Tisa Farrow, Ian McCulloch, Richard Johnson, Al Cliver, Auretta Gay,
Olga Karlatos. Directed by Lucio Fulci. (1979/91 min).
ON BLU-RAY FROM
by Josey, the Sudden Cat🙀
remember when Zombie oozed into our local suburban tri-plex
for a few weeks back in 1979. Armed with an ingeniously simple
tagline - We are going to eat you! - along with a "warning"
about its extreme violence, the film's ad campaign felt more like a
dare than an invitation. Since Dawn of the Dead thrilled and
horrified us just a few months earlier, my friends and I were
certainly up for another gory go 'round. Challenge accepted!
indeed, Zombie's Italian brand of graphic gut-munching was, at
times, even more extreme than anything George A. Romero threw at us,
with gratuitous boobage and a killer shark thrown in for good
measure. Zombie wasn't better or anything, but certainly ballsy.
film's most notorious scene, in
which a large splinter punctures the eye of a female victim, has gone
down in cult movie lore as one of the most spectacularly nauseating,
butt-puckering scenes in horror history. Zombie is filled with such
moments...skulls spilled open, tracheas ripped out, worms writhing in
eye sockets, entrails devoured...all in loving, lingering close-up.
And every time, the entire theater reacted just as expected:
gasps, screams and assorted omigods. I was suitably impressed, too,
until nagging logistical questions swam to the surface:
|Olga gets the point.|
how come she never blinks? In fact, why didn't she just bat
the splinter out of her way with one of her two
Who the hell lets
an eight inch stick puncture her eye and impale her brain? And
speaking of logic, why does another woman simply stare in dumbstruck
fear while a zombie takes its sweet time rising from the grave before
ripping her throat out? In fact, why the hell doesn't everyone simply
run away? There's a goddamn boat on the island and these ghouls make
Romero's zombies look like Jesse Owens!
you know what? Logic may have been lacking, the story forgettable, the
performances uniformly bland and the pacing schizophrenic, but over
the decades, I have never forgotten its dread-inducing atmosphere,
hideously-impressive make-up effects and director Lucio Fulci gleeful
willingness to go too far. When it comes to horror, isn't being
memorable more important than challenging the intellect?
greatest thing about this grotesquely gorgeous 3-disc set from Blue Underground is that it fully embraces Zombie
for what it is...an narratively erratic movie full of unforgettable
moments. In addition to a truly phenomenal 4K transfer - the film
looks and sounds brand new - the plethora of bonus features
definitely puts its legacy in honest perspective. No one involved
make any claims of greatness or originality. Some even concede that Zombie
is sometimes clunky and highly derivative. Fulci himself is also
discussed by various cast and crew members, and not always positively; it's
clearly obvious actor Ian McCulloch had no love for the director or
the movie. The myriad tales of the film's production are collectively
fascinating and well worth checking out.
|"In my professional opinion...gross."|
of the extras are carried over from Blue Underground's previous 2011
release, but a new interview with Fulci biographer Stephen Thrower is
a fantastic look back at the director's career and Zombie's influence
on Italian horror. Thrower also contributes an entertaining essay
that looks back at the film's initial release. In addition to vintage
trailers and galleries, a CD of Fabio Frizzi's original soundtrack is
included (heard out of context, it doesn't sound nearly as
foreboding). In the end, I ended up with a much greater appreciation
for the film than I had when picking it apart at the tri-plex all
those years ago.
Lucio Fulci was never a great storyteller, maybe not even all that
great of a director. But he was audacious as hell and had an indisputable
knack for creating malevolently memorable moments horror lovers still
talk about years after his death. As such, Zombie
is Fulci at his most brash and brutal. Relatively speaking, it's also his
most narratively coherent horror film. It's admittedly well-made and
delivers exactly what it promises, gleefully pushing the audience
tolerance envelope for on-screen violence. In the process, despite
beginning life as a Dawn
of the Dead
a cult classic in its own right. Logic be damned.
goes without saying that this new limited edition Blu-ray is a
must-own for any fan of the film, even if they already own a previous
release. With a great restoration, creative packaging and a slew of
new & vintage extras, this is as definitive as they come.
KIBBLES (deep breath, here...)
"WHEN THE EARTH SPITS OUT THE DEAD" - A terrific interview
with author Stephen Thrower, who discusses the Zombie, Fulci and the
importance & impact of both on the genre.
AUDIO COMMENTARY - By Fulci biographer Troy Howarth.
CD SOUNDTRACK - 8 tracks from Fabio Frizzi's music score, along with
a disco song, "There's No Matter." Even now, I don't recall
hearing this song in the film, though Frizzi did compose the music.
LENTICULAR COVER (3 different ones are available).
SUPPLEMENTARY BOOKLET - Contains photos, credits and a terrific
retrospective essay by Stephen Thrower, "We Are Going to Eat
You: Zombie vs. the Critics."
BY GUILLERMO DEL TORO
INTERVIEWS - "Zombie Wasteland" (with actors Ian McCulloch,
Richard Johnson, Al Cliver & Ottaviano Ddell'Acqua); "Flesh
Eaters on Film" (interview with producer Fabrizio De Angelis);
"Deadtime Stories" (with writers Elisa Briganti &
Dardano Sacchetti); "World of the Dead" (with
cinematographer Sergio Savatti and production designer Walter
Patriarca); "Zombi Italiano" (with FX artists Gianetto De
Rossi, Maurizio Trani & Gino De Rossi); "Notes on a
Headstone" (with composer Fabio Frizzi); "All in the
Family" (with Antonella Fulci, the director's daughter)
LOVER - Guillermo del Toro gushes about his favorite film.
TV & RADIO SPOTS
& STILL GALLERY
PURR-R-R...A MUST FOR ZOMBIE MOVIE FANS