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I thought I'd kick the new year off with another movie marathon. I thought it was time to check out a few old school mystery flicks. Som...

Saturday, October 8, 2022

Zombie 3 (1988)

This sequel checks a lot of boxes for me. Not necessarily good boxes but what can I say, I love crappy movies! This movie was directed by the late great Lucio Fulci, but he was sick when shooting Zombie 3, so the producers brought in Bruno Mattei to finish it and do some second unit direction. Sure, that might seem disastrous but I’m sure things will be okay. As an added bonus the movie was shot in the Philippines, and you all know how much I love movies from that most magical of cinematic locations. Seriously check out my reviews… I love them.

Things kick off with some scientists doing science things with a virus/chemical they refer to as the Death One compound. It reanimates a dead body, but after jerking around for a few minutes the damn thing sort of deflates and just lies there. We see the head scientist call the military and tap out saying it is too dangerous to continue. Then we see a helicopter come to take away the Death One compound but some dudes in a van show up and try to steal it. This leads to a chase where the one remaining thief gets chased by a helicopter, shot, infected, and then checks into a nearby hotel. The military catches up with him and kills the carrier as well as anyone else who came in contact with him. They aren’t playing around you see! 

Of course, that isn’t the whole story. They burn the infected thief’s body and that in turn passes the virus to some birds, who then peck at and infect a bunch of humans. Into this mess we meet a girl in a Corvette, some kids in a motor home, and some soldiers on leave. They are all in the new infection zone and must not only avoid the military who are back to the “kill everything” solution but a bunch of zombies as well. Who lives? Who dies? Why does the super hip radio D.J. still stay on the job after going zombie? Hey man this is an Italian flick… do you really expect answers?

Let me begin by saying that this movie doesn’t make a lick of sense. Characters show up, pair off, and then get killed by zombies or the military. It gets confusing trying to figure out who is still alive and who has died along the way. None of the characters stand out much from each other, which is why I started to refer to them as Corvette Girl, Army Dudes, Nerd Guy, and that sort of thing. The names don’t matter as they are clearly there to die in gory and sticky ways. Truthfully in the spirit of Italian zombie flicks I appreciate that. This is more about the effects and being goofy then it is narrative or character. Look no further than the random blind radio D.J. that sort of acts as our narrator for the movie as evidence of this. 

From a practical standpoint this also makes a lot of sense when you read into the background of the production of Zombie 3. Fulci’s final cut was less than an hour, which of course wasn’t enough for a feature. Even though Mattei was already doing second unit shooting adding sequences with some of the cast paring off to go get eaten he was asked to do a couple extra weeks after Fulci wrapped. Since he didn’t access to the cast, most of whom had already left, he shot new things for the movie. Like the story line with the scientists (some of which was already established by his second unit work) being more fleshed out as well as the ending. I find it amusing that the characters who lived at the end were determined by who from the Zombie 3 cast were still in the Philippines working on another movie! I’m surprised that the plot turned out as somewhat cohesive as it did under these circumstances. 

Being a zombie movie, we obviously need to talk about the gore. First up the zombie design is a bit disappointing. This is basic paint them grey and slap a couple of appliances on them design. We don’t get any “hero” zombies in the movie at all. There are eleven kills, which is decent. Some highlights are pool zombies eating the legs off a girl, throat ripping/chewing, a shovel to a zombie neck, a couple characters getting gunned down, a few bites, and of course gut munching. Got to have some gut munching in your zombie flick. My favorite though is a face getting ripped off because… well why not? In addition to these kills we also get a neat gag with a hand getting lopped off, and some pulsating wounds that are sticky and pop like some sort of horrific undead acne. Oh, and remember when I said no hero zombies? I’m sort of wrong because we do get an unexplained and inexplicable flying zombie head. Why? How? Who cares it was funny. 

I get that these movies can be an acquired taste and aren’t for everyone. If you can ignore the lack of story and character development and just kick back turning your brain off for ninety minutes, I think Zombie 3 can be a lot of fun. Just manage your expectations. 

© Copyright 2022 John Shatzer

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