Friday, June 13, 2014

Movie Review: Zombie [Flesh Eaters] (1979)

Zombie [Flesh Eaters] (1979) directed by Lucio Fulci

In America, this movie is called "Zombie" but in England (where I watched it streaming on it's called "Zombie Flesh Eaters" and in Italy (where it was originally made) it's called "Zombi 2" as if it were a sequel to "Dawn of the Dead" which was released in Italy as "Zombi." Is that enough trivia for your next cocktail party?


Rated R for horror/violence and nudity

ZPAA rating

Adults with high tolerance only

Gore level

10 out of 10--Lots of zombies in varying states of decay; lots of bloody/gushing wounds on zombies and humans; zombies take bites out of lots of people with blood and gore and often bits of flesh in their mouth which viewers see the zombie chewing; a zombie fights a shark underwater with some gore and blood floating around; zombies rising out of their graves with worms oozing out of their eye sockets and such; one eye poked in by a wooden shard (an excruciatingly slow scene).

Other offensive content

Some swearing; one or two mild kissing scenes; a topless female scuba diver (she doesn't have much on the bottom either) in several scenes; a naked woman taking a shower (seen from every angle); drinking; science losing out to voodoo to explain the zombies.

How much zombie mythology/content

These are classic 1980s zombies--they rise from their graves with little or no explanation. They bite and kill others who turn into zombies later (if there's enough of the others left). In a new twist. apparently they can survive underwater and fight sharks.

How much fun

Some technical bits are impressive to look at but I can't say I enjoyed the film. Except for the oddly amazing match-up between the topless scuba diver, the shark, and an underwater zombie. That was something I've never seen before and probably won't again.

Synopsis & Review

After a very brief scene of a wrapped corpse rising up and being shot in the head, the story switches to New York City's harbor, where a derelict yacht is almost hit by the Staten Island Ferry. Local authorities move in and discover no one on board except for a highly deteriorated zombie who bites one of them and then is shot several times and falls overboard. The boat is owned by a famous scientist whose daughter wants to investigate. A New York newspaper reporter is sent to investigate. They team up to find out what's going on, which leads them to the Caribbean in search of an island her father mentions in a cryptic note left on the ship.

An American doctor lives on the island. He had been working with the dad, investigating rumors of the rising of the dead. The doctor wants to find out the scientific explanation for what's going on but the locals credit voodoo practices. Things go downhill after everyone gets together.

The movie is technically impressive. An underwater scene shows a topless female scuba diver at first stalked by a shark, then by an underwater zombie. The scene is well done. I don't know how the actor playing the zombie never let out any bubbles of breath or how they got the shark to follow the girl around how the shark and zombie wrestle each other safely. The violence throughout the film is quite nasty and made me squirm a lot.

But the movie is little more than an exercise in gross-out horror with admittedly impressive special effects by late 1970s/early 1980s standards. The story is extremely basic and has nothing to offer about the whole science vs. magic explanation of the zombies rising. The issue is irrelevant to the movie. It's just a lot of gory violence with a lot of female nudity and a bleak outlook on things. I don't know who I'd recommend it to--maybe fans of HBO's Game of Thrones?

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