• Zombie 3



    Released by: Severin Films
    Released on: May 29th, 2018.
    Director: Lucio Fulci, Bruno Mattei
    Cast: Deran Sarafian, Beatrice Ring, Ottaviano Dell'Acqua, Marina Loi
    Year: 1988
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    The Movie:

    Originally intended as a return to form for director Lucio Fulci, Zombie 3 turned out to be… a bit of a mess. Made with a low budget and shot in the Philippines, Fulci’s ailing health caught up with him and the climate didn’t help things. When he submitted an original cut that was ripe with padding and just over an hour in length, second unit director Bruno Mattei was brought in along with Claudia Fragasso and Rossella Drudi to salvage the production. The merits of their efforts are debatable, but for fans of wonky gore and inspired Italian lunacy, Zombie 3 delivers.

    The movie begins when a deadly chemical is developed in a high-tech government facility. Of course, it gets out into the wild after its stolen from the military by a gang of terrorists and various parties soon learn what Dr. Holder (Robert Marius) already knew - that it has the ability to bring the dead back to life as shambling, flesh eating zombies. General Morton (Mike Monty) and his army guys go after the terrorists but one of them, who was wounded and exposed to the chemical, take refuge in a resort forcing the military to kill off anyone and everyone who their target may have come into contact with.

    When Morton has the terrorist cremated, his ashes escape into the air and contaminate birds that subsequently contaminate humans and before you know it, there’s a full-scale zombie outbreak. A few girls travelling by RV - Lia (Deborah Bergamini), Nancy (Ulli Reinthaler), Carol (Marina Loi) and Suzanna (Maricar Totengco) – wind up in the middle of this, and hook up with a trio of soldiers: Kenny (Deran Sarafian), Bo (Massimo Vanni), and Roger (Ottaviano Dell'Acqua). Meanwhile, a young couple, Glen whose girlfriend Patricia (Beatrice Ring), try to find a hospital or a doctor who can help. Eventually everyone ends up at the resort where it all hits the fan just as Morton orders his men to basically kill everything in sight…

    This is a movie where a disembodied zombie head flies out of a refrigerator and a zombie DJ, so you know it’s going to be kind of awesome. And kind of awesome it is! Fine, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense and the low budget means that there just isn’t going to be the kind of atmosphere and ambience that Fulci’s better known zombie films have got going for them, but Zombie 3 has its own screwy charm – and plenty of goofy, gooey low budget gore (though it never reaches the heights of either Fulci or Mattei’s nastier zombie films). It’s also got a genuinely cool score from Stefano Mainetti and some effective Filipino locations that add a somewhat exotic look to things. The fact that it’s clearly been put together piecemeal almost doesn’t matter, unless you’re concerned by things like, you know… logic – some zombies shamble, some zombies jump. Some zombies craftily hide to surprise their prey, others just sort of stumble into frame without any thought. The dialogue is inane and nonsensical (made all the more so by the film’s English dubbing) and the cast do some delightful scenery chewing.

    But this is one of those movies you should just go with. Don’t overthink it and it makes for a really fun watch. It’s a sequel to Fulci’s classic Zombie in name only and it definitely feels more like Bruno’s work than old Lucio’s, but there’s plenty of lowbrow entertainment to be gleaned from this one. Oh, and lest we forget… zombie baby!

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Severin’s transfer of Zombie 3 is taken from a new 2k scan (presumably of the negative, though press materials don’t specify) and presented in 1.78.1 widescreen in AVC encoded 1080p high definition. Realistically speaking, this transfer looks about as good as you could hope given how the film was shot by a few different people in a rather scattershot manner. Some scenes are crisp and in tight focus, others are heavily filtered and stylishly lit – as such, the image quality can be uneven. Still, the good far outweighs the bad here and this is a pretty substantial leap forward over the old Media Blasters DVD and a noticeable improvement over the UK Blu-ray release from 88 Films. Colors are very nicely reproduced here, reds and greens especially, and black levels are fine. The image is free of obvious noise reduction or edge enhancement, but it’s pretty clean, showing little print damage. Grain is evident throughout, appearing naturally as it should but never in any sort of distracting way but the compression certainly leaves room for improvement. There are occasional contrast blooms here and there but again, that’s how it was shot. All in all, fans of this picture should be quite pleased with Severin’s efforts.

    The English language DTS-HD Mono track, which comes with optional English subtitles, suffers from occasional minor sibilance issues but is otherwise of pretty solid quality. The dialogue is easy enough to understand and follow and that score… it’s pretty great and it sounds just fine. The levels are properly balanced and the track is free of hiss.

    Carried over from the aforementioned Shriek Show DVD is an audio commentary with actors Deran Sarafian and Beatrice Ring. For those who haven’t heard the track, they talk about how Sarafian landed his part by accompanying Ring, his girlfriend at the time, to her audition. From there they share some stories from the shoot and talk about what it was like on set, what it was like in the Philippines where the production was based, interactions with the notoriously difficult Fulci (who was the only director that they worked with on the production), and quite a bit more.

    Exclusive to this release is The Last Zombies another new interview with co-director/co-writer Claudio Fragasso and co-writer Rossella Drudi (these two have popped up on a few recent Severin discs and they’re always fun to hear from) that clocks in at nineteen minutes or so. They share some pretty interesting stories about the troubled production. They talk about how and why they were brought on board to write the film specifically for Fulci to direct, details of the original shoot and then the reshoot, issues with casting the picture and their own interactions with both Fulci and Mattei (they speak quite kindly about both of them). It sounds like the production was a mess, but again, these two are a kick to listen to and they’ve got some legitimate insider information on how it all went down.

    From there, we get some more material carried over from the Shriek Show disc, starting with the five-minute Tough Guys featurette which is an interview with actors/stuntmen Massimo Vanni and Ottaviano Dell'Acqua. These guys tell some fairly intense stories about the state of the Philippines when the movie was being made, getting to know both Fulci and Mattei and what their taking direction from the two men was like. The Problem Solver is a nine-minute interview with ‘replacement director’ Bruno Mattei who talks about how and why he wound up coming onboard to do second unit work and then reshoots after Fulci was unable to finish the film to the producers’ satisfaction. He also talks about shooting in the Philippines and offers some interesting background information on his part in all of this. Swimming With Zombies spends five-minutes with actress Marina Loi wherein she briefly recalls her time on set and working with second unit director Mattei on her memorable scene in the film. Lastly, In The Zombie Factory gets special effects artist Franco Di Girolamo in front of the camera for six-minutes to talk about how he had to work under pressure on the production due to scheduling and budgetary issues as well as how he feels about modern effects work.

    Rounding out the extras on the disc is the film’s original theatrical trailer, menus and chapter selection.

    It’s also worth pointing out that the first 3,000 copies of the release will ship with the film’s complete fifteen track Stefano Mainetti soundtrack on a limited-edition bonus CD – a really nice extra for those into film music.

    The Final Word:

    If you’ve ever felt that “life's become a real ecological pain in the ass” then Zombie 3 is the movie for you. It’s very much a ‘throw it to the wall and see if it sticks’ production but it’s also a lot of goofy, gory fun. Severin presents this cinematic bastard offspring of Fulci and Mattei in very nice shape and with a strong host of extras and, for a limited time, the entire soundtrack on CD. What’s not to love?

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!







































    Comments 3 Comments
    1. Jack J's Avatar
      Jack J -
      Good review, Ian. My first copy of ZOMBI 3 was the old legendary Bahrain bootleg VHS meany years back.
    1. Maureen Champ's Avatar
      Maureen Champ -
      I used to hate this bastard :meh:
    1. cmeffa's Avatar
      cmeffa -
      I have the Shriek Show dvd and VHS. I am probably in the minority in saying I absolutely love this film. I need to get this edition when I get the money to do so. Thanks for your review Ian.