Hello horror fans! I'm your friendly neighborhood Tony with another fun list! As you may know, I'm a HUGE Exploitation fan, and there are few countries that can match Italy's prowess for rip-off cash-in semi-sequels! Back in the day, 1978 to be exact, George Romero made one of the most legendary zombie movies ever, entitled Dawn of the Dead. Of course, no good blockbuster goes untainted, and thus began the long series of Zombi sequels from the land of the Leaning Tower! Why are they called Zombi and not Dawn of the Dead sequels, you may ask? When a movie is translated into another language, ESPECIALLY an Exploitation or horror film, the title will often be changed to suit the native audience. As such, when Dawn of the Dead was released in Italy, the title used was Zombi. So began the epic, sometimes terrifying, ALWAYS satisfying (in a so-bad-it's-good sort of way) series of unofficial sequels known as the Zombi sequels! Before I get myself too confused in all the alternate naming, let's start this list off! Beware of possible gore, because these are horror films, after all! Oh, and by the way, I'm counting anything released under the title Zombi or Zombie as a Zombi sequel! Buckle your seat belts and grab a shotgun, because this is going to be one hell of a bumpy ride!
#6: Zombi 5: Killing Birds
Where do I even begin with this movie? Here's the single sentence review: "It's a damn mess". Zombi 5 was an unofficial sequel to Zombi 4: After Death, and was directed by Joe D'Amato. That name should automatically tell you two things about Zombi 5. First, the flick was most likely made for a smaller budget than your outfit today, and you will almost certainly be able to tell. See the picture for reference. Second, this movie will probably make ABSOLUTELY ZERO SENSE! You may recognize D'Amato as the director of other exploitation classics such as Anthropophagus and Porno Holocaust. Yes, you read that correctly. There's a movie out there called Porno Holocaust. Tell your friends you found the best name for a movie EVER! Wait, where we were? Oh yes, Zombi 5. It's more of a murder mystery, as zombies only appear in the LAST ACT OF THE DAMN MOVIE! Also, the whole "Killing Birds" part is inaccurate because ONLY ONE CHARACTER GETS ATTACKED BY A BIRD!!!!! Could they at least TRY to name this one something to do with the actual movie?!! Maybe the next entry will be better...
#5: Zombie '90: Extreme Pestilence
Did I say better? If it's even possible, this entry seems to have a smaller budget than Zombi 5! This is a German joint, and what it lacks in story, convincing effects, and acting it makes up for ONLY in swagger! The movie's DVD cover CLAIMS to be the "Ultimate Gore-Film". If only the movie were as badass as the cover and tagline suggested! The movie looks like it was shot on your mom's iPhone camera, and I don't mean your rich step-mom's phone. I mean the phone your mom has had for a few years and has been smashed on the floor one too many times, and now the camera works about 80% of the time with about 100 pixels of resolution. The DVD cover is HAND-DRAWN by what appears to be a mentally impaired man-child, or a depraved actual child. With that being said, it's basically the Troll 2 of zombie flicks. If you keep your expectations SUPER LOW then you might just get a few laughs out of it. This is one of the many "shot-on-shitteo" pieces from this series, and I always get some pleasure out of knowing that my home movies look better than this.
#4: Zombi 4: After Death
I must say, Claudio Fragasso sure knows how to make a bad film TERRIBLE! From Troll 2 to this miserable flick, he takes the ridiculous and makes it nigh-unbearable. That is, if you're NOT a REAL Exploitation fan! If you are, then these films ascend to a new level of excellence. In a way, Fragasso has created a masterpiece in so-bad-it's-good cinema! The poor practical effects blended with the unyielding bad acting create a cocktail of destruction even more deadly than the zombies that inhabit this fictional world. The concept of this film is pretty badass. A woman takes a team of mercenaries to kill a voodoo priest who is raising the dead; the same dead who killed the woman's parents many years ago. Again, your expectations must be extremely low for you to get anything out of this movie, but some of you may be compelled to watch this movie out of some sort of completionist sense of duty. Oh Claudio Fragasso, will you ever make a movie I can genuinely like?
#3: Zombie 6 A.K.A. Anthropophagus
Joe D'Amato strikes again, this time with a movie I ACTUALLY LIKED! Anthropophagus (or Zombie 7 for the purposes of this article) is pretty okay! It's the tale of a bunch of vacationers who go to an island only to find that everyone is dead, and they are slowly picked off in increasingly gory ways until the EXCELLENT FINALE:
The "Beast" as they call him, instead of dying by the hands of the survivors, EATS HIS OWN FREAKING GUTS!!! BADASS!!!
The gore effects in this movie are laughable at times, but they're also awesome in some parts, so, like other Italian horror flicks, we're split between the good and the downright ugly. However, the story, while full of tropes and horror cliches, is fun and makes the journey all the more excellent. And damn does that ending ever pay off! With that behind us, let's move on to the FINAL TWO ENTRIES!!
#2: Zombi 2 A.K.A. Zombie Flesh Eaters A.K.A. Zombie
Zombi 2 A.K.A. Zombie Flesh Eaters A.K.A. Zombie is the unofficial sequel that started it all! The original cash-in on Dawn of the Dead definitely caused some confusion among international audiences. Italian distributors had already released Dawn of the Dead as Zombi, so, of course, they named this Lucio Fulci film Zombi 2. Since there was no such movie as Zombi in the United States, it was marketed as Zombie and Zombie Flesh Eaters. That's part of the reason why so many of the "sequels" have 26 alternate titles! Enough about the logistics though! This movie is about a woman who goes to an island to find her father, and instead walks her group into a mass of the living dead! Lucio Fulci's zombie epic has amazing gore effects, and the score is pretty badass as well. This is also the movie that gave us the epic SHARK VS. ZOMBIE SCENE and the harrowing EYEBALL SCENE! TWO KILLER scenes in one Exploitation flick! Radical, dudes! So if this is so awesome, what sequel could possibly be better?!
#1: Zombi 3
While a lot of Exploitation fans will tell you that Zombi 2 is the ultimate in Italian zombie movies, I'll tell you that those people are WRONG! The most excellent Italian zombie flick comes from not one, not two, but THREE DIRECTORS! The movie is helmed by: Lucio Fulci, the Godfather of Italian Gore; Bruno Mattei, the King of Exploitation Rip-off Action Sequels; and Claudio Fragasso, the Titan of Trolls! The movie is a mash-up of Dawn of the Dead, The Crazies, and a Commando (For a few scenes of gratuitous gunfire and action), and this is about as much low-budget fun as humans can have! Essentially scientists find a zombie, kill it, and then burn the body. That turns the virus airborne, so they all put on HazMat suits and START KILLING EVERYBODY ON THE DAMN ISLAND! The survivors are caught between quarantine commandos, zombies that don't die when you remove their heads, and the ramblings of a radio show host who gets infected. When you mix the insanity of Fragasso's writing, the gory prowess of Fulci, and the unrestrained action of Mattei, it all comes together in a masterpiece of Exploitation awesomeness! It also has one of the bleakest endings in horror history, so basically what I'm trying to say is GO WATCH THIS MOVIE!! It's SUPER obscure, EXTREMELY difficult to find, and definitely worth the search!
That's it for today's #WeirdWednesday entry! I'm Tony, and you can find a ton of other badass Exploitation articles on my profile! As always, thanks for reading, and have a KILLER day! Muhuhahaha!