Has there ever been a movie in the history of the world that was any good and had a “4” at the end of the title? Zombi 3, for those of us still in therapy and repressing most of it, is the movie that Lucio Fulci began, but quit and that Bruno Mattei finished up for him. But don’t rip your own intestines out yet! This isn’t really a sequel! Shot simply as After Death, the slapping of the zombie tag on the film was merely a marketing gimmick! No need to worry that the film won’t utterly fail because it’s trying to continue whatever was happening in the previous gooey mess. It will utterly fail on its own merits!
A voodoo priest plots revenge on the doctors who couldn’t save his dying kid. He does all this in a strangely lit cave that looks like it was on loan from Michele Soavi’s The Sect and this leads to a confrontation between him and the doctors. They must have heard on CNN that this guy was scheming to unleash the undead since they all know when to rush to his cave with their guns. I was never quite sure why these doctors were so heavily armed or why if you’re going to pick some God-forsaken island to do secret medical research on, you would pick the God-forsaken island that is also home to a voodoo cult, but that’s the government for you.
Not surprisingly, cooler heads do not prevail and voodoo guy gets shot, but not before he is able to summon some stuff from the bowels of hell, resulting in everybody getting wiped out except a little girl. Her mom gives her one of those tiki idols that whacked The Brady Bunch stud Greg Brady on his head when he was in the big surfing competition, but this time the tiki idol helps to save the little girl, though if she was the only one left alive on the island, I don’t know how she was able to drive the speedboat back to civilization what with her being five years old and all, but that’s the tiki idol for you.
Flash forward twenty years to the same island and we’re on board a boat with her and some mercenaries. There’s no explanation as to what these guys were doing cruising around these islands, why the surviving woman was with them, or why another girl was wearing a skirt in the dense jungle but I’m not going to complain and have some juju man stick a pin up my voodoo doll’s butt!
There is also another group of people that we follow around. There are three of them and the guy with the smooth chest, icky green shirt that’s always unbuttoned, and pouty lips is Chuck Peyton. Chuck is the sort of actor that if you knew who he really was, you wouldn’t ever let on to your friends, since then you’d have to go into some convoluted and not very convincing explanation about how you know who Jeff Stryker is because one of your buddies in college told you.
Luckily, the DVD extras and liner notes mention that Strkyer is more well known for movies like Wild Buck, Strykin’ It Deep, and the classic Powertool than for bad zombie movies so you can just pretend you learned all about Strkyer after you watched the DVD’s supplements. And Strkyer turns out to be no better or worse than anyone else in these types of movies which says more about the standards of 1980s Italian movies than it does about Jeff.
Strkyer’s group is trying to discover out what happened to the scientists all those years ago. Finding the voodoo preist’s cave, it isn’t long before they’re blowing the dust off of a book with “Book of the Dead” written on the front in big black letters and saying “hey, what do you suppose this is?”
Strkyer reads part of the book, which naturally contains a very short incantation that is somehow easily located among its several hundred pages, but shows us the street smarts he learned in the porn biz by refusing to read the final four words which will open up the Third Door to Hell. Of course, the other guy he’s with hasn’t grown up in the porn biz, so he grabs the book and reads the four words. Third Door to Hell now open for barf bag business!
The movie is incompetent trash, but it sports an evil genius in completely dispensing with anything other than zombies attacking people in spectacularly gory fashion. It doesn’t bother trying to establish characters, there’s no story (it solely consists of “voodoo curse unleashes undead”) and the movie is timed so that someone gets munched every seven to nine minutes.
Besides, I thought of the movie as merely a bonus feature to supplement the fifteen minute long interview with director Claudio Fragasso included on the Shriek Show DVD. Claudio drops names throughout his interview, telling us about how he always works with Bruno Mattei (he wrote Mattei’s Rats: Night of Terror and Hell of the Living Dead), how he got tips on blowing up model houses from Antonio Margheriti (The Ark of the Sun God) and how he didn’t know that Jeff Stryker was a gay porn star but he thought that Strkyer seemed kind of gay! For his part, Strkyer talks about how great Claudio was to work with even though they couldn’t speak each other’s languages! Yeah, because you didn’t you know what he was saying about you!
The movie stinks like a rancid reanimated corpse sweating in the Filipino jungle humidity, but the DVD extras are great though way too short. Claudio’s wit and perspective deserve at least the eighty-four minutes that his putrid zombie movie took up.
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