Halloween Endurance Test: Zombie (1979)

Everyone reading this should know that Zombie was Lucio Fulci’s one good film.  I must have watched it at least every year since I was twelve.  It collects all Fulci’s running motifs into one mass and manages not to suck.  (Plus it’s the only Fulci film I’ve seen where neither the make-up nor the lighting blow.  Usually it’s one or the other.  Sometimes both!) 

Since I’ve seen it so many times I brought in an outsider to help with the review.

1.)  Apparently watching worms crawl around on bare flesh is either scary or unsettling.  This revelation made the entire film a treat since, as you can see from the cover, live worms are an integral part of any zombie make-up.

2.)  “Zombies can swim?”

“I don’t think he’s swimming; just walking on the bottom.  He doesn’t need to breathe after all.” 

The zombie versus the shark scene is still awesome to watch, even after you’ve seen it four thousand times.  This scene is what’ll get Fulci seated next to Pauline Keale in cinema heaven.  It almost makes up for how bad The Gates of Hell blows. 

3.)  People find the eye penetration scene even more disturbing than the worms.  It does seem to lose its effectiveness after you’ve seen it a million times though.  Plus Fulchi earned his reputation as a practicing misogynist by including a “woman gets stabbed in the eye” scene in every film. 

Shooting the scene close-up and in slow-mo does add style points though.  Not nearly as cool as the “girl gets a bullet through the head while looking through a peep hole” scene in Argento’s Opera.  That scene’s perspective is of watching the bullet fly down the peep hole.  Which makes it infinitely cooler.

4.)  The zombies invade Manhattan via the Manhattan bridge.  One of the coolest endings ever.  Right up there with the end of Amando de Ossorio‘s Ghost Galleon a/k/a Horror of the Zombies.  Allegedly they didn’t have permits to shoot on the bridge, but really, who’s going to stop a legion of people dressed up like zombies?

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