Zombie Creeping Flesh / Virus(1980)

1.5 out of 5

We know that Lucio Fulci did not think much of what he saw as Dario Argento's claim upon the genre with Zombi that the world knows better as George A Romero's Dawn Of The Dead. Indeed the Godfather wrote to the young horror pretender and informed him of how his claim was an illegitimate one. Lucio suggested that it was a genre that goes way back to before Jacques Tourneur who once walked with a zombie. Despite such a withering attack Fulci was willing himself to borrow liberally from the genre rules of Romero rather than look to, despite its Caribbean setting, this pre-Tourneur world. Indeed cynics may suggest that Zombi 2, as it title suggests, more than borrows from Dawn Of The Dead, it is set up as an unofficial prequel to the Romero classic as best illustrated by the New York based postscript. Ah, Italian exploitation! Plus ├ža change, plus c'est pareil!

To look for the spirit of Romero in Italy however, forget Lucio Fulci and his hoard of walking flowerpots; his playful nickname for the mud smeared actors who stumbled into the Matul night. Instead maybe look to the trashtastic exploitation veteran Bruno Mattei and the delightfully generic Zombie Creeping Flesh.

If a second tier zombie shocker is not to the liking then at least there is some of the most unconvincing stock footage interaction ever laid to film, some of which appears to be sourced from the Akira Ide documentary Nuova Guinea: L'isola dei Cannibali, otherwise known as Guinea Ama.

There is no reason why a S.W.A.T team would end up as a band of mercenaries in the third world other than to make sure that the viewer is reminded of Dawn Of The Dead, in truth the whole thing is a squalid mess, laughable in the extreme and real must see. It ain't big, it aint clever and it is certainly no masterpiece in any way, shape or form but in Zombie Creeping Flesh we see the spirit of Dawn Of The Dead undead and unwell. This is another lesser Italian zombie feature that stands up to repeat viewing, especially with company and with one or two over the dozen beers or maybe a recreational narcotic.

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