Disclaimer: I’m no expert on Italian flicks. I just got into them over the last few years, and still have yet to see a lot of important entries. Oddly enough, these have kind of helped lately while I’ve been working on writing a comedy; something far separated (in intention at least) from everything that’s been on my TV. If you can’t tell, I’ve sort of been on a kick:
I can only imagine what further movies in the by-name-only Zombi series would have turned out like. While Zombi 3 was pretty decent, it was a far cry from Fulci’s classic. However, I wouldn’t entirely blame the shitty parts of that movie on either Lucio Fulci or Bruno Mattei; I wouldn’t even say it was a combination. Fulci got sick and they were left with maybe 50 usable (read: remotely fun) minutes after editing, so Mattei came on to save it. The former had some well-constructed zombie moments and Mattei’s best contribution to the movie was the stuff with the men in white chasing and blasting away the remaining survivors. It’s definitely not a total pile of shit; the hotel scenes near the beginning are great.
The next entry is a slightly different story. I sort of like what I’ve seen of Claudio Fragasso’s work. I guess the odds of there even being much of a Zombi 3 without him would be pretty nil. Zombi 4: After Death is kind of grody in all the wrong ways, though. It’s got all the right ingredients but they don’t mix too well in execution. Voodoo black dude opening? Check. Military boys (or is that “boiz”?) shooting zombies in the face? Check. Unfortunately, it’s somehow mostly boring. I can only imagine how unwatchable the print was when it was released with most of the gore chopped out by the producer. Okay, not a great zombie flick, but far from the worst.
Zombi 5: Killing Birds is the worst. It’s not just the worst in this series, it’s one of the worst I’ve ever seen. Even Robert Vaughn as a former revenge killer rendered sightless by the pecking out of his eyeballs can’t make it worth seeing. I never turn movies off after starting them, but I almost did. Not only were there only a handful of zombies, there weren’t even really many birds! I at least expected someone to be killing birds or, more probable, packs of birds that kill people. Instead, they give you 90 minutes of a group of douchebags looking for a near-extinct woodpecker and getting stuck in a spooky house. When it’s put that way, it even sounds unwatchable by Scooby Doo standards.
I’ve also recently seen Joe D’amato’s Anthropophagus listed as Zombi 6: Monster Hunter†. If this is true, this would almost kill the landsliding quality of the films. Still, Anthropophagus isn’t all that great either. Aside from a few key moments it’s sort of a snoozer, but there are some things on the second disc of the DVD that still make it worth picking up for the low price Best Buy sells it for.
† Actually, it looks like that may be incorrect. Though names are typically fuck-all confusing, it might have been Rosso Sangue/Anthropophagus 2 that some note as Zombi 6. Anyone know?