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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 – 1982

Reviewed by John of the Dead

I have always been a fan of cannibal and zombie films of the 70s and 80s, and this early 80s flick that combines both sub-genres is one that had always escaped me until now.  When body parts go mysteriously missing at a New York hospital, evidence points to a cannibalistic tribe located in the Moluccas (East Indies), and the hospital sends a team of doctors and journalists there to investigate thr matter.  Soon after arriving the team is immediately bombarded by the cannibal tribe, but they will soon learn the true dark secret residing within the island.

The story takes off quickly, with the hospital staff fretting over the continuous mutilation of their cadavers until they finally catch the culprit and discover the link to the cannibal tribe of Mollucas who worship a god known as Kito.  Fast forward a bit and their team lands on the island and from then on out the usual cannibal film antics kick in.  We watch as the crew and their native guides are brutally disemboweled by the cannibals lurking within the jungle, but things take a sharp turn for the worse at the 47 minute mark when the zombies show up.  I found it pretty damn awesome that these writers chose to mix the cannibal and zombie sub-genres together, but sadly this idea was not used to full potential.  I felt the cannibal element was dead on and that stemmed from the cannibals being the true focus of the film.  While initially awesome in their introduction to the story, the zombies were not used very well and took a severe back seat to everything else going on.  I did enjoy the concept behind why they were on the island to begin with, but not once do we see the zombies kill anyone, eat brains, or do anything zombies normally do aside from walk slow and look like Barney Frank.  I found this to detriment from the film because even though the cannibal element was used to potential there was much time wasted on the zombie element that never flourished.

Director Marino Girolami did an OK job executing this piece, which was shot at the same location used for Lucio Fulci’s Zombie, which also stars the same actor, Ian McColloch You can expect the usual acting performances associated with these types of films, such as overly emotional women and overly manly men, all with those dubbed voices we love to hear.  The kills were pretty fantastic and we are given loads of live-action gore, which makes this a bearable flick despite the story’s failures.  At first the zombies looked great as well but eventually it became obvious they were just people with a bit of mud caked on their faces and that became lame pretty quickly.  Overall Girolami’s execution was good enough and came with enough gore to satisfy both cannibal and zombie fans who need their gore fix, but he does not offer much more than that.

Overall, Zombie Holocaust is another run of the mill cannibal film that tries to incorporate zombies into the mix but fails to use them to potential. Those seeking a zombie film, which the title hints at, should know that this is far from a zombie flick. The gore is good and we get the usual sleazy cheese associated with cannibal flicks, but this is far from anything great.

Rating: 5/10

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