HK and Cult Film News's Fan Box

Saturday, May 19, 2018

ZOMBIE 4: AFTER DEATH -- Blu-ray Review by Porfle

Hot on the heels of ZOMBIE 3, which he co-directed with Lucio Fulci and Bruno Mattei, comes Italian schlockmeister Claudio Fragasso's ZOMBIE 4: AFTER DEATH (Severin Films, 1989), another hot 'n' horrid terror tale of the living versus the undead on a humid tropical island.

This time we're back to basics again, with the zombies being created not by science gone wrong or some natural phenomenon, but by that old bugaboo--voodoo.  Here, a voodoo high priest raises an undead army against the interlopers (scientists again) whom he blames for the death of his wife.

In the first scene, he resurrects her as a real lulu of a zombie--really, this freaked-out hag sets the bar so high that no other creature in the movie can touch it.

They're still a motley bunch, though. In fact, these ambulatory corpses--who mostly wear hoods to save on makeup--are so sleazy-looking you'd think they'd started out as lepers before turning into zombies. 

As in ZOMBIE 3, they like to gang up on their victims and make very messy work of them as the fake blood gushes from every prosthetic gash.  The makeup and gore effects run hot and cold quality-wise, but it's all in good, dumb fun anyway.

It seems as though we've joined the story in progress when the scientists confront the voodoo priest, but just then all the potential protagonists we just got to know a minute ago start getting horrifically offed one at a time. 

In comes a whole new cast twenty years later, and they go tromping around in the jungle for about half an hour before someone finds the usual "book of the dead", stupidly reads the forbidden spell within, and starts the whole thing going all over again.

Two groups--three research scientists and some vacationing mercenaries and their lady friends--are barely around long enough for us to get to know them before it's "Ten Little Indians" time. 

The survivors of the inital carnage barricade themselves in an abandoned science lab against the advancing horde (this is one of the few Romero-esque touches) with the mercenaries--who have fortuitously stumbled onto a box of M-16s--offering some war-movie action along with the horror as everything heads toward a mindblowing finale.

The real fun comes when members of their own combined group get bitten and start to turn.  With all the flesh-eating, supernatural hoo-doo, and blazing gunfire going on, you may enjoy spotting all the references to THE EVIL DEAD, ALIENS, PREDATOR, and various other movies.  The opening scene at times even reminded me of one of the freakier Japanese ghost story movies.

Production values are pretty sparse, but as usual with these Italian jungle potboilers, whether they feature zombies, cannibals, or whatever, that's just part of the charm.  Claudio Fragasso (TROLL 2) has but two goals here, to entertain us and to gross us out, and with ZOMBIE 4: AFTER DEATH he has done both in splattery style.

Buy it at Severin Films

Release date: May 29, 2018

Special Features:
Bonus Disc: CD Soundtrack (pictured below)
Run Zombie Run! – Interview With Director Claudio Fragasso and Screenwriter Rossella Drudi
Jeff Stryker in Manila – Interview With Actor Chuck Peyton
Blonde vs Zombies – Interview With Actress Candice Daly
Behind-The-Scenes Footage


No comments: