Thursday, January 21, 2010

Zombie Holocaust (1980)

Having recently purchased a box full of horror movies, I was ecstatic to find that a large portion of the movies involved my favorite undead characters, zombies! Unfortunately, the first one I grabbed, Girolami's Zombie Holocaust, left me a bit depressed. Maybe even a bit appalled in the likeness to the Lucio Fulci Classic, Zombie, which is one of my favorites?

In some ways, I should not be surprised as I see many movies today in the horror genre, that are clearly rehashed versions of movies that struck a cord with the audience, and directors are quick to copy in hopes of capitalizing on the similarities. However, in this case, it may have been to an extreme.

Ironically, besides sharing an almost identical plot, both movies were released in 1979, have matching sets, have the same star (Ian McCulloch), and even share some supporting cast members. Unfortunately, that is where the similarities end. Originally released in the United States as Dr. Butcher, M.D. (after adding in some local footage), the film drifts from the true zombie tale into a weird combination of zombies and cannibalism (yes, complete with natives set on consuming multiple organs). To me, this combination does not work.

While, the violence and gore was interesting and in some cases, very well done and conceived, like the mangling of a flesh eaters head with a boat motor or the exposed brain on the scientist lab table. However, much of the film misses. Making it very difficult to focus on and stay entertained. One of the biggest disappointments was the lack of the flesh eating zombies that the title projected, with the first appearance of a zombie showing up well into the movie. Even then, there maybe five or six in the entire movie, and their presence was virtually invisible in comparison to the tribes of cannibals looking to preserve their island paradise (Keto). In fact, I do not believe that a zombie actually killed or ate anyone in the entire movie. Bummer!

When you couple all of those inadequacies with the blatant plagiarism, the almost non-existent score, sub par film quality, and poor acting and you one of the most forgettable zombie movies of the era. Honestly, skip it and make a Jell-O brain, it is definitely more worthwhile.


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