Posted October 19, 2018 by Chris Hick in Film Reviews

Zombie – Flesh Eaters 3 (1989) Blu-ray Review

Lucio Fulci’s Zombie – Flesh Eaters (1979) was the first film out of the pen to exploit the popularity of George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead (1978), his own sequel to his 1968 game changer, Night of the Living Dead. Italian horror films were certainly more embracing of the zombie genre than Romero’s native America. For the next 10 years the country truly exploited the undead. What is more, whereas Romero placed his zombies in a familiar United States mid-America, for the most the Italians placed theirs in the more familiar Haitian/Caribbean settings, so well known in some of the classic B movies since White Zombie (1932) with Bela Lugosi or Val Lewton’s I Walked with a Zombie (1943).

Released by 88 Films on Blu-ray, Zombie – Flesh Eaters 3 (1988) was better known as After Death and was also known as Zombi 4 and released in Italy as Oltre la Morte. Confused? Not when Fulci’s original Zombie – Flesh Eaters was titled in Italy as Zombi 2 and Zombi 5 was released before Zombi 4 and so on. Writer Calum Waddell looks at all the films leading up Zombie – Flesh Eaters 3 in the accompanying booklet to the film, ‘The Living Dead – Italian Style’, a great little piece on the relatively short lived (and sometimes confusingly titled) Italian zombie genre.

The films opening was actually an add on to pad out the picture to something nearer 90 minutes. For what it’s worth it shows a voodoo ceremony in which the voodoo priest turns people into zombies. After the voodoo priest is killed, a family of scientific researchers escape but are chased down through the jungle by flesh eaters with only a little blonde girl apparently escaping.

The surviving girl, Jenny (Candice Daly) returns to the island with inexplicably a bunch of macho mercenaries as she tries to discover what happened to her parents. They find the lab deserted when they also stumble upon a voodoo curse and in lines with all norms of horror films read the curse in a dusty old book (doh!) that revives the dead who lay siege to the party who try to fight off the zombies.

Although the previous film (Zombi 3 or Flesh Eaters 2 or whatever it is) was directed by Fulci, this was one directed by quickie filmmaker Claudio Fragasso who had previously scripted Zombi 3, as well as Hell of the Living Dead (1980), also known as Virus, co-directed Rats (1984) (also soon to be released by 88 Films) and the dreadful Troll 2 (1990), recently released by Arrow Video. The actors could expect little rehearsal with the film looking every bit a wham, bang, thank you mam action zombie picture. But these aren’t the shambling living dead we expect in a zombie movie, but instead seem to have a thought processes (rather than the more effective just eating instinct) and have more human movements which, contrary to what his scriptwriter and real life wife, Rosella Drudi says on a filmed extra on the disc, is really in an effort to make a quickie rather than getting the zombies to run and be more animal-like than in say such Hollywood horrors as World War Z (2013) and the remake of Dawn of the Dead (2005).

The acting is mostly dreadful with the late Candice Daly, an American actress in the lead. As with many of these films, she was an actress seeking a break that never really came. Another notable is another American ‘actor’, Jeff Stryker. Stryker is a beefcake who seems to enjoy wearing an open shirt to show off his six pack. Stryker was also a gay porn actor who on the same interview with Fragasso and Drudi claimed they did not know he was a gay porn star. The other extra is even more interesting in which the editor of the excellent horror magazine ‘Dark Side’, Alan Bryce talks about Mike Lee and his VIPCO VHS label. At the time Bryce was a writer for ‘Video World’ magazine while Lee churned out as many film finds he could, his biggest success being the classic later banned so-called “video nasty”, namely Fulci’s Zombie – Flesh Eaters. Lee ran a video operation from Tottenham Court Road and released any number of trash classics of the early VHS era, including what he titled After Death/Zombi 4 as Zombie – Flesh Eaters 3. The soundtrack is only in English with no option for an Italian language version.

Chris Hick

Chris Hick