Zombie or Zombi 2 is a film that I feel is losing its weight with the horror community. It’s their loss, but it seems like the Italian impact on mid 20th century horror is falling away to the academics. While it’s important to study these works as art history documents, it scares away the casuals. Somewhere between the excessive gore and the dubbed language tracks, the Western audience pulls away when they should be drawn closer. That’s why I’m covering the 4K restoration of Fulci’s Zombie today. I hate modern horror fan sensibilities and I want to crush their skull with Fulci goodness.
Fulci is a director that I’ve been deeply examining for the past 12-18 months. Ever since I was a teenager, I got into weird kicks about filmmakers that can range from hang-ups on scripting, editing or special effects. What makes Fulci special is how half-assed yet epic he feels when compared to the Grimaldi and Argento systems. Look at those final scenes of Zombie. An apocalypse is taking place with Zombies crossing the Bridge en masse. But, traffic is moving like a typical late morning.
The Shark vs. Zombie scene is memorable, but the underwater Zombie make-up visibly breaks apart due to the watery strain. It’s things like this that make me love Fulci, but will push off the casuals. The modern era has beget viewers that feel like they are observing everything correctly for the first time. The music bothers them, as well as every other aesthetic choice. They can’t embrace certain choices, because they can only accept absolute reality in their fantasies.
Blue Underground has been a personal favorite for ages. When they announced the 4K restorations, I was a little shaky at first. Multiple trips back to the well irk me regardless of the company. That being said, it was a return trip that was well deserved. I never thought I was going to see a Fulci movie look this amazing. Hopefully, we’ll get to see other Fulci movies get similar treatment in the future.
The beauty of dressing up gross-out horror is that it makes older fans readdress what worked for them when they were younger. I came to Fulci later in life, but I know many horror hounds that had to kill themselves to find original cuts of these movies in the 80s and 90s. A lot of people forget how influential Anchor Bay and Tarantino’s Rolling Thunder Pictures was in getting these movies uncut for mainstream fans. While the market is grossly changing, I fear for the future fans that don’t have those channels.
Having come off a run of 2018 horror anniversaries, I feel odd jumping the gun with this early 40th anniversary revisit. In its home country, it was a 1979 release. But, I feel this is too gorgeous of a release to pass up. Plus, you get new commentaries, interviews and a ton of unseen special features on this release. If the Guillermo del Toro fan piece on the second disc is old, then I never saw it. Man, I just love discovering new things about classic horror. Pick this one up, even if you have the first Blu release.