28 October 2014

Zombie

From panoramic shots of New York through to the sweat, dirt and heat of the Caribbean, Zombie Flesh Eaters was always much more of a spectacle than its video nasty roots suggest.

The film that launched Italian horror icon Lucio Fulci’s career features big set-pieces and plenty of gore too. If it’s drama you’re looking for, what could be more stunning than a zombie fighting and biting a shark (the shark was real but sadly the zombie had to be played by an actor).

Zombie Flesh Eaters, better known as Zombi 2 in Europe, and Zombie in America, has the feel of the midnight movie. As advertised in the US trailer, when it was shown in the cinema, everybody who went was given an airline style "barf bag" as a gimmick to show how extreme the gore was.

In the UK the film got a theatrical release in 1979 but was cut by one minute and 46 seconds. The film was released uncut on video at the start of the video nasties crisis and was banned in the UK. This was before videos needed BBFC certificates and selling so called video nasties could land people in prison.

It wasn't until 2005 that the film was finally released uncut in the UK, allowing people to see it in all its eye-popping glory. Fulci, through a mixture of accident and design, has created a horror action film that takers no prisoners.  It gleefuly shocks and appals its audience and takes its simple, jungle-based, zombie idea and escalates it.

I recently just completed The Video Nasties Podcast, going over all the films which had landed on the banned list and Zombie Flesh Eaters is the most downloaded episode, showing how popular Fulci is. Between this and two other of his zombie movies on the banned list, with The Beyond and The House By The Cemetery, his work is closely tied to the horror film scare.

While, with the video nasties, people think of them as being watched at home late at night, these films were designed to be watched on the big screen. Zombie Flesh Eaters is silly, violent, spectacular and extreme. It punches well above its low-budget origins. I’m using crowd-sourced screening website Ourscreen to get a showing of the film off the ground. I need 33 people to reserve a ticket by Nov 2 using the Ourscreen website to make it happen. Tickets cost £9 and the show is planned for Nov 7 9pm. Visit the Ourscreen website to find out more.

If you come I'll throw in your own barf bag and an ebook copy of my book Video Nasties Moment to say thank you.