Oct 24th: Zombi 2(1979): http://youtu.be/ViXN7D3E7aI
I won’t get into the complicated lineage of this film just yet (I’ll save that for my review of the Video Nastys), suffice it to say that this unofficial Italian sequel to Dawn of the Dead spawned countless unofficial sequels itself, and it gets more complicated from country to country.
Zombi 2 is an elusive masterpiece that doesn’t get nearly the credit it deserves. And, to be honest, I like it that way. The film opens with a seemingly deserted yacht drifting into New York harbor. A the Harbor Patrol boards the derelict vessel, they find the ship in shambles, and a Zombie on board who manages to kill one of the patrolmen before having it’s brains blown out. In the ensuing investigation, We learn the ship belongs to a Mr. Bowles, who has fallen out of communication with his concerned daughter Anne. All she knows of his whereabouts is that he was supposed to be conducting research on a tropical island somewhere. After being assigned the case by his News Editor, Peter West joins up with Anne and offers to help her track down her father. They learn that Anne’s father is on a remote island called Matool, and seems to be suffering from a strange disease. It wouldn’t be an Italian film unless a mystery was investigated by amateurs.
The two arrive in the tropics, and enlist the aide of a couple who are touring the islands in their boat. Upon arriving on Matool, things are much worse than they thought. On this island, the dead are rising…and they are going to eat you! The reason i say this film deserves more credit, are because not only is this film one of the best Zombie films ever made, it has slipped under the mainstream radar. The make-up effects are stellar, especially on the Zombies that we see rising from ancient graves. They appear caked in mud and mold, and have live worms wriggling around on what is left of their flesh. The score is minimalist and keeps the tone haunting and full of despair…exactly what it should feel like when the world as you know it is coming to an end.
Now on to why I’m glad more people haven’t caught on to this film. One scene depicts one of the greatest gore gags in the history of cinema, as a zombie pulls a woman by the hair, and her eyeball draws closer and closer to a jagged piece of wood. We can’t draw our gaze away as she draws closer and closer, eventually piercing deep into the eyeball, everything in full display!
But the ultimate is the depiction of a shark, and a Zombie, both attempting to make a meal out of a scuba diver, who then turn their attention towards each other to fight over the meal. It is a Zombie vs. Shark Deathmatch, and it is as awesome as it sounds!
If this film were more well known, the Hipsters would ruin Zombie vs Shark… it would be just like when the Emos stole Nightmare Before Christmas from the Goths. I still haven’t gotten over that one…