Zombie Flesh Eaters (1979)
In a scene reminiscent of Bram Stoker's Dracula, a boat drifts into New York harbour. It is boarded by harbour patrol officers, who are attacked by a zombie just before he disappears into the water. The daughter of the boat's owner, and a journalist, join forces to find out what happened to the crew. They head to the Carribean, where they hitch a ride on a yacht, before encountering a lot of flesh hungry zombies and a doctor who's desperately trying to find a cure.
"When the earth spit out the dead, they will come back to suck the blood from the livings."
Zombie Flesheaters (also known as Zombie and Zombi 2) is a cult horror film from the era of the Video Nasties list. It's particularly well known for its super-gory sequences and the make-up on the living dead themselves. Like many Italian horror movies of the time, it also features some bad voice dubbing and acting that wouldn't have won any Oscars. But for fans of the film, that's all part of the charm.
The creative horror effects are the real star of the show here. A modern audience used to sophisticated CGI might see them as a bit clunky, but they still have the power to shock and make you squirm in your seat. The infamous eyeball-gouging scene is a great example of this. The effect is done so slowly and in such close up, it's hard not to wince when watching it. There's also the zombie-fighting-a-shark scene. It might sound a bit silly, but hang on - that's an actual shark swimming around - and an actual man in zombie make-up wrestling it.
If I haven't seen the movie for a while, I find myself thinking of it with affection as my mind recalls the classic, gruesome set-pieces. But watching it afresh reminds me that it's a classic that has its flaws too. While there's plenty of atmosphere and gore, it doesn't have much suspense. And when people are attacked, it seems odd that they stand there, waiting to get bitten, without running off or using their hands to push away their attackers.
But having said all that, I don't want to sound too down on the film. It's still a significant and influential piece of horror cinema, and let's be honest, it's a hell of a lot of fun to watch with a crowd. I'll always have that great affection for it. And I would recommend you go out and watch it. But if you already have a passion for the genre, the chances are you already have.