Zombi 2 (1979)

Italy, 1979
87m (UK after cuts), 91m (Germany; USA), 94m (Italy), 2582 metres
35mm film, Technicolor, Techniscope, 2.35:1
Dolby stereo
Reviewed at the EOFFTV Review

An Italian zombie movie produced in the wake of George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead (1978) which played in Italy as Zombi. The film gave director Lucio Fulci a wider audience than he'd previously enjoyed and was the first in a series of gore films he produced in the late 70s and early 80s. It wasn't, however, his first genre film – he'd already made the gialli Una sull'altra (1969), Una lucertola con la pelle di donna (1971) and Non si sevizia un paperino (1972), the vampire comedy Il cav. Costante Nicosia demoniaco, ovvero Dracula in Brianza (1975) and the psychic thriller Sette note in nero (1977).

Plot Summary

A reporter and the daughter of a missing scientist team up with a holiday making couple to investigate the strange happenings on the island of Matoul. There they find Dr Menard struggling to stem the tide of that are over-running the island.

Credits

* = uncredited

Crew
Directed by: Lucio Fulci
© [not given on screen]
Variety Film
Produced by: Ugo Tucci and Fabrizio de Angelis
Written by: Elisa Briganti, Dardano Sacchetti *
Director of Photography: Sergio Salvati
Film Editor: Vincenzo Tomassi
Music by: Fabio Frizzi and Giorgio Tucci
Sound Recordist: Ugo Delani
Seamstress: Fiorella de Simone
Make-up Supervisor: Gianetto di Rossi
Hairdresser: Mirella Sforza
Special Effects Supervisor: Gianetto de Rossi
Production Designer: Walter Patriarca

Cast
Tisa Farrow (Ann Bolt/Bowles in US version)
Ian McCullough (Peter West)
Richard Johnson as Dr [David] Menard
Al Cliver (Bryan Curt/Brian Hull in US version)
Auretta Gay (Susan Barrett)
Stefania d'Amario (nurse)
Olga Karlatos (Paola Menard)
Ugo Bologna [Ann's father] *
Dakkar [Lucas] *
Lucio Fulci [newspaper editor] *
Franco Fantasia [Father Mattias] *
Mónica Zanchi [dying woman] *

Cast Gallery

Alternative Titles

L'Enfer des zombies – Belgium (French), France
Island of the Flesh-Eaters
Island of the Living Dead
– early title
Nightmare Island – working title
Nueva York bajo el terror de los zombi – Spain
Sanguelia – Japan (video and laserdisc)
Gli ultimi zombi
Woodoo
– Germany
Woodoo, Die Schreckensinsel Der Zombies – Germany, Switzerland
Zombi 2… gli ultimi zombi – Italy (re-release)
Zombie – USA, Hong Kong
Zombie 2 – Netherlands (video)
Zombie 2: The Dead Among Us
Zombie Flesheaters
– UK, Denmark (video)
Zombies 2 – Japan

The film was inspired by the success at the Italian box office of Dawn of the Dead and sparked a series of cash-ins and lookalikes, including several films that tried to position themselves as sequels: Zombi 3 (1988) was at least begun by Fulci (and completed by Claudio Fragasso and Bruno Mattei) but several older films were re-released using the title: Non si deve profanare il sonno dei morti (1974) was re-issued as Zombi 3 – Da dove vieni? while Zombie Holocaust (1980), Incubo sulla cittá contaminata (1980) and Le notti del terrore (1981) all made use of the title at various times.

Other films in the “series” were also just retitlings of unrelated films. Zombi 4 was used for re-issues of Mattei's Virus (1980) and After Death (1988) and in Greece Bakterion (i vivi invidieranno i morti) (1983) also went out under that title. Zombi 5 was Killing Birds: Raptors (1987). In Germany Romero's Day of the Dead (1985) was released on video as Zombie 2: Das Letzte Kapitel while in the States several films were re-issued by T-Z Video, repackaged as bogus sequels to Fulci's film: La orgía de los muertos (1973) became Zombie 3: Return of the Zombies; Jesus Franco's Christina, princesse de l'érotisme (1973) became Zombie 4: A Virgin Among the Living Dead and Revenge in the House of Usher (1983) was re-released as Zombie 5: Revenge in the House of Usher; Joe D'Amato's Rosso sangue/Absurd (1981) was sold as Zombie 6: Monster Hunter; and the film that it's a sequel to, Antropophagus (1980), became Zombie 7.

Andreas Schnaas' Zombie '90: Extreme Pestilence (1990) has been sighted under the title Zombi 7 and Amando de Ossorio's La noche de las gaviotas (1975) has been sold as Zombi 8.

Production Notes

In the scene where the yacht sails into New York, causing danger to shipping, two cops are sent to investigate:

When one of them emerges from the yacht's cabin and is nearly struck by the boom, a third cop – not seen anywhere else – is very briefly visible in the background, seemingly tying the vessel to the yacht.

Press

1980
Monthly Film Bulletin vol.47 no.554 (March 1980) p.55
One of the Italian cinema's perennial attempts to cash in on somebody else's success, Zombi 2 lacks – for all the weaknesses of Romero's film – even a tenth of the minatory charge harboured by Zombies. It begins well enough with the mysterious boat drifting aimlessly past Brooklyn Bridge and the Staten Island ferry, and a promisingly gruesome sequence (rudely cut short by the censor) which the corpse undergoing autopsy in a New York morgue slowly begins to revive. But once the island is reached, Lucio Fulci's direction becomes statutory in the extreme, huffing and puffing as the zombies multiply exceedingly, and making a hash even of the scene in which the graves yawn (much better done in John Gilling's Plague of the Zombies). A very competent cast maintains some interest, along with variable but sometimes effective make-up work which takes a ghoulish relish in the wounds inflicted by zombie teeth. But the message with the radio announcer last heard screeching “The zombies are at the door… they're coming in… Arggghhh!”, is risible to say the least. – from a review by Tom Milne

Variety 30 July 1980 pp.22, 26
State-of-the-art makeup effects by Gianneto de Rossi are sure to please fans of this form, and far outdistance the wildest dreams of '60s gore pioneer Herschell Gordon Lewis (“Blood Feast“). […] Director Fulci adopts a leisurely pace and goes after daylight horror, playing off the grisly, cannibalistic zombie attacks against picture postcard beauty of the island and the New York harbor. Emphasis on blood reaches the ludicrous extreme of 400-year old zombie conquistadores bleeding profusely when shot down, fresh from their graves. Though the makeup's the star, Farrow is appealing as the vulnerable heroine, styled here as the spitting image of sister Mia. Having made a dozen Italian films, British character actor Richard Johnson has all the worried, bedraggled expressions down pat, while Ian McCulloch fails to make an impression. – from a review by Lor

Cinefantastique vol.10 no.2 (Autumn 1980) p.43
The expected graphic violence, a veritable orgy of cannibalistic dismemberment, makes Romero's use of gore effects look restrained. For laughs, the director throws in an sequence that turns the tables on Jaws. Is this the ne plus ultra of gore? No, Zombi 3 is already in the can. – from a review by Frederic Albert Levy

References

Periodicals

  • Aaaaaaagh! p.15 – illustrated review
  • The Box no.1 (April/May 1997) p.27 – illustrated review (author not credited)
  • Cinefantastique vol.10 no.2 (Autumn 1980) p.43 – note
  • Cinema nuovo vol.28 no.262 (November/December 1979) pp.43-44 – illustrated article
  • Continental Film Review vol.27 no.4 (February 1980) pp.32-33 – illustrated synopsis
  • The Dark Side no.203 (2019) p.8-9 – illustrated interview (The gore the merrier by Calum Waddell)
  • Deep Red no.5 p.32 – review
  • Delirium no.2 – review, credits
  • L'Écran fantastique no.9 (1979) p.40 – review
  • Empire no.125 (November 1999) p.140 – illustrated video review
  • Fangoria no.52 p.15 – review
  • Foreign Sales, Italian Movie Trade vol.5 no.7/8 (July/August 1979) p.11 – credits
  • Mad Movies no.53 pp.51, 53 – review
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.47 no.554 (March 1980) – credits, synopsis, review (by Tom Milne)
  • Samhain no.33 (July/August 1992) p.33 – review (by Andrew Black)
  • Screen International no.223 (12-19 January 1980) p.4 – note (Films for registration)
  • Screen International no.226 (2-9 February 1980) p.71 – credits, review (The new films by Marjorie Bilbow)
  • Spaghetti Cinema no.65 (August 1996) pp.38-39 – illustrated credits, synopsis, review (by William Connolly)
  • Starburst no.21 p.13 – note
  • Starburst no.64 p.42 – review
  • Variety 30 July 1980 pp.22, 26 – credits, review (by Lor)
  • Video the Magazine August 1986 p.13 – review

Books

  • 500 Essential Cult Movies: The Ultimate Guide by Jennifer Eiss with J.P. Rutter and Steve White p.267 – illustrated credits, synopsis, review
  • Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Science Fiction p.355 – review, credits
  • Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror p.341 – review, credits
  • Beyond Terror pp.24-37; 277-278 – illustrated synopsis, review; credits
  • Creature Features Movie Guide Strikes Again by John Stanley pp.452-453 – credits, review
  • Euro Gothic: Classics of Continental Horror Cinema by Jonathan Rigby pp.92, 366-68, 382, 383, 384
  • Film Review 1980-81 by F. Maurice Speed (ed.) p.148
  • Horror! 333 Films to Scare You to Death by James Marriott & Kim Newman pp.214-215
  • Horror and Science Fiction Films II by Donald C. Willis 442 – credits
  • Horror Films of the 1970s by John Kenneth Muir pp.624-626 – credits, synopsis, review
  • Horror Holocaust pp.59-60 – review
  • Italian Horror 1979-1994 by Jim Harper pp.204-208 – illustrated credits, review
  • The Mammoth Book of Slasher Movies: An A-Z Guide to Over Sixty Years of Blood and Guts by Peter Normanton pp.465-467
  • The Pocket Essential: George A. Romero by Tom Fallows and Curtis Owen pp.128-130 – article
  • Psychotronic Video Guide p.635 – review, credits
  • Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Film and Television Credits Volume 2 pp.1173-1174 – credits
  • Zombie by Allan Bryce (ed) pp.14-27; 88-107 – illustrated article (Morti viventi: Zombies Italian-style by Alan Jones); illustrated article (The gross-out factor by Adrian Luther-Smith)
  • Terror Tracks: Music, Sound and Horror Cinema by Philip Hayward (ed) pp.188, 191
  • The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia by Peter Dendle p.194-196 – illustrated credits, review