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Zombi 3

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Zombi 3
Theatrical release poster
Directed by
Screenplay by
Produced byFranco Gaudenzi[1]
CinematographyRiccardo Grassetti[1]
Edited byAlberto Moriani[2]
Music byStefano Mainetti
Flora Film[1]
Distributed byVariety Distribution
Release dates
  • June 1988 (1988-06) (Paris)
  • 29 July 1988 (1988-07-29) (Italy)
Running time
88 minutes[2]

Zombi 3 is a 1988 Italian horror film directed by Lucio Fulci and Bruno Mattei and starring Deran Sarafian, Beatrice Ring, and Ottaviano Dell'acqua. The film is an in-name-only sequel to Fulci's Zombi 2. The film is about a group of scientists at a top-secret research facility who are working on a biological weapon called Death One, which mutates and kills the living creatures and reanimates the dead. The weapon is leaked out of the facility, which leads to a spread of infection among soldiers and touring people in the area.


In a covert biological weapons laboratory in the Philippines, scientists work on a serum called Death One, which reanimates the dead. When Dr. Alan Holder and his assistant Norma experiment on a deceased human test subject, the corpse reanimates and reacts violently, prompting Dr. Holder to resign from the project. As he prepares to surrender the serum to the military, a group of rival gunmen ambushes the facility, with the lone surviving criminal absconding with Death One. During the ensuing chase, gunfire breaches the container with the serum. Dr. Holder initially shows no concern about the virus escaping in such a manner due to its inability to survive more than half a minute in the presence of oxygen until he learns that the criminal accidentally touched the serum and became infected. General Morton and his soldiers arrive at the Sweet River Resort, where the criminal had fled, to find the criminal had infected a bellhop, killed a maid, and cut off his own hand in a failed attempt to stop the infection's spread before finally succumbing to the infection. Morton orders the patrons and staff to be killed and buried in a mass grave, and the criminal's remains are transported to the facility's incinerator. As Dr. Holder and Norma fear, the ashes disperse into the air, infecting an entire flock of nearby birds.

Meanwhile, a trio of G.I.s on vacation are looking for girls and encounter a nearby bus, whose passengers include David, Nancy, Carol, Lia, Suzanna, Jane, Jane's boyfriend Tom, and bus driver Joe. Nearby, a tourist named Patricia and her boyfriend Glenn discover the dead birds, who reanimate and attack them. The birds assault the bus while the G.I.s attempt to evacuate it and Lia is bitten. Patricia and Glenn stop at a nearby garage but flee when a machete-wielding zombie attacks Patricia and the garage explodes after she sets the zombie afire. The G.I.s and the bus party stop at the now deserted Sweet River Resort. The men find a crate of guns left behind by the soldiers and begin fortifying the resort while Carol and one of the G.I.s, Bo, drive off to seek help.

When their car breaks down, Carol goes looking for water but is mauled by zombies and becomes zombified after her legs are torn off. Bo flees when more zombies emerge, eventually joining up with Patricia and Glenn. Glenn dies and reanimates as a zombie on the way to the hospital, killing Bo while Patricia escapes.

Back at the lab, Dr. Holder and his team start work on an antidote to Death One. Meanwhile, Morton's men initiate an operation to eradicate the zombies, now identified by the codename "locusts", referencing the zombies' behavior pattern of swarming from town to town.

Meanwhile, Jane and Tom are ambushed and killed by a zombie's head in the kitchen freezer at the hotel. Lia reanimates, kills and devours Susanna and almost kills Nancy before being thrown off the balcony and killed. Kenny and Roger encounter Patricia as she arrives to break the news about Bo's demise, but zombies swarm the hotel. Before fleeing, Kenny, Roger, Patricia, Nancy, and Joe kill many zombies by using their newly acquired weapons, but David is devoured in the skirmish.

The next morning, the survivors encounter some of Morton's soldiers, who kill Joe. The other four escape, as the final stage of Morton's zombie eradication begins and Dr. Holder expresses his fear that the atmospheric infection may not be confined to the island. Arriving at the nearby hospital, the four encounter a pregnant woman in labor. As Nancy helps deliver the newborn, Patricia battles zombie Glenn and beheads him, while Kenny and Roger battle Morton's cleanup crew. Nancy is killed by the zombified newborn when it escapes the mother's womb and latches onto her face. Meanwhile, Kenny, Roger, and Patricia escape to find more zombies. They make it to a helicopter, but only Kenny and Patricia escape, as Roger is attacked by the zombies while trying to join them and is killed by the cleanup crew.

Blue Heart, the DJ who provided commentary for much of the film, 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.



Rossella Drudi developed most of the script of Zombi 3 without credit.[4] The film only credits Drudi's husband, Claudio Fragasso, who co-authored the screenplay.[4] Their script set the film in the Philippines, as it was a cheap and convenient location to shoot.[4] Zombi 3 was originally announced as a 3D film, but the film was never released in this format.[5] Director Lucio Fulci went to the Philippines along with his daughter, Camilla Fulci, in late 1987 and spent six weeks shooting Zombi 3.[4]

Fulci left the production partway through and opposing views were given for his departure, the first being an illness that left him unable to film and the second being that he was having disputes with producers.[6] Fulci would later state that he "didn't finish making Zombie 3, but the reason wasn't anything to do with illness [...] there were arguments and so, I finished off an hour and a quarter of the film".[4] Fulci stated that he could not get the script changed, which he deemed to be "dreadful", and modified it with his daughter.[4] Fragasso stated that Fulci simplified his screenplay and shot a seventy-minute film, which shocked producer Franco Gaudenzi.[7] Fragasso went on to state that after the final editing of the film, it had a running time of one hour and ten minutes, but felt like a slow montage, and was cut down further to 50 minutes.[4]

Producer Gaudenzi was worried about the film and had second unit director Bruno Mattei brought in to work on the production with Fragasso in order to complete it.[4] Mattei had been in the Philippines at the time filming Strike Commando 2,[4] went home to spend Christmas with his family and later returned in January 1988 to film more scenes for Zombi 3.[8][9] Both Fragasso and Mattei worked on new scenes, and since they could not get the main actors to return to filming, the new scenes became subplots.[10]

In a 2002 interview, Mattei claimed that he shot about 40% of the film, including all the early scenes in the film and all of the scenes in which feature the soldiers dressed in white anti-contamination suits.[10] He elaborated that this included the entire beginning with the stolen suitcase, the helicopter scene, the scenes involving security guards storming a hotel room and the scenes where the zombies start to burn.[8] Fragasso later said he directed a number of the additional scenes that Mattei is credited with having directed, but he let Mattei take full credit because he did not want to get into a conflict later with Fulci.[11] Both Fragasso and Mattei make cameos in the film as soldiers who are putting a corpse into an incinerator.[4]

When asked if the film should be credited solely to Fulci, Mattei responded that it was "hard to say" and that "the film's soul is from Fulci. It was his object, not mine. I only took it over after the main production was finally finished. Fulci was informed about everything and there was little discussion about it."[9]


Zombi 3 was screened at a Paris Horror Film Festival in June 1988.[12] The film premiered in Italy on 29 July 1988,[13][3] where it was released in a severely edited form.[5]

Zombi 3 is regarded as the official follow-up to Zombi 2,[14] although other films were released internationally that were also billed as sequels.[14] These include Andrea Bianchi's Burial Ground, released as Zombi III: Nights of Terror, and Return of the Zombies, as Zombi 3.[14]

Home media[edit]

In 2002, Zombi 3 was released on DVD in the United States by Media Blasters.[5][15] The cut version of the film shown in Italy provided the majority of the master for this DVD.[5] In the United Kingdom, the film was released on DVD under the title of Zombie Flesh Eaters 2, as part of Vipco's Vault of Horror collection.[15][16] Vipco later re-issued Zombi 3 as part of their budget Screamtime Collection.[15] In Germany, the film was released on DVD initially by Laser Paradise on July 2, 2001, in a Red Edition, and later, on December 31, 2003, by the same label, as part of a box set entitled the Lucio Fulci Collection. On May 29, 2018, Severin Films released Zombi 3 on DVD and Blu-ray in the U.S., featuring a 2K scan of the original uncut version as well as commentaries and interviews. The first 3,000 copies of the Blu-ray also included the film's soundtrack on CD.[17]


"I don't repudiate any of my movies, except Zombi 3. But that movie's not mine. It's the most foolish of my productions. It has been done by a group of idiots."

- Lucio Fulci on Zombi 3[10]

Fulci also said later on that he didn't like the production and certainly not how certain producers treated the filipinos in a bad way.

From a contemporary review, Philip Nutman and Mario Cortini wrote in Gorezone that Zombi 3 was less original than Fulci's Aenigma, and that its main problem was its budgetary restraints and that "when the makeup FX do happen, they're so damn amateurish that they're embarrassing."[18]

From retrospective reviews, Video Watchdog commented that the film had "slow patches" but plenty of exciting (and extremely gory) highlights throughout"[5] The review also commented on Stefano Mainetti's score that "certainly helps things along".[5] Writing in The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia, academic Peter Dendle said, "Most of the movie is a quilt of scenes and motifs shamelessly pasted together from Dawn of the Dead and Return of the Living Dead, but fast pacing and continuous shooting help distract from the absence of plot or character development."[19] Dread Central included the film in their top ten list of best viral outbreak films.[20]


  1. ^ a b c d Kay 2008, p. 219.
  2. ^ a b Thrower 1999, p. 281.
  3. ^ a b Firsching, Robert. "Zombi 3". AllMovie. Archived from the original on August 2, 2012. Retrieved May 10, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Howarth 2015, p. 302.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Dallmann, Shane M. (March 2005). "Zombi 3/Zombie 4: After Death". Video Watchdog. No. 117. p. 61. ISSN 1070-9991.
  6. ^ Paul 2005, p. 213.
  7. ^ Kay 2008, p. 162.
  8. ^ a b TJ 2003, p. 12.
  9. ^ a b TJ 2003, p. 13.
  10. ^ a b c Howarth 2015, p. 303.
  11. ^ Thrower 1999, p. 239.
  12. ^ Cortini & Nutman 1989, p. 45.
  13. ^ "Spettacoli a Roma". Unita (in Italian). L'Unità. 29 July 1988. p. 22. ISSN 0391-7002.
  14. ^ a b c Dallmann, Shane M. (March 2005). "Zombi 3/Zombie 4: After Death". Video Watchdog. No. 117. p. 60. ISSN 1070-9991.
  15. ^ a b c "Zombie 3". AllMovie. Archived from the original on February 13, 2016. Retrieved May 10, 2016.
  16. ^ Kay 2008, p. 161.
  17. ^ "Zombie 3 (Blu-ray Review)". 6 June 2018.
  18. ^ Cortini & Nutman 1989, p. 46.
  19. ^ Dendle, Peter (2001). The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia. McFarland & Company. pp. 193–194. ISBN 978-0-7864-9288-6.
  20. ^ Serafini, Matt (2010-02-26). "Top 10: Outbreak Movies". Dread Central. Retrieved 2015-02-18.


  • Cortini, Mario; Nutman, Philip (January 1989). "Pastaland Splatter Roundup". Gorezone. No. 5. O'Quinn Studios, Inc.
  • Howarth, Troy (2015). Splintered Visions: Lucio Fulci and His Films. Midnight Marquee Press, Inc. ISBN 978-1936168538.
  • Kay, Glenn (2008). Zombie Movies: The Ultimate Guide. Chicago Review Press. ISBN 978-1569766835.
  • Paul, Louis (2005). Italian Horror Film Directors. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-8749-3.
  • Thrower, Stephen (1999). Beyond Terror, the films of Lucio Fulci. FAB Press.
  • TJ (2003). "Bruno Mattei Spezial: Zwischen Titten, Knarren und Runen". X Rated (in German). No. 24.

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