Saturday, June 6
Directed by Lucio Fulci, Bruno Mattei, and Claudio Fragasso
96 Minutes (uncut composite utilizing the Japanese VHS) / Shriek Show, Media Blasters DVD / Anamorphic 1.85:1 Widescreen
A man attempts to steal a top secret deadly bacteria during a transfer to a chopper, but ends up infected after the box is cracked open during the theft. Soon the entire island is quickly becoming zombified from crazed birds as we follow the quest of a group of soldiers and vacationing college students for survival.
Alien Dead? Within the Italian border, have they witnessed the inflamed asshole of Flight to Hell? I have my doubts, because surely they would have prayed for the soft lensed delights of this Italo gutmuncher created from an unfortunate frankensteined production after maestro Fulci suffered a stroke.
It's said about forty minutes of Fulci's footage survived in the final film with Mattei and Fragasso filling out the remaining fifty minute chunk. Truth be told, it's pretty much impossible to nail down who did what. There never appears to be any significant dip into the usual Bruno lunacy or steaming camera dump let loose by Fragasso. That being said, it feels Italian, but strangely doesn't feel like the work of any of the three directors involved. Yet the story maintains coherence which seems no small feat and the zombie attacks are especially spirited.
Concerning our mealy-faced zombos, we get a mix of slow pants draggers and Olympic track runners on zombie crack that attack with fury. They also perform human tasks like the use of weapons, jumping, and even talking. Bring on the bitchfest over proper rothead edict by the Romero diehards still reeling from Land of the Dead's Big Daddy. Franco Di Girolamo's effects aren't a gore overload, usually deferring to sight gags like severed limbs or speared necks. The tendency to riff better work is tempered with the only clear sources of "borrowed" ideas being Return of the Living Dead (burning corpses/Freddy attack) and the end twist of Night of the Living Dead.
Another one worth picking up cheap, especially with Shriek Show's three-disc Zombie Pack Vol. 1 being found so cheaply. This DVD seems to be from a cut film source with the more grisly numbers being spliced in from the Japanese VHS. There's actually quite a few VHS inserts throughout, despite the IMDB's Alternate Versions section only mentioning three. Fans might want to check their DVD if they already have it as the studio stealthily re-released the disc with an audio commentary from Deran Sarafian and Beatrice Ring without altering the back cover specs.
Film: 6/10 (though depending on your Italian temperament, might be quite lower)
DVD Picture: 6/10 (interlaced transfer)
DVD Sound: 7/10