days. The ravenous inhabitant of the boat takes one officer by surprise and decides to take a bite out of his jugular, hearing the commotion the second officer shoots the zombie off the side of the boat, relieved that the festering sea-dog's sailing days are over.

The police track down the daughter of the owner of the boat, Anne Bowles (played by Tisa Farrow) who is just as anxious to know what is going on as the police department, she has not seen her father for months since he went to the uncharted island of Matool, in the Caribbean, to study the inhabitants.

The news of the mysterious boat are soon widespread and reporter Peter West (Ian McCullock) is sent to investigate. Whilst snooping around the boat he bumps into Anne, who is snooping around too. They find a letter from her father and head off to Matool to try and discover what is going on.

In the Caribbean the reporter and his new found side-kick find a boat owning couple, Brian and Susan, who are planning a two month cruise around the uncharted islands and they tag along for the ride. Unsure of where their destination is they are forced to land on the nearest island when Susans' underwater photography break leads to an unplanned encounter with a shark and a member of the living dead which breaks the boat. Luckily (or unluckily) the nearest island is Matool where the explorers meet Dr Maynard who is struggling to understand the re-animation of the dead on this particular island.

Having found no scientific reason for the dead returning to life, Dr Maynard is unable to stop the weird goings on and the island is soon overrun with the undead. The few remaining living on the island struggle to survive the zombie onslaught, determined to escape back to the normal life they lead on the mainland (assuming that the zombie epidemic has not taken hold there!)

This movie exhibits all of the trademark Fulci effect that the average gorehound craves. There are the horribly decayed or injured zombies (especially the 400 year old Spanish Inquisitors), there is the lashings of blood and guts in all of it's detailed and close-up glory, and of course, no Lucio Fulci flick would be complete without a slow and painful, fully detailed eye injury. Dr Maynards wife receiving the massive splinter to the eye is one of the main scenes that got this movie banished to the Video Nasty list and this scene is still cut from many versions.

I won't go in to detail about the mediocre acting, the bad dubbing or the fairly insignificant plot as there is not much to go in to detail about, this movie is about gore, gore and more gore all executed in painstaking detail. The zombies are rancid, the living die is slow and painful ways and a massive trail of blood follows the survivors, plus I must mention that the movie end true horror movie style in a way that has been copied by copious movies since.

An excellent movie, a must see for any gorehounds, zombie fans, women, children and pets!
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