Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Zombie (Zombi 2)

Zombie (a.k.a. Zombi 2) screens on Thursday, October 28th at Toronto Underground Cinema as part of a night of zombie themed events and musical performances. Tickets are $15 at the door for normals, or $10 if you come dressed as a zombie or a post zombie attack survivor.

You haven't lived until you have seen a zombie fight a shark. You simply haven't. Even more than jumping a shark on waterskis or shoving an oxygen tank in a shark's mouth and blowing it up with a well placed rifle shot, there are few things greater in life than simply watching someone who is already dead fight a shark. But I am getting ahead of myself.

Welcome to the world of the Italian master of gore Lucio Fulci, creator of some of the greatest and most bizarre horror films ever to come out of Europe, Zombie 2 is a work of deranged brilliance. It isn't the greatest put together film ever made, but it is more fun than the litany of zombie flicks that has come out in the past decade. George Romero remakes, I am looking squarely in your direction (with the notable exception of Dawn of the Dead, which retained the fun and wit of the original).

Zombi 2 was actually conceived as an unofficial sequel but actually a prequel to Romero's Dawn of the Dead (known as Zombi overseas) and made in Europe on the super cheap. Sold in North America as a grindhouse darling gorefest the tagline and poster have become iconic. The marketing campaign for Zombi 2 (known as Zombie in North America for now obvious, yet still confusing reasons) blatantly said, in no uncertain terms, WE ARE GOING TO EAT YOU. Truth in advertising? Yes.

In typical Italian exploitation fashion, the film starts in a location that will have nothing else to do with the remainder of the film. When a boat full of corpses mysteriously ends up in New York City harbour, the police and reporter Peter West are on the case. West teams up with the daughter of the boat's owner to try and get to the bottom of the matter. West and Anne Bowles charter a flight to St. Thomas, Virgin Islands; the last known port of call for the ship. From there, West and Bowles charter a boat to a remote island where they are besieged by zombies.

Sometimes you start writing a review and you just don't have too much to say about the film. I will leave it at this simple statement. Zombi 2 is pure grindhouse in the way that Singing in the Rain is pure entertainment. It is a carnival ride gore-gasm that was also promoted by handing out barf bags at the door in case the viewer needed it. Zombie is pure unadulterated schlock, but in that category, there are few films that do it better. It is, in its own niche genre, a classic.


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