EDITOR’S NOTE: We watched this back on June 11, 2018. It’s not as good as it could be, but still lots of fun.
Claudio Fragasso and Rossella Drudi, our friends who brought Troll 2 to life, were the writing team behind this, setting the film in the Philippines as a cheap and convenient locale. Lucio Fulci claimed that the script was dreadful and that he tried to rewrite most of it, whereas the producers would contend that Fulci’s initial cut was a little over an hour yet felt much longer than that. They got Fragasso and Bruno Mattei to finish things up. And we’re left to watch the results.
There’s this formula called Death One, which brings back the dead. Why anyone would want to create this for the army is beyond me. But Dr. Holder realizes that this is all just a bad idea, so he resigns. As he goes to surrender his findings, criminals attack (if this movie starts to remind you of Nightmare City, you aren’t alone) and run away with Death One.
That criminal gets infected and even cutting off his own hand — oh that Fulci — can’t stop the outbreak. The hotel he ran to is condemned and General Morton orders everyone there killed and the criminal’s remains burned by his two right-hand men (played, of course, by Mattei and Fragasso). But just like Return of the Living Dead, the ashes in the air just make things worse. The birds are infected and begin to spread the disease.
What follows is a group of victims gets introduced to us and one after another, they are wiped out with pure malice and utter glee. There are some American GI’s who mention how horny rock and roll music makes them and the girls on the bus they hook up with. There’s a tourist couple, too. No one will be spared when Death One achieves its full power.
Everyone heads to the now abandoned resort and is shocked to find so many weapons. As they are killed off, Dr. Holden looks for a cure while General Morton works on killing off every single person and animal he can find.
Soon, only five of our heroes — Kenny, Roger, Patricia, Nancy, and Joe — are still alive. As soon as I wrote this down, the soldiers kill Joe. Our survivors make their way to a hospital, where Nancy tries to help a woman deliver a baby — bad news, zombie baby — and gets killed. This scene is packed with the gore that you had hoped that this film would bring. Don’t eat while watching, trust me.
Who lives? Who dies? You should just buy this and watch it, right? Right. I will say that I loved Blue Heart, the DJ who talks throughout the film and adored how he keeps doing it even after he joins the ranks of the undead. It reminds me a lot of the DJ as narrator scenes in The New York Ripper.
I almost forgot! There’s an awesome scene where a zombie skull flies out of the freezer and attacks. It wasn’t in the script but instead came from Fulci. He would go on to say that it was one of the most clever things he had come up with and the only thing about this film that he was proud of.
If you’re hoping for the follow-up to Zombi, this isn’t it. It’s still fun and the last twenty minutes or so really pick up. I’d love to see what happens if they ever did a sequel to this.
Severin has released what will probably forever be the ultimate version of this movie, packed with interviews. You’ll hear from just about everyone, including Fragasso, Drudi, Mattei and several of the actors and crew. There’s a big bundle as well if you get this along with Zombi 4 and Shocking Dark. It’s well worth it — this is one company that knows how to make the most out of everything they release.