Sunday, March 10, 2013

Zombie Holocaust - Review

Zombie Holocaust 
He's a depraved, homicidal killer...and he makes house calls!

Writer: (story), (screenplay)
Starring: Alessandra Delli Colli, Ian McCulloch, Sherry Buchanan
Year: 1980
Runtime: 84 Minutes

Alessandra Delli Colli plays sexy doctor and sometimes vegetarian Lori Ridgeway, who works at a New York hospital teaching anatomy classes. During a class some orderlies roll in a body and upon unsheeting the body Lori gasps as she realizes that someone has stolen the left hand of the cadaver. We find out that this isn't the first time part of one of the corpses has turned up missing, this is just the latest in a rash of body part theft.

The doctors set up an ambush and catch one of the orderlies named Toran red handed, holding a freshly removed blood soaked heart over top of a cadaver, ready to take a bite. This ghoulish gurney gorger, realizing his career is probably now in jeopardy weighs his options and decides his best bet is to jump to his death from a tenth story window. This is one of the all time great "blooper left in the movie" scenes. The dummy used to represent the organ feaster's falling body hits the ground, and the goddamn arm breaks off and goes flying offscreen. I dare you not to hit the rewind button at least twice after this happens. Probably one of the funniest things you'll ever see and something that was completely unnecessary to have kept in the film. There was no real need to show the fall, just show the dude jump, then cut to the actor with blood on his face and maybe throw a couple chunks of pig brains next to his head. This would've taken like 5-10 minutes to shoot, including make up time. We don't need to see the entire fall, we would've believed you. Of course, I guess if you do one take and  the mannequin's arm goes flying off, and you say "fuck it, leave it in" you're probably strapped for time or you just don't care.

So, the doctors run down to Toran (who now has both arms intact) and when they check his body they find a strange symbol on his chest. Lori, a collector of tribal weapons (because of course she is) recognizes the symbol from one of her pieces from a tribe who worships the cannibal god Kito. The people of this tribe are located on the island of Moluccas and after a pretty lengthy discussion scene Lori, Dr. Petere Chandler (Ian McCulloch), his assistant George (Peter O'Neal) and George's reporter girlfriend Susan Kelly (Sherry Buchanan) set off to locate this cannibal tribe.

Upon their arrival they meet up with "world famous" Dr. Obero who has lived on the island for years, and they learn that not only is the island inhabited by cannibals, but there are goddamn zombies as well. As the cannibals start to pick off Lori and friends one by one, they get closer to discovering Dr. Obero's terrifying secret.

Here's a problem I have with the title of this movie, there really aren't all that many zombies. Less than ten I think, certainly not enough to holocaust anyone with. There were so few in fact that I got bored at one point and came up with nicknames for some of them:


In addition to these loveable characters there was the one eyed zombie, uh, the other one eyed zombie, a third one eyed zombie - shit, these zombies suck at having eyes.

This doctor has been living on this island for years, presumably doing his experiments for a good majority of these years and yet he's barely got any zombies. Either he's a perfectionist who really takes his time with his work, or zombies have a really hard time staying alive. The zombies he did have really weren't even a threat and seemed more concerned with keeping the cannibals at bay than with sinking their teeth into anyone's flesh. At one point a couple of zombies help Dr. Obero hold a man down so he can't escape, these zombies are more hired goon than flesh eater.

Zombie Holocaust doesn't exactly move at a quick pace for most of the running time and it does take a while to really get started. But once it gets moving it's filled with disturbing gore scenes, loads of nudity, blinking corpses and unintentionally funny dialog. A really good time if you stick with it past it's slow opening half. See it with someone you love.

Sure, some of the gore here is kinda cheap, and the zombie make-up may or may not be made out of paper mache, but there are plenty of sick gore effects that are more than disgusting enough to make up for the few weaker effects. There is a rather nasty head sawing scene (spoiler alert on the back cover!), scalpings, eyeball rippings, a boat motor decapitation, a brutal impaling and plenty of gut eating.

Alessandra spends a great deal of the movie naked, or barely dressed, so if you enjoy beautiful nude Italian movie, you're all set. Also, anyone with a cannibal fetish will be happy to hear you will see lots of bare-skinned cannibal butt cheeks.

Things to watch for:

Unhand that man
Body by Nerf
Symbolic Art
Asthmatic Zombies
Living Dead Hairpiece
Motorboat Melon Mutilation

I happened upon the Shriek Show blu-ray for $7 at this amazing used store in Virginia called 2nd & Charles. It's basically a Borders sized store filled with used books, comics, movies and music. It's amazing and I spend probably 3 or 4 hours there every time I visit Virginia. Sadly there are only like 7 of these stores in existence, but if you have one nearby, check it out.
Still & Poster Gallery
Interview with FX Maestro Maurizio Trani
Scenes from Tales That Will Tear Your Heart Out from the U.S. Theatrical Version Dr. Butcher M.D.
Widescreen 1.78:1 Color
Screen Resolution:

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