Zombie (1979)

zombie

“The boat can leave now. Tell the crew.”

The Scoop: 1979 R, directed by Lucio Fulci and starring Tisa Farrow, Ian McCulloch and Richard Johnson

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

Summary Capsule: A zombie attack in NYC leads a pair of investigators into the heart of the outbreak.  Also, we learn that there is no love lost between zombies and sharks.

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Justin’s rating: The EYES have it!

Justin’s review: Instead of a murky graveyard, a decrepit house or a scientist’s lab, Zombie’s undead invasion is born in the harsh daylight of NYC’s harbor, where a seemingly abandoned yacht drifts in, bringing with it an unwelcome passenger.  A couple of cop hors d’oeuvres later, and folks start to suspect that this might not be one of those “mostly harmless” ghost ships.

Among the snoopier people are the daughter of the yacht’s owner and a nosy reporter, who decide to backtrack the yacht’s voyage (with the help of a pair of oceanic guides) to see where this pesky nonsense began.  If you’re already ahead of me thinking, “Well, of COURSE it’s going to be some isolated island where the dead rise for no discernible reason and a mad doctor is experimenting on the locals to figure out why”, then you have earned a blood cookie!  It’s Night of the Living Dead meets The Island of Dr. Moreau, only without Jabba the Brando freaking you out.

Zombie (aka Zombi 2) has more stock as an infamous collection of scenes than it does staying power as a 90-minute horror thrillride.  This is partly because the sound, music and acting quality is so abysmal as to make you nervously glance around the room, just to make sure nobody else notices you watching this movie.  It just takes far, far too long to get to the payoff scenes, even if they are among some of the more nifty in the genre.

So yes, this is the movie where a zombie fights a shark — no, not a fake, puppet shark, but an actual (drugged) tiger shark, who was not all that pleased to be molested by a decaying actor in the middle of his busy feeding frenzy.  This is the movie where a girl gets her eyeball pierced — very slowly — by a long sliver of wood.

And no matter what happens in the previous hour and a half, the last few minutes deliver on a terrifying spectacle of fallen, zombie-ridden NYC.  All of these make for good historical value, but you can probably get the same effect by viewing these clips on YouTube and eliminating the middleman of shoddy filmmaking.

The part of Finding Nemo you never wanted to see
The part of Finding Nemo you never wanted to see

Intermission!

  • This film is called “Zombi 2” in Europe, because George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead was released as “Zombi” there, and they wanted somewhat of a tenuous connection.  It was simply relabeled “Zombie” for American audiences.
  • It’s the self-steering yacht!
  • NYPD just LOVE saying “Ahoy there!”
  • Earthworms!  On a piano!  NOOOOO!
  • Cops give you on average of 8 verbal warnings before firing, even if you’ve killed their partner
  • NYC inhabitants are often lip synched
  • Dude, anyone can get on this yacht!  I think they’re going to throw a party.
  • The soundtrack is none too subtle when something bad is going to happen
  • Topless scuba diving
  • Zombie vs. real shark = AWESOME
  • Gratuitous nudity, thy name is Zombie
  • The splinter-in-the-eye scene.  Yowza.

If You Liked This Movie, Try These:

  • Night of the Living Dead
  • Dawn of the Dead
  • Return of the Living Dead

3 comments

  1. Oh I don’t know. I think Finding Nemo would have been greatly improved by the presence of zombies (then again, I think that Finding Nemo is horribly overrated). Everything is better with zombies.

  2. I quite like this movie, but it’s certainly not as good as “The Beyond” or even “City of the living Dead”, Fulci’s other zombie films. Sorry you thought the film was so shoddy…personally I wouldn’t think any of the graphic scenes would have any impact without the material surrounding them, but I’d be the first to admit that this movie has no real characters or memorable lines or much of what you normally look for in a good movie. I guess the whole idea is to throw you into this awful nightmare world, and realism and character development just wouldn’t fit with that scenario. The other two movies I mentioned definitely do this better, especially “The Beyond”.

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