Tall, Dark, and Dead – 40 – Zombie Holocaust / Zombie 3 / Dr. Butcher, M.D.

Title: Zombie Holocaust / Zombie 3 / Dr. Butcher, M.D.
Year: 1979
Director: Marino Girolami
Leads: Ian McCulloch, Alexandra Delli Colli

Favorite quote: “You must have a sick sense of humor, to laugh during anatomy class.” *hangs head in shame*

Thoughts: A good hour or so into Zombie Holocaust, I would have argued that there was no need to waste everyone’s money making the whole movie. They could have limited themselves to the Fulci maggots, the arm falling off the body-double mannequin, and the nightmare-inducing flower print bedroom, and it would have been good enough. And by that, I mean horrible.

But then, it got surprisingly interesting.

Although inadequately explored, Zombie Holocaust revisits the notion of a superstitious/religious fear of zombies. Certainly, this is combined with practical/physical terror, but the relationship between the living and the dead cannibals on the island definitely suggests a certain level of awe and respect. There are plenty of examples out there of zombies observing a hierarchy amongst themselves (something I’ve worked into my own novel), but this is the first time I’ve seen living, indigenous cannibals submitting to dead ones. I like the idea. It makes me wriggle in my chair.

Additionally, the movie effectively blurs the lines between religion and science, further problematizing the entire situation. The living cannibals are convinced that the zombies have been created by “someone with supernatural powers”; yet, in reality, they are the result of a lone mad scientist and his experimental brain transplant surgeries. This is the first time I’ve witnessed the “brain transplant transmission” theory of zombie genesis. I’m certain it won’t be the last. It smacks of the recent prion-genesis craze.

Of course, just as I was digging all of this, the whole “Queen of the Cannibals” thing had to kick off, and I lost interest. (Whee, issues of cultural appropriation!) Until Ian McCulloch decapitated a zombie with an outboard motor, that is. Wicked.

As the Wikipedia page states, there are many similarities between this movie and Zombi 2. Make of this what you will.

Links: Zombie Holocaust at IMDB
Zombie Holocaust on Wikipedia

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