|Directed by||Lucio Fulci
Bruno Mattei (uncredited)
|Produced by||Franco Gaudenzi|
|Written by||Rossella Drudi (uncredited)
|Music by||Stefano Mainetti|
|Edited by||Alberto Moriani|
|Distributed by||Shriek Show (U.S. DVD)
Vipco (UK DVD)
|Running time||85 mins.|
|Language||Italian, German, English (English dub)|
Zombi 3 (also known as Zombie Flesh Eaters 2 in the UK) is the 1988 followup to Zombi 2, itself an unofficial sequel to 1978's Dawn of the Dead (released in Italy as Zombi). Beyond its title, Zombi 3 has little to no relation with the characters or plotlines of Zombi, Zombi 2 or in fact any subsequent Zombi films. Its only major similarity is in that it is another zombie horror film. It is even less revered film than its predecessor was, generally hailed only for being "so bad it's good". The movie has an opening theme song that greatly resembles the theme of The Return of the Living Dead.
A group of scientists are working on a serum called Death One, which reanimates the dead. When Dr. Alan Holder (Robert Marius) and his assistant Norma experiment on a human corpse, the corpse becomes a zombie, prompting Dr. Holder to resign from the project. As he prepares to surrender the serum to waiting military officers, a small group of criminals ambushes the center; all but one are killed, and the surviving criminal manages to abscond with Death One. During a chase, the container with the serum is shot out of his hand and breaks; as he tries to pick it back up, he accidentally touches the serum. He flees to the Sweet River Resort and settles in Room 4. General Morton (Mike Monty) promises Dr. Holder that he and his men will capture the criminal, but by the time they find him, he has cut off his own hand in a failed attempt to stop the infection, infected a bellhop, killed a maid, and succumbed to the disease. General Morton orders the patrons and staff killed and buried in a mass grave, and also condemns the resort; the criminal's remains are delivered to him and his right-hand men, Tracey (Bruno Mattei) and Cheney (Claudio Fragasso), and burned. As Dr. Holder and Norma fear, the ashes quickly infect the air, killing an entire flock of birds passing by.
Meanwhile, a trio of GIs on vacation are on the lookout for some girls to make out with during their holiday; they find several on a nearby bus. Among the bus's passengers are Nancy (Ulli Reinthaler), Carol (Marina Loi), Lia (Deborah Bergamini), Susanna, Jane, Jane's boyfriend Tom, and the bus driver, Joe. Not too far away, Patricia (Beatrice Ring) and her boyfriend Glenn discover the dead birds and are promptly jumped as the birds reanimate, with Glenn being bitten repeatedly. The birds then assault the bus, and the GIs extricate everyone from the bus quickly, but not before Lia gets bitten. Patricia and Glenn stop at a nearby garage but are forced to flee when a zombie wielding a machete attacks Patricia and the garage goes up in smoke. The GIs and the bus party make a stop at Sweet River Resort, with Bo (Massimo Vanni) and Carol going off to look for some help. When their car breaks down, Carol goes looking for some water but is attacked and mauled by the zombies. Bo tries and fails to save her and is forced to flee when more zombies emerge from the lake. He eventually joins up with Patricia and Glenn. On the way to Santa Monica Hospital, Glenn dies and reanimates as a zombie on the bridge. During the resulting confrontation with the living dead, Bo is killed, but Patricia escapes with her life. Meanwhile, Dr. Holder and his team start work on an antidote to counter the effects of Death One as General Morton's men start to eradicate the zombies.
Back at the hotel, Jane and Tom go to the kitchen to look for some food but are ambushed and killed by a zombie head that had been resting in the freezer. Lia reanimates and devours Susanna, and she almost kills Nancy before being thrown off the balcony and killed. Kenny (Deran Sarafian) and Roger (Ottaviano Dell'acqua) encounter Patricia as she arrives to try to break the news about Bo's demise, but the living dead starts swarming the hotel. Kenny, Roger, Patricia, Nancy, and Joe kill as many zombies as they can before fleeing. After crossing the river, they're met by some of General Morton's men, who kill Joe. The other four escape as the final stage of General Morton's zombie eradication begins and Dr. Holder expresses his worries that the infection of the atmosphere may not be restricted to the island. Arriving at a nearby hospital, the four encounter a pregnant woman in labor, who Nancy tries to help deliver her newborn. Patricia engages in a final deathmatch against Glenn and beheads him, and Kenny and Roger have another run-in with General Morton's cleanup crew. Nancy is killed by the newborn, who turns out to be a zombie, and Kenny, Roger, and Patricia escape to find more zombies waiting for the kill. They make it to a helicopter, but only Kenny and Patricia are able to escape with their lives. Roger is attacked by the zombies while trying to join them and is subsequently killed by the cleanup crew. To Patricia's horror, the zombies have taken over; Blue Heart, the DJ who provided commentary for much of the film, even dedicates his next record to "all the undead around the world", having been infected himself. Upon hearing the broadcast, Kenny decides to return to the island, assuring Patricia that he intends to save what's left of humanity from the zombies.
- Deran Sarafian as Kenny
- Beatrice Ring as Patricia
- Ottaviano Dell'acqua as Roger (credited as "Richard Raymond")
- Massimo Vanni as Bo (credited as "Alex McBride")
- Ulli Reinthaler as Nancy
- Marina Loi as Carol
- Deborah Bergamini as Lia
- Luciano Pigozzi as the central director (deleted scenes) (credited as "Alan Collins")
- Mike Monty as General Morton
- Bruno Mattei as Tracey
- Claudio Fragasso as Cheney
- Robert Marius as Dr. Holder
Though Lucio Fulci is cited as director in the film's opening credits, Fulci really only directed portions of the film, bowing out after a few weeks of filming. This has been largely attributed to an illness that was aggravated by the Philippines filming location, however Fulci claimed the left as the producers kept changing the screenplay. The footage amounted to approximately 70 minutes worth and was found wanting.
Bruno Mattei was asked to step in and the resultant film, with its running zombies and a more sci-fi/action-oriented story, ended up resembling Mattei's films much more closely than anything Fulci had done up until then. In a filmed interview found on the Shriek Show DVD release in 2004, Mattei estimated that Fulci's surviving contributions constitute approximately 50 minutes of the finished film, or roughly 60% of what is onscreen. Mattei also stated that he still considers it to be Fulci's film, not his.
Zombi 3 was released to theatres in its native Italy on July 29, 1988. Although it has gained some notoriety over the years, it has never received an official theatrical release outside of Italy. In most countries, it was released direct-to-video.
In the United States, Zombi 3 was released in 2002 as a special edition from Media Blasters' Shriek Show division, who released the uncut version of the film. The film used many sources including VHS footage in order to be uncut. It also features trailers and interviews. The disc was then re-released with a commentary track. Media Blasters subsequently re-released the film as part of the Zombie Pack in 2005 alongside After Death and Killing Birds.
In the United Kingdom, Zombie Flesh Eaters 2 was issued as part of Vipco's Vault of Horror collection (cat no. VIP094). Vipco later re-issued Zombi 3 as part of their budget 'Screamtime Collection'(VSC028)
Place in the "Zombi" films
- Lucio Fulci begins to film an original zombie film with a mystic, voodoo-oriented script written by Dardano Sacchetti.
- During filming, Dario Argento's cut of George A. Romero's film Dawn of the Dead is released to theatres in Italy under the title Zombi. The film is a huge worldwide success.
- Fulci is instructed by his producers to film some new script changes which serve to unofficially connect it to Romero's film. Fulci's film was retitled Zombi 2 in Italy, but is released as Zombie in the US, Zombie Flesh Eaters in the UK and "Woodoo-Schreckensinsel der Zombies" in Germany.
- Lucio Fulci is asked to film a script for the sequel to Zombi 2 in the Philippines. Fulci reportedly completed 70-or-so minutes of film before leaving the Philippines due to health problems.
- Writer Fragasso's friend Bruno Mattei was brought on board to do reshoots, and to finish the film with the help of his associate Claudio Fragasso. The result was released to Italian theatres in July, and later to home video internationally.
Fulci tried unsuccessfully to get his name removed from the credits.
- J.C. Maçek III (2012-06-15). "The Zombification Family Tree: Legacy of the Living Dead". PopMatters.
- Top 10: Outbreak Movies
- Million Monkey Theater in-depth Analysis
- "Zombie 3". media-blasters.com. Retrieved 2011-03-31.