Back in January I covered Lucio Fulci’s masterpiece in undead horror – Zombie. It’s fitting that I now look at its sequel, Zombie 3.
Wait. Lemme check something. 1. 2. 3… 4. Gotcha. Okay, the math checks out there. What are those titles again?
Zombie… Zombie 3…
Oh, goddammit, it’s Italian. Of course the sequels are all fucked.
Remember, in Italy, Zombi is Dawn of the Dead. Here, what we know as Zombie is actually Zombi 2 in Italy. Going forward, though, everyone was like, “Who cares if there is no Zombie 2 in the rest of the world.” I mean I kind of feel like everyone involved with the distribution of this movie at that point was really just saying, “These dummies don’t need no stinkin’ math. We just want them to count enough dolla billz to watch this shit.”
But wait! There’s more!
Originally Zombie 3 was going to be made by Lucio Fulci himself. However, he got super sick or something and had to drop out. That left the director’s chair wide open for a couple knuckleheads to fill in and finish the movie – Bruno Mattei and Claudio Fragasso (along with Fragasso’s wife, Rossella Drudi). Bruno Mattei was known for making lots of really weird Italian knock-offs of popular American movies like Shocking Dark (for more on that, get over to Film Seizure to hear all about the goofiness that is that movie). One of Mattei’s more recognizable aliases he used when making movies was Vincent Dawn, which was the fake name the Cinema Snob used to infiltrate a snooty film club in his origin movie.
Fragasso and Drudi, though… Heh. Well, they have their place in pop culture history much more secure in the zeitgeist of B-movie buffs. They wrote and directed Troll 2. Yeah, the movie that is so well known and so revered in the culture and so tirelessly discussed, I will never cover it here on this blog. It’s one of those few movies that has its own documentary about it, but not for its artistic merits, but for how bad it is that it has its own following.
These are the people left to finish a movie that Lucio Fulci is still credited to have directed.
Funny enough, let’s talk about Italian sequels for a sec. Zombi 2 never really had anything to do with Dawn of the Dead. It’s what the world would call an “in name only” sequel. Usually these are other movies re-purposed into a sort of sequel in order to cash in on the original film and crank out a sequel to something popular relatively quickly. The funny thing, though, is that Zombi 2/Zombie stands well enough on its own that nowadays you don’t really even think that much about the connection between Romero’s movie and Fulci’s other than one had to be made for the other to exist. Troll 2 is a classic example of an in name only sequel too. Troll was a modestly popular movie in video stores, but Troll 2 basically just attempted to cash in – much to unsuspecting audiences’ dismay. I already mentioned Shocking Dark so you can do the research on that (I even gave you a perfectly fine place to start that research). But Zombie 3 is pretty much separate from Zombie and even further separated from Dawn of the Dead. So it basically falls into line with these in name only sequels.
The only real difference is that Fulci would have been involved in both the Italian “sequels” so there would at least be a linear connection between these two films.
Our last Zombie movie started with a really cool scene of someone rising slowly from the dead only to be shot in the fucking face by Richard Johnson. This movie, well, it starts in some lab with just the most bizarre lighting you could ever imagine. Why would you want to work in a room that is mostly dark and only sorta lit by a flashing red and green light? That doesn’t seem like a very good idea. I would think you’d probably make some mistakes in measuring or accidentally stick your assistant with a giant needle because you can’t see what it is you are supposed to be doing. But I dunno… Let’s find out what this guy has to say and what he’s working on with this body on the slab:
“Give me Death-1,” he says. Oh, I’m sure that won’t cause something awful to happen. Oh, fuck. Zombies.
Well, not exactly the zombies we’d expect. Actually “Death-1” causes the dead dude to get a melty face. He does bust out of the tube he’s lying inside, but he doesn’t shamble around and eat brains or nuthin’. Dr. Idiot who thought it would be tres cool to have the flashing green and red lab lights says he’s gonna quit work on Death-1. He hands it over to some military guy or whoever is running this thing, but warns that every precaution needs to be taken with this stuff. Like, no shit, dude. The thing is called “Death-1”.
It should come as no surprise that as soon as they get to the base where they are going to hand the Death-1 shit over to whoever Dr. Idiot was going to give it to, a random van pulls up and guys with guns get out and start killing people so they can steal the stuff. A guy takes off with Death-1 into the trees and stuff and gets chased by a helicopter. Why a helicopter? Bruno Mattei was probably like, “Helicopters are way cooler than this guy being chased by guys on foot.”
Anyway, surprise surprise… The guys with the guns in the helicopter shot the case which leaks some stuff which the thief touches and gets infected with the Death-1 stuff. The guy gets sick pretty much instantly. He checks into a hotel while the army arrives at the base. They tell Dr. Idiot what happened. He doesn’t seem all that worried at first because Death-1 is very sensitive to oxygen and will dissolve quickly. However, because the guy’s blood mixed with the shit, he’s like totes contaminated.
What’s interesting is that the first case of the disease spreading is actually well conceived. This outbreak monkey is constantly thirsty and asking for water from room service. The bellhop takes the water to him and leaves with the empty pitcher and glass previously used. When the bellhop accidentally runs into a maid, he drops the glass, and cuts his finger on a shard. That shard had saliva residue and stuff on it. Meanwhile, the guy cuts his zombie hand off in the bathroom. Additionally, the bellhop sends the maid he ran into to the zombie guy’s room to clean it since it smells like shit in there. She finds the severed hand in the sink and she gets killed by the zombie dude.
It’s a good thing the army arrives in their biohazard suits and guns pointed at innocent people to try to solve this problem quickly. They find the maid knifed to the bathroom door with rotty face. They find extra rotty faced thief dead in another room. Main army guy tells them to basically clean everything up by killing everyone and putting them into a mass grave.
Question… Why would you just simply shoot those people at the hotel? I mean I get that you don’t want any witnesses or anything of the sort, but why wouldn’t you do what you ultimately do with the infected guy and burn them? At the very least you would probably detain them first, make sure there isn’t a problem, then rid yourselves of them. You literally do not know anything about the disease. In fact, I know this is 100% truth because the scientists are like, “Duuuuude! The ashes will eventually fall back to Earth! You are not getting rid of Death-1, dummy!”
And, in fact, that’s what happens. The ashes get into the air and into a flock of birds. The birds fall to the ground seemingly dead. When a young couple come across the birds and plan to remove them from the road, this dude who bitches at his girlfriend about how much ecological problems are being preached at everyone all the time now (hmmmm… that seems like something that surely won’t be something people complain about 30 years later) gets pecked by one of the birds who suddenly springs to life.
So we’re kind of in the slog bits of the movie now. We’re introduced to a jeep of three soldier dudes chasing after a bus of babes. The birds attack the bus and start attacking the babes. The army guys say there isn’t a hospital nearby for them to help the babes, but there is a hotel they can go to. Elsewhere, the climate change denier starts bleeding from his face real gross like. The dude’s girlfriend goes to get some water for him but she gets trapped in a run down abandoned gas station where she gets attacked by a zombie.
What’s weird about is that there are two zombies here. Like the kind of zombies that look like normal zombies and stuff. One is chained to a wall and the other is moving super fast after the girl with a machete. Were they zombies left over from the last movie? Were they pecked by birds several hours/days ago? Why was one chained up? Was it by the other one with the machete?
Whatever… Dr. Idiot looks for an antidote for what he believes is a virus. He’s pissed off at the army because they want to basically go in and start killing everything. Dr. Idiot says he’s going to find that antidote and the army general is like, “Fine, but until you get that, we’re doing things our way!” (In other words, you work on your antidote while we gun motherfuckers down because it’s fun to shoot our guns.)
So, here’s a bit where the movie starts to really go off the rails. There are multiple things to talk about, honestly, and none of them have to do with the creation of a zombie virus if you can believe it. First, we have this weird multiple undertone thing going on. On one side, you have a science vs. military thing. It’s weird and there is no reason why the science people should stick around to be eventually bossed around by the army guys and there’s no reason for the army guys to do anything the science guys want. They are just there to bitch at each other.
Next, this movie seems to still basically be in the same day, or possibly the next day. However, a once very nice and very well-kept hotel now looks completely uninhabitable for the past 20 years. There is vine overgrowth. The whole place looks completely messed up. It’s like no one has been here for years. The abandoned gas station was also dealing with vines and gigantic spiderwebs and cobwebs. Not to mention there were still TWO zombies there. So those guys had to have been there when they turned. So this is a bit of an issue for me.
in the first 30 minutes, we’ve been beaten over the head with ecological messaging. Yes, there was that one dummy who kept bitching about what people can no longer do due to ecological bullshit (including fucking because that is killing the ozone, people). Additionally, there’s this funky soul brother DJ dude who keeps giving environmental commentary which includes some very suspect information from scientists about how pollution is improving…?
Okay, the time continuity thing is one problem onto itself, but what’s up with the messages, movie? Do you want to be an environmental movie or do you want to be a science vs. military movie?
Me? I want you to be more of a zombie movie.
For the most part, I think the bus babes and army dudes are now the main characters. I do like one thing that seems to be getting set up in this second act. The bus babes and army dudes are in the contaminated zone. The Death-1 virus is spreading fast. That means the zombies are starting to pile up quick. That also means the other army guys are going to start policing and shooting up the area. That means our newly minted main characters are going to likely be caught in the crossfire of zombies and bullets. ZOMBULLETS!
Well, we’re at the point where we have to start killing off our protagonists. One of the bus babes is pushed over a railing by a zombie and into a pond that is awkwardly bubbling and steaming. When her army dude tries to pull her out, she’s now half the girl she used to be (quite literally she is missing everything below her waist) and tries to eat him before he kicks that bitch back to the pond with the thought in mind that there are plenty of other fish out there for him. He gets attacked by a bunch of zombies and barely escapes. He gets a ride out of there by that one girl and her boyfriend who got pecked by the birds earlier.
Back at the hotel, the most amazing thing ever to happen in a zombie movie happens to one of the guys and his bus babe. They say they are hungry and decide to go check out the kitchen. Of course, for some reason, the kitchen is completely empty, so they check the fridge where…
Holy shit flying zombie head!
Elsewhere, the one army dude who is with girlfriend and anti-environmental dude run into some trouble when the one guy finally turns into a zombie and attacks his girlfriend. She’s wounded, and the army dude is killed by a bunch of zombies. The girl escapes by jumping off a bridge into a small river. I have to be honest, I’m not sure if the girl’s leg was hurt by zombie bite or scratch or if she just cut her leg on the car in the struggle.
With more than 30 minutes to go, we’ve started losing characters fast. The bus babe who got attacked by the birds earlier has died and turned into a zombie. She’s killed one of the other babes and is attacking the last of the bus babes not to be dead. The two remaining army dudes start hearing weird noises and sees the girlfriend approaching after she swam away from the zombies. So, here we are. There are two of the army dudes remaining, along with two of the guys that was on the bus with the babes, the one guy’s girlfriend who escaped his desire to eat her face, and the final bus babe who just escaped her friends trying to eat her face. They are about to square off against…
Four zombies. Hmmm.
Nah, just kidding. A bunch more come out of the fog and start trying to work their way into the hotel. The army guys do some quick to barricade themselves in which the zombies knock over instantly. One of the dudes from the babe bus trips like a buffoon and gets eaten. Zombies are all over the place. They are busting through walls, jumping in from the roof, coming out of rooms in the hotel, you name it, zombies are coming out of it. The survivors escape outside and make a run for it.
The next morning they are in the jungle just outside Santa Monica (no shit, this movie is supposed to be in California but it must be the California part of the Philippines because this shit ain’t no California). Again, zombies attack from all over the place, including a guy crammed into a kiosk in some shack just waiting for some food to come along. I am telling you, if a zombie can come out of it, it does in this movie.
I’m telling you this as gospel, friends.
What’s left of our survivors get into some canoes and escape. Back at the army base, the scientists work hard on an antidote. It appears there is a solution found. The army guy explains that the antidote is being handed out and to look for the dudes in the biohazard outfits to get help. While all that happened, the survivors canoe to some other place where they come face to face with biohazard dudes who start shooting at the survivors killing the last of the bus dudes. The two remaining army dudes are able to return fire to buy a chance for them and the two ladies to escape.
The scientists are released and Dr. Idiot gives the military a piece of his mind saying the epidemic exploded because of burning the body of that first infected man. The heat mutated Death-1 and well, zombies all over the place. He warns that this will spread, but General guy says he’s full of shit and just talking science fiction. Basically, I think we’re led to believe that the military will continue fucking about with Death-1 until they have a usable weapon, but by the time they get that, it’s probably going to turn the whole world into zombies.
Oh, so remember I said if a zombie can come out of something, in this movie, it will? Well…
Congratulations, lady! It’s a zombaby!
Alright, well, while that chick was getting her face torn off by zombies behind and in front of her, the other girl’s boyfriend comes back and she has to kill him. The army guys have to deal with biohazard guys but escape for a few moments. The remaining girl and army dude get onto a helicopter and fly away in hope for a better place. They listen to the radio DJ who heralds a new day of tranquility. For zombies!
DUN DUN DUNNNNNNNNNNN!
A big question surrounding this movie that inevitably gets asked because of the names attached as well as the title itself seemingly being part of a series that isn’t a real series is whether or not this movie is any good. It isn’t. It’s completely nonsensical in every possible way. The rules we typically know about zombies don’t apply. Some shamble slowly, some jet around super fast, some talk, some moan, etc.
But, is it a fun movie to watch? Actually, it is. Because it is so nonsensical and completely haphazard with everything possible, it’s kooky. It’s the charm of Bruno Mattei and Claudio Fragasso that makes this an interesting watch. There’s practically nothing redeemable in the so-called “plot” and there’s nothing of note for any character whatsoever, but dammit if it isn’t a fun little bad movie night movie. Someday down the line later this year, I’ll talk about Zombie 4: After Death which elevates Claudio Fragasso to the director’s chair, so look for that.
However, for now, I’m closing the book on this week’s B-Movie Enema. Next week, I’m gonna revisit a couple hot ladies from past articles, Candice Rialson and Sondra Currie, when I take a look at Mama’s Dirty Girls!