Gut munching, shark hugging, eye gouging, Italian splatter-fest Zombie Flesh Eaters gets a long awaited Bluray release.
Gut munching, shark hugging, eye gouging, Italian splatter-fest
Zombie Flesh Eaters gets a long awaited Bluray release.
Back in the
early days of video and the BBFC banned list, Lucio Fulci’s Zombie Fleasheaters was THE one to see, by hook or by
crook, the benchmark by which all another splatter films would be measured.
Forget The Exorcist, everyone had
seen a fifth generation copy of Friedkin’s
classic but Flesheaters… that was another story.
Fulci has been responsible for some of the goriest films released in the 70s
and 80s; The Beyond, City of the Living Dead, House by the
Cemetary and the notorious New York
Ripper but Zombie Flesh Eaters is the one he’ll be remembered for.
The film opens
with a shroud-covered body rising slowly upwards only to be shot through the
head by a shadowy figure. We then cut to New York City harbour where an
abandoned yacht drifts aimlessly. Two NYC cops board the yacht to investigate
and find more than they bargained for in the form of a huge bald headed zombie
who rips a chunk from the neck of one of the officers and falls overboard when
shot by the other. We soon learn the yacht is owned by the scientist father of
Anne Bowles (Tisa Farrow) who she
hasn’t heard from in several months. Returning to the boat she is surprised by
reporter Peter West (Ian McCulloch)
who suggests they share their information to help her find her father while he
gets to scoop a story.
follow his trail to the uncharted island of Matul hitching ride with two
American tourists Brian Hull (Al Cliver)
& Susan Barrett (Auretta Gay).
On the way they find time for some topless scuba diving and some unintentionally
amusing underwater zombie vs shark action. When they eventually arrive at the
island they find Doctor Maynard (Richard
Johnson) frantically trying to find the cause of a horrifying disease
that’s turning the locals into flesh munching zombies and from then on in
things take a decided turn for the worse.
This new Blu-ray
transfer is beautifully done; the colours are rich, deep and the images clean
and crisp. The NYC harbour scenes and the shots in the sea around the island
are particularly well realised and show Fulci to be more than the schlock
director he’s always made out to be. The bloody special effects veer from the
expertly done to the downright tacky, with the crystal clear Blu-ray release
highlighting the pitfalls of the latter. The acting is often patchy with some
actors speaking in English and others in dubbed Italian, a regular occurrence
with these films when B-list English and American actors would be drafted in to
act alongside the Italian regulars to boost international sales. The plot
itself is no great shakes but then that was never the point; the story is there
to get us from one gore set piece to the next and for the most they still stand
up 30 odd years later.
Zombie Flesh Eaters does seem rather tame by today’s standards, except for that
one scene, the one that’s 100% guaranteed to make you wince, the infamous
eyeball scene, shown here in all its uncut glory. Apart from that, when you
compare it to some of today’s torture porn flicks, it all seems a tad mild. But
unlike those directors Fulci’s heart is in the right place (albeit one that’s
been ripped still beating from a beautiful woman’s chest) and he always shows a
genuine love for the horror genre. Plus it does have one of the classic horror
film endings so if you like your films with a serious helping of claret, a
bucket full of guts and a tongue wedged firmly through rotting cheek, then
Zombie Flesh Eaters is for you.
chaos on the streets… The zombies are taking over…