Cast & Crew
A Zombie is found aboard a boat off the New York coast which belongs to do a famous scientist. Peter West,a journalist, travels to the Antilles with Ann, the daughter of the scientist. On the way, they meet with with Brian, a ethnologist, and Susan. When they arrive at Matul Island, they find Dr. Menard, and discover a terrifying diease which is turning the Islanders into horrifying Zombies which devour human flesh and seem indestructable....
Roberto Forges Davanzati
Giannetto De Rossi
Zombie on DVD
Lucio Fulci's most famous contribution to the horror genre is hardly his best work (The Beyond and House by the Cemetery beat it in every department) but still ranks as one of the goriest features ever made. Originally released under the title Zombi 2 in Italy, Fulci's epic was intended as a pseudo-sequel to George Romero's profitable living dead classic, Dawn of the Dead (released in Europe as Zombi) and was released stateside by Jerry Gross complete with an effective ad campaign emphasizing the graphic, unrated levels of gore on display. However, Fulci drops Romero's satiric, modernist approach and goes straight for the jugular (literally in one scene) with a primal story more indebted to traditional voodoo-inspired classics like White Zombie. Acting-wise the film is middling at best; Farrow and McCulloch have little to do besides look neurotic, and Johnson skulks about in a haggard fashion and grumbles about the dead disturbing his work. However, the film still possesses a palpable sense of decay and doom that casts an eerie spell to this day; despite a draggy first third, Fulci really delivers the goods with this one, and the final two acts are an admirable escalation of pure nightmare on film. The nasty but bloodless final scene in particular still offers a vicious, apocalyptic punchline.
This first and most widely recognized of Fulci's zombie canon features all of his regular contributors: gifted cinematographer Sergio Salvati, doing his usual stellar scope work (often mistaken as bleary and ill-composed thanks to previous shoddy video transfers); composer Fabio Frizzi, providing a foot-stomping main theme so catchy it later resurfaced near the end of Fulci's City of the Living Dead); and gory FX favorite Giannetto De Rossi (Haute Tension), pumping out enough of the red stuff to keep the Red Cross in stock for months.
Offering the first worthy NTSC presentation of this grindhouse staple, Blue Underground's DVD is a sight for sore, wood-splintered eyes. The VHS editions from Wizard, Magnum (who also issued a long out-of-print pan and scan laserdisc), and a handful of public domain companies looked pretty wretched, suffering from green skin tones during the island scenes and muffled audio. The Roan Group offered a decent widescreen laserdisc but dropped the ball with artificially pumped-up colors, while Anchor Bay's subsequent DVD from the same elements veered the opposite direction by sapping almost all of the color away while adding a storm of digital artifacts. Along with restoring a few fleeting seconds of footage (the first shot of the movie and McCulloch's scene at the payphone) compared to the Anchor Bay print, Blue Underground's transfer looks wonderful with fine color fidelity and more image information available on each side of the frame (note Olga's now-visible frontal nudity). The film was originally mixed in mono, but the Roan and AB versions offered a gimmicky 5.1 remix featuring new (distracting) gunshot effects and artificial channel separation. The Blue Underground disc works from the original music and effects track to offer a much more naturalistic, pleasing 5.1 mix as well as a 2.0 surround option and the original mono. Though the film was shot in English (with a few dubbed supporting players), the Italian version is also included in 5.1, 2.0 and mono for completists. The marvelous menus offer an option to switch on English subtitles, but these did not appear on two of the players monitored for this review.
Designed to appeal to a broad range of consumers and budgets, this release is more modest in the bonus features department compared to a competing two-disc release from Shriek Show. The modest extras include the international trailer, the U.S. trailer ("If you loved Dawn of the Dead, you'll eat up Zombie!") complete with barf bag disclaimer, TV and radio spots, a rigorous photo gallery including hilarious behind-the-scenes New York shots, and a Fulci bio. An Easter Egg leads to a batch of other Fulci trailers including Four of the Apocalypse, The Beyond, and The Black Cat. Note that the previous Anchor Bay disc includes a commentary by Ian McCulloch, so completists may want to hang on to that as well.
For more information about Zombie, visit Blue Underground. To order Zombie, go to TCM Shopping.
by Nathaniel Thompson
Zombie on DVD
The film was written before Dawn of the Dead (1978) was released in Italy, as an action/adventure thriller with no link to George Romero's films. The opening and closing scenes (which take place in New York) were added to the script later when the producers wanted to cash-in on the success of Dawn.
The make-up effects were done by renowned Italian, Gianetto De Rossi. The make-up for the zombies was "caked" on in several stages and Fulci, the director, constantly referred to the extras as "walking flower pots".
The newspaper office scene was filmed in a busy office building, and at one point the cast and crew inadvertently interrupted a meeting held by Rupert Murdoch, who angrily kicked them out.
Several of the actors playing the zombies were actually brothers. They look so similar that some people have speculated that all the zombies were played by one man.
As shown in trailers before the film was released, "Barf Bags", much similar to the ones used in airplane travel, where handed out to movie goers who saw the movie in theaters, due to the high amounts of blood-and-gore that most horror films before 1979 had never seen.
'Enzo Castellari' was asked to direct this film early in its development, but turned it down.
Released in United States 1979
Released in United States 1979