Zombi Holocaust

This is a bit of an odd movie to me mostly due to it’s production but I’ll get to that a little later. For now, settle in, sit back, and experience “Zombie Holocaust!”

coverzombie holocaustTHE COVER
These two cover images are an interesting contrast. The first looks more akin the type of poster we might have seen when this movie first came out. It seems sort of cheap and actually nonthreatening at all. The zombie killer looks like it’s smiling and the blue sky makes me think more of the park than horror. The style of the lettering also has that cheesy 70’s B-movie feel. What makes it all the stranger is that it’s the cover for the Blue Ray DVD release so they clearly didn’t put much effort into it.

Compare that with the horrifying image of the second image and we get a very different feeling. The rough bloody imagery looks a lot more like the sort of wet collage art that got big in the mid to late nineties. Just think of things like the opening to Millennium and you’ll see what I mean. This image is a lot more powerful and conveys a feeling a lot more like the word holocaust implies.

The plot revolves around a group of people from an island in southeast Asia who have been committing acts of cannibalism in the US. This is discovered in a New York hospital. A group goes to investigate and are confronted with cannibalistic islanders and of course, zombies.

– The movie opens in a morgue with an amazing scene of a corpse getting its hand cut off. The realism of how it is played out is pretty incredible for the time. Though the sound effects are poor I sort of expect that for movies from this time period when all the sound was added on in post production so we can forgive them that much.

– The following scene of an autopsy being performed on the corpse whose hand was removed plays out nicely too. Some students joking around in class are shot down hard for inappropriate behavior. In a movie like this that is likely to offend a lot of viewers it’s interesting to see a character within the movie calling for a reasonable amount of decorum. It helps set a realistic tone and alters the viewers perception of the film.

– The movie is pretty good as 70’s horror is concerned. I’ve seen a lot of horrible horror over the years and this does pretty well for its time. It’s not so unusual for movies set at night to terrify but to have a movie where large parts of it are set in the middle of the day on a beautiful tropical island and still instill a sense of disgust is pretty special.

– The music puts me off. It’s alternately playful and fun like a kid’s movie and appropriately creepy. It just doesn’t do it for me. Too dated.

The zombies here greatly resemble the ones in Zombie 2, to the extent that they just seem like a bad copy. They also differ from many of the zombies we are familiar with in that they don’t consume their victims, they just kill them. This is more like the voodoo zombies of the old days than the flesh eaters of Romero’s creation. It’s not so bad but it is pretty typical for the time.

– There are times watching this where I feel like I’m watching an episode of MacGyver or or The A-team. It’s just part of the production. Any time you have a  lot of palm trees and wooden crates I start thinking BA Baracas is going to come tearing around the corner any second.

– Alexandra Cole . . . wow. Incredibly beautiful actress though she is, I have a hard time believing the plot details where the white person is made the leader of the native tribe. It’s like Pocahontas, The Last Samurai or Avatar.

– This movie has alternately been released under the names Zombi Holocaust, Zombie 3 and Doctor Butcher, M.D. The odd thing about this film is that it came to be thanks to the success of other films and this one cashed in on that success. Specifically, the success of Lucio Fulci’s Zombie 2. In searching around I found the Wikipedia page has a decent list of the similarities between this movie and Zombie 2 I an’t really argue with. It really has just lifted large parts of the plot and thrown in some cannibals.

– I could be wrong about this but a lot of the language the “villagers” use just doesn’t sound real to me. I could be totally wrong here and I apologize if I am but it just sounds like a lot of made up mumbo jumbo. In one scene a man is impaled by spikes in a trap and the villagers start eating him where he stands. They are scared off by the arrival of our main characters firing guns at them. As they are running off some of the sounds they make seem almost comical.

– One short bit that put me off just a little was a moment where a zombie wearing the scalp of one of the main characters is mistaken for that person. When one of them sees this he reaches out and takes the scalp off the zombie with only a mild sort of dazed look. There is no revulsion, surprise, horror or anything else. Just a oh, hey. That’s not your hat sort of moment. It could have been played up much better. 

– Is it just me or does the mad doctor seem like a budget Harvey Keitel?

– We really have nothing to worry about as long as we stay alive.      (You don’t say.)

– I’m determined to have your brain! It’ll be the culmination of my career!

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Mike Kloran

Educational Designer from Brooklyn New York. I'm a teacher, an artist, an athlete and constantly doing, making, drawing, creating! It's a busy life but I'm doing what I love and that's what matters most to me!

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