Candidly I sit here evacuating my bowels on a Monday morning, thinking about 80’s Italian B-grade trash-horror. As my sphincter sputters I am thinking about that third door to hell flung wide by the voodoo priest, and the hooded zombies therein that would soon escape. As it becomes evident that I’ve recently eaten something spicy, I think on the incredible splashes of gore and the sprawling jungles of the Philippines. As I dab away the waste residue I’m realizing 15 Schlock du Jour reviews have gone by without the 80’s being represented. As I flush away the remains of the day I’ve decided that it’s ZOMBIE 4 we’re talking about.
ZOMBIE 4, originally titled AFTER DEATH until some pesky promoters got ahold of it and slapped the ZOMBIE moniker on, is a Claudio Fragasso joint (here as Clyde Anderson), without the ZOMBI3 guise of being a Lucio Fulci picture. I’m sure you lovely readers know Fragasso by now, but if not, he’s the fella responsible for TROLL 2, and his frequent collaborations with Bruno Mattei, where he fashioned trash into fun. As a matter of fact, this movie was shot by Fragasso largely at night, utilizing the equipment that he and Mattei were using during the day to shoot the trash action flick, STRIKE COMMANDOS 2.
ZOMBIE 4 is my brand of trash. Scientists and mercenaries in the jungle vs the minions of the arcane, set to 80’s 4-on-the-floor dong rock. Does it get any sweeter? The scientists are on this island to research stuff. What happened to the scientists from the movie’s opening, they wonder. They were here to cure cancer, weren’t they? And mercenaries arrive for some reason. A girl is with them. Why? Who cares I guess—you don’t get the privilege of knowing. We do discover that she is the little girl from the beginning of the film, only now all grown up, but with very little memory of this island. Fear not as she does eventually recall having been here, thank god (couldn’t have that thread dangling loosely), but not before encountering some ZOMBOS!
Zombies in AFTER DEATH don’t always move like the typical zombie. They have a heightened autonomy. Jumping, running, thinking, shooting guns. Fragasso flips the bird to all that the Romero zombie elitist has held dear, and I have it on good authority that he may have had the finger in his butthole first. I do realize how ass-centric I’m being, but I’m back to sitting on the pot, firing off little nuggets like M16 rounds and well, they say write what you know, so right now it’s poopnbutts.
Being Italian (and actually Roman in this case), there’s the usual child dubbed by an adult that is never not off-putting. We have a Demon in the beginning that looks just like the prostitute Rosemary from DEMONS. We have heaps and gobs of charming assorted mindlessness. It’s like if you made salsa but forgot the tomatoes, so you have all these good ingredients that aren’t melding together, but you serve it up anyway. That’s ZOMBIE 4.
(Mister chest there is Chuck Peyton, better known as pornographic actor Jeff Stryker from such films as POWERTOOL, POWERTOOL 2: BREAKING OUT, and SANTA’S CUMMIN’! His cleavage is visible 1000% of the time he is on screen.)
It may sound as though I’m crapping all over Z4, butt I promise you, I loved it. Give me this shit before anything that Jean-Luc Godard or Ron Howard has shat out any day. The FX are visceral and grody, the purpose of the film is unclear, and the voodoo priest grabs his own titty. It’s a revelation.
Stay Slime, and be rad at all times!
-Elliot “Rat” Ross