Italian theatrical poster
|Directed by||Lucio Fulci|
|Produced by||Fabrizio De Angelis
|Written by||Elisa Briganti
Dardano Sacchetti (uncredited)
|Music by||Fabio Frizzi
Giorgio Cascio (as Giorgio Tucci)
|Edited by||Vincenzo Tomassi|
Variety Film Production
|Distributed by||The Jerry Gross Organization (U.S.)|
|Release dates||25 August 1979|
|Running time||91 minutes|
|Budget||ITL 410,000,000 (estimated)|
|Box office||ITL 614,000,000 (Italy)|
Zombi 2 (also known as Zombie, Zombie Flesh Eaters, and Woodoo) is a 1979 zombie horror film directed by Lucio Fulci, with screenplay by Elisa Briganti and Dardano Sacchetti. Though the title suggests this is a sequel to Zombi (the Italian title of George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead), the films are unrelated. Praised for special effects and make-up, Zombi 2 has achieved a cult film among fans of the splatter genre, and when was released in 1979 it was condemned for its extremely bloody content, notably by the UK's Conservative government.
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What appears to be an abandoned yacht drifts into New York Harbor. As two Harbor Patrol officers investigate, a huge, decomposing, flesh-hungry ghoul attacks the officers, biting one in the neck. The remaining officer shoots the hulking zombie and it topples overboard. The body of the deceased officer is deposited in the morgue.
Anne Bowles (Tisa Farrow) is questioned by the police because the boat belonged to her father (Ugo Bologna). All she knows is that her father left for a tropical island to work on some research. Reporter Peter West (Ian McCulloch) is assigned by his news editor (director Lucio Fulci in a cameo) to report on the mysterious boat and there he meets Anne. While on the boat, Anne and Peter discover a note from her father explaining he is on the island of Matool (Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands) suffering from a strange disease. They decide to continue to investigate together. Upon their arrival in the tropics, they enlist the aid of a seafaring couple, Bryan Curt (Al Cliver aka Pier Luigi Conti) and Susan Barrett (Auretta Gay), to assist them in finding the island.
Matool is a cursed place where the dead have risen to attack the living. Dr. David Menard (Richard Johnson), a resident on the island and physician at the local mission, is investigating its secrets. His contemptuous, high-strung wife Paola (Olga Karlatos) wants to leave the island in fear of the increasing zombie attacks, but Dr. Menard insists on continuing his research.
The group is nearing the island when Susan decides to go for a dive. Anne and Peter look on as she brazenly goes into the water topless. While in the water, Susan encounters a shark, which tries to attack her, but she manages to hide among the coral reefs. She immediately surfaces and begs for help as the shark prepares to attack her. Bryan gets a gun and shoots the shark, but the shark hits the boat, causing them to lose control. Susan dives under again and tries to escape, and the shark narrowly misses her in its attack. As she is hiding in a coral reef, however, a zombie attacks her, but she manages to avoid the creature by slashing its water-bloated face with a piece of coral. The shark then turns and attacks the zombie, which proceeds to tear a chunk out of the shark; the two creatures battle until the shark mangles and severs the zombie's arm, after which the shark swims away, while the zombie seemingly gives up and heads in the opposite direction.
Susan manages to get on the boat as Anne, Peter and Bryan help her. She explains what she saw to them. Meanwhile, Dr. Menard and his nurse (Stefania D'Amario) continue to study the zombies. Some of them are newly bitten, some are in the zombiefication stage and some are already decomposing. Menard's local assistant Lucas (Dakar) appears at the door, says that the zombies are attacking everyone on the island, and asks how to kill the zombies.
Night falls and Menard's wife, Paola, takes a shower. The camera shows a zombie spying on her from outside the house. Paola gets out of the shower and sees the zombie. The zombie comes in and tries to open the door just as Paola is trying to close it. She manages to close the door and holds it shut with her body. The zombie's hands break through the door and grab her hair. In possibly the most famous scene from the movie, Paola's eye is pierced by a large splintered piece of wood and she is then killed off-camera.
The boat finally arrives at the dock. Back at the hospital the nurse wakes Dr. Menard from a deep sleep. She tells him that Matthias (Franco Fantasia) has died because of the infection. Dr. Menard waits for his friend's body to reanimate, then shoots him in the head. As Lucas is digging the graves of Matthias and the others that have died from the contagion, he sees a flare gun fire. He follows it and discovers the crew from the boat. Dr. Menard tells Anne about her father and when the contagion started. As they arrive, Lucas says that something happened to Fritz (Leo Gavero). He tells the group to go to his mansion, where Paola is located. He approaches Fritz and he says that he has been bitten.
The group arrive at the mansion where they discover the horribly mutilated corpse of Paola being hungrily devoured by zombies. A swarm of zombies attack them but they escape. They get in the jeep but lose control and drive off the road. Peter's knee is badly hurt. The group traverse through the jungle. Peter takes a rest and Anne examines his wound. Susan and Bryan explore their surroundings, and Bryan finds an old helmet. It appears that the group have stumbled onto a Spanish cemetery. Anne and Peter are lying on the ground and proceed to have an ill-timed love session when a zombie grabs her hair and another zombie grabs Peter's foot. Bryan hears Anne's scream; he leaves Susan to follow it. In another famous scene, a petrified Susan watches in horror as an ominous, worm-infested zombie conquistador rises through the earth, lunges at her, and tears out her throat. Bryan saves Anne and Peter but fails to save Susan. He shoots the rotting zombie in the back twice but it still stands, until Peter grabs a nearby wooden cross and smashes the zombie's head, destroying it. The group then head back to the hospital.
More and more zombies rise from their graves. The group finally arrive at the hospital and barricade themselves inside. Dr. Menard asks what happened to Paola and is told that she is dead. Dr. Menard explains to them that a voodoo curse has made the dead rise. He says he is still searching for a way to stop the curse. The zombies then begin their assault on the hospital. Dr. Menard goes to look for bullets, but is attacked and killed by a reanimated Fritz. Bryan sees the attack and shoots the rabid Fritz in the head as he ravenously gnaws on the doctor's cheek. The people who have been infected in the hospital begin to reanimate. A frothing black zombie bites a huge chunk of flesh and muscle out of Lucas' forearm. Lucas lets out a blood curdling scream, then silently dies of his horrific injury while the zombies start attacking the nurse. Peter hears her scream and tries to help her but a zombie breaks out the window. Peter shoots the zombie. He helps the nurse and continues his defense against the undead. The nurse goes to get some supplies but a reanimated Lucas grabs and bites her.
The zombies finally destroy the main door and break in. Peter and Bryan shoot at the zombies while Anne throws Molotov cocktails at them. They manage to stop some of the zombies and escape the hospital, which is now burning down. The last of the group are on the road heading to the boat and destroying more zombies, but a reanimated, blood-caked Susan appears in front of Bryan and bites his arm. Peter shoots the reanimated Susan in the head. They reach the boat and sail away. Now out at sea, Bryan is showing bad signs of contagion. He dies and they lock him in one of the rooms on the boat, taking the reanimated Bryan with them as evidence. When they reach the open ocean, however, they receive a radio report that a plague of zombies has attacked New York City. As the credits roll, the zombies are walking on the Brooklyn Bridge, leaving Peter and Anne to an unknown fate.
- Tisa Farrow - Anne Bowles
- Ian McCulloch - Peter West
- Richard Johnson - Dr. David Menard
- Al Cliver - Brian Hull
- Auretta Gay - Susan Barrett
- Stefania D'Amario - Menard's nurse
- Olga Karlatos - Paola Menard
- Dakar - Lucas
- Franco Fantasia - Matthias
- Leo Gavero - Fritz
- Edward Mannix - Cop #1 on boat
- Ugo Bologna - Anne's father
- Lucio Fulci - News editor
- Captain Haggerty - Zombie on boat
Writing for Zombi 2 started before Dawn of the Dead was released in Italy. The opening and ending sequences were later written into the script when the producers wanted to cash in on George Romero's film. Screenwriter Dardano Sacchetti chose to remove his name from the film's credits because his father had died during the film's pre-production. During the film's early development, director Enzo G. Castellari was asked to direct the film, but he tuned it down as he mostly directed action films and was not a fan of horror films. Fulci was then signed as the film's director when Castellari, who was a personal friend of Fulci, recommended him as a replacement.
Zombi 2 was filmed in Rome, Italy at Elios Studio and Studio Mafera as well as outside the studios in Rome. The film's underwater sequence was filmed in Isla Mujeres, Mexico. Additional scenes were filmed in New York, and in the Dominican Republic.
While shooting on location in New York City, Captain Haggerty, who plays the large zombie who attacks the harbor patrol at the beginning of the film, walked into CBGB's, a Bowery bar which was a flourishing punk rock venue at the time, in full zombie makeup complete with splattered fake blood and mud caked all over his face and body. Due to the outrageous punk styles in those days of the other bar patrons, he was barely noticed. Even the bartender never looked twice at him.
Due to budget constraints, filming the final sequence that shows hordes of zombies walking on the Brooklyn Bridge, they were unable to stop traffic on the bridge. This is why in the film's ending, cars can be seen driving below.
The film's make-up effects were done by renowned Italian Giannetto De Rossi. The make-up effects were placed on the actor's faces in layers to the effect that Lucio Fulci referred to the zombies as "walking flower pots."
The shark versus zombie scene was not desired or produced by Lucio Fulci. The idea, as the final scene, was by Ugo Tucci, when he met René Cardona Jr., who had directed the shark movie Tintorera. It was filmed in Isla Mujeres and the zombie was interpreted by a local trainer marine of sharks.
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Zombi 2's success in Europe reignited Fulci's sagging career and reinvented the director as a horror icon. Zombi 2 introduced several of his trademarks: hordes of shambling putrefied zombies, hyper-realistic gore and blood, and the infamous "eyeball gag" (a character is impaled or otherwise stabbed through the eyeball). Fulci would go on to direct several more horror films.
Despite the popularity of the film, Zombi 2 was banned in several countries, including Great Britain, due to its gore content. It was released by Vipco but with a lot of violence edited out. It was finally released uncut in 2005. Lead actor Ian McCulloch, who is British, never actually had the opportunity to watch the full film until he recorded a commentary for the Roan Group's LaserDisc release of Zombi 2 in 1998, and was shocked at the gore level.
Zombi 2's European box office take led to four sequels. All have self-contained plots. While the Zombi series proved to be lucrative, Zombi 2 is by far the most recognizable of the European zombie films.
The film was released in Italy as an action adventure thriller with no link to George A. Romero's films. The opening and closing scenes (which take place in New York) were added to the script later when the producers wanted to cash in on the success of Dawn of the Dead.
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Zombi 2 was released merely as Zombie in America and was considered a stand-alone film with no connection to Romero's zombie canon. The theatrical trailers for Zombie provided the memorable tagline of "We Are Going to Eat You!" and showcased some of the make-up effects, but did nothing to indicate the plot of the picture (although the audience was indeed warned about the graphic content of the film: a humorous crawl at the end of the preview promises "barf bags" to whoever requested them upon viewing the film).
Released theatrically to U. S. theaters and drive-in theaters in the summer of 1980 from distributor The Jerry Gross Organization (no longer in existence today), its tagline was: "When the earth spits out the dead... They will return to tear the flesh of the living..."
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Home video release history
The film developed a cult following after its release on home video, although a series of low budget releases from Wizard Video, Magnum Entertainment and Edde Entertainment (through subsidiary T-Z Video) featured a poor quality full screen transfer of the film. In February 1998, the film was released on VHS, DVD and laserdisc by Anchor Bay and The Roan Group respectively. Both versions present the film in widescreen, but the transfer was still dark and muddy as the earlier VHS releases. This version also omitted several shots of nudity from the film and other miscellaneous bits because of the print used.
Five years later, both Blue Underground and Media Blasters, the latter released through their Shriek Show line, released the film on DVD. Both releases contain anamorphic 16:9 transfers of the newly remastered, uncut version of the film (with the previously cut bits reinserted), remixed 5.1 audio along with the original Mono track, and improved picture quality. The two releases differ with Media Blasters using the film's original title Zombi 2, while Blue Underground uses the Americanized Zombie title. The former release had a 2nd disc with bonus materials such as interviews, and trailers and TV spots; The latter release retains some, but not all of the materials. The Media Blasters and Blue Underground releases differ slightly in video quality. The Blue Underground version is flagged as native progressive scan while the Media Blasters release is Interlaced, resulting in combing during fast motion and stair casing jaggies.
The other films in the Zombi series made it to America as video releases. None were released theatrically in the States, or had any real connection with this entry other than zombies.
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Zombi 2 was released in the UK in the early 1980s as Zombie Flesh Eaters, which was passed with 1 minute and 46 seconds of cuts for cinema exhibition. The original Australian version of the film used this cut. It was later released in the same "X" version on video. Some time later, the distributor decided to release a "Strong Uncut Version" on video, which caused it to be placed on the Director of Public Prosecutions list of "video nasties". Three scenes in particular were criticized by the British Parliament for their bloody and graphic content: the eye gouge viewed from the perspective of the both the victim and the specific jagged splinter of wood concerned, the zombie feast scene, and the scene in which a petrified Susan has her throat excavated by a zombie conquistador.
A version of the film was released on video by Vipco in 1992. This was the original 'cut' cinema version. The film was re-submitted in 1999, and an "Extreme Version" was passed with 23 seconds of cuts, trimming back the eye gouge scene and the zombie feast. The British Board of Film Classification did not have a problem passing the movie uncut, but as it was still classed as having been prosecuted for obscenity, they could not by law. By 2005 it was removed from the list of obscene publications and was finally passed uncut, and released as part of the Video Nasties: The Definitive Guide DVD box set. In 2012, the film was given an uncut Blu-ray release by Arrow Films.
- American band Faith No More's third album, The Real Thing, features a song titled "Zombie Eaters". Although the lyrics do not reference the film explicitly, singer and lyricist Mike Patton is known to be a fan of Italian horror films and even titled a song on his debut solo album, Adult Themes for Voice, after another Lucio Fulci film.
- Heavy metal band White Zombie made a reference to the eye-gouging scene on their 1995 album Astro-Creep: 2000 – Songs of Love, Destruction and Other Synthetic Delusions of the Electric Head, on the fifth track "Electric Head, Pt. 2 (The Ecstasy)", Rob Zombie's lyric being "a fistful of hair and a splinter in the mind."
- The Canadian band Fake Shark – Real Zombie! took their name as a reference from a scene in this movie.
- The band Send More Paramedics have a song called "Zombie vs. Shark" in homage to this movie.
- Hip-hop producer Necro sampled the theme in the song "Carnivores" on the 2005 self-titled album from his group Circle of Tyrants.
- This film was No. 98 on Bravo's 100 Scariest Movie Moments for the scene when a zombie pulls a victim towards a splintered wood shard.
- British comic Jamie Hewlett's animation company is called Zombie Flesh Eaters.
- The New York band Grasshopper performed a track live on WFMU titled "Zombie Shark Mangler", referencing the zombie vs. shark fight scene.
- The shark scene featured in a Windows 7 commercial in 2010, on a fictitious website called "Zombie Companion", where the footage is visible dubbed over with nature documentary-style narration.
- In Sealab 2021 Green Fever, a zombie diver is seen outside of the lab and gets attack by a shark, this is a reference to the film of the shark and zombie fight.
- The video game Dead Island has a very similar premise to Zombi 2 in the case of survivors on an island fighting off hordes of the undead. However, unlike Zombi 2, Dead Island has more than one type of zombie; regardless, the game is clearly inspired by Zombi 2.
- A scene from the movie The Monster Squad shows a Zombi 2 poster.
- In the film The Stink of Flesh there is a character named Matool, remembering the Matul island.
- There is a scene in the Planet Terror segment of Grindhouse in which Quentin Tarantino's character is stabbed in the eye with a piece of wood that was inspired by a scene from Zombi 2. Tarantino stated at the 2006 San Diego Comic-Con International that he and Robert Rodriguez would show double features of Zombi 2 and Torso with movie trailers to give the actors the feel of a grindhouse experience.
- A DVD cover of Zombi 2 is seen in Warm Bodies.
- "Zombi 2". The New York Times.
- Kay 2008, p. 96.
- Kay 2008, p. 95.
- "Zombi 2 - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes.com. Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
- "Fulci's 'Zombie' Coming to Blu-ray from Blue Underground Late 2011". brutalashell.com. 9 March 2011. Retrieved 4 July 2012.
- "The 100 Scariest Movie Moments". BravoTV.com. Retrieved July 18, 2012.
- "WFMU Blog – Grasshopper, Snatch the Pebble from My Soul; My Castle of Quiet Session, 26thAug09". wfmu.org. 22 September 2009. Retrieved 4 July 2012.
- Reesman, Bryan (21 May 2010). "Undead Mash-Up: Lucio Fulci Meets Microsoft". Attention Deficit Delirium. Retrieved 4 July 2012.
- Zombi 2 at the Internet Movie Database
- Zombi 2 at AllMovie
- Zombi 2 at Rotten Tomatoes
- Zombi 2 at The Deuce's Grindhouse Cinema Database
- DVD version comparisons