Zombi 4: After Death (1989)

Director Claudio Fragasso refers to this film as the “last gasp” of Italian zombie movies. If you’re expecting Zombi, well, let’s not forget the movies that Claudio has blessed us with, both by himself and with Bruno Mattei: Beyond Darkness/La Casa 5Troll 2RoboWarRats: Night of TerrorThe Other Hell and Shocking Dark.

The movie starts as researchers discover that the natives are practicing voodoo, so they kill the priest, who places a curse that brings the dead back to life before he dies. Only a young girl named Jenny (soon to be played by Candice Daly, Liquid Dreams) survives thanks to an enchanted necklace her parents gave her.

Years later, she returns to the island to find out exactly what happened. And she isn’t alone — she’s brought a gang of mercs with her. There’s Tommy (Don “The Dragon” Wilson!), Dan (Jim Gaines, American Ninja), Rod and Louise, Rod’s girlfriend. And then there are also some hikers — Chuck (played by 80’s gay porn star Jeff Stryker), David  (Massimo Vanni/Alex McBride, who is in a ton of Italian exploitation as an actor and stuntman) and Mad — who have found the underground temple where the curse was originally created.

Of course, they bring the curse back and David is eaten and Mad killed. Rod soon gets bitten and ends up killing his girlfriend. David comes back and kills Dan. Seriously, our cast is pretty much cannon fodder. Tommy volunteers to stay behind and blow the base up to take out the zombies as Jenny and Chuck run back to the cave.

There, Chuck is attacked and killed by zombies while Jenny removes her protective necklace and becomes a super zombie that can rip out its own eyeball and survive. And then, Fulci style, the movie just ends.

The cave set looks a ton like the sets of City of the Living Dead. And the movie really jumps all over the place. But does any other zombie movie have as catchy a theme song as this? Alright, does any zombie movie not called Return of the Living Dead have a song this good?

Severin has the definitive release of this, complete with interviews with Daly (recorded before she died in 2004), Stryker, Fragasso and Drudi. You even get a CD of the soundtrack. What are you waiting for?

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