Worm Eye is the loving name given to the cover boy of Zombie fandom. This remarkably well preserved Spanish conquistador is just one of the many zombie horrors from Lucio Fulci’s Zombie 2. Late in the film we see him rising from the dead with worms crawling out of one eye and in wonderful Italian fashion, the make up and rot of this zombie are just amazing. He’s been a huge influence on other zombie movie makers, makeup artists, and fans alike.
I haven’t done a full review of Zombie 2 yet but here’s an interesting thing to keep in mind.
SPOILER ALERT: PLOT DETAILS BELOW
Saying that Night of the Living Dead was an influential film is a sort of an understatement. It’s such an amazing piece of 60’s pop we often sort of forget just how groundbreaking and surprising the movie really was at the time. When the sequel Dawn of the Dead came out years had passed since the original film. And so even though Dawn of the Dead is actually a sequel to Night of the Living Dead, it often feels like a standalone movie. None of the characters from the first film are carried over into the second film and the story is so differently told and contains such a different form of commentary on society that it’s easy to view them that way.
In Italy, Dawn of the Dead was released under the title “Zombi.” So, when Italian director Lucio Fulci released his film Zombie 2 it was apparently a sequel to Dawn of the Dead. Just based on the title alone I can understand the confusion. Story wise it just doesn’t make any sense.
In Dawn of the Dead, we see that the world has been overrun by zombies. We know this because every single place we are shown is devoid of organized government, services, police, and military presence. It’s entirely possible that some places on the planet and other places in the US where the story takes place, were not overrun. However Romero’s storytelling is meant to suggest it. He furthers this idea when we see in Day of the Dead, the official Romero sequel, that Florida is gone the military has fallen apart.
If Zombi 2 were actually a sequel, taking place after Dawn of the Dead, then the ending of the movie wouldn’t make any sense. At the end of Zombi 2, we see that a boat has reached New York Harbor and the zombies are infecting people in large numbers with walkers streaming across the bridges into Manhattan. This being Manhattan completely untouched by any sort of disaster or emergency like say the dead rising from their graves and taking over the world. Actually what’s suggested here is that Zombi 2 is really a prequel to Dawn of the Dead which does the job of explaining in more detail how the dead came to rise from their graves. It’s suggested in Night of the Living Dead that radiation from a space probe returning from Venus is the cause for the dead returning but if we consider Fulci’s version, it suggests a totally different origin.
Even though it’s fun to think of these movies as being related honestly they just aren’t. Marketing and titles and the money making that goes with filmmaking sort of overtook the artistry of two great but totally separate zombie masterpieces.
Sometime soon I’ll write up a full review of this movie and probably include these details as well but for now I just wanted to share this fun little illustration I did of worm eye.
So keep an eye out for that post coming soon.