Monday, December 12, 2011

#483. Zombie 3 (1988)

Directed By: Lucio Fulci, Bruno Mattei

Starring: Deran Sarafian, Beatrice Ring, Ottaviano Dell'Acqua

Trivia:  Second Director Bruno Mattei and writer Claudio Fragasso have brief cameos as soldiers in the crematorium scene

Director Lucio Fulci once made the rather bold statement that “Violence is Italian Art”. Well, if that's the case, then his 1988 movie, Zombie 3, is a very artistic film. 

When a terrorist swipes an experimental virus from a research facility in the Philippines, he inadvertently kicks off a deadly epidemic, one that causes the local population to mutate into carnivorous monsters. A small band of survivors, including three American army personnel and a group of friends on vacation, barricade themselves inside an abandoned hotel, but as they soon learn, there's no place to hide from the onslaught of bloodthirsty zombies.

Zombie 3, Fulci's follow-up to his 1979 classic, Zombie (which was released as Zombi 2 in his native Italy), has its share of problems, most caused by the legendary director himself. When Fulci wrapped production on Zombie 3, it was discovered he'd tossed out a large portion of the script, resulting in a finished film that clocked in at a mere 50-minutes long. Fulci then became ill, leaving the producers with no alternative but to bring back the writer (Claudio Fragasso) and hire another director (Bruno Mattei) to salvage their movie. Working with a different set of actors (the original ones had moved on to other projects), 40 additional minutes were shot, which, when spliced together with Fulci's scenes, resulted in a film that ultimately worked, yet suffered a distinctive shift in style from one moment to the next. This aside, Zombie 3 is still a fine (not to mention gory) horror film. For one, the “infected” are pretty damn gross, covered in festering sores that occasionally spew green liquid. Along with its disgusting side effects, the virus spreads very quickly. Early on, the terrorist who started it all checks into a hotel to avoid capture. Once there, he infects a waiter by way of a broken glass, then mauls the poor maid when she tries to fix up his room. But my favorite scene (and one Fulci was undoubtedly behind) involves a young lady named Carole (Marina Loi), who, while investigating a dilapidated building, is pushed (by a zombie) into a man-made lake. A mass of bubbles surrounds her, and she screams for help. Her companion, an American soldier (Massimo Vanni), leaps into the lake and drags her to safety, only to discover her legs have been gnawed off, and that she herself is now a zombie! 

Another famous quote with an artistic bent goes something like “I may not know much about art, but I know what I like”. Well, Zombie 3, even with its faults, is definitely a movie I like.

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