Directed by Lucio Fulci, 1988
I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge my fiftieth zombie film! I haven’t blogged more than 20 yet, but my tasty brains are decisively marinated in zombie cinema juices. Grr! Argh! Brains!
Taking a tip from Return of the Living Dead (I claim theft—RotLD was released in 1985, Zombi 3 in 1988) the zombie menace here starts when the cremated remains of a zombie—here, a science experiment gone wrong—spreads through the air. This results in zombification of any living things, as we see when Fulci invokes Hitchcock in a Birds homage. Young people flee the birds and, soon enough, people by hiding out in an abandoned hotel (with a convenient box of guns). IMDB and the DVD case inform me that terrorists, not cremation, release the zombie toxin into the air, but that’s not what occurs onscreen.
Fulci is a problem. In 1979 he filmed a so-called sequel to Night of the Living Dead called Zombi 2. It was pretty good for its kind, and features the classic underwater zombie versus shark scene as well as memorably groundbreaking gore. Apparently this lent him such status among horror fans that he had a license to remake permutations of his movie over and over again. Most of his films share a similar plodding pace, whining women, and excessive gore marked by mutilations and eyeball damage. The Beyond, City of the Living Dead, House by the Cemetery, and Zombi 2 are all a little homogenous for my tastes, though I respect Fulci’s contribution to the cause we both love. Zombi 3 is slightly faster-paced and features a band of survivors—key differences from his earlier films which make me think the American slasher genre affected his filmmaking by 1988.
The effects are good, the gore is sufficient, and the zombies are hungry. It’s a Fulci zombie film.
Zombie explanation: A military-sponsored science experiment goes bad. Upon cremating the captured zombie corpses, the virus gets into the air. Containment proves impossible and bloody mayhem ensues.
Contribution to the zombie canon: A return to my favorite premise: infectious zombies want to eat you. These zombies can be killed by conventional means, not only the traditional blow to the head, and their infection is so virulent that even casual contact may infect you. Certain aspects of the film seem to draw upon The Stand and Return of the Living Dead.
Favorite moment: A pretty girl is zombie-pushed into a pool of stagnant water. Leaping to the rescue, her potential paramour pulls her out of the water—only to see that her legs have been chewed off in the short time she was underwater. Pretty girl goes crazy and attacks him zombie-style!
Favorite zombie: The hungry self-propelled refrigerator head. Second place: legless pool girl zombie. Third place: DJ zombie.