Zombie (1979) Guts, gore and glory! Zombie (1979) Guts, gore and glory!
Back in the late 70’s George A. Romeo’s iconic sequel Dawn of the Dead (1978) premiered to raving reviews along with a huge cult... Zombie (1979) Guts, gore and glory!

Back in the late 70’s George A. Romeo’s iconic sequel Dawn of the Dead (1978) premiered to raving reviews along with a huge cult following. In order to capitalize off the success of Romeo’s classic, Italian Horror Director Lucio Fulci created what is known as the unofficial sequel to DOTD. Ironically, the film was written before Dawn of the Dead was released in Italy, as some action/adventure thriller with no link whatsoever to George A. Romero’s films.

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However, Fulci had raised the bar with Zombie, that consists of “Grindhouse”- fare thanks to exploitative scenes from splattering of brains, eye- and throat- gouging, a downbeat ending and there’s actress, Auretta Gay sporting the smallest thong in cinematic history. (Oh, mah Dayuuuummmm!)

Zombie aka Zombi 2 and Zombie Flesheaters had distanced itself from DOTD by avoiding the kooky comical pitfalls and instead providing a more serious tone (no throwing pies in the face of blue colored Zombies.) The make-up and gore effects had distanced Zombie from its “predecessor” and as of recent, the Walking Dead’s Zombies are comprised of decomposed flesh eaters. The makeup effects from Zombie are courtesy of the renowned Giannetto De Rossi, has set the standard for the Zombie genre whether its cinema, Videogames or television. It’s apparently obvious that Fulci wasn’t referred to as the “Godfather of Gore” for nothing!

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The film’s plot involves the protagonist, Ann (Played by Tisa Farrow) who goes on a quest to unravel the mysterious death of her father, after a Police Officer was killed by a Zombie when investigating a Boat approaching the NYC Harbor. Ann is then joined by British newspaper journalist Peter, Seafarers Bryan and his girlfriend, Susan who was involved in some of the more “memorable” scenes of the Movie. This investigation leads to a fateful voyage to the Caribbean island of Matul. And that’s where all hell breaks loose!

Even straight Women will go gay for Auretta Gay!

Even straight women will go gay for Auretta Gay!

Despite the farfetched Shark/Zombie fight, Fulci’s seminal classic had a great amount of memorable scares and one in particular is when the group walks into the Doctor’s cottage only to find his wife, Paola, being served as the main course of a flesh-eating banquet. I couldn’t believe that damn Fulci went there! Talk about nightmares on end after seeing this movie. I wonder if there was a “Zombie V Shark” feature in a “Making of”- documentary that was released with the 2-Disc DVD set a few years back.

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Unfortunately, all I have is practically a bare bones Blu-ray featuring trailers, commentary by Ian McCullough and a very disappointing introduction by Guillermo Del Toro which didn’t serve as a decent foreword to the Film. And as game-changing as the Zombie v Shark scene was, I have to give props to Paola’s terrifying eye splinter scene. Here you see this beautiful naked Woman (Olga Karlatos) emerging from her shower, barricading herself from a Zombie only to have a chunk of splinter take out her socket and we all knew what occurred afterwards.

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The soundtrack was like nothing I have heard; it is comprised of an eerie synth Music accompanied with a few drum beats to capture the Voodoo vibe. The main theme i often used especially when the party of four are ambushed by Zombies. You can feel the sense of dread and hopelessness from Fabio Frizzi’s groundbreaking soundtrack. The pacing of the film hardly disappoints as the story provides a familiar explanation of how the Zombies came to exist; Voodoo. Or as Dr Manard’s assistant Lucas would say;

“The Earth will spit out the dead to feed on the living.”

The Zombies consisted of the locals afflicted with the mysterious disease and a few corpses risen from a Spanish Conquistador Graveyard. Like I said, the pace never lets up. As there are constant frightening moments and the final showdown is reminiscent of John Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13 however, not without a few casualties.

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And just when you thought the surviving protagonists would sail off into the Sunset after escaping the horrific Island of Matul, things had taken a turn for the much worse!!

Zombie‘s critical reaction and success had put Fulci on the map and after viewing my Blu-ray copy, the movie has aged well and it’s still scary as all fuck!  From the haunting score to copious amounts of gore, Zombie rocks! Zombie, without a doubt, is the first and best of Fulci’s Supernatural Dead Trilogy (The Beyond and City of the Dead). I remember seeing this movie in Times Square NYC during the early 80’s and as a kid, it scared the living shit out of me!! According to box office returns, Zombi 2 grossed higher in the domestic Italian box office than its “predecessor”, Dawn of the Dead.

So if you happen to be sick and tired of watching soap operas mixed with Zombies or fucked up franchises like PWSA’s Resident Evil, skip those for now and treat yourself to a viewing of this Cult classic.

“You’ll eat it up”!

Also recommended:

Who was Lucio Fulci?

Unless you’re not a true Horror aficionado, allow me to elaborate. Italian Film director, screenwriter, producer and Godfather of Gore- Lucio Fulci was born Rome Italy 1927 and started his career initially as both an art critic and screenwriter. After his comedy films failed to capture a huge demographic, he then move toward the thriller genre and in retrospect, it was a smart move since his most bankable horror films had put him on the map starting with Zombie-then City of the Living Dead and more notably, The Beyond.

Two of Fulci’s Film signatures were violent scenes involving the eye and leaving a protagonist couple to an uncertain fate. (I.e. Zombie, City of the Living Dead and The Beyond.) Although Lucio considered himself a Catholic, there were scenes in his film that garnered a controversial backlash from Catholic groups (Never Torture a Duckling and City of the Living Dead).

CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD - silverferox design (5)

During the early 80’s Fulci’s career ran into many snags as his Films (post Living dead trilogy) were poorly received and to make matters worse, he was suffering from Hepatitis and Diabetes. Although many considered Fulci on the same level as Dario Argento , there were speculations that Fulci was resentful of Argento’s well received fame at the time. Years later, the two Directors agreed to collaborate for a remake of The House of Wax (Wax Mask). Note: It was Argento’s idea to help Fulci make a comeback especially since he was under dire financial circumstances. Fulci had written a plot synopsis and provided a screenplay for Argento. Unfortunately, Lucio had died from diabetic complications prior to filming Wax Mask.

Smells like "Team Spirit"!

Smells like “Team Spirit”!

In 1998 The Beyond was re-released in theaters courtesy of Quentin Tarantino who is a fan of Fulci’s movies and paid homage to him in Kill Bill and Planet Terror. Fulci had no idea that his Films had a huge cult following outside of Italy until he attended a “Fangoria” horror convention in NYC (circa January 1996). He was treated with royalty as thousands of Fans flocked to meet him during a major snowstorm at the time.

Here’s to you, Fulc.

Lucio-Fulci

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Stalkeye

. Satirist, Gamer, Artist and Pop Culture commentator- Stalks offers his outspoken views on on most things Geek related as well as WTF is wrong with the world today!

  • Tarmac492.1

    Great article mang!!! Zombie is a good movie. To be honest, I was kind of bored with it until the last half hour or so. Then it picks up and delivers the goods. I think Fulci is very good with atmosphere(especially the awesome sound design), but I am not a huge fan. I have an issue with many of the Italian horror flick screenplays. Maybe something is lost in translation for me or whatever. Alot of Fulci’s films, Zombie, The Beyond and City seem at their best in the last five minutes. I dont mean because I want them to end, but because it has the best visuals and heart pumping music then they end and I am like WTF? I always kind of wish these scenes happen in the middle. I am sure this is not a popular opinion with horror enthusiasts, but how I feel nontheless. Fulci has merit, but the classic status of some of his films surprises me. Zombie did have some great gore.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    Zombie and The Beyond are very good. Yes, the scripts make no fucking sense, but they accurately capture the feeling of being in an inescapable nightmare. Argento also accomplishes that feat, but Fulci’s movies have a much more depressing, sleazy and brutal mood, like walking through wet sand and trying to escape some horrible pursuer. There’s no opulent, colorful flamboyancy as in Argento’s flicks, just a downbeat sludge of muck, gore and gray drizzle.

    Another thing to point out about Zombie are the inaccurate claims that it’s a rip-off of Dawn of the Dead. While undoubtedly made to cash in on the success of that movie, the story is nothing like Dawn, and does something clever by melding the modern conception of the zombie propagated by Romero with the term’s Caribbean origins. This movie is very influential in and of itself and the zombies are some of the best ever; you can literally smell the maggoty stench emanating from them.

  • KilliK

    The Beyond was a big influence for Hellraiser.

  • KilliK

    I am curious, are there any zombie movies where the zombies dont exhibit only their cannibalistic impulses but also their sexual? The only examples I have come across with this twist, are Ennis’ Crossed comic series (which I am hearing is getting a tv adaptation) and a story from Ellis’ Gravel comic series.

  • Stalkeye

    Dude, you would be a excellent contributor to SN! Reading this post is like a review within a review. Well said!! And it’s not necessarily the writing, but that schlock shock factor for that era. Ergo, the Grindhouse mention.

  • Stalkeye

    Thanks tar! i know that you’re more DOTD but overall, I choose Zombie for it’s innovation in Makeup effects, soundtrack and a few mindfucks here n there.
    This film really shared the Shit out of me when i was much younger.
    In some ways, DOTD has aged a bit however, Zombie still holds water. (And with Sharks!)

  • Tarmac492.1

    Re-Animator? Not really zombies maybe?

  • KilliK

    nope, not a traditional zombie.

  • Stalkeye

    Overfiend Zombies???

  • Tarmac492.1

    I liked the makeup. The soundtracks on most Italian Horror flicks are stellar–hence my preference for the DOTD theatrical over Romero’s directors cut which, amazingly in a bad way, left out the fantastic Goblin score.

  • Stalkeye

    its been often mentioned how Shinji Mikami’s Resident Evil series was influenced by Zombie, DOTD and Sweet home. (Read Dee’s review of the latter.) Dead island, although disappointing, pays plenty of homage to Zombie.

  • Tarmac492.1

    what is your definition of traditional? Just curious. Reanimator was the re-agent reanimating the brain. Romero’s zombies were(possibly according to NOTLD) reanimated from radiocativity from a Venus probe explosion. I am not so sure Re-Animators are zombies, either. Just playing a little devils advocate.

  • Tarmac492.1

    I think Turd is tired of me asking him 🙂

  • Tarmac492.1

    He did nail it with the brutal mood.

  • Tarmac492.1

    “There’s no opulent, colorful flamboyancy as in Argento’s flicks, just a downbeat sludge of muck, gore and gray drizzle.”

    Stellar analysis using some inspired writing. Nice!!

  • Stalkeye

    You can always bribe him with one of your Whores. (;’

  • Stalkeye

    To leave out Goblin’s incredible score is blasphemous!!

  • Tarmac492.1

    It would be worth it!!

  • Tarmac492.1

    You listen to LCD Soundsystem? In the song Someone Great, I get a little bit of a Goblin Vibe from DOTD. It even has that sound that is like the noise of steel cables getting dragged quickly across concrete or something. You know what I am saying from DOTD?

  • Tim R.R. Something

    Aliens might classify us as a species of flesh eating apes. Which sounds pretty scary. We usually don’t eat each other, but we’re pretty much willing to eat every other creature on the planet.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    Thanks!

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    Feel free to ask anyway. 🙂

    I feel ashamed for not writing more, but I’m lazy. I don’t like promising things and not delivering, as has happened a few times before; therefore, I’Il keep my trap shut in future about wanting to write articles unless I actually do write them. If I do, they’ll just be posted with no preamble.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    That might sufficiently motivate me. 😉

  • Captain Genius

    that zombie poster with the 2 zombies in the foreground is so bizarre and awkward, that it’s fucking amazing.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    I was going to mention the Dead Island games, as well.

  • Captain Genius

    fug, i’m supposed to go the drive in this weekend to see evil dead 2, but the beyond is playing after it, and i don’t really have any desire to see it but now you guys are changing my mind

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    Oh you; why do you want to see that sick shit? XDXD

    The zombies’ genitals have probably rotted and fallen off, anyway. They’re incapable of sexual intercourse.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    Re-Animator is more of a Frankenstein tale, if you ask me.

  • Captain Genius

    also, i love zombie movies and shit…..sorta. i’m oddly fascinated by them but they still scare the shit out of me. so i could not handle Zombie. at all. which is a shame cause it’s a visually amazing film. that shot of the zombie on the boat in nyc. awesome. the shot of the zombies crossing the bridge into the city. amazing. The look of the zombies themselves. fucking perfect. all done with CLAY. what the fuck? clay. mind blown. But the eye gouging scene, more than i can take. can’t watch it, can’t watch past it. can’t do it. maybe someday.

  • Tarmac492.1

    Barbara Crampton was certainly “influential” to me growing up.

  • Stalkeye

    GMTA!

  • Stalkeye
  • Stalkeye

    He probably saw that parody-“Porn of the Dead”.

  • Stalkeye

    Now she’s a GILF.

  • Stalkeye

    Beyond is damn good and I prefer that over Argento’s slow burn that is Suspiria. That being said, Dicky the Dog was weak attempt to mimic Suspiria’s scene with the Blind man and his Dog.

  • Captain Genius

    sorry man, i can’t do eye trauma

  • Captain Genius

    also, i don’t have a horror card. i’m a super pussy

  • Stalkeye

    Dayuuum!
    Well, at least you weren’t traumatized seeing this as a Kid like me. 😛

  • Stalkeye

    But Cap, your favorite Movie GI Joe Rise of Cobra had plenty of eye stabbing scenes!!

  • Captain Genius
  • Captain Genius

    she looked crazy ass hot in You’re Next

  • Captain Genius

    NO!

  • Captain Genius

    yikes. no, my parents kept me the fuck away from horror films as a boy. shit man, commercials after 6pm in the 80’s were a minefield for me. Who knew what insane new horror movie commercial would be on after a Pearl Drops commercial.

  • Captain Genius
  • Zombie vs. shark! Classic

  • Stalkeye

    Those damn Zombies are no match for…

    https://media.giphy.com/media/mGrMsZohJUbi8/giphy.gif

  • Stalkeye

    Very subtle. Only the most Diehards would get its meaning.

  • Stalkeye

    Yesssssssssssssss!

  • Stalkeye

    have you seen, “we’re still here”?

    That Movie pays homage to Fulci’s stuff.

  • Stalkeye

    can’t say that I have, but will give it a listen.

    Thanks to “El Capitan”.

    *looks below*.

  • Captain Genius

    nope

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    They’re no match for Katy’s ample rack, that’s for sure. She could just chest-bump the shambling hordes out of her way.

  • Tarmac492.1

    She has aged well.

  • Tarmac492.1

    I learned of them late–I think they are broken up. They have some really good stuff and stuff i dont love as much, I really like that song, though.

  • Stalkeye
  • Stalkeye

    Yet, “You don’t see them fucking each other over for a goddamn percentage.” (;’

  • Bop

    Give me the most brutal horror scenes and I would hardly cringe, but that eye scene. Damn.

  • Bop

    Love the music a lot.

  • Bop

    Question for the zombie experts here. I am looking for the title of a zombie movie I saw as a kid. I don’t remember much of it except for the fact the movie took place in Africa. I remember a few rituals in the jungle and it might have even been a black and white movie.

  • Phantomcreeps

    Possibly, I Walked With A Zombie, by Val Lewton?

  • Bop

    Awesome dude. That is the one. _O_
    Thanks a lot. I found it creepy as kid. I wonder how I would look at the movie now.

  • Phantomcreeps

    It is still great, check it out this Halloween. Probably trigger some memories 🙂

    The original Cat People is great, by Val as well.

  • Bop

    I never watched the original Cat People. Seems like a good double bill.

  • gorgarwilleatyou1

    get the Lewton boxset every movie in that set is solid!

  • Sagamanus

    Yeah Cat People is great too. The sequel wasn’t really necessary though.

  • Phantomcreeps

    The remake sure was a trip.

    Almost comparable to The Fly remake ????

  • Phantomcreeps

    Have to check that out. Thanks. ????

  • Sagamanus

    True. How do you feel about the more modern film? I haven’t seen it, but I think it came out in 1984? I’m not sure really.

  • Tarmac492.1

    perhaps a Sagamanus review for an old black and white horror movie?

  • Stalkeye

    I think the soundtrack is on par with DOTD’s Goblin music.
    There’s a good mixture of synth and Voodoo drums, very ambitious.
    I especially love the film’s intro theme. I couldn’t help but leave that theme on my friend’s answering machine in the middle of the night. Yes, I’m a prick . (0:<

  • Stalkeye

    Oh, I go further into it as you shall soon see….

    ..or “hear’. (;’

  • Phantomcreeps

    Great article.

    Some stuff I haven’t seen.

    Kudos.

  • Phantomcreeps

    That was the one I was talking about.

    Very good, but hardcore, like Rosenberg, the Fly.

  • Full Frontal Throttle

    Nice! Been a while since I have seen this jem! Feels like a great time to revisit

  • Stalkeye

    This, The Beyond, NOTLD, Hellraiser 2 are among my highly recommended Films just in time for Halloween!

  • Stalkeye

    Hmmm..
    There’s a satirical horror spoof just waiting to get out. (Katy Perry Vs The Living Dead.)

  • Scopedog

    Always great to see a shout-out to Fulci. Nice work as always, Stalkeye.

    Some sad news, though…did you ever hear of Noriyoshi Ohrai, the Japanese artist who painted kickass STAR WARS posters and the best Godzilla posters (the 1990s G-films)? He sadly passed away early today. A real loss–the man was a master. More here:

    http://kotaku.com/today-we-lost-a-great-japanese-illustrator-1738903632

  • Scopedog

    Gold star for this comment….:)

  • Scopedog

    Well…would you count the x-rated doujinshi for High School of the Dead?

  • Stalkeye

    Thanks for the compliments, Scopo! And no, I’m not too familiar with Ohrai but damn he was an amazing artist!!! I bet he was responsible for those Gradius Box art paintings as well as Metal Gear Solid.
    Be sure to checkout Ronin’s Obit on this site. Great stuff!

  • Ever see “Conspiracy of Torture” or Christopher Lee’s “The Whip and the Body?”
    🙊

  • Stalkeye

    Nope, fraid not.

  • dude.
    Dude..
    DUDE!
    …..you have to.
    If you really are a Fulchi fan, that is.
    Good article, by the way!
    🐵

  • Stalkeye

    I’m on it, Brotha!