Zombie Flesh Eaters / Zombi 2 (1979)

4.5 out of 5

The Italian title of Zombi 2 as a marketing ploy was to suggest that the film was a sort of sequel or more likely prequel to Romero's Dawn Of The Dead which was marketed in Italy with the emphasis on an Argento rather than Romero connection under the title Zombi. In correspondence with Argento Fulci derided what he saw as his appropriation of zombies by pointing to the many earlier zombie titles spanning the twentieth century. Fulci, by taking the genre back to its Caribbean roots attempts to make a link with the earlier zombie cinematic tradition. All this of course being a little disingenuous as Fulci was not above appropriating the genre rules as established by Romero.

Paced and structured not unlike Joe D'Amato's Anthropophagus a largely uneventful first half gives way to a far tighter and exciting second half featuring some of the most grizzly and incredible set pieces of the entire zombie sub genre.

With far too many excellent scenes to list Zombi 2 is representative of a high point of Italian horror and gorehounds will find so much to treasure here. There is a political subtext relating to the relationship between the first and third world that is repeated in Bruno Mattei's Zombie Creeping Flesh aka Virus but it is better not to dwell on this but instead revel in horror cinema at its uncompromising best. This is a film that loses none of it's impact after repeat viewing. A truly excellent movie.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics