It’s very easy nowadays for a horror fan to say they’re over the zombie subgenre. Since The Walking Dead premiered, it’s become a huge pop culture phenomenon and the show is still running. Some say it’s already run its course. I haven’t seen anything past the first season, but word on the street is that it really just needs to end at this point. I remember feeling that way about True Blood, a once terrific show with allegories to equal rights that became a filler project due to a hardcore fanbase and great ratings. Over the last decade, we’ve endured all types of zombies, often referencing the classics that came before. However, sometimes it can be hard to differentiate them for the non fanboy. One of the lesser known properties is Lucio Fulci’s ZOMBIE, or any other possible title depending what part of the world you saw it. It’s even considered a sequel to George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead in some places, even though they have nothing to do with each other.
A group of people venture out to an island to find out what happened to one of the girl’s missing father. Odd circumstances introduce them to the world of voodoo and curses that bring the dead back to life in gruesome fashion. The film opens with a gory gunshot sequence, warning the audience of what’s to come.
For me, ZOMBIE is essential viewing and up there with the best in the subgenre. Fabio Frizzi’s jungle infused psychedelic score enhance the mood and brings to mind some of my favorite cannibal films. As someone who considers themselves quite the introvert, I certainly love movies that take place in foreign jungles. Fulci had developed a reputation for himself for filming some extreme stuff and not shying away from a good kill sequence. The eye gouging scene is still one of the best kills ever to be filmed.
Blue Underground has released ZOMBIE as a new 4K restoration with three different collectible covers. The reactions to the new artwork have been so positive that I’ve seen some sites selling all three as a combo. One of my personal idols, Guillermo Del Toro, is also featured on a separate interview on the second disc. Here we have a new commentary as well a mini documentary with author Stephen Thrower who gives insight to Fulci’s filmography. This one stands more closely to The Beyond, but it’s great to watch with a group of friends. The set comes with several interviews with cast and crew, recollecting what it was like to be a part of horror history.
ZOMBIE is mean spirited and features elaborate gore gags, but I’m all in. This is want I want from exploitation films. While I don’t mind the naked girls, I hope we get more naked guys running around in blood. Fulci will always have a special spot in horror history.