19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 6 March 2012
Distributor: Blue Underground (US)
It actually doesn't matter which title you know this movie by, Zombie Flesh Eaters, Zombie, Zombi 2, Island of the Living Dead, Woodoo, the list is probably endless. The film however is instantly recognisable as the greatest Italian zombie classic ever put to celluloid and is widely regarded by many fans as Lucio Fulci's finest hour.
So, what exactly is it that makes this film stand out from countless other releases which all flooded the market when Italian zombie movies were cool?
Filmed on location in the late seventies and starring then popular British actor Ian McCulloch of Terry Nation's post apocalyptic series Survivors, the film has a great deal to like. Scripting is tight and suspenseful providing a genuinely disturbing atmospheric setting which is further enhanced by the now classic soundtrack. What really sets this film apart however are the make up and special effects which have yet to be bettered in the zombie genre over 30 years later. Whether it's the army of decaying zombies slowly rising from the ancient cemetery, or the numerous sequences of outrageous violence and gore, the special effects have ultimately helped to keep this film at the top of most zombie collectors wants lists for over 3 decades.
Presented region free by Blue Underground, this new Blu-ray release is advertised as having undergone extensive remastering from the original negatives in a brand new 2K HD scan and the end result is certain be pleasing to fans of the film. Presented in a 1080p 2.35:1 transfer, detail is sharp with strong colour representation. Background images are especially enhanced particularly towards the final act of the movie and undoubtedly the more familiar you are with the film, the more detail you will suddenly notice popping up on-screen like never before. With a decent amount of depth also present in black levels, it goes without saying that this movie has never looked as good as it does in its current presentation.
Audio is presented with English DTS-HD 7.1 and Italian DTS-HD 7.1 options. Dialogue appears fresh and clear and the now famous score powers through your speakers providing an enriched atmosphere which will really draw you into the movie. Whether it is the sound of the ever nearing voodoo drums or the final shoot-out in the run down hospital, the audio track here provides a level of depth previously unheard.
Extras begin with a recycled DVD commentary with star Ian McCulloch who actually has some interesting things to say about his experience in making the film, however it is a shame that Blue Underground didn't invest in a new commentary track as McCulloch has attended a number of film conventions since the original was recorded and would probably have much new information and anecdotes to offer. Following the commentary there are a number of different interview segments all running at between ten and twenty two minutes which feature many members of both cast and crew.
Some of the interviews are inter-cut with convention footage of the actors signing posters and artwork for the many waiting fans whilst attending a Q&A session and there are also interviews with the composer who discusses his now legendary score and Lucio Fulci's daughter Antonella. Rounding off the extras package are the usual trailers and TV spots and an extensive picture gallery featuring some classic bloody artwork from around the globe and a handful of rare behind the scenes stills.
All things considered the film is a must own title for zombie collectors everywhere and the improvements in transfer and audio alone instantly justifies a purchase of this Blu-ray release. The film itself has quite simply never looked or sounded better and for a movie which oozes atmosphere, this new presentation will put you right back into the advancing zombie infestation like never before.
This really is one horror classic that richly deserves to be seen in all it's outrageous bloodthirsty crumbling zombie nastiness... oh and if you think you seen the film before...
You ain't seen nothing yet!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 24 March 2013
In case you are not aware, Zombie Flesh Eaters on Blu-Ray has also fallen to a manufacturing error, just another of the many that have occurred in past 12 months (Harry Potter, David Lynch, Cabin In The Woods, House By The Cemetery). A seamless branching error caused 6 seconds of an establishing shot of a boat entering the harbour after the credits to be missing.
If you want a replacement disc, follow the instructions on Arrow's website below but you should act before 31 March 2013.
From Arrow's website:
Zombie Flesh Eaters Blu-ray Disc Only
Cat No: FCD704R
Overview: Zombie Flesh Eaters Blu-ray [Replacement Disc]
To obtain a replacement disc for Zombie Flesh Eaters please send your proof of purchase to firstname.lastname@example.org with details of your return address. The replacement disc will be sent to you as soon as possible. The disc replacement service will be available until 31st March 2013. By entering into this replacement programme it is understood that the customer enters into an agreement with the distributor, Arrow Films. As such, the customer shall not sell on the defective disc and said disc must be destroyed or kept for personal use. It is expressly forbidden that this disc be resold in any capacity.
1. What proof of purchase should I supply?
Please scan or photograph a clear image of your receipt or alternatively please send the email confirmation from your retailer as an attachment.
2. I purchased my copy direct from the Arrow site. Do I still need to provide proof of purchase?
Yes, please provide your confirmation email quoting your order reference number.
3. I live outside the UK, am I still able to take part in the replacement programme?
Yes. Please include proof of purchase as described in item 1.
4. I wasn't aware there was a problem with the disc. What's wrong?
A seamless branching error caused 6 seconds of an establishing shot of a boat entering the harbour after the credits to be missing.
5. If I buy a copy of ZFE now will it have the corrected disc inside?
Unfortunately we cannot guarantee that stock purchased now will have the corrected disc, though all stock from the Arrow Store has the corrected disc and many discs have been replaced directly in our warehouse which supplies all other retailers.
6. I already sent you my disc, can I get a refund for the postage?
Unfortunately we will not be able to refund your postage but as a gesture of goodwill we will be sending you a free copy of the ArrowDrome DVD `The Man With the Severed Head'. There is no need to claim this free DVD it will be sent automatically.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 6 March 2014
I don't think I'll ever forget the day my brother walked through the door (back in 1981) clasping a large cardboard box - on it read "Sony C5 Betamax VCR". This was it, Saturday nights were never going to be the same. Goodbye Cagney & Lacey, goodbye Ted Rogers & Dusty bin! Hello Enter the Dragon, hello The Exorcist and last but not least hello Vipco's Zombie Flesh Eaters (strong uncut version). I absolutely love this film and to top it all it's now in BluRay transferred from the original negatives and a wonderful transfer it is too; never did zombies look so good - worm infested eye sockets, purple congealed crusts cover the undead, the flies and stench of rotting flesh seem to almost seep from out of the speakers enhanced by the haunting music score of Fabio Frizzi. Who cares if there is some bad acting - bad acting never did Arnold any harm! This film has it all eye gouging, throat ripping shark wrestling, head smashing mayhem. Treat yourself to a Saturday night in as I did all those years ago - turn the lights down and the volume up and enjoy Lucio Fulci's classic "ZOMBIE FLESH EATERS"
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I can understand why any intelligent Horror fan might dislike 'Zombi 2' (the original title of what we've come to know as 'Zombie Flesh Eaters'. It has absurd dialogue, revels in sensationalistic gore and the acting/casting (particularly Tisa Farrow) leaves much to be desired.
However, I'd urge anyone who has in the past wanted to like this film (but been unable to) to try it again on Arrow bluray. While Arrow have been inconsistent performers with BD transfers, as of early 2014 they have upped their game and responded to criticism - the steelbook of 'Tenebrae' (Dec 2013), the DVD/BD pack of 'Phenomena', 'City of the Living Dead' and this version of 'Zombie Flesh Eaters' all look superb. In fact, 'Zombie Flesh Eaters' is the most improved.
Watch it in Italian, with the new improved subtitling - the titles have been rewritten/edited to be more intelligent, more literate and less sensationalistic - the stupidity is almost gone. Also, seeing the film in hi-def confirms that it is NOT a cheaply made, artless piece of crud, but a extremely well crafted horror exploitation movie, with excellent effects. There is some superb music, some great cinematography and superb use of locations, both in New York and on the tropical island.
Although I've long had a soft spot for this film, watching it on Arrow's blu ray is like seeing the movie for the first time, and like seeing a different film from the versions you've seen before. The overall quality of the film-making shines through and doesn't fail to impress.
While I've never liked 'The House by the Cemetary', found 'The Beyond' a little too loose, unstructured and irrational (though I am going to revisit it once Arrow get a BD back into print) and still think 'City of the Living Dead' too episodic and marred by silly dialogue, ugly actors (the kid, the medium and some of the victims of the zombies are almost disturbingly unattractive - though I guess that's the point!) and plotting that lacks suspense, 'Zombie Flesh Eaters' is now one of my favourite horror films due to this new BD version.
So if you've found the film frustrating in the past, get this version, select the Italian track and think again...
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Being of a "certain" age and being British, I was firmly around at the time of the ridiculous "video nasty" mania that swept the UK in the early 1980s. Films that usually involved cannibals, either ferox, holocaust or zombified, and torture porn revengers et al, were banned, prosecuted or given a Viking burial at sea. One such film was Zombie Flesh Eaters (the best title the film has of the few it is known by), it became like the Holy Grail of video nasties, where to see it uncut would be like witnessing the last miracle performed by Christ. I never did get to see it back then, and as my horror leanings waned over the years I let it drift from my conscious. But now I'm here in my middle age and finding a new appetite for horror, I have finally managed to see the fabled shocker from Lucio Fulci.
In many ways it's a disappointment, I mean I understand that to view it now is never going to impact in the way that it did (could) in 1979, but casting aside for a moment the gore scenes, which I will get to, it's a bad film awash with badness, and not in a horror bad ass way. Much like the other Fulci film I viewed recently, The House By The Cemetery, ZFE is a series of blood and guts scenes strung together by amateurish filler. Be it bad acting, bad dubbing, hopeless dialogue and half hearted attempts at something cranial. However, if judging this particular Fulci film on its key horror scenes? Then it's got brains, imagination and style to burn. Marking it out as by definition a mixed bag genius disaster!
The zombies themselves are brilliant creations, all dripping with rotting flesh, caked in earth and having mother nature's insect creatures wriggling around their ravaged bodies. They shuffle along in classic Romero mode, and feast on flesh with carefree abandon. They are also perpetrators of some of zombie cinema's best moments, such as fighting a shark on the ocean bed, pulling a hapless female victim onto a wooden splinter - eye first! And one scene where they collectively rise slowly from the earth is atmospherically as creepy as it is stunning in its execution. It is these things that of course helped to make it a legendary part of the Italian Exploitation era, and it's these things that make it watchable still today, but let it not be said there is anything else worthwhile, because the rest is simply awful. 6.5/10
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 7 January 2012
Let's get straight on to the Blu Ray review. This US disc is region free the 1080p picture was taken from a newlly re-mastered 2k print and looks great although their was sign of print damage in the middle of the movie nothing too intrusive. The film is uncut according to the back cover.
This is a 2 disc set with a disc of special features. The special features included are mostly interviews and Guilerno del toro intro.
Soundwise the disc has a dts hd 7.1 audio.
This disc is worth purchasing to see the shark vs zombie scene in HD one of the best zombie films of the late 70's era definately worth a blu ray upgrade over dvd releases.
Update arrow video in the UK are releasing a standard blu ray and a steelbook version on the 26th of november titled Zombie flesh eaters the reviews on the uk disc are good and people are saying the UK transfer is better but be warned arrow have messed up and their is 6 seconds missing from the new blu ray.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 14 April 2015
An unmanned boat cruising into New York is discovered to be carrying a zombie who attacks an officer checking the boat, meanwhile the daughter of the boats owner and a journalist head to a tropical island to check on her father, to there horror they find hoards of the undead attacking everyone and everything in there path.
One of the very best Zombie films ever! The film that brought Lucio Fulci to an international audience is also one of his very best. Unlike Fulci the plot is actually fairly coherent, in fact the plot is a strength of the picture, it has pace always something interesting happening and the open ended finale is excellent. The zombie make-up is brilliant as are the bloody gory effects by De Rossi, acting by the cast is also much better than expected, leads Farrow & McCulloch are really good but the whole cast does a good job. Some of the set pieces are outstanding, the underwater shark scene is one of the most iconic in horror film history it's that impressive, the splinter in the eye, the unstoppable zombie attack at the end etc.. in fact there are many great sequences in the film far too many to list here. The atmosphere of the film is great, there are some genuinely scary moments including the opening scene in N.Y. where a zombie bursts out of the closet but there are many more, the creepy tension and suspense are maintained throughout and in this as in many other ways Fulci does an impressive job.
An infamous video nasty but also one of the top 3 very best, one for every not just nasty collector but every horror film fan.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
I've been after renting this film for some time, as it's widely regarded as a classic Italian zombie film, but reports that it is trash and bad put me off buying it. However, I managed to find it for a decent price and bought it straight away. An initial word of warning: do not associate this with Zombie Flesh Eaters 2, which isn't part of the same series, and is easily the worst film I've ever seen.
Having watched it, the film seems very different to how people have described it. Rather than a gore-obsessed exploitation film, it's more like a straight-forward adventure/horror flick, with some nasty moments. The film doesn't actually feature the titular zombies for much of the film, as the plot and characters are set up. The acting is actually quite good, obviously not of a million dollar salary standard, but well up on the usual standard of this type of film. There are a couple of exceptions, notably the two police from the opening, and the doctor's wife, who is mercifully killed off before she has time to over-act for long.
There are obvious comparisons to be made with Romero's films (which are far superior), in particular Dawn of the Dead, as this film was made as an unofficial prequel to that film (despite it itself being a sequel to Night of the Living Dead). Lucio Fulci isn't as smart a director as George Romero, and there is none of the symbolism, social commentaries or dark humour Romero displays. However, Fulci is a better "horror" director, managing to create some tension and jumps, rather than Romero's air of constant disturbing feeling that never really rises. Fulci also manages some visual flair, particularly during the gore scenes, while Romero just let the camera linger on the scenes, Fulci plays them with tight editing to increase the effect.
Of course, a large percentage of the people reading this review aren't looking for shocks, but gore. The version of the film I have isn't the Vipco "extreme" one, but the version Amazon are now selling, which has no details of how cut it is, so it's quite possible my copy is edited by the BBFC. In either case, it really isn't as gory as has been hinted to by many sources. The famous scene here is the splinter/eyeball scene, and it isn't "gory", not in a blood splattering way. However, it is a supremely nasty sequence, and Fulci plays it out for maximum effect, making you cringe when it finally happens. The other gore moments vary- there are a fair few exploding heads, and a few zombie brains get punished by some blunt instruments. There is only one really gruesome scene in my copy, and you'll know which one when you see it. In terms of comparisons, the gore is roughly level with Romero's Dawn of the Dead, but nowhere near as frequent.
A couple of elements of this film really impressed me. The shark/zombie battle underwater is amazing, if only because you wonder how the hell they pulled it off. It's a real live shark, and a pretty big one too, and how the actor who played the zombie didn't drown is beyond me. The other aspect is the zombie SFX. They're quite simply incredible, far better than Romero's early zombies (some of the ones in Day of the Dead are on an equal level though). The zombies look very dead and decomposing, and extremely convincing. In particular, the zombie that wakes from the jungle grave is incredible, and genuinely scary.
On a closing note, this is quite a different film to the more famous zombie films. It's not the gore fest most people make it out to be, but a low budget action movie with a liberal dose of splatter. The zombies don't really get enough screen time, and you wish Fulci had followed on from the ending with a bigger budget. The music is extremely annoying 70s pre-MIDI synth nonsense, although the tribal drumming is quite atmospheric. If you can live with all this, then there's a good flick to be enjoyed here.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 14 September 2001
Bought this mainly on the 'Extreme Version' blurb on the front - should have known it would still be cut. Apparently the problem is that because it was successfully prosecuted as obscene back in the 80s the uncut film can never be released in the UK, at least until the Obscene Publications Act is removed from the law books (I dream). Having said that, this is still a pretty entertaining movie. It moves at a pretty good pace, the effects that have been left in are still quite gory enough to shock (...this is what these films are supposed to do, scare people) and the plot is just clever enough to keep you interested. If you are just starting to get into these sorts of films this is a good place to start, before moving on to the really classic Fulci movie, 'The Beyond'.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 26 October 2007
I enjoy watching zombie movies and I'd heard a lot about this one before I managed to get my hands on a copy. Some people had told me it was a classic of low budget filmmaking, others had warned me it was an absolute steaming pile of zombie pap. Now, having finally watched it, I don't think it's either of these things.
The acting is bland in general, with the exception of veteran British actor Richard Johnson (looking a bit out of place, but having a great time hamming it up as the slightly mad Dr. Menard) and smirky Roger Moore look-alike Ian McCulloch. Al Cliver isn't too bad as a tough-guy tourist caught up in the zombie infestation, Tisa Farrow (yes, that's Mia's little sis) drifts through much of the movie looking distant and dazed, and Auretta Gay (they must have given her a hard time at school) takes her top off a lot but spends the rest of the time either over- or under-acting.
The plot isn't much to speak of but it holds the attention, and considering the directors other horror movies, it's a miracle there actually is one. The ending annoyingly blunts any disturbing edge the film may have built up towards the end, and drags the movie fully into the realm of cheesiness. The lack of enough real tension and suspense among the pumping blood, punctured eyeballs and blazing gunfire is pretty disappointing too. That said, the action scenes are genuinely exciting (despite being kinda slow in coming) and the climatic sequence in Dr. Menard's hospital with the invading zombies vs. humans is quite enjoyable.
Overall, I found that all this was not quite as horrifying as reputation suggests, probably because of it's age, lack of tension, or my stamina to being scared/disgusted. The memorable parts a battle between a zombie and a shark, and a graphic tracheotomy, (to name just two) easily make it worth the rental, plus some good special effects really caught my interest. Just don't expect much intelligence here that you'd find in Romero's undead flicks. On the whole, it's not brilliant, but it fits respectfully in this genre.