Tuesday, February 9

Speaking of Fulci's Zombie...

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I received the faded copy of Wizard Video's 1981 VHS of Zombie seen in the entry below last week and threw it in to spot check the tape's playback. Of course, I ended up watching the film in its entirety. The tape itself played amazingly well with not one video roll or dropout despite the box and tape looking all of its twenty-eight hard fought years. It was an unseen $5 Amazon Marketplace buy with just "Wizard Video tape" in its description. Sometimes you have bite the bullet, especially since Wizard's big box version is among the rarest horror tapes produced in North America.

I've already professed my love for the creepy simplicity of Zombie's conclusion, along with admitting I initially hated the flick, though my appreciation for Italy's answer to Dawn of the Dead grows each time it ends up on my television screen. Out of Fulci's zombie-themed output, Zombie is the most linear and least abstract, but makes up for this with tremendous gore crafted by Giannetto De Rossi. The special effect artist's work here might be his best under the demanding eye of the director. Concerning the direct nature of Zombie, looking at its placement in Fulci's filmography, it can be seen as a bridge and marriage in his career between Fulci's more solid storytelling skill beforehand and his burning desire for realistic gore that defined much of his work afterward. For better or worse...

Yes, Zombie was meant to capitalize on the international whirlwind that was George A. Romero's masterpiece by providing a prequel-like explaination of the American zombie outbreak, but Fulci delivers a perfectly agreeable answer. I can't think of another zombie movie that better melds the gimmicky perception of voodoo-controlled dead with the post-Romero flesheater. The shambolic, tattered, and weary living dead in Zombie are more akin to an ethereal force driven to exterminate mankind than the individualistic pie fodder in Dawn of the Dead. In this respect, they have more in common with the monochromatic gaggle in Night of the Living Dead...only with three complete bovine's worth of ghastly internal fluids and organs.

Also, when I think of Fulci's excuse for door-splinter-ocular-trauma, I've often wondered about this promotional picture to the right depicting a scene not in the film. The opening's "fat zombie" (played by Captain Haggerty) is shot by police and falls off the boat. We no longer see him, but in this still he's rising out of the water near some pier pylons. Maybe he survived the shooting, floated(?) ashore, and became the zombie that caused the unseen outbreak in New York as the drama was playing out on the island of Matul. Just a thought...
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6 comments:

Drunketh said...

I've always been of the knowing fact that the fat zombie is indeed totally not dead from the gunshots which missed his head completely and left him in the waters of New York, and is the Direct cause of the unseen outbreak. That whole pan upwards with that doomed music after he goes under is proof enough, and while I haven't read the script or anything, page 29 of Blackest Heart Media's comic adaptation of the film has the fat zombie rising from the waters and attacking a homeless dude who's drinking Old Crow under the peer.

Rock... ooonnnn!

the jaded viewer said...

Fat zombie is indeed memorable bit my vote goes to Conquistadore zombie (as I like to call em) He's the zombie on the box cover.

Buried like 1 feet underground, the girl waits for him to rise for like 20 min and then dies.

Good times.

J. Astro said...

Fat Zombie is a total mouth-breather. Also, they have a kinda/sorta-interesting interview featurette with the guy who plays fat zombie on the Shriek Show/Media Blasters ZOMBI 25th Anniv dvd. Seems like a real nice fella.

Massacre Video said...

The way I always saw it was since some Zombies live under water in that film haha he just walked on the bottom of the ocean up to the shore...I don't recall him being shot in the head so I think he was still living and the gun shots really only made him fall off the boat....nice Wizard tapes though...a store around me has a MINT Zombie big box but won't sell it on account of they can't find the tape. But I do have a beta on Wizard!

Richard of DM said...

Here's a question for you: What do you prefer Zombie on VHS or Zombie on Blue Underground's restored DVD? The first time I saw Zombie was on a beat up old videocassette. It both scared and shocked the shit out of me. When I finally bought the movie, I picked up the double disc edition that came out in 2004. It shows just how beautiful Sergio Salvati's cinematography is but I still wish I had a copy of that old tape. Somehow that full frame, yellowed and cheap look made the film more frightening to me.

The Film Connoisseur said...

I love this movie, it might be a bit hard to follow at times since it doesnt really explain certain plot points all that well, but its a fun ride every step of the way. The zombies look great, and the gore is plentiful.

That pic to the right might be a behind the scenes pic that they used as a cover for the poster.

...do you dare tread upon the staircase?
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