Friday, January 20, 2012

#522. Zombie 4: After Death (1989)

Directed By: Claudio Fragasso

Starring: Jeff Stryker, Candice Daly, Massimo Vanni

Trivia:  In Germany, this film was released as The Evil is Back

I knew my luck with Italian zombie movies would run out sooner or later. Seeing as I enjoyed pretty much all of them up to this point, I figured I was due for a stinker. And man...did I find one! 

After the death of his daughter, the voodoo High Priest (James Sampson) of a small island first transforms his wife (Geretta Geretta) into a bloodthirsty demon, then proceeds to open the third gate of hell, thus unleashing an entire army of the walking dead. The first to fall victim to the freshly-risen corpses are a team of scientists, who've been living on the island for several months. All are killed but one, a young child named Jenny, whose mother gave her a special talisman to protect her from all harm. We next jump twenty years into the future, where Jenny (Candace Daly), now an adult, is out boating with a pack of mercenaries. Naturally, the boat breaks down just as they're passing the very island Jenny escaped, forcing them to go ashore for repairs. At the same time, a trio of researchers, already on the island, are busy looking for the “Eye of the Volcano”. When one of the three reads from the Book of the Dead (which he found lying on the ground), it re-awakens the zombies, who attack the researchers and leave only one of them, a guy named Chuck (Jeff Stryker), alive. Chuck eventually makes his way to Jenny and her friends, and together they attempt to hold off the approaching horde of undead. But how long can they hold out? 

If you think this story sounds convoluted and confusing, join the club. It's never explained why the Voodoo priest needed to turn his wife into a demonic killer, especially since he was planning to raise the dead immediately afterwords, anyway. I have no idea how young Jenny got off the island all those years ago, seeing as her parents, and everyone else she knew, were dead, and what are the odds she'd hook up with a group of dirty army rejects who go cruising in a motor boat and end up back on that same damn island? Come to think of it, what is the “Eye of the volcano”? On this island, not even the zombies follow any set rules. Some run, while others barely walk, and there are a select few that can leap through windows. A handful can even talk, and fire automatic weapons. And the dialogue? Whoa, is that terrible! As Jenny and her heavily-armed friends are on the boat, circling the island, Jenny starts to feel uneasy, and says she can't wait to get back to the open sea. “Don't you like it here?” Mad (Jim Moss) asks her, to which she replies “ No, it’s weird. There’s something strange about it, as if it were haunted”. She then tells them all about her traumatic childhood experience. “I wouldn't worry about it”, Mad says, “We're headed for the harbor”. “I still hate it”, Jenny replies, “But maybe it's fate”. Huh? 

Devoid of excitement, intelligence, or thrills of any kind, Zombie 4: After Death is one movie you'll definitely want to pass by.

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