It’s hard, even though Zombie is my favorite zombie movie, not to have several questions about this one. Why did Richard Johnson’s character appear to willingly spread the virus away from Matool (“The boat can leave now. Tell the crew.”) and then keep trying to cure it? I know Johnson is always going to be playing someone evil; I’ve seen him in too many guest parts on British TV playing creeps not to know this is all his fault. His turn on Inspector Lewis alone makes me want to bite him.
But also, why do we see the Coast Guard zombie start to wake up on the autopsy table while the older pathologist is berating the younger one about his dull scalpel, and yet, even though he surely got up and bit them, did the Ian McCulloch’s reporter character not hear about the beginning of the apocalypse before leaving NYC the next morning? Surely at least the tabloids such as the Post would have been reporting about a dead guy getting up and biting two+ people by that night?
And speaking of the reanimation scenes, why does it take some people years to pop up out of their graves, others a day chilling in a cooler, and still others only a few minutes of lying on the ground?
Never mind. Like most Italian horrors, Fulci’s improvement upon Night of the Living Dead is never going to give us all the answers. That’s probably the main reason, if I’m honest, that I keep watching them on repeat. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I’m convinced that I’m going to make sense of all this if I just watch it one more time.
Not only will I watch this to the end, no matter where we are in the movie, every single time it appears on one of those linear pirate channels on the Roku where no one has the right to show those movies, I also drove an hour away in the middle of the night once to see this play in a theater in a terrible neighborhood. The highlights of that showing were: the entire audience clapped and cheered when Mr. Fulci’s name came on the screen right in the opening credits, and the three guys sitting in front of me who couldn’t wait to say “conquistador-ays” along with Al Cliver. That was their whole raison d’etre for the evening, and they practiced saying it gleefully until the scene finally came on. Living in a small town where it’s hard to find those who share my interests at times, it’s touching to find an enclave of “my people,” even if only to sit anonymously in the dark with them for 90 minutes.
Speaking of “my people,” does anyone else watch any and every thing they can find which stars any of the actors in a favorite cult hit like this? If you are like that, you’ll be happy to know that Ian McCulloch once appeared in a particularly creepy episode of Poirot called The Tragedy at Marsdon Manor, one that features a wax museum, a ghost story, and both gas and death masks. Check it out on Britbox if you’re so inclined!