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Zombie Holocaust – 5


Director – Marino Girolami

Cast – Ian McCulloch, Alexandra Delli Colli, Sherry Buchanan, Peter O’Neal, Donald O’Brien, Dakar, Walter Patriarca

Release Year – 1980

Reviewed by John of the Dead

Zombie Holocaust is a film I was really looking forward to because it blends two of my favorite horror sub-genres, the zombie sub-genre and the cannibal sub-genre.  Expecting copious amounts of cheeze and gore, I went into this watch with moderate expectations and was not given what I wanted.  While things started off on a positive note, Zombie Holocaust slowly slid downhill as the runtime went on and never fully delivered on any of its promising elements.

A series of cannibalistic crimes occurring at a local morgue lead a team of professors and journalists to the small island of Kito in search of the cannibal tribe responsible for the crimes.  Upon arriving at the island they learn firsthand the horrors the cannibal tribe delivers to its victims, however their problems are only beginning when they learn that the island of Kito harbors another flesh-eating foe: zombies created by a mad scientist.

Longtime Lucio Fulci collaborator Marino Girolami gave us this watch, which he co-wrote with longtime Fulci producer Fabrizio De Angelis and Romano Scandariato.  The story begins much like every other cannibal film, with our curious protagonists embarking on a trip to a land they are not familiar with to search for the knowledge that they will soon be regretting they learned.  Even I have seen this premise time and time again, I will always love this idea and watch each of these films as if it were my first time coming across this idea.  The film paces pretty well from then on out, with some good cannibal action thrown in here and there until the epic arrival of the zombies on the island.  However, from this point on I felt that the film fell flat on its face and lost all of the positive aura that it had attained.  Why?  Well, because from that point on the film delivers neither zombies nor cannibals, just ramblings by the mad doctor about how he is going to revolutionize medicine with his experiments.  I enjoyed the idea of the mad doctor in the film, but I hated that he took away from all of the great stuff the film had going for it.  After the zombies made their appearance I figured we’d have a good mashup of cannibal/zombie action, or at least some zombie action given we’d already seen enough from the cannibals.  Sadly Zombie Holocaust failed to deliver on its title, and left both of its awesome sub-genres underused.

Girolami’s direction is well done, and he delivers the usual cheezy elements that we get in these zombie and cannibal films.  His musical score is appropriate, and his camerawork is standard for the typical early 80s or late 70s Italian horror film.  As expected, he did deliver buckets of high quality gore in this film, which was given to us mainly at the hands of the cannibals with their savage killing methods.  The look of the zombies was so-so, mainly because they seemed awesome at first but as the film went on their mannerisms were a bit too human-like and non reminiscent of the undead.  Basically, they looked like the zombies in Zombie 3, which is all I have to say about that.

Overall, this is a mediocre cannibal/zombie film that could have been absolutely spectacular had it fully employed either of its awesome sub-genres.  Sadly, neither the cannibal nor the zombie element was fully endorsed, and instead we are given a film that gives us more cannibal than zombie action despite its title including the word “zombie” in it.  Director Marino Girolami does manage to deliver some sweet and zany gore, but in the end it was not enough to save this film from its crumbling storyline, making this a mediocre watch at best.

Rating: 5/10

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