In Lucio Fulci's genre classic Zombi 2, the dead rise once again to terrorize and consume the flesh of the living, this time Caribbean style! Those new to Fulci should note Island of the Flesh-Eaters, Zombi 2, and the more commonly known Zombie all refer to the same film. Though there is no Zombi 1, Fulci's film was titled Zombi 2 to capitalize on the commercial success of Romero's Dawn of the Dead. Though marketed as a sequel in Italy, the only similarities to Romero's classic are the title and the fact that the dead rise to eat the flesh of the living. Instead of being a metaphor for consumerism, Zombi 2 is a straight-out adventure story that ends in a horrific, apocalyptic nightmare. The plot is fairly straightforward, and more or less exists simply as a structure to hang scenes of extreme gore and terror on. Dr. Bowles's boat floats into New York Harbor missing its crew and carrying an undead passenger.
The doctor's daughter (Tisa Farrow), dead set on finding out what happened to her father, teams up with journalist Peter West (Ian McCulloch) and heads to the cursed island of Matool, where a zombie epidemic is growing and Dr. Bowles's friend, Dr. Menard (Richard Johnson), is desperately trying to find a cure. Will Anne find her father? Will Dr. Menard find a cure? Will our heroes escape? In all honesty, who really cares? Because those in the "know" already know you don't come to a Fulci film looking for Shakespeare. What Zombi 2 lacks in plot development and continuity, it more than makes up for in atmosphere, intensity, and of course the trademark Fulci gore. Some of the unique high points are the never-duplicated zombie-versus-shark vignette, the rising of the Spanish zombie conquistadors, and Fulci's trademark eye shot. Fans of Italian/apocalyptic/cannibal/zombie films should not miss Zombi 2. Along with The Beyond, it defines the genre.
Got Fulci? Want more? Look no further than Media Blasters' stellar double-disc 25th anniversary release of Zombi 2 (A.K.A. Zombie). This special edition release presents Zombi 2 longer, louder, and clearer than ever before. For the first time the Fulci classic has been completely restored, remastered, uncut, unrated, in 5.1 digital surround sound and presented in anamorphic widescreen 2.35:1. It is worth remembering that Zombi 2 was a relatively low-budget film shot in the late '70s under shoestring conditions. That said, it is safe to say this release of Zombi 2 looks and sounds better than ever before, probably higher in quality than its original theatrical release. Fans of the film will be watering at the mouth with this presentation.
are a few cast and crew interviews worth checking out, most notably
from Captain Haggerty, cast as the "Fat Zombie aboard boat,"
discussing what is was like to be a zombie in a Fulci film. The film
commentary by actor Ian McCulloch (Peter West) and Diabolik magazine
editor Jason Slater, unfortunately, is a little disappointing. Those
who own the 2002 Anchor Bay release will find the commentary familiar
because it is the same one! Listening to McCulloch comment on the film,
it quickly becomes apparent he does not consider Zombi 2 the highlight
of his career, but offers some interesting insight to working with Fulci.
However, the real reason fans will need this special edition is for
the incredibly detailed, exclusive 98-minute featurette Build a Better
Zombie. This documentary is the crown jewel of this special edition.
It features candid interviews with SFX artist Giannetto De Rossi, cinematographer
Sergio Salvati, and screenwriter Dardano Sacchetti discussing the development
of the story and the zombies, the Fulci vs. Romero comparison, how they
did the "eye" and "shark" shots and the film's theatrical
success. --Rob Bracco
Zombi 2 (1979)