Sunday, 17 November 2013

Review - Zombie Creeping Flesh (1980 - Dir. Vincent Dawn (aka Bruno Mattei))

I've sat through some entertainingly bad stuff during the course of The Year of the Dead, Nightmare City, Zombie Flesh Eaters 2 and Zombie Flesh Eaters 3 to name a few, but Zombie Creeping Flesh has pushed me over the edge. It is virtually identical to the Zombie Flesh Eaters sequels. Throw together some civilians, some military types and some zombies and watch as hilarity ensues. It's no surprise to find that Bruno Mattei and Claudio Fragasso crop up in the credits for all three.

After an amusing incident in a research facility, where the scientists wear some brilliant helmets that obviously keep out 100% of any contamination (see above), a reporter and her cameraman join forces with a commando unit when everything goes slightly unpleasant due to a zombie horde appearing, who rather than having the appearance of the recently deceased, look more like they've got severely burnt from misuse of fake tan. The plucky chums have lots of adventures including lots of great things that I can't remember because they were so brilliant. They do meet up with some stereotypical natives, which is as offensive as you'd imagine. Basically, they wander around until they get picked off one by one by the zombies.

I like zombie films. I like animals, even when they're shot in slow motion. But a random conglomeration of the two is not good. On occasions the film inexplicably stops for a bit of slow motion animal footage, then carries on with some more zombie action. These speed impeded creatures pop up throughout the whole sorry show. It's as if they wanted to prolong the agony so they thought they'd slap in some stock footage. The worst one is when some mad fox type thing chases a small mammal and kills it. Fair enough if it's a natural history documentary but here it's completely unnecessary.

Not from the film, but you get the idea.

The acting is terrible as usual for these Mattei/Fragasso affairs. Couple that with some quality dialogue and highly accurate dubbing and the whole thing becomes mildly entertaining. It provides a fair few laughs anyway. The noise of someone chucking up after seeing a rather unpleasant sight is one of the highlights. There's yet more dubbing fun to be had when one of the commandos decides to become a transvestite and sing a little ditty. Another thing to look for is the commando who always charges about shooting or lamping zombies and generally getting giddy. Things always liven up when he's on screen. I'll see if I can find a screenshot of him so you know who I'm on about when you watch this.

A transvestite.

A maniac.

Is there anything that's good in this shambles? The music. By Goblin. Need I say more? If you shut your eyes you can almost imagine that you're watching a quality Argento product rather than this pile of steamy poopy. Not Goblin's best but easily the most accomplished element of this film. There's also one nice bit of gore towards the very end involving some eye poppage. Fulci would be proud. Actually he wouldn't. It's not a patch on any of his eye torture scenes but compared to the rest of the lacklustre effects, it's most welcome when it comes.

Given how rubbish it is it's amazing that it's got a couple of iconic shots. And here they are:

Apart from that it's terrible. I have to admit to falling asleep during the middle of it. When I woke the same characters were still alive so either I hadn't slept for long or nothing had actually happened (way more likely). It's not really worth giving the time of day unless you're a zombie completist. Out of the bad Italian zombie films of this period I would have to plump for Nightmare City. At least the zombies get to fire guns and punch people in the face.

If you like this you could also try:
Any of the Zombie Flesh Eaters series, Nightmare City.


  1. It almost sounds worse than Burial Ground: Nattens Terror, which I can't quite believe. I can live without experiencing this.

    1. Burial Ground is entertaining. This is generally dull. You can definitely live without it.

  2. Man this one is bad. I don't blame you for falling asleep. Nice screencaps... they make the movie look WAY better than it is haha!

    1. I thought that about the screen shots. They do look pretty good. It's just when they start moving that things go badly wrong.