He's a depraved, sadistic rapist; A bloodthirsty, homicidal killer...and He Makes House Calls!
When you hear the words Doctor Butcher M.D., several different thoughts can be going through your head. Those few simples words may bring back images of the 1982 premiere at many of the seedy 42nd street theatres, or the flatbed Butcher mobile driving up and down the streets of Jersey and Manhattan. Posters of the mad doctor fill the walls of the old movie house. Cheesy lobby cards lie to your right on a little stool as you walk past the concession stand. The smell of cheap cigars, stale whiskey, and schwag fill your nostrils as you enter the room where the movie is about to begin. You walk through the rows of seats hoping to find one without a partially used syringe or dampened with fluid from someone who watched the latest John Holmes film an hour earlier. Once the movie begins all your fears and paranoia start to go away. Your sucked into the dementia of bad acting, cheesy effects, and the long legs of Alexandra Delli Colli.
Your first presented with terrible acts of corpse mutilation which the actors like to call "cannibalism", then were presented with the undying question "How much are we really like savages". Lori Ridgeway the anthropologist/doctor meets up with Peter Chandler the health inspector whose job is to get down to the bottom of these bizarre acts. He soon organizes a trip to Keto and asks for Lori's assistance. The health inspector, his assistant, the anthropologist, and a reporter set off to the distant island and are introduced Dr. Obrero whose been doing studies there for many years. On the island of Keto they run into a savage sect of native cannibals who attack the porters and eat them alive ...hence cannibalism. Your probably asking where the zombies come into play but their just around the corner. Dr. Obrero, who you've noticed is rather strange, has reason to believe that their visit on his island is one that can interrupt the progression of his current experiment. What is that experiment you ask.."ever wandered what its like to pass from life to death, and from death to life"? Maybe you haven't but the good ole doctor has been conforming these natives back to their cannibalistic ways and promising them divine tendencies if they offer to give him their assistance...or shall i say bodies. The zombies you encounter towards the end of the movie are natives who have been killed and had their brains transplanted into other healthier bodies. After everyone's been eaten only Lori and Peter are left. Lori who lived their years earlier as a child, is captured by the natives later to be let go when they find out that she is their queen. With the help of the savages Lori ends up at Dr. Obrero's laboratory where Peter is about to become chop suey. Peter frees himself, kills the doctor & his assistant then burns the zombies. Within the blink of an eye you see Lori dressed in a see through garment (wonder where she got it from...all the natives are wearing grass and bamboo) and has the natives destroy the lab. The End
-This Italian horror movie features cannibals and zombies. Just be happy that this is one doctor that even your HMO won't cover.
In all this is more of your normal cannibal romp in the woods. The zombies are only a small portion of the film. Originally titled Zombie Holocaust and directed by Marino Girolami in 1979. The U.S. rights to the film were purchased by Aquarius Releasing's Terry Levene who entitled it Dr. Butcher M.D. (Medical Deviate) and bought footage of an unfinished Anthology film, "Tales That'll Tear Your Heart Out", spliced it into the opening, added a cheesy disco score and created a unique marketing campaign that had nothing to do with the film. While certainly not without flaws, and perhaps derivative of superior films, Zombie Holocaust--or Dr. Butcher, M.D., as it is known by its more campy U.S. title--is a great example of the Italian splatter genre, and it's sure to reward any fans of the genre with visceral delights.
In 1986 Fangoria magazine with issue #52 went in depth on the career of Ian McCulloch briefly exploring the shooting of Zombie Holocaust. Fabrizio De Angelis who produced Fulci's Zombie, got McCulloch to start in another island cannibal mini-epic. The film's original script was called "Queen of the Cannibals" but later changed when Ian said it sounded like "...the world's first gay zombie movie!" Then became known as Nightmare Island, then Cannibal Holocaust ..which was already used, then finally Zombie Holocaust. "I really liked the script for this movie. My character, Dr. Peter Chandler, was good. I thought it had an interesting angle in adding the cannibal cults as the reason they go to the island. The makeup man was Franco Ruffini, the assistant on Zombie, so he did some very good zombie make ups and some very grisly effects."
-The “Butchermobile” cruised downtown New York streets drumming up business, amputations, throat-slitting's, brain transplants and machete based exploratory surgeries followed in its wake.
Dr. Butcher M.D.
"The violence is gleeful, excessive and extraordinarily explicit; this film clumsily combines cannibalism, zombies, ersatz medical experimentation, grave robbing, ritual disembowelment, and more intestinal munching than even a George Romero film. The film concerns a mad (what else?) doctor's experiments in a presumably South American jungle, where our good Dr. Butcher M.D. is hoping to assemble lots of body parts and attempt to reanimate the dead, ably assisted by a tribe of cannibals who eat his mistakes. It's rather refreshing to see nice, normal Amazonian cannibals wielding the machetes and butcher knives instead of your run-of-the-mill psycho cases" The Connoisseur's Guide to the Contemporary Horror Film- Chas. Balun © 1983 Fantaco Books p.25
-A mad scientist lives at an molukk island inhabited by cannibals. He experiments with corpses which he reanimates to zombies.
-Hey, it's not great art, but there's something to be seen if you look closely enough. -Nathan Shumate
3 Skulls! 10 on the Splatter Scale!
"Undiscriminating gore hounds will love the brain transplants, cannibalism, zombies, eye-gouging's and disembowelments but all others will only see a poorly dubbed, ridiculous import item with absolutely no redeeming values. If you're the former, make sure you see this one, if your the latter, rent "My Dinner With Andre" instead." The Gore Score- Chas. Balun © 1987 Fantaco Enterprises, Inc p.23
Media Blasters: Shriek Show Presents
The movie is shown in an Anamorphic Letterboxed 1.85:1 ratio. The video appears to be in fairly good condition. Using the original italian (red) opening sequence the film shows a dark haze over the background and the text looks rather grainy. The movie itself appears to be in better condition than the Dragon print or Vipco's U.K. print.
The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0. The vocals seem to be vibrant and clear, but the music just kinda fades along. For an english language print this is the best media blasters could do. It would have been nice to even include the original Italian language.
The extras are the best feature on this disc: Still & Poster Gallery; Trailers; Cast Information; Interviews With Special Effects Maestro Maurizio Trani; Scenes From "Tales That'll Tear Your Heart Out" That Were Added To The U.S. Theatrical Version, "Dr. Butcher M.D.".
Also included as sneak and peak bonus is the english language opening credits (white) that the dragon DVD uses. Personally I feel that one very important thing is missing from this DVD, that is the original opening and credits for "Doctor Butcher M.D." That is totally left out of the package. Another feature left out is the cheesy score from Dr. Butcher which could easily be a quality extra, along with scenes added to ZH to make Butcher.
Time: 90 mins.