The 1980s Zombie Horror Classic That’s A Bizarre Sequel To The Greatest In The Genre

By Brian Myers | Published

Though zombies have been featured in horror movies since the silent era, the flesh and brain-eating monsters that audiences see on the big and small screen weren’t the standard until George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968). After that film’s release, multiple U.S. and Euro film studios adopted Romero’s version of the zombie, with Romero himself writing and directing a sequel, Dawn of the Dead, that was released in 1978.

Italian director Lucio Fulci directed what was originally intended to be a follow-up to Romero’s second zombie installment a year later, which ended up taking on a life of its own as Zombi 2.

Zombie Plague Goes Worldwide

Zombi 2 opens with what appears to be an abandoned boat drifting toward New York City. After two curious harbor workers board it, a zombie lunges out of a hidden spot on board and kills one of the two patrolmen. The surviving officer kills the zombie, and the body of the fallen one is taken to a local morgue.

At the morgue, the daughter of the boat owner, Ann Bowles, gets the third degree from local investigators. Ann reveals that the last she heard from her father was that he was working on a research project on a remote island in the Caribbean called Matul. After leaving the morgue, Ann and her colleague Peter West take a boat to the island to find her father.

Back To The Origin Of The Zombie Myth

Zombi 2 shows the development of a voodoo curse on the island of Matul as Western researchers are noticing the dead coming back to life. After the wife of one doctor is attacked, killed, and eaten by a zombie, a group of researchers (now joined by Ann and Peter) escape the growing hoard of the undead that are rising from their graves by barricading themselves in a hospital on the island.

Zombi 2 becomes a question of survival as the curse has not only impacted those who are dead and buried but also infects anyone bitten by a zombie. As their numbers begin to dwindle, the research team fights to survive and contain the undead plague to keep it from escaping Matul.

Horrific Kill Scenes

The film was meant to take zombie films back to their roots in the Caribbean and focus on voodoo as the cause behind the dead returning to life. Fulci does this with gusto, weaving in Romero-style kill scenes that include horrific dismemberments and the consumption of human flesh. Zombi 2 is a brutally violent film, with scenes that rival any that Romero himself conjured up.

The settings were also as authentic as possible. Film crews were dispatched to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and New York City, as well as shooting in Latina, Italy. The Carribean filming added a sense of realism to Zombi 2, as did the multitudes of extras cast from the nation’s population.

It’s The Zombie Vs. Shark Movie

The film is one of the greatest zombie movies ever, even eclipsing much of Romero’s original work. Though not quite on the level with Dawn of the Dead, the impending doom and palpable fear that Fulci could generate frame by frame with Zombi 2 is as grotesque as the flesh-eating he created for the cameras.

Available Via Video On Demand

REVIEW SCORE

Zombi 2 is a 1970s horror film that ranks right up there with The Omen and The Exorcist as one of the most terrifying movies of the decade.

Zombi 2 is not available to stream for free but can be rented On Demand with Prime, AppleTV, and Flixfling.