One of my favourite Fulci films of all time (and there are a lot of 'em!), Zombie, was the movie that introduced us to what is now affectionately known as "The Fulci Zombie"; the goremeister's super-decomposed take on Romero & Co.'s comparably tame undead. Fulci's film is also one of the most unapologetically gorey, silly, and fun horror films I've ever had the pleasure of seeing.
When a derelict sailboat floats into New York harbor, the "Coast Guard" ( two off-duty NYPD officer's who showed up to the set in their actual uniforms!) board the vessel and are attacked by a bloated zombie. When the investigation reveals that the owner of the boat had gone missing, owner's daughter Ann (Farrow) and reporter Peter West (McCulloch) charter a boat of their own to investigate the last known residence of Ann's father; an island called Matul. When they arrive, they discover that Matul has been ravaged by a plague that not only kills it's victims, it brings their corpses back to stalk the Earth in search of the flesh of the living!
Zombie is Fulci's answer to Argento and Romero's Zombi and was marketed as Zombi 2 in it's native Italy. While not as socially revelent as it's predecessor, Zombie does pack quite a punch with top notch make-up and gore effects that outshine any "living dead" film to come before, and a pretty cohesive story that, voodoo elements not withstanding, can be viewed as a sort of micro-chapter in the Dead universe. Of course, I don't recall any zombies fighting sharks in Romero's films, but, then again, Fulci only borrowed concepts; how he fleshed them out was another thing entirely.
Filled with enough eyeball-popping, head-crushing, and intestine-gnawing grue to satisfy the most jaded of season ticket holders of the Gran Guignol, Zombie goes a long way toward solidifying it's director's stature as the undisputed king of Italian splatter.
Blue Underground presents Zombie in a gorgeous widescreen transfer, remastered from it’s original camera negative, with an all new 5.1 Dolby Digital audio track that sounds fantastic. The big surprise here is that both the English and original Italian language tracks get the 5.1 upgrade, which is great news for purists. The set also features the original mono soundtrack, and a Dolby 2.0 option. The extras are rather thin for a Blue Underground release, with only radio spots, TV and Theatrical trailers, a poster and stills gallery, and a text-only Fulci bio. Still, this is the best I've ever seen this film look or sound, and it's well worth the upgrade.
Zombie is a classic that no serious horror fan can afford not to have in his or her collection. It's one of those inherently watchable films that I constantly find myself turning to when I'm in the mood for a nice old school zombie splatterfest.