Zombie (Italy 1979)

Rating: **
Review Date: 11/7/99
Director: Lucio Fulci

My first introduction to Italian horror films was this well made and marginally entertaining zombie flick. An abandoned ship shows up in New York City with a stow-away zombie on board who ends up killing a police officer. The boat belongs to a young woman's father, and she and a pesky news reporter run off to the Caribbean to investigate. They end up on an uncharted island with another American couple, where they meet the resident scientist who informs them of the zombie epidemic that has infested the island. The good doctor refuses to believe in voodoo and is desperately trying to find a logical explanation and a cure for the reanimated corpses that keep springing up all over the place. In true zombie film fashion, a huge zombie massacre takes place as the shuffling undead masses close in on the surviving humans.

A well made zombie film in all respects, although it tends to be a little slow in parts. Like many zombie films, no explanation is given as to the nature of the creatures, and the main focus of the film is survival. The tone is consistently creepy, the make-up is good, and the gore effects are pretty icky - the one where a woman gets her eye impaled on a piece of wood immediately springs to mind. But by far, the highlight of the film occurs out at sea when one of the women decides to go scuba diving (topless, of course). She encounters a big shark through some incredibly slick aquatic cinematography and manages to get away from it, but there are far worse things lurking under the waves - namely, zombies! In the film's most spectacular sequence, the girl is attacked underwater by a zombie who then proceeds to wrestle with the shark and starts taking bites out of it! Truly amazing. And this was a real shark as far as I could tell - or an extremely convincing animatronic model. That alone is well worth the price of admission.