ZOMBIE FLESH EATERS. 1979. DIRECTED BY LUCIO FULCI. STARRING TISA FARROW, IAN MCCULLOCH, AURETTA GAY, AL CLIVER, RICHARD JOHNSON, OLGA KARLATOS AND STEFANIA D’AMARIO. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©
This film is a bleak and nasty but chillingly realistic-seeming depiction of what it would be like if the dead suddenly rose up and started walking around the place for no apparent reason.
It’s not a warm and cuddly zombie film, like George A. Romero’s DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978), in which the survivors holed up in the mall have a great old time looting the stores for fur coats, guns ‘n’ ammo and all the booze they can chug-a-lug.
It’s not even like Mr. Romero’s grimmer DAY OF THE DEAD (1985) in which the surviving humans have access to military equipment and advanced scientific know-how with which to defeat the marauding zombies.
No, Lucio Fulci’s zombie masterpiece has a bunch of unprotected normals stuck on an island in the middle of nowhere, coming up against the kind of situation you only come across in nightmares, and rarely even then. There’s nowhere to run, nowhere to hide and nothing to hope for, not even death, because death is no longer an escape hatch. Now, as I’m sure the tagline to various horror movies reads, death is only the beginning…
The action mainly takes place on the Caribbean island of Matool. Mia Farrow’s sister Tisa plays Anne Bowles, a young woman who’s desperately looking for her missing father, a doctor who’d been working on the island. She’s joined by a journalist called Peter West and two boat-owners who give ’em a ride to the island, Brian and Susan.
There are some seriously freaky shenanigans taking place on the island. Dr. Menard, the head medic, is frenetically working away at the hospital surrounded by mysteriously dying islanders. When they shuffle off their mortal coil, Menard and his staff wrap the corpses in sheets and tie them up.
Menard then shoots them in the face to stop them from turning into zombies, which apparently they’ve been doing a lot of lately. The blood-soaked, sheet-wrapped corpses are then dumped in a hole. Everywhere you look, there’s death and dying and decay and despair. Frankly, the place is out-and-out creepy.
I don’t really dwell seriously on the prospect of a zombie apocalypse but when I do think about it, there’s one possible scenario that scares the living daylights out of me. I’m alone in the house, there are no police or other government agencies left to call on for help and all around me is silence and desolation. Until, that is, I hear someone- or something- prowling around outside…
A similar situation occurs in the film. Dr. Menard’s beautiful, much younger wife is alone in her house. Naked and just-showered, her gorgeous body reflected at us from all angles by strategically-placed mirrors, she’s seriously uneasy at being left alone by her hubby, whose work at the hospital she’s not one bit happy about. She hears someone fumbling about outside the house. She knows for sure that it’s not her hubby.
I won’t tell you what happens next but I’ll never forget it. The scene when Anne, Peter, Brian and Susan ‘drop in’ at the Menard residence to ‘check on’ the beautiful Mrs. Menard is one I watched with complete and utter revulsion. See if you feel the same…!
The rotting zombies wandering the island with only one thing on their damaged minds- the need to feed- are maggot-infested and genuinely frightening. There’s nothing nice or funny about them and they show no mercy. When one of the four ‘searchers’ becomes infected (try to guess which one, haha!), the results are heartbreaking. Is there any hope for the islanders of Matool, or is their horrible situation merely a small part of a more global hideousness? You’ll just have to watch the movie, folks!
Check out the gorgeous Susan swimming with sharks- actual sharks!- in just a thong and snorkel. It’s a sexy new look that might just catch on. And wait till you see what else she encounters deep down in the blue, blue waters of the Caribbean. A guaranteed first-time event, it’ll knock your socks off.
Those of you who know me might know that I'm relatively new to the genre of zombie films, but with typical beginners' luck and this ridiculously early on in the game, I may accidentally have stumbled onto the best of the bunch...
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based performance poet, novelist, film blogger, sex blogger and short story writer. She has given more than 200 performances of her comedy sex-and-relationship poems in different venues around Dublin, including The Irish Writers’ Centre, The International Bar, Toners’ Pub (Ireland’s Most Literary Pub), the Ha’penny Inn, Le Dernier Paradis at the Trinity Inn and The Strokestown Poetry Festival.
Her articles, short stories and poems have appeared in The Metro-Herald newspaper, Ireland’s Big Issues magazine, The Irish Daily Star, The Irish Daily Sun and The Boyne Berries literary journal. In August 2014, she won the ONE LOVELY BLOG award for her (lovely!) horror film review blog. She is addicted to buying books and has been known to bring home rain-washed tomes she finds on the street and give them a home.
She is the proud possessor of a pair of unfeasibly large bosoms. They have given her- and the people around her- infinite pleasure over the years. She adores the horror genre in all its forms and will swap you anything you like for Hammer Horror or JAWS memorabilia. She would also be a great person to chat to about the differences between the Director’s Cut and the Theatrical Cut of The Wicker Man. You can contact her at:
1) ‘… BY A WOMAN WALKING HER DOG…’
2) A WRITER’S JOURNEY
3) ANNA MEETS COUNT DRACULA
4) ANOTHER FIFTY REALLY RANDOM HORROR FILM REVIEWS TO DIE FOR…
5) CANCER BALLS
6) CATCH OF THE DAY
7) FIFTY FILTHY-DIRTY SEX-POEMS YOU MUST READ BEFORE I DIE.
8) FIFTY REALLY RANDOM HORROR FILM REVIEWS TO DIE FOR…
9) THE DEVIANTS
10) VISITING DAY