Lucio Fulci’s infamous “Zombie Flesh Eaters 2” (AKA Zombi 3) recently made it’s Blu-Ray debut in the UK courtesy of 88 Films, which included the previously missing intro footage absent from most other releases, so having recently added this to my collection, thought I would post my thoughts.
This supposed 1988 sequel to his earlier 1979 movie, takes place in the
where a group of terrorists are busy pulling off a daring heist at a top secret
research facility. Stealing a batch of bio-weapon samples called Death-1,
problems arise when the army shoots the canisters out of one of the terrorists’
hands and he becomes infected. Philippines
Having caught him, the military make the mistake of cremating the body, which releases the contamination into the atmosphere and the film rapidly goes downhill, as the airborne particles infect the birds, which attack humans, which turn them into zombies (yes SERIOUSLY).
A group of American soldiers, on leave from their barracks, and a group of American tourists subsequently find themselves trapped in the contaminated zone, fending off attacks from zombies and trying to avoid soldiers in Hazmat suits, who are shooting anything in sight.
Owing nothing to his earlier film and borrowing heavily from The Crazies, Return of the Living Dead and even Hitchcock’s The Birds, there has been much dispute over the years as to how much of this film was actually Fulci’s, as he had to leave before completion owing to ill health, and how much was by Bruno Mattei, who was brought on to finish off after he left. The end result being something of a disjointed mess, which Fulci has repeatedly disowned.
Some of the zombies appear to be the stereotypical slow moving type, whereas others run like crazy. We’ve also got scenes of kung-fu zombies fighting soldiers, zombie radio DJs and even a disembodied zombie head, which flies out of a fridge and attacks someone (a full 6 years before the similar scene in Cemetery Man). The film certainly feels more akin to Mattei’s Zombie Creeping Flesh than Fulci’s Zombie Flesh Eaters. Though Fulci did apparently shoot the main bulk of the picture, indicating that the films feel may largely be due to the influence of producer Claudio Fagrasso, who worked with Mattei on that.
Of course, for all its faults, the film is still wildly entertaining popcorn fodder, which counts Italian regular Alex McBride (After Death) and future Hollywood director Deran Sarafian (Terminal Velocity) amongst it’s stars and its bizarre prog-rock soundtrack (of which I proudly own a copy of on CD) also adds to its charm.
I’m sure most of you will be aware that there was originally an additional 5 minute intro scene filmed, showing a failed attempt by the scientists to reanimate a dead body, which was subsequently excised from all but the Japanese release of the film (the restored US
ported the intro over from the Jap disc, which had been taken from a Video
Master-Tape, and so was notably worse quality to the rest of the disc).
However, the good news is that 88 Films managed to find the missing footage and take an HD scan for inclusion in this release, which looks absolutely superb. In fact the whole film looks fantastic and is undoubtedly the best it’s ever looked.
There’s also quite a few nice extras on the disc
First up is the inclusion of the original Italian opening and closing credits, which are the same as the English credits, but written in Italian (obviously).
Then there’s an 8 minute interview with zombie actor Ottaviano Dell`Acqua, who played one of the undead in this, and was the main zombie used on the
theatrical poster for Zombie Flesh Eaters. US
Next is a 30 minute live Q&A session with Fulci regular Catriona MaColl, which was filmed at the Spaghetti Film Festival in
2014. Which is interesting, though is something of an oddity as she doesn’t
actually appear in this film. So I can only imagine they decided to include it
as they didn’t have any of her films in their forthcoming schedule and didn’t
know what else to do with it.
Also included is a 16 minute audio interview with actress Beatrice Ring, who plays Patrica in the film, which plays to an accompanying stills gallery and there’s a 17 minute interview with producer Claudio Fagrasso, which is in Italian with English subtitles.
Lastly there’s a trailer reel, showcasing trailers from various other films in the 88 Films catalogue and the sleeve has reversible artwork. With the UK title "Zombie Flesh Eaters 2" on the front and the original Italian title, "Zombi 3", on the back.
Nice bunch of extras, though strangely they did not include a trailer on here, which was a surprise, as there’s one on the old Japanese and American DVDs, and a bit of a disappointment as I love seeing these old trailers.
Also, the US
an audio commentary with stars Deran Sarafian and Beatrice Ring. It would have
been nice if they’d licensed that for inclusion.
So overall, a very nice selection of extras and a really nice complete HD print of the film, making this release a must for fans of Fulci, Mattei or of corny Italian horror films. But was slightly let down by the lack of trailer and absence of audio commentary track.
Obviously this is the Blu-Ray release of the film I’ve reviewed. There is also a
which contains the same extras on, but obviously in Standard definition.
There is also a special limited edition Blu-Ray, which is only available exclusively through the 88 Films website, which comes in an exclusive slip case and contains a second disc featuring the documentary “Paura : Remembering Lucio Fulci” which is limited to 1000 units.
Buy the UK BD from Amazon.co.uk
Buy the UK DVD from Amazon.co.uk