Friday, 24 May 2013

Review - Zombie Flesh Eaters 2 (1988 - Dir. Lucio Fulci)

You may well have been wondering when I was going to get round to the zombie maestro Lucio Fulci in my year long festival of all things shambling. Well, wait no longer. Here's the long awaited review of Zombie Flesh Eaters 2. What the hell? What's that 2 doing at the end of the title? Yep, sadly I've plumped for this celluloid travesty as my first foray into Fulci realms. Things can only get better after this.

You may have gathered that this film is pretty dire. In fact, it's a complete mess. There are many stories regarding the production. Probably the most common is that Fulci became ill during the making of it and Bruno Mattei was brought on board. It all sounds a bit suss because Claudio Fragasso, the writer had previously worked on Zombie Creeping Flesh with Mr Mattei and they were top buddies. A large proportion of Fulci's footage was deemed unusable and Mattei fleshed out the remaining running time. It's hard to believe that Fulci's work was actually worse than the shambles that Mattei has knocked out.

One shot that Fulci admits too is the only hint of the supernatural in the whole film. A flying zombie head zooms out of a fridge to bite an unwary victim. It sticks out like a sore thumb in a film that is more akin to Nightmare City. The zombies here charge around brawling with the protagonists rather than shuffling politely up to them. But don't get your hopes up expecting that the a bit that Fulci definitely directed is any good. It's still rubbish. Just different rubbish. 

It also bears virtually no resemblance to its namesake. This escapade actually bears more similarities to a Romero film, The Crazies. Although the original Zombie Flesh Eaters cashed in on the success of Dawn of the Dead, Fulci managed to make a pretty great film. Despite The Crazies not being the best film ever, this farce doesn't even get any where near its quality.

Admittedly, I was marginally tipsy when I watched this (you need to be, believe me) but about half way through I couldn't quite work out who the main characters were or where they'd come from. They are so lacking in personality that I'm not even sure that they're in the first half of the film. I'd worked out that there were some soldier types involved, possibly. Although, I only noticed them due to their shockingly bad dialogue. But I'd got no idea where the leading lady had come from. In fact, I wasn't even sure if she was the leading lady. She could have been a dinner lady, who'd mistakenly wandered on to the set. I'm convinced that if you freeze frame the film at 67 mins and 34 secs you can see her serving a young gentleman some flapjack.

Lots of reasons come to mind for why Fulci didn't succeed with this project: he was ill, budgets were becoming smaller and he didn't have his dream team of actress Catriona MacColl, writer Dardano Sacchetti, effects genius Gianetto De Rossi and cinematographer Sergio Salvati with him. I get the feeling that his four classic zombie films are the product of team work, and a perfect mix of creative talent, rather than the work of an auteur. 

There is one moment, where a zombie barges about as if he's migrated from Resident Evil 4. Put a sack on his head and give him a chainsaw and he's a dead ringer. It's also got a great poster. And Hitler makes an appearance. But apart from all of that, this is a total waste of time. Unless you like watching random encounters with badly made up zombies and a surprising lack of gore. Let's all just pretend that Fulci had nothing to do with this and look forward to his greater works.

NB I lied about the flapjack sighting, so don't waste your time buying the film and searching for it.

If you like this you could also try:
Zombie Creeping Flesh, Nightmare City.


  1. Man, I love this movie, mostly (ok, entirely) because it IS so bad...

    It gets even more nuts for #4.

    1. Yeah, despite that I've only awarded it 1/10, I will be watching it again. It's one for completists and lovers of bad films. I haven't seen zombi 4 before either but I can sense that it's going to be added to my list.