Tuesday, September 27, 2011

European Horror Month Part 5: Lucio Fulci's Zombie

Episode 5: In which Marvin the Macabre finally fills a gaping hole in his horror viewership.

That's right folks, embarrassed as I am to admit it, I've never seen Fulci's legendary Zombie. What's worse, as far as I know, I've never seen a Lucio Fulci film. I aim to correct this tonight as I do a lo-fi version of live-blogging, one in which I blog as I watch (unfortunately I'm not tech savvy enough to let y'all read along in real time). I decided to do it this way because I realized I've only got three days left in September, and my total European Horror Month posts equal a pitiful foursome.

Let the games begin:

First thing's first: the title menu is rad!  Worms slithering from a badly decomposed zombie's eye-socket.

Next thing's next: had to turn on a light because I'm too lame to type in the dark.

I knew there were a lot of Italians in New York but damn, You'd think the police would at least speak English on duty. (Oops, I had the Italian dubbing on, my bad).

Some pretty inventive gore here. Can you imagine if the twisted mind of Fulci had gotten to works with some next-level FX wizards like Berger and Nicotero?

Wow, the sync is so bad they might as well be speaking Italian.

James the coroner's assistant should kick the coroner's patronizing ass.

(13:31) - Wow, they had techno in 1979?  It must have sounded space-age back then. Too bad they continued to rehash that same damned song for three more decades.

(17:00) - Pace is beginning to slow. Right now, the biggest threat is the reporter and daughter of the boat-owner being caught snooping around the crime scene after dark. Hopefully this will end in dismemberment.

(18:00) - A cunning ruse. Lots of couples break into boats being actively guarded as a crime scene by the police. There's no more convenient place to make out.

(26:00) - Note to Dr. Maynard's wife: If you're trying to get off an island while being dominated by your mad scientist husband, maybe you shouldn't threaten to tell the world his secrets. You can still blab once you get back to civilization, but while you're powerless, maybe use more guile. Just a thought.

(27:00) - First mention of "zombies." I'm glad this film incorporates voodoo, making the creatures proper zombies. Romero's version were "the living dead."  There are similarities, but despite popular usage of the term "zombie," they're not the same thing. Not that I'm really peeved about the broadened definition of "zombie"--it's just nice to see the original zombie myth now and again.

(34:00) - Not to sound like a pig or anything, but... SHARK and BOOBIES in the same shot!!!

(36:00) - OMG! Underwater Zombie vs. Underwater Boobies!

(37:00) - That zombie-playing dude is actually (mock-)biting that shark. This is truly impressive. I've heard about the famous shark vs. zombie sequence, and I'm digging it. It's not the most exciting piece of cinema ever, and these days they'd undoubtedly go with a CGI shark to enhance the action, but back in the day they didn't have a choice. While it kind of takes your mind out of the film and into the "making of" featurette, this is quite an accomplishment.

(40:00) - The treatment of the villagers (and any non-white, really) by whiteys in this movie is pretty atrocious. Look at the shame in this man's face as Dr. Maynard accuses him of being (rightfully) afraid. Then again, who turns out to be right? Can't say that Fulci's a racist just because his idiotic white characters are.

(46:00) - The infamous eyeball gouging scene. I was not disappointed. Although it doesn't look totally realistic, it doesn't diminish the horror of the scene (much). Who doesn't dread eyeball trauma? Not to mention that it was the best-looking girl in the film and the one I really wanted to see survive her captivity.

(1:02:00) - Zombanquet - The way this scene is edited, it gives the impression that they see Mrs. Maynard's body first, and don't notice the four zombies gnawing on it until a few seconds later. I know it's just to surprise the audience, but it makes the scene play kind of weird. Also, they're using real entrails, you can tell. My friend Shannon once chewed real deer entrails for a film. Don't think I could stomach it. Very revolting scene.

(1:02:33) - While shambling zombies can be just as scary as running zombies, they need to at least be shambling with purpose. Just look at these two shamefully lazy zombies. They're not even looking at the four juicy morsels before them. I don't know, maybe they're full.

(1:09:00) - The middle of a zombie attack is the perfect time to lay down in an old graveyard and start a little romancin'.  If either of these dipshits survive, I'm going to feel ripped off.

(1:10:38) - Now that's some whip-ass zombie make-up. Of course, the film suggests that this is supposed to be the 400-year-old remains of a conquistador, which I believe would be reduced to a skeleton by now. His clothes are still in pretty good shape too, considering he was buried directly in the ground rather than encased in a coffin. So, it took the worms 400 years to discover his eye socket? But who am I to argue with whip-ass zombie make-up?

(1:20:56) - I've got to wonder just how hard it would be to bite a big chunk out of someone. In zombie movies, the meat always just tears away like a piece of pork roast that's been slow-cooking in the crock pot overnight. This zombie just ripped out a piece of arm flesh like an inch deep, and I'm thinking it wouldn't be as easy as he made it look.  Kind of like how in most vampire films, the vampire apparently don't have rib cages, just loose flesh covering the heart that can be easily pierced with any convenient wooden implement, sharpened or not.

(1:23:00) - The world's shittiest Molotov cocktails. They make a big fireball, but then go out immediately.

(1:30:43) - Clever ending. Hopeless and wonderful.

Well that was a cool little zombie flick. The gore was well-done, the zombies looked great, I loved the island location, and it really had a Dawn of the Dead vibe to it. The acting was subpar pretty much all around, the characters had no depth whatsoever, and it wasn't the least bit scary, but as a showcase for bodily destruction and mayhem, it served its purpose admirably.

At this point, I'm kind of zombied-out. The market is saturated with zombie films of every budget, and it's hard to find a zombie film that has anything new to add. But I did enjoy this one quite a bit, even if I have seen it all before. There's just something about the tone and atmosphere of Zombie that makes it feel like one of the definitive zombie films, and I suppose it is.

P.S. - I'm going to try to get in one more post before European Horror Month is over. I really wanted to get more films watched, but my damned life got in the way. Stupid life. Doesn't it know that movies are better? 

1 comment:

  1. I'm a big fan of this one. As you say, it feels like one of the true zombie movies. And I also say it is.


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