Zombie 3 Blu Ray Review (Severin Films)
Zombie 3 (aKa Zombie Flesh Eaters 2 & Zombi 3) is a 1988 horror film directed by Lucio Fulci (Zombie, City of the Living Dead, The Beyond, & The House by the Cemetery), Bruno Mattei (Hell of the Living Dead, Shocking Dark, Violence in a Women’s Prison, & The Other Hell), & Claudio Fragasso (Zombie 4: After Death, Troll 2, Monster Dog, & Beyond Darkness). Lucio Fulci shot about 70 minutes for this film before he got sick & had to leave the production after 6 weeks. That footage got edited down to 50 minutes & the producers took over the project. Bruno Mattei & Claudio Fragasso added around 45 minutes of their own material to finish the sequel. Technically, it’s considered a follow up to both 1978’s Dawn of the Dead & 1979’s Zombie Flesh Eaters in the controversial Zombi/Zombie franchise. Obviously, it has nothing to do with those films. It was just titled that for a quick cash grab in Italy. In the United Kingdom, it’s just considered Zombie Flesh Eaters 2 as the sequel to the original Fulci film. It gets more confusing when it comes to America, it’s titled Zombie 3 where we don’t call Dawn of the Dead by any other title including Zombie & Fulci’s follow up to that is titled Zombie here instead so it leaves a gap with this horror series in the states meaning no 2 it just goes straight to 3 after the other film. Several other films were re-titled Zombie 3 at some point in various countries which include The Hanging Woman, Let Sleeping Corpses Lie, Nightmare City, & Burial Ground. Zombie 3 was originally announced as a 3D film but it was never released in this format. Bruno Mattei was filming his own film Strike Commando 2 during the same time as this. It wasn’t released on home video in America until 2002!
A group of scientists work on a formula called Death One that can resurrect the dead. Dr. Alan Holder (played by: Robert Marius from Movie in Action, Alien from the Deep, Bloodfist II, & Dog Tags) experiments on a corpse. Criminals ambush their medical facility & one of them manages to steal the serum as he escapes. He ends up exposed to Death One after a chase & goes to Sweet River Resort to hide out from the military. General Morton (played by: Mike Monty from Emmanuelle 3, Emmanuelle Goes to Cannes, The Raiders of Atlantis, & The Black Cobra 2/3) is determined to stop the thief from spreading this deadly creation. Unfortunately, he infects a staff member & murders a maid before they catch up to him. General Morton is taking no chances with this so he orders everyone killed & buried in a mass grave. The criminal’s remains are burned & it quickly infect the air. It makes everything dangerous for the people that are just trying to enjoy the scenery which include Nancy (played by: Ulli Reinthaler from Aenigma), Carol (played by: Marina Loi from Demons 2), Lia (played by: Deborah Bergamini), Suzanna (played by: Maricar Totengco from Across the Killing Bay), Patricia (played by: Beatrice Ring from Sicilian Connection & Interzone), & others. A trio of GI’s are looking for fun. Bo (played by: Massimo Vanni from Zombie 4: After Death, Shocking Dark, & The Last Hunter), Kenny (played by: Deran Sarafian from 10 to Midnight & Gunmen), & Roger (played by: Ottaviano Dell’Acqua from Zombie 2, Zombie 4: After Death, & Blastfighter) are on the hunt for some action. They get more than what they bargained for when the infection spreads & they are outnumbered by all these vicious zombies. Between their survival & government cover ups who will win this endless war?
Zombie 3 doesn’t really resemble a Lucio Fulci film at all. There’s small moments where you can tell he directed it & put his style into it but they are very few & far between, If you have seen the previous work of Bruno Mattei especially Hell of the Living Dead then you know who had the most creative control on this project. It’s hard to say how much Claudio Fragasso actually directed for this. He usually handled the 2nd unit material for Mattei. It’s one of the first films in the sub genre that I seen where the zombies are actually fast compared to the slower ones that everyone was used to back in the day. It also was my first experience viewing a woman giving birth to a undead baby. It has one of the most memorable scenes in the history of this very popular sub genre. The flying zombie head was nothing that I’ve ever seen before when I checked this out a long time ago. I feel like Zombie 3 inspired more films than you think with it’s innovative take on a familiar concept. It did borrow a page from 1985’s The Return of the Living Dead but it ended up so much different than that feature. It’s full of gore & brutal flesh ripping moments! This is one of the most violent zombie movies ever made. It’s also loaded with non stop action, it’s pure entertainment. I think it’s highly under-rated & it deserves more attention from horror fans all over. Thanks to Severin Films, that will finally happen! It makes the trendy Walking Dead look like something from Disney. It’s a stylish genre film with a fast pace that never slows down!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Severin Films. This 1080p (1.78:1) 2K transfer looks more natural & the locations really stand out compared to the Shriek Show release. That DVD was a mess & the stylish cinematography from Riccardo Grassetti (Strike Commando 1/2, Shocking Dark, & Robowar) has never looked better than this for Zombie 3! I am very impressed with this upgrade from Severin Films. It also in it’s correct aspect ratio. The DTS-HD Master English Audio 2.0 adds to the chaotic excitement of this sequel. It sounds awesome in the home set up especially with the rock soundtrack & score from Stefano Mainetti (Last Platoon, Karate Warrior 2, Hidden Assassin, & Silent Trigger). It also includes English subtitles.
Let’s discuss the special features on this release from Severin Films. It features an older Audio Commentary with stars Deran Sarafian & Beatrice Ring. They talk about the cast & crew. They bring up the locations in the film. They actually mention Lucio Fulci a decent amount so he must have directed most of their scenes. Deran Sarafian seems to have no clue who Bruno Mattei is when he is brought up here. Beatrice Ring mentions how Fulci was embarrassed about this sequel. She talks about getting hurt during filming & the crew didn’t seem to care at all but the locals made sure to take care of her. They chat about all the action & explosions from this. Beatrice struggles with her math when she tries to figure how long it’s been since they made this & it’s very amusing. Deran does his own take on Mystery Science Theater 3000 & starts riffing on Zombie 3 towards the end. Deran Sarafian awkwardly hits on Beatrice Ring during various moments on the audio track. “The Last Zombies” is almost 19 minute exclusive interview with Claudio Fragasso & Rossella Drudi. They mention they were only brought in to write the script at first. The producers wanted Lucio Fulci to direct this because the previous film was a success. He had a liver cancer at the time & shooting in the Philippines didn’t help the situation. They say Fulci directed a decent amount of filler just to finish the film but the producer was furious about the rough cut turned in. Apparently, he done that out of revenge because they changed the screenplay so much during filming. The producer immediately fired the editor & wanted more added to it. Fulci gave his blessing & they went back to do some re-shoots.
Rossella Drudi mentions hearing about Lucio’s bad reputation before they met & he was nothing like that to them. Bruno originally didn’t want to do this because he was passed over for Fulci when it started. Claudio Fragasso said he mainly directed action & gore scenes in this. He tried to make it fit Fulci’s style. They said all the lead actors already left by the time they showed up to do re-shoots. They had to get creative to make everything work & come together for the production. They bring up Lucio Fulci’s bad health & all the problems he went through. They say they were disappointed in the final product for this project & it was nothing like what they planned. They tell a story about Dario Argento, he offered Claudio Fragasso Wax Mask after Fulci’s death but he turned it down because the budget was too low. “Tough Guys” is an almost 5 minute archival interview with actors/stuntmen Ottaviano Dell’Acqua & Massimo Vanni. They mention that they were honored that Fulci wanted them to work on this film. They talk about using the same locations as Apocalypse Now. They bring up that they showed the locals Zombie 2 to give them the idea of what they were wanting for this. They say it was the first zombie movie shot in the Philippines. They mentioned that they worked with Bruno Mattei more than Lucio Fulci on this. They chat about how technology has changed how they do things now. “The Problem Solver” is a 8 minute archival interview with replacement director Bruno Mattei. He talks about filming another film at the same time as this. He said Fulci was behind schedule so he originally started out as the 2nd unit director. He mentions he mainly directed the beginning & end scenes from Zombie 3.
He brings up that he shot about 40% of the material used in the final product. He considers a Lucio Fulci film & not his own. He talks about how he thinks all his movies are bad. He brings up that he had no problems working in the Philippines. “Swimming with Zombies” is a 4 minute archival interview with actress Marina Loi. She talks about how she got the job. She chats about working with Lucio Fulci & that he was a funny guy but he could be a very cruel person. She brings up that she couldn’t return for re-shoots because she already had another gig after this finished. “In the Zombie Factory” is an almost 6 minute archival interview with special effects artist Franco Di Girolamo. He does a live effect for the camera. He mentions he had to work fast when it came to a Fulci film. He shows off his workshop & props including the famous flying zombie head. He discusses some of his other work. The interviews mentioned above are in Italian with English subtitles. The 4 featurettes above plus the commentary are from the original Shriek Show & Media Blasters release. All of them have been re-edited & put together different from that DVD so it’s cool to see. It also has the Theatrical Trailer for the film. One of my personal favorite extras from this is the soundtrack CD which features 15 tracks & runs a little over 43 minutes. I love the black cases that Severin Films have been using lately. These releases really stand out in my collection. A limited edition version is available direct from Severin Films. Various exclusive bundles, Poster, & DVD are also available from their official site. This blu ray release comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!! It’s available everywhere right now, check it out!