10 days before Halloween and such many movies to talk about. But today we will about the other zombie movie that came from Italy, straight from Lucio Fulci’s mind. Trying to surf on the trail blaze of Romero’s “Dawn of The Dead”, also named “Zombie” for the EU market, Fulci will bring his version of zombie that are probably the most iconic ones: the rotting, putrid flesh zombie. Fulci will open the door of Italian horror movies, in my own and humble opinion one of the best production from Italy.
The plot starts in New York, as a ghost sailboat enters New York’s City waters. A NYPD boat arrives to inspect the boat with two police officers, one of them got bitten by a man showing sign of decomposition and killing him. The second officer shoots him, making the rabid man fall into the Hudson River. The daughter of the boat owner is questioned, as no trace of him is found but the last time he was reporting, he was stationed somewhere in the Caribbean, in some remote island to conduct his research. This lead the main character, Anne Bowles (played by Tia Farrow) to investigate what happened to her father. This leads her to go to the Caribbean, accompanied by a journalist and a couple of adventurers. In the meantime, in the island, dead people are suddenly re-animated by a voodoo curse and their numbers keep growing.
What makes it unique aside of his decomposing zombies? Well many things. First the soundtrack, signed by Fabio Frizzi that will compose with Fulci in several movies. It is the kind of winning duet that we have with Georges Lucas/Steven Spielberg and John Williams and that we will experience within the next decade with Tim Burton and Danny Elfman. No classical music here, more synthetic sound but also very deep and heavy composition making the atmosphere insane.
Second is the famous enuclation scene of Olga Scarlatos by a zombie with a wooden chard, that worth some fistful of gore scene.
Third is the famous underwater zombie. In one scene, the actress Aureate Gay decide to go skinny-scubadiving near the island, to better be confronted by a white shark. As she tries to hide from the shark behind a reef, she gets assaulted by an underwater zombie. Using coral to blind him, she managed to escape, only to see the zombie swim towards the shark and literally attack the shark. Some rumors have been discussing that the shark was highly drugged to shoot this scene, making it even more unreal.
Fourth is the particular set that Fulci will establish his signature about living-deads: rotting, flash-eating zombies. No fast-runners zombies here, but very determined and dangerous zombies that will mark his following movies “The Beyond” and “City of the Living Dead”. What Fulci fail to achieve in terms of budget, he compensate with the gore effects that are as impressive as Tom Savini’s one.