The 4K restoration of Lucio Fulci’s classic horror movie, Zombie, is a thing of gory wonder. It’s still a disgusting flick, filled with grue and nightcrawlers. Some scenes make zero narrative sense. Why would there be a part where a zombie fights a shark? Are there zombie sharks now? Why didn’t they make a Zombie Shark movie immediately after this movie’s theatrical release? But the new transfer is utterly pristine. Those blood and worms have never looked better. Zombie probably didn’t look this good in the cinema.
Zombie cleverly hooks the undead element of the undead craze started by George Romero with the original reason zombies rose to popularity in the first place: voodoo. Things are getting stinky on the tropical island of Matul. The place is cursed and people are rising from the dead all over the place. Dr. Menard (Richard Johnson) runs the local hospital. His partner has passed away. Then he came back. Then Dr. Menard shot him. That seems to be a pattern on Matul. The twice dead doctor’s daughter, Anne (Tisa Farrow), comes to Matul to find out just what in tarnation is going on. She brings with her journalist Peter West (Ian McCulloch) and the friendly couple of Brian (Al Cliver) and Susan (Auretta Gay). Together, they wander onto this island of the undead, and revolting things happen.
Originally titled Zombi 2, Fulci’s Zombie was planned as a sequel to Romero’s Dawn of the Dead. It exists in the same bloody vein (pun intended) as Romero’s movie, but calling it a sequel reeks of cash grabbing. Zombie stands alone in the undead subgenre as a graphically violent, albeit bizarre in spots, masterpiece.
If you’re a fan of zombies, you have no doubt seen bits and pieces of this film, even if the entire thing has escaped your purview. You might know about that whole shark versus zombie thing. You’ve probably looked at the part where a woman’s eyeball is pierced by a jagged piece of wood. But I guarantee you have never seen those parts look as fine as they do on this Blue Underground 4K Blu-ray release. You’ll see details in the furnishings of Dr. Menard’s home that weren’t apparent before. Names engraved on tombstones that were blurry in previous home releases are now crystal clear. Even Ian McCulloch’s carefully concealed bald spot gleams like a freshly-mopped kitchen floor. This restoration is stunning.
Everything you could possibly want to know about Zombie is here. The three disc set from Blue Underground is packed with special features, both new and archival. Need an interview with the writers? It’s here. Want to hear from the cinematographer? He’s here. Choose from two audio commentaries. Look at posters and TV spots. This edition works not only as a serious upgrade for a worthwhile film, but a crash course in Italian film history. You even get a CD copy of the Fabio Frizzi soundtrack. How you gonna beat a deal like that? This is the ultimate Zombie set.
My wife and I discuss Italian film directors a lot. That’s normal, right? I’ve always been a huge Argento fan while she has always been in love with Fulci’s works. We’ve been in a dead heat for close to ten years now. But now that I’ve seen the Blue Underground 4K Blu-ray of Zombie, she might have a point. Don’t tell her I said that, though. I’ll never hear the end of it.
Zombie is available through Blue Underground, Amazon, and wherever fine movies about the undead are sold.