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?
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.
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