Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Bravo's 100 Scariest Movie Moments: #98 - Zombie (1979)

By Eric Polk-
We're Going to Eat You! A tagline doesn't get any more direct than that. Across the world, this 1979 Lucio Fulci-directed film is titled Zombi 2(an unofficial sequel to Romero's Dawn of the Dead), Zombie Flesh Eaters,Island of the Living Dead, but here in the states it's simply called Zombie. It is simply my favorite zombie movie of all time.

In New York, a boat is found driverless and supposedly peopleless.When the Harbor Patrol investigates, a huge decomposing man kills one of the officers. The remaining officer shoots the hulking man, a zombie, who topples into the sea. The body of the deceased officer is deposited in the morgue.

Anne Bowles (Tisa Farrow) is questioned by the police as the boat belonged to her father (Ugo Bologna). She only knows that her father left for a tropical island to do research. Reporter Peter West (Ian McCulloch) is assigned by his news editor (director Lucio Fulci in a cameo) to report on the mysterious boat. Anne and Peter meet on the boat and discover a note from Anne's father saying he is on the island of Matool (Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands) suffering from a strange disease. Anne and Peter decide to investigate together. They arrive in the tropics and enlist the aid of a seafaring couple, Brian Hull ('Al Cliver' aka Pier Luigi Conti) and Susan Barrett (Auretta Gay), to help find the island.

Matool is a cursed place where the dead rise to attack the living. Dr. David Menard (Richard Johnson), a resident on the island and physician at the local mission, is investigating its secrets. His contemptuous, highly-strung wife Paola (Olga Karlatos) wants to leave the island in fear of the increasing zombie attacks, but Menard insists on staying to continue his research. Anne, Peter, Brian, and Susan reach Matool. As they investigate, the zombies attack en masse.

The plot, like most zombie genre films is simplistic. Wouldn't want it any other way. What makes this film is memorable scenes. I mean an homage to Jaws, a literally eye-popping kill scene? Oh, the theme music? AWESOME! The gore? BOO-YAH! Sure, the acting is melodramtic, but the scenes shot in the U.S. Virgin Islands? Non-CGI eye candy!

I disagree with the producers of the Bravo special who only put this film at #98. It should be in the top twenty, or thirty at the very least!

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