|Zombi 3 (1988)|
|Director:||Lucio Fulci and Bruno Mattei|
|Writers:||Rossella Drudi and Claudio Fragasso|
|Starring:||Deran Sarafian, Beatrice Ring, Ottaviano Dell’Acqua, and Mike Monty.|
The film covers a very basic zombie plotline, with few divergences from formula. By an act of stupidity, through the means of a moron stealing a biological weapon called Death One (and boy, what an awful name that is) from a military base and causing widespread infection, the zombie epidemic begins. The first human who is infected of course makes his way to a nearby hotel where he infects at least one other person before he chops off his hand trying to stop the virus from spreading (one of the better gore effects in the film), and thus the outbreak makes its way throughout a small Filipino village. The army takes control, starts committing random acts of mass genocide (because of course that’s the most rational way to deal with this epidemic), and for some reason there’s a general who is in charge and has the ability to make an obscene number of decisions all by himself. Thankfully though, we have a stuttering scientist there to combat the psycho general. This leads our heroic scientist on a race against the clock to develop a cure for the undead. There are small tiny bits of originality within this script, but mostly the movie is made up of rehashed elements from numerous other genre films. An evil general? A pure-of-heart doctor fighting against violence via his mind/love of humanity? This has been done to death.
We can all guess what will happen, as it is the same Night of the Living Dead scenario that we all know and (can sometimes) love. I feel as if I’m being far too harsh with the movie, since, well, I didn’t cut it off and rarely even paused it. The least you could say about Zombi 3 is that it does manage to hold the audience’s attention. The gore effects look like they were done on the cheap, but some are effective. There’s a slightly grotesque (but hardly realistic) scene where a zombie’s face puffs out and leaks blood and pus for the camera. True, it is only a simple bladder effect, but most viewers who seek this movie out will appreciate the practical FX work. There’s an argument to be made that the use of “running zombies” should count as an original concept for the movie. At the very least we aren’t given the same Romero-style shambling undead that audiences were used to. Although, by this point that wasn’t exactly new ground either, as Umberto Lenzi’s Nightmare City had already done this years before. Still, I have to commend Zombi 3 for at least making the zombies seem a bit more unstoppable than the average, and I thought it was odd that the film didn’t feature the ever-classic “You’ve got to shoot them in the head!” speech. Then again, I think the film might be a little too self-aware, since the characters never really seemed all too surprised that the dead were walking and feeding on the flesh of the living, which I have to admit would probably be a bit mind blowing for me. One of the biggest clues that the scriptwriters might have been just a little too eager at getting our characters into “survival” mode came when one of the teens found, for some odd reason, a crate full of M-16’s and various other weapons in the basement of their holdup. After telling the soldiers about the weapons, one of the teens then takes a rifle and slings it over his shoulder. Now, at this point the group has only witnessed one bird attack, and should have absolutely no idea about the possibility of a zombie threat. Yet, instead of the army guys confiscating the weapons and getting in touch with ANYONE, the characters appear to be gearing themselves up for the inevitable. I don’t know, I’ve been bit by a few birds in my time, but I just assumed that it was because they make horrible pets. So, with the characters all taking such precautions, in the following scene you would think it would make no sense whatsoever for one of the soldiers to allow Marina Loi to run off alone to find water for the radiator in their jeep. Right? Yeah, you would think that. However, Zombi 3 is not a movie that concerns itself with logic.