DirectorLucio Fulci/Bruno Mattei
Release Date(s)1988 (May 29, 2018)
Studio(s)Flora Film (Severin Films)
- Film/Program Grade: D+
- Video Grade: C+
- Audio Grade: B-
- Extras Grade: C+
After the success of his Zombi 2 (aka Zombie Flesh Eaters, or just plain Zombie), Lucio Fulci returned to the series several years later for Zombie 3 (aka Zombi 3). It was set to be one of his best, but during the making of the film, he became ill and had to drop out, which allowed Bruno Mattei to step in and finish. The result is one of the weirdest and wildest zombie movies ever to come out of Italy.
The general vibe of Zombie 3 is, whether it was intentional or not, more comedic than serious. Nothing about it makes much sense when it comes to zombie lore. Sometimes they move slowly and sometimes they run; sometimes they want to eat you and sometimes they want to chase you with a machete; and sometimes they say nothing at all and sometimes they speak clear as day. It’s when you get to the point that a severed zombie head comes flying out of a refrigerator at its victim that you begin to realize that it had to be, at least in part, deliberate.
There are also clear similarities to The Return of the Living Dead, which was released a couple of years prior. For instance, the incineration of dead, infected bodies which, in turn, creates a smoke in the atmosphere that transforms anything that’s not breathing into a zombie; or perhaps the brother of the young woman who suddenly morphs into a zombie on the fly and exclaims “I’m fine now, but I’m thirsty, FOR YOUR BLOOD!”, which is not unlike Thom Matthews’ character turning into a zombie and screaming for his girlfriend’s brains.
No matter how you slice it, Zombie 3 is a wacky movie. Entertaining right down to its core, it’s more of a fun party movie, the kind that you throw on for Halloween or screen in a theater with a group of enlightened horror fans. It’s all over the place, and for a movie whose basic plot involves a ragtag group of people trying to outrun and survive against the walking dead, that’s saying a lot.
Severin Films’ U.S. Blu-ray debut release of the film comes with a 2K scan of the uncut version. I’m not exactly sure what the source is (possibly a print), but the transfer itself is an improvement over previous releases with improved saturation, skin tones, depth, and contrast. The biggest problem with it is that it’s loaded with compression issues, hiding much of what could have been excellent fine detail. It’s more natural-looking than the previous DVD release though, so it’s not a deal breaker. It’s still a high quality presentation, but it could have used more attention when it was being encoded. The audio is featured in an English 2.0 mono DTS-HD track with optional English subtitles. It’s extremely narrow and sync is off slightly at times, but it’s unavoidable. Dialogue is clear and discernible otherwise. Sound effects, particularly shotgun blasts, have decent weight to them, while the score and music selection have more aural thrust than the rest of the elements at hand.
The extras are a combination of both older and new material. They include an audio commentary with actress Beatrice Ring and actor Deran Sarafian; The Last Zombies, a 19-minute interview with screenwriters Claudio Fragasso and Rossella Drudi; the Italian theatrical trailer; Tough Guys, a 5-minute interview with actors/stuntmen Massimo Vanni and Ottaviano Dell’Acqua; The Problem Solver, a nearly 9-minute interview with replacement director Bruno Mattei; Swimming with Zombies, a nearly 5-minute interview with actress Marina Loi; In the Zombie Factory, a 6-minute interview with special effects artist Franco Di Girolamo; and a CD soundtrack, which is limited to the first 3,000 copies. Not included from the Media Blasters/Shriek Show DVD re-release is an introduction by actors Deran Serafian and Beatrice Ring; a still gallery with 12 pictures; the U.S. theatrical trailer; and 4 separate interviews with Claudio Fragasso, Bruno Mattei, Massimo Vanni & Ottaviano Dell’Acqua, and Marina Loi (the last three of which were partly used for the interviews on the new release). Missing from the 88 Films Blu-ray from overseas is an interview with Ottaviano Dell’Acqua; a live Q&A with actress Catriona Maccoll; Zombie Reflections, an interview with Beatrice Ring; and the original Italian opening and closing credits.
Despite being sort of a construct of two different directors, both of whom bring their obvious sensibilities to the film, the result is a poorly put together but hilariously executed gem. Even the film’s poster, which is an amalgam of elements from other posters, including Absurd, Tales from the Crypt, A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 3: Dream Warriors, and Force Five (among others, I’m sure), let’s you know that Zombie 3 was a kind of slapped together movie. And for that, we should be thankful.
- Tim Salmons