Zombie Flesh Eaters (1979), aka Zombi 2, comes from Lucio Fulci — the Italian film director who showed us all that gore could be.
Some fans of zombie films regard this as a classic – whether you agree with that or not, there is no denying that there is a lot of love for this film, and its reputation and durability shows no sign of dying anytime soon…..just like its zombies.
Between this and The Beyond (1981), the man was completely relentless — just look at the poster, for starters. Great Britain made sure this film was banned, until it was released as a “video nasty” in cinemas after one minute and forty-six seconds of cuts.
As the ‘Patron Saint of the Close-Up Gore Zoom’, Fulci taught today’s legion of horror auteurs to never look away. But you can’t stop the squeamish from looking away, pal. And lord will they still.
Two-Eyed, No-Horned, Walking Non-Purple People Eaters
We’re treated to the setting of late 1970s New York City, with some amazing shots of the Harbor and Brooklyn Bridge. A zombie is found on a boat that has drifted in, and Anne Bowles (Tisa Farrow) is questioned by police when it’s discovered that her father owned the boat.
Peter West (Ian McCulloch), a reporter, is assigned to the case, and he travels with Bowles and a seafaring couple to a tropical island, called Mattool, where Anne’s father said he is working.
When they arrive, all they find are zombies on zombies on zombies — all suffering from some strange disease.
It’s not often I resort to expletives just for expletives’ sake, but trust me when I say: the whole situation is fucked. Among the mayhem is a zombie wrestling a shark (you read that correctly) and one actress’s choice encounter with a splintery piece of wood when a zombie pulls her from the other side of a door. Finally, your mother gets her due for the thousands of times she said “you’ll put your eye out.”
Just Don’t Look, Just Don’t Look
Released only as ‘Zombie‘ in the United States, the Italian title was Zombi 2 because George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead (1978) was released in Italy as Zombi. It was all an attempt to cash-in on a sequel.
But, of course, it’s not a sequel whatsoever. The opening and closing scenes in New York were added only to perpetuate similarities with Romero’s film.
This is the zombie movie that haunts the nightmares of other zombie movie directors. It’s the movie they think they’re making when they plaster their extras in green base makeup — but they’re not (who knew you could successfully stick so many creepy crawlies onto the human body). Fulci is unflinching, and it’s his direction that doesn’t just stay on the gore but zooms in to the point that some moments are barely watchable. It’s the origin of Eli Roth and Tarantino gross outs, the moments that cause screams from the sensitive and raucous giggles from everyone else.
In fact, Robert Rodriguez and Tarantino showed Zombie Flesh Eaters and Torso (1973) to the actors in Grindhouse (2007) to give them the true feeling of grindhouse experience. So, like Fulci, I say go for the gusto, chillins. Do as he did and don’t just make something in the class of what you enjoy: blow the norm up with napalm and then see what the critics have to say……as long as your work is allowed to be shown in said critics’ countries.
One of the other standout features of Zombie Flesh Eaters is the soundtrack – it is a near perfect score of 70s synth-horror created by Fabio Frizzi. The soundtrack is a permanent fixture on our ipod, and when the mood is right, there is nothing that makes you feel more like you are stumbling into the start of a zombie apocalypse than walking around a city at night whilst listening to the theme tune.
Zombie Flesh Eaters has an amazing soundtrack by Fabio Frizzi, listen to the main theme here:
Watch the trailer for ‘Zombie Flesh Eaters’:
Watch Zombie Flesh Eaters below:
|Buy the film at Amazon.com|
|Buy the film at Amazon.co.uk|
Find out more about Fabio Frizzi’s soundtrack to this cult film at Site of the Dead which has a full breakdown of this influential horror score.
Written by: Ben Mueller