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Zombie (Blu-ray Review)

Awe yeah, here we go with one of the best, if not THE best, zombie film of all time – Lucio Fulci’s Zombie! I don’t need to tell you how this one is going to end, because if you’re a zombie or horror aficionado you’re already a fan of Zombie – it goes without saying, yo! I also don’t need to tell you that it’s been a Blue Underground kind of weekend too – in keeping with the Halloween spirit. Zombie is part one of our Lucio Fulci double-header, because we’ve got The House by the Cemetery on deck for review. With that said, kick off your shoes and prepare for some hijinx as we explore Zombie on Blu-ray.  It’s goin’ down!

 

Film

Zombie starts out simply enough. A derelict yacht is seen sailing, seemingly abandoned, in the New York harbor until the New York harbor patrol decides to take a closer look. Here’s where things get really messed up. Hell is unleashed as an obese zombie attacks the cops and is shot (un) dead into the water. From here on out Zombie turns into a bit of who done it in terms of where did the boat come from, where is the crew, etc.

Anne Bowles (Tisa Farrow) is daughter of the owner of the ship who is on a tropical island and is suffering from a mysterious disease. Reporter Peter West (Ian McCulloch) is assigned the story of the mysterious ship, but decides to tag along with Anne and visit this island for further investigation.

I don’t think they’re going to like what they find there. Dr. David Bernard (Richard Johnson), resident of the island, has been conducting research at the mission where he works, all while seeing many of the recently dead come back to life. He’s a man of science, but cannot explain why the dead are rising – there’s no logic to it. All hell breaks loose as anyone and everyone tries to escape off of this island of the dead.

I’ve seen Zombie many, many times throughout the years and the amount of gore and gags never ceases to amaze me. It’s awesome and outrageous. Lucio Fulci is a true genius of the craft and always knew what he wanted to see onscreen and never took no for an answer. Not only is the film gory to extreme, but Fulci is a damn good director in his own right. He knows how to create awesome compositions that are truly works of art on their own.

The film itself isn’t without faults, but they are so minute and secondary that they are easily forgiven, because as a zombie film, lots of the rules remain in tact…then again some are broken again and again and some are just funny and weird. You want weird? I’ll give you weird. You ever see a zombie fight a shark before? Well, there’s one of those in Zombie. You ever see a beautiful woman get a splinter of wood through the eye after a prolonged shower? That’s here too. There are so many gags in the film, which are executed flawlessly and realistically. The splinter through the eye bit is considered, to this day, one of the greatest kills in horror of all time. For reals, look it up.

Zombie is a very bleak film, but it’s one of the old school films that doesn’t use the whole “government did this” angle. It goes old school and uses voodoo and black magic themed elements as to why the dead rise. That’s a very refreshing angle, because that’s actually where the zombie mythos originated from.

If you have a strong stomach and are aching for some zombie madness this Halloween – then you’ve come to the right movie. Zombie will blow your mind…er, brains!



Video 

Zombie is presented in 1080p, 2.35:1, widescreen. Okay, so the big deal with this new Zombie Blu-ray is that the film has been meticulously restored at 2k resolution. Awesome! Is it a reference picture? No. Does it look better than ever? Expletive YES! The good news is that grain levels are allowed to seep through without restraint giving it that more epic feel. Softness is present, but it’s played more for aesthetic reasons. Watching Zombie is a bit like drifting through a fog, so it’s very fitting. Colors are extremely vivid and you have not seen entrails like this before! I had to wait a couple of hours before eating, because as is usual with a Fulci film – they tend to leave me queasy sometimes. Fulci’s films do that to me. Banding is not an issue, but contrast levels are great, and I only noticed one fault of the transfer that I assume was missed by the technicians at the lab and it’s in the middle of the film during one of the playbacks of the scene that starts the film. There’s a scratch line that goes from from top to bottom – if you have a big screen you will probably see it. Other than that, Zombie looks wonderful!

Audio 

Zombie is presented in DTS-HD MA 7.1. Zombie on Blu-ray also sounds the best it has ever sounded, but again, like the video, it is no reference track. In fact, I’m sorry to say that the audio is pretty average. It has been given the full lossless surround treatment, but the lack of surround use is very disappointing, as ambient sounds are practically non-existent. Dialogue is clean and crisp, and the hypnotic score has never sounded so creepy. It’s one of those scores that make my stomach churn, because it’s very dreary. The LFE is on point, so the many instances of fire and bass come through without being a burden. Still, this lossless track buries any audio track that has ever come before it – it just lacks a bit of depth, but don’t let that keep you from getting in on Zombie on Blu-ray. It’s legit.

Special Features

Now this is how it’s done! Zombie is, pardon the pun, spilling out with featurettes and interviews left and right here. The main highlights include an introduction by Guillermo Del Toro and a ten minute interview with him on his thoughts about Zombie – it’s not to be missed! All of the supplements on the second disc are presented in HD, too. This is a two disc set, by the way. Enjoy!

Disc 1

  • Audio Commentary with Star Ian McCulloch and Diabolik Magazine Editor Jason J. Slater
  • Theatrical Trailers (HD)
  • TV Spots
  • Radio Spots
  • Poster & Still Gallery (HD)
  • Guillermo Del Toro Introduction (HD)

Disc 2

  • Zombie Wasteland – Interviews with Stars Ian McCulloch, Richard Johnson & Al Cliver, and Actor/Stuntman Ottaviano Dell’Acqua (HD)
  • Deadtime Stories – Interviews with Co-Writers Elisa Briganti and (Uncredited) Dardano Sacchetti (HD)
  • Flesh Eaters on Film – Interview with Co-Producer Fabrizio De Angelis (HD)
  • World of the Dead – Interviews with CInematographer Sergio Salvati and Production & Costume Designer Walter Patriarca (HD)
  • Zombi Italiano – Interviews with Special Make-Up Effects Artists Gianetto De Rossi & Maurizio Trani and Special Effects Artist Gino De Rossi (HD)
  • Notes on a Headstone – Interview with Composer Fabio Frizzi (HD)
  • All in the Family – Interview with Antonella Fulci (HD)
  • Zombie Lover – Award-Winning Filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro talks about one of his favorite films (HD

Final Thoughts 

Well, the peeps over at Blue Underground have certainly outdone themselves. Zombie has never looked or sounded as good as it does on the Blu-ray format. Not only are the technical specifications up to snuff, but the special features are outrageously awesome! They’re also presented in HD! It’s obvious that Zombie is now the company’s flagship title. It’s a two disc set that will satisfy the true horror/zombie fan. I’m speechless. Buy. This. NOW!

 

 

 

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Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

2 Responses to “Zombie (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Aaron Neuwirth

    I’m glad you love this movie and I know it has its following. Aside from Shark vs. Zombie and some of the gooey gore, I’m not a big fan of this film.

    I prefer Romero’s zombie flicks.

  2. Brian White

    One day, when I can get a good price, this is on my MUST-SEE list! Thanks for the great halloween coverage Gerard!