Scene 47: Anne asks the doctor what exactly killed her father, and what happened to the boat's crew. Peter asks what is this business about the dead having to be killed a second time.
The doctor broaches voodoo... despite not believing in it, supposedly.
Brian also calls it childish, and explains its origins as a combination of Catholicism and indigenous paganism. He explains that the Catholics came over from the "conqwistidors", and the indigenous rites were heavily influenced by the Africans brought over from the slave trade.
David Menard, skeptic, finally calls the undead sit up and walking due to the voodoo mysticism on the island. Everyone else is, "uh, sure... Doc...", about that pronouncement. The doctor then reverses his opinion again in the face of Peter's voiced doubt, by saying he knows there is a natural explanation for everything and he's looking for it.
Scene 48: When they pull up to the clinic, Lucas rushes out to greet Menard. He tells him about a Mr. Fritz.
The doctor tells the group that his friend, and only other white man on the island, had an accident and he's been recuperating, but Lucas has now told him something has happened. [Why he's playing word games at this point, I don't know. He must suspect that Fritz is now infected too -- since everyone who goes into the hospital comes out that way.]
He tells them that he needs to look in on him, but asks the others for a favor -- to go to his villa, and look in on his wife since he simply can't leave now.
As the doctor walks back to the makeshift hospital, everyone shares glances as if they still don't think they're being told everything. But they load up to head over to the Menard residence.
Scene 49: In the clinic, we see Fritz covered in sweat and groaning. His arm is bandaged up, and from the leaking blood pattern, it's clear he was bit by one of the wandering dead. This is confirmed a moment later by Fritz himself.
His report that his attack came in the abandoned village put a panic in David, who hadn't realized just how close the undead had come to their location. He tells Clara to have Lucas start boarding up the clinic's open windows and open spaces.
Commentary: I'm telling you, I'm wrung out on behalf of David and Clara. They are literally helpless to do anything except shoot their patients and throw them into mass graves. I can't imagine the emotional toll.
Scene 50: In said village, we see the wandering zombie, and probable biter of Fritz. He wanders.
As he stumbles in the general direction of the clinic, Lucas is boarding up and blockading entrances.
Scene 51: In the meantime, our troupe are still driving the seven-eight miles to the Menard place. Susan complains that they must've missed it. She also is the one to suggest that getting back aboard the ship and trying for another island as a plan.
But before a decision can be made, they finally arrive at the place. At the door, nobody answers to their knocking and calling.
Peter tries the door and finds it unlocked. They find Mrs. Menard... and she's had a real bad night. For some reason, the zombies are still working their way through her: Either they're very slow eaters... like, really slow... or they needed to wait for their meal to cool.
When our gang try to retreat from this horror, they find that stealth zombies have snuck up on them. They retreat down a hallway, until Peter grabs a pair of gazelle horns as decoration from the wall to jab their attackers, which doesn't appear to bother them all that much.
Commentary: I don't like this scene, much. I wish I did, because the makeup effects are brilliant, but Lucio does that "focus on eyes widening in shock" thing a bit too much, and it ends up funny. Also, Ian's attempts to look disgusted are so broad and overacted that, again, it turns funny. Shockingly, Tisa's reactions are the best acted here.
I'll not complain about the ninja-zombies, because after several seasons of The Walking Dead, their use here is downright restrained.
Scene 52: Our gang is able to make it past the ninjas to the doctor's truck. They take off in the direction of the hospital.
In the car, Anne is a wreck wondering if her father became "one of those", but Peter reminds her that Menard said he took care of that. Peter tells Anne, they'll get back to the hospital and get the hell out of there.
Cut to: Brian driving the doctor's truck about 10mph... down a sandy beach not in evidence on their way to the doctor's home, because hurrying while sight seeing?
Scene 53: Back at the hospital, David is looking at shooting another friend in the head. Fritz gets it a moment later.
We pan back to see that Fritz was the third one in a short span of time to be gunned down by an exhausted David.
Scene 54: Out with the Jeep, Brian has re-found the road. And stepped on the gas peddle a little.
A zombie wanders out in front of them, and Brian loses control of the vehicle, crashing them all into a tree and disabling the Jeep [or Range Rover, or some other make... I don't know cars]. In addition, Peter is left hobbling with an ankle wound.
Thankfully though, the jeep has supplies in the back, including a rifle.
Commentary: This is another weak scene. Not that I demand they wreck somebody's vehicle for me, but the way this is filmed, Brian "panickingly" swerves the wheel far after the guy was already hit and he had more than enough time to hit the brake as they were heading for the tree. It was just badly blocked and filmed.
Scene 55: The gang have found their way back to the beach again, and as they make their way through the sparse trees, Anne, Peter and especially Susan are unnerved by the closing sounds of drums and singing/chanting. Susan seems to have decided that the voodoo practitioners are responsible for Paola's grisly demise and their circumstances. Brian appears emotionally flat to Susan's freak out and hanging all over him [Which is um... an interesting choice? No, I think it's a spot of bad acting by Al].
Peter, despite his pain, urges the others forward and to quicken their pace as he doesn't want to be stuck out in the open after nightfall, which is rapidly approaching. [It may've helped things if Brian were helping Peter stumble about, instead of expecting Anne to bare his weight. But, okay.]
Scene 56: In the hospital, Lucas is cleaning up blood bottles that are no longer needed for the patients that had been using them minutes before. David wanders up, and sounding vulnerable for a moment asks him if this is voodoo causing this. Lucas claims ignorance, but relates that his grandfather used to say the earth would spit out its dead at some point so they could suck the blood of the living.
[Yeah, this is definitely a nice callback to Peter in Dawn of the Dead and his hearing that the dead would return when hell fills up.]
David calls it nonsense, of course, and a little angrily. Lucas tells him he's right, as he knows many more things than Lucas. David insists he doesn't believe that voodoo can revive the dead, despite his apparent wavering less than a minute ago, and Lucas tells him he doesn't believe it either: "But the dead be dead".
Commentary: I really like this dedicated relationship between Clara and Lucas to help Dr. Menard. Clara could be justified as having a hero-worship/sexual interest in David... maybe... but Lucas is just there because there isn't anything else to do but help where and how he can. It's ... heroic.
Scene 57: In the forest, Peter finally says that he needs a rest. Brian insists they have to be closing in on the hospital, and Susan tells the other two to rest up, while she and Brian scout ahead to see if they can see the hospital.
Susan and Brian go all of ten feet before stopping also. Brian has found a conqwistodores' helmet lying around. This seems to freak Susan out, who realizes that they're standing in an old conqwistodores graveyard.
Commentary: It's funny how the guy who dubbed over "Al Cliver", a man named Nick Alexander doesn't know how to say conquistador. And it's hilarious that NOBODY knew to correct his pronunciation. Or it's brilliant fridge logic, as these long, long, long dead explorers/conquerors for Spain are going to do things that no actual conquistador could do.
Scene 58: Back with Anne, Peter is apologizing to her for dragging her on this adventure. But she points out that she wanted to come to look for her father. They talk a bit, which leads to a makeout session.
Unnoticed, the ground by them begins to swell as something underneath makes its way to the surface.
Anne's hair gets grabbed from an emerging hand. At the same time, Peter's already injured ankle gets squeezed by another zombie hand!
Scene 59: Brian hears the cries of Anne and Peter (well really, he's only ten feet away), and rushes back to their aid. Susan sits in fear as the ground around her also begins to erupt with risen dead of the Remarkably Intact Remains of the Conqwistodores.
As we know from history, the Conqwistodores were the supernatural version of the Conquistodors, so they don't turn to liquid even after hundreds of years buried in a hot, wet, tropical environment.
Susan stands, but is frozen in horror as the long dying dead choose now to return and join their more recent brethren.
[This leads to our fourth most famous scene of ol' worm eye zombie. This movie has a LOT of iconic shots.]
Susan stands, stands and stands. Shaking, but unable to move her feet. And this leads to the expected:
Brian returns with Anne and Peter in tow, to see Susan dead. He fires that rifle twice into the zombie's back but only gets some meaty wounds and the zombie turning in their direction. Peter finds smashing the thing's head in with a wooden cross more effective than bullet wounds to the back.
Brian is left to hold Susan, but it's far, far too late. And they still need to get back to the hospital before they join her.
Commentary: So, I know there is a lot of shit given to Susan for just standing there like a nimrod but I can actually forgive it. It's become a bit too cliche, but I think it was well set up that Susan had just about reached her limit already. It's implied that she has a fear of graveyards just from her reaction. And watching this dead thing slowly getting up could easily have frozen her in place, when she was already on the verge of a breakdown. I don't have a problem with this.
But, what I do have an issue with is that it marks the start of EVERYone turning into dumbasses in order to stay endangered/get killed. Nobody seems to remember or learn anything in regards to how to not get bit and put the walking dead down, and that is bad writing, and generally pisses me off. I want my heroes to die because they did the right, logical things and they still fell... not because they turn stupid and clumsy and get what they earned because of it.
Scene 60: As Peter and Anne convince Brian they have to go, behind them, more late wakers are rising from the grave.
[I like this bit, because we get a camera view of a zombie's vision of rising from the soil, which was different. Lucio really does some great things in the director's chair throughout the film. Also, I like a break from the drums and singing for another reprise of the theme.]
Once again, our trio could make better time if Anne wasn't trying to support Peter's weight herself, though.
Scene 61: A shot of the abandoned village shows multiple undead now walking the main street, and presumably, indicating that the hospital is being quickly surrounded, though our characters haven't figured that out, yet.
Scene 62: It's after dark before our trio finally locates the last bastion of humanity on the island (maybe -- it depends on what is going on with the voodoo natives). Unfortunately, thanks to Peter's injury, and Anne having to support him alone through most of the travel time, the zombies are close on their heels... and led straight to the not-very-strongholdy hospital.
Scene 63: In the hospital, David and Clara are watching another infected closing in on death. They're interrupted by the frantic beating at the door of our trio.
When let in, Peter warns the doctor that the dead really are coming back to life and they're everywhere....
Inside, David sees to Peter's severe ankle wound, while Brian tries to reinforce the door. David asks about his wife, and Peter can only give him a look of regret and pity.
Elsewhere, Clara gives Anne something hot to drink to recover from her shock.
Back with Menard, Brian asks what they are and he admits he doesn't know. He tells Brian and Peter that it all started only three months ago, when a fisherman said he'd seen his wife wandering the village... only she'd died two days before. Nobody took the poor grieving man seriously, of course.
Outside, the mass of undead closes in on the hospital. The drums and chanting/screaming return through the darkness so there are still enclaves of people remaining somehow [perhaps to suggest the voodoo responsibility theme some more?], despite all their ill-conceived noise.
Scene 63: Once again, the doctor refuses to believe in voodooism as the cause, but admits that the disease is defying all rational explanation. In the foreground, we see that the latest near death victim has expired. He's hauled away to the backroom.
David tells Brian they've tested for bacteria, viruses, radiation, even epilepsy... nothing fits the symptoms and as we've seen transfusions made no difference in prognosis. Outside, the undead have arrived in earnest and begin banging to be let in.
Our protagonists now have to concentrate on keeping the zombies out, or killing them if their barriers don't hold. The doctor hands his pistol to Peter and says he has another in his office. As he rushes into the back to get it, he tells Brian to grab the barrels of keroscene they may need for firebombs.
Scene 64: While Peter sees to closing the window shutters, Lucas, Clara and Brian work on filling empty plasma bottles with the fuel for molotovs. In his office, David loads up a shotgun.
Outside, the undead continue to congregate against the church doors, and banging on the window shutters and generally being a nuisance. Including one guy in a white lab coat... whodat??
Alas for Doctor Menard, everyone who should've known better - including himself - didn't tied down/destroy the latest dead. One of these unfortunates turned in the meantime, and finds David's face finger-lickin' good! And to add insult to injury, it's Fritz, who the doctor did shoot, but apparently didn't check to make sure he was hit in the brain... who somehow, uh, managed to untie and unwrap himself [Okay, this is a continuity problem... but we're nearing the end and I've been working on this review for days and I want it done, so I'm moving on...].
Menard somehow dies from a bite to the face. Brian rushes in just in time to see Fritz give the doctor a second lovebite on the other side of his face. Brian gives him a blast to the chest, which does nothing. He blasts him in the head, which is much more effective this time around [No continuity-problem exemption this time, Fritzy!].
Having seen that only a head shot will do, Brian immediately switches to only using bullets in well aimed shots going forward... heh-heh, no, I kid.
Scene 65: Back with Lucas and Clara, they're continuing to fill cocktails. Which is why they didn't bother to make sure that the dead woman with the wandering dead husband had herself tightly secured, or just destroyed her brain. And that leads directly to Lucas now also getting bit, losing a chunk of forearm.
Clara, who had been sensible up to this point, now breaks and stands whimpering against the wall nice and quietly so nobody else is alerted to the fact that the doctor, herself and Lucas were all morons.
After a few tense moments, Clara manages to force a scream out, alerting Brian that he's needed. He shoots a zombie trying to enter a window in the head, but this not only blows up the zombie head, it also destroys the scant protection of the window shutter.
He then saves Clara (temporarily at least) by gunning down the two zombie wanderers threatening her. Of course, he didn't learn a damned thing, so he shoots them each in the chest and then assumes the problem is taken care of. He grabs cocktails and asks a stunned, numbed Clara to grab some and join him out front.
Clara doesn't make it, but not because of the not-head-shot zombies. No, Lucas apparently bled out from the bite on his arm, because he's reanimated now and fatally mauls Clara (wow, temporarily saved was right...).
Scene 66: With the turmoil going on within the clinic, things are no better outside. The zombies have been throwing their bodies repeatedly against the blockaded door, which gives way now.
My movie boyfriend joins Peter behind another simple barricade, armed with Molotov Cocktails to try to defend themselves. He sends Anne to grab more bottles, apparently failing to hear Clara's last pained scream of horror from two feet away.
Anne stops with a helpless scream as Lucas comes into view. She collapses against the wall. Peter takes several shots, before he too finds success with a headshot.
He shouts, "Eureka! It has to be the head, Brian! Only the head!" Heh-heh-heh, no. No, I jest. He learns nothing.
Peter and Brian now alternate throwing petrol bombs at the entering hoard. Anne continues to fill bottles and stuffs rags in them to act as wicks, while Pete and Bri alternate firebombs and gunshots. While they do pretty good, the firebombs have the unfortunate habit of lighting the old church pillars on fire, too.
Commentary: This is actually another excellently shot scene. The chaos of the confrontation is palpable and includes quite a few men-on-fire stunts and judicious use of mannikin stand-ins. I'm impressed by this last stand. But it still pisses me off that Brian and Peter continue wasting shots after they've already seen what is effective and what isn't. And it bugs the shit out of me that the doctor and Clara suddenly forgot that dead people in their clinic are going to get up, if they don't shoot them in the head.
It's more script laziness to start killing off the protagonists one by one.
Scene 67: With the clinic burning down now, and more hoard coming into the front entrance, our trio retreat toward the doctor's office in back. In the office, they turn around after locking the door, to discover more zombies having made it into the building from an unspecified point of entry.
They get past these and out a back entrance that hadn't been properly secured. Because. Running into another group of the undead, Peter and Brian have to use their guns as clubs as they try to make it into a clearing to run properly. Thankfully, Peter's deep ankle wound isn't bothering him; We'll just assume adrenaline and pain meds are helping.
Though they find their way to a path back to the beach and their boat out of here, Brian is brought up short by the return of Susan.
[No! Do not die in such a stupid way, Movie Boyfriend!!]
He stands stunned as zombie-Susan stares at him. Though Susan slowly walks toward him, he takes no action, until after he feels the horrendous pain of having a large chunk of arm removed by her.
[Oh, g'd dammit... you went and died in such a stupid way, Movie Boyfriend! Well, not immediately, but I think we know where this ends. Dammit.]
Brian stumbles away to see Peter and Anne staring also at Susan chewing on his bloody arm meat. Brian tells West to shoot her, as Peter ridiculously hesitates and angsts and generally stretches out the moment. Finally, he pulls the trigger on Susan.
Commentary: I REALLY wish that Anne had snatched the gun out of Pete's hand and given Susan a head blasting without hesitation. That would've been a nice moment.
Scene 68: The next morning, our pair and dead-hunk-walking have made it back out to the boat and are slowly pulling out of the harbor, risking the boat disabling them in the middle of the ocean, rather than stay on Matoul one second longer.
Onboard, My Babe is at the helm, but he's lookin' like he's been overused in the roughtrade.
He warns them not to push hard on the drive shaft, but then swoons. Brian says he feels very cold, and then begs Peter to "take me home" and to save him. He fears becoming like Susan. Brian greys out.
When he comes to, Anne is putting a cold cloth on his face. He sees Anne, but can't really focus on her and his fear suggests he's hallucinating that she's Susan back to finish the job.
Scene 69: Sometime later, Anne returns to the helm to tell Peter that Brian died. To Anne's questioning on what's left, Peter tells her they'll lock Brian in the bilge and take him back to the states with them [I-I guess sailing the whole way? You're not getting Brian on a plane, even a deep discount, back of the tail section seat].
Anne warns of the danger, but Peter points out that Brian is the only proof they have that the whole thing has happened.
Peter gives Anne the wheel while he goes below to secure Brian, who they expect to reanimate anytime.
Scene 70: When Peter returns, he tries the radio to give them something to distract from their thoughts and fears. They're able to tune in Radio Exposition to hear all the way from New York that the zombie infestation has spread across the burroughs and that the National Guard can't control the spread.
Ann and Peter look at each other with despair as they hear how bad things are going in New York [remember the overboard zombie that didn't get a headshot, and the torn throat officer who didn't get a headshot?], and the reporter's bleak analysis.
From below... Brian starts rattling the bilge door handle and groaning for release.
Commentary: This scene is strongly acted by both Tisa and Ian, bringing a sense of unsurprised, hopelessness. And the focus on the camera of the door handle rattling from Brian sent a delicious chill straight up my spine. I was going say that this end on the boat wasn't needed, but I was a fool and you should ignore that.
Scene 71: We cut to NY to see uh - one of the famous bridges - full to the brim with lumbering dead New Yorkers headed into Manhattan....
At the same time, we hear the news jockey on the radio exclaiming that the zombies have made it to the studio. He describes them breaking in the door, before he screams....
Commentary: Truth to tell, I could've used 20 minutes paired down, but this movie is great! If you're a zombie fan, then you should've already seen this, but by all means seek it out, if you've been reticent because it's "foreign".
The Good: First, let's start with the directing and script. This may be one of the best put-together, sensible stories that Fulci had directed. I'm not an afficionado, so I can't be sure, but this is far more logical than The Beyond for instance. There are some very good shots throughout the film and all of the locations are well used and well filmed. Cinematography also earns a hardy kudo.
The effects are amazingly well done, with only a few minor exceptions [also on Fulci, sometimes a shot is held too long to keep the effect from coming apart].
The music is also great, from the irritating/cool/unnerving theme to the constant wearing off the drums and voodoo chanting and screaming, where we never see the people making the noise. It all works!
The opening is very strong, and I'm glad that later we revisit it in full to get the context we're missing at first.
I love the atmosphere. A bleak forboding and later despair is a common theme throughout the film, and it's far more emotionally impactful than say, the Dawn of the Dead remake. And it ends in the same dour tone at the end... there isn't the false sense of relief that we have in the original Dawn of the Dead.
I was pleasantly surprised by the voice dubbing. No one was awful, and the scripting didn't have anyone say something that you'd never hear from an American (or Brit as far as I know) mouth. That isn't always the case by any means when you're talking about an Italian horror. It's also clear that the Italian actors were mouthing English dialog, so the later dubbing would match up. I like that effort.
Shark vs. Zombie. It's as awesome as you may think. Or not as stupid as you think. Give Ramón Bravo all the kudos, not only for clinging to a live shark, but for the underwater photography he directed (I think).
Paola Menard's demise is awful in an awesomely cool, practical effects way. It's amazing. And the aftermath effects later are just as good, special FX wise. Just a terrific sequence.
The last stand at the hospital is cool, with some nice fire stunts.
I like the bleak outlook at the end of the film. Especially how it combines Zombie-Brian's trying to break out of the cabin door with the news report and final death screams of the radio reporter in New York.
The Bad: Real life shark cruelty. It must be denounced.
The heavy breather spy ends up bugging me in the end, because it's never explained or even hinted at an explanation. It's just there for some creep factor and then never actually referenced in movie. It's another one of those weird focuses that leads to nothing, but in this case it feels like we should have a plot specific reason for the POV shots it includes.
Olga Karlatos' nudity is also badly handled. It's transparent that it's included just because, where Auretta it can be justified character-wise. Olga is just exploited in her impractical shower.
The entire "conqwistodores"/conquistadors is just stupid. There is literally zero reason why this couldn't be an islander graveyard, if we had to have one. It wouldn't make any difference to the action, and it would be far more logical.
Other Thoughts: I'm going to put pacing here, but it definitely leans heavily toward the good. As mentioned, I could've given up 20 minutes and as long as it wasn't a hack job, I'd have been fine with that. But I've reviewed movies that have leaned heavily in the other direction, so this is a very minor observation- not even a complaint.
There are some weird script focuses that are so odd because they don't lead anywhere. As mentioned in the review, it starts with pointing out Peter's uncle bought the paper he works for... this doesn't obviously impact anything. Peter never has to lean on the familial connection for anything and he doesn't start the film as somebody who tosses the fact in his coworkers' faces to get his own way. It's a non-issue.
Both times that Ann is on her father's boat, it's awkward and offputting for different reasons. But both circumstances are tied to the cops not acting as they would in real late-70s New York. Nice try, but no.
As much as I like the characters, the acting is wavy. I can't put it in The Good, but nothing was horrible, either. Most of it was decent.
I mostly like the ambiguity throughout the film, especially from Dr. Menard's wrestling with his belief in a natural vs supernatural cause, but I also find it really repetitive after a while when he keeps arguing against a voodoo explanation, after he all but admits he believes it may be true.
As we reach the climactic ending, there are problems with the way that our characters die... especially the Doctor, Lucas and finally Brian. It includes that Fritz continuity error, and the utter lack of ability for our characters to notice that body shots=keep coming zombies, while headshot=staying down zombies. And I hate Brian being killed by standing there while Susan bites him. It's not in The Bad, because maybe you can justify it, but I really dislike it.
Uh... the only way we can account for David's and Lucas' sudden deaths is by shock. The wounds were not fatal on their own.
The Score: 4.50 stars out of 5 ... A winner!