Wednesday, March 18

Island of the Living Dead (2006)


"Stick it up your ass! You piece of shit-stinking asshole!"

A.K.A. L' isola dei morti viventi
Directed by Bruno Mattei
94 Minutes / KSM Germany DVD (R2/PAL) / Anamorphic 1.78:1 Widescreen

A group of sea-bound treasure hunters have their course diverted by a freak storm and decide to investigate a mysterious, uncharted island. You guessed it, tropical undead begin to appear as they go a' crypt-raiding and discover their path to hell was paved centuries prior. Confusion settles in as the group splits up, seems confounded over the presence of zombies, and argue over whether to leave or not. All the while, the film goes critical and throws a tantrum in a failed attempt to find logic.

Simply put, this is Mattei's super-gigantic "fuck you" notice to Uwe Boll. It's almost as if hackmaestro Bruno saw Boll's House of the Dead and was up to the challenge of making the "crash-land-zombie-island" scenario even more shitastic. But oh man, is it ever ten times more exciting and funnier.

Mattei pulls out all the copycat stops with ripped-off aspects of Fulci's Zombie and even has the aged nutsack to lift the most famous scene/dialogue from Night of the Living Dead. Shades of Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight are central to the plot, in that each character has little vignettes where the dead attempt to lure each to the darkside, but it all comes off hackneyed and plunges the film into nonsense. Mattei is a master of a brand of strange bewildering "global" precedent; one character will gain specific knowledge and eventually without interaction all of the characters suddenly know. And yes, that explaination is as confusing as the film itself.

All the goofy touches Mattei trades in, SWAT ballerina is my favorite from his entire oeuvre, are also here. There's a token black dude in the group named Snoopy sporting a Snoopy t-shirt. The brightness of daylight drastically increases from shot-to-shot. Our pillager's boat has "SAFETY FIRST" emblazoned across its bow. Stock footage, that's all that needs to be said. A kung-fu zombie fight, oh yes, it goes there too. I don't even want to point out how astonishing terrible the English dubbing is. Though somehow even with the dubbing the actor's physical deliveries still seem far off from center. Mattei throws down a gauntlet that Boll can only have wet dreams about. I swear there's even a snippet directly from HotD sneaked in here, suck on that you German prick.

Despite this pile of cheesy hilarity, the flick never seems to resort to bland padding and moves at a surprisingly brisk pace. Once in the tombs, the characters run about in what feels just like a haunted house attraction. The gore is somewhat sparse, but it's like Prego, it's in there. This is just pure comfort crap with a glimmer of that muddling Italian '80s genre effort magic. Breathe in that musty, rotting smell of yore. Mmmmmmm...

Film: 6.5/10 (you probably won't agree, but maybe...)
DVD Picture: 7/10
DVD Sound: 5/10

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