I watched Bruno Mattei's ISLAND OF THE LIVING DEAD (aka L'isola dei morti viventi) tonight. The film is from 2006 and along with its sequel ZOMBIES THE BEGINNING (made a year later) this is Mattei's goodbye to the world of crappy Italo horror movies (not that all Italo horror movies are crappy, mostly just Bruno Mattei's, haha). Both films were shot in the Philippines (and if you're someone who's into Filipino trash films it'll interest you to know that Mike Monty worked on the film. He has since then passed away and there's a dedication to him at the end).
A group of people discover a deserted island by chance, there's a bunch of big old ruins, catacombs, a graveyard, and, obviously... zombies! The worst zombies in Italian horror movies I might ad. The zombies in ISLAND make the ones in Claudio Fragasso's AFTER DEATH look like DAWN OF THE DEAD or ZOMBIE FLESH EATERS!! They're crappy, crappy, crappy. Hahaha. They walk like the actors have been told to look funny-drunk in a kids movie. They flab their arms. They growl (!!!). They fall asleep (dead people need their beauty sleep too, don't you know! LOL). I swear some of them wear masks that Bruno Mattei most likely bought in a Filipino toy store!!
When I watched Mattei's two farewell cannibal movies (which he made just prior to these two zombie movies) I thought the actors looked like they were on level with porn actors. The "actors" (and I use the term loosely) in ISLAND are WORSE!!! The two chicks... well, they look awesome but I wish they had been in porn movies INSTEAD cos they can't bloody act. And bare in mind I'm used to the (low) level that so many actors in Italian movies have reached thru out the years so it's not like I'm not used to crappy acting. These actors reach new heights (well, lows!!!). Haha. The gore and special effects are pretty decent. The film is shot in English but if you think that means lesser thick accents you're in for a surprise. Oh man, I so wish they HAD dubbed this film! Most of the cast can hardly speak English.
Now, if this were a site for good films and good film-making by a serious film critic then, needless to say, all of the above would have resulted in a writing off of the film. Well, not so with this reviewer. Sure the film is an abomination if I ever saw one but I was pretty entertained. Okay, I know, I know, I'm easily entertained but still. A new Italian zombie/splatter/horror movie, how could you not be entertained? I certainly was!
On the DVD there is a trailer for one of the "classic" Italian zombie movies; ZOMBIE FLESH EATERS (Zombi 2) which makes the difference between the two films very obvious! ZOMBIE FLESH EATERS is a masterpiece that uses all its elements in a skillful way; the horror, gore, music, atmosphere, etc. ISLAND OF THE LIVING DEAD is a fun & entertaining piece of crap.
Oh, and talking of which; the "12 inch splinter in the eye" scene from ZOMBIE FLESH is actually copied in ISLAND. Is it a homage to Fulci? Well, knowing Mattei it's probably just a matter of theft, LOL. He most likely thought "This'll look great and no one remembers that old film anyway!", hahaha.
Watch ISLAND OF THE LIVING DEAD by all means but if you're new to Italian zombie movies please don't base your opinion on Italo zombie flicks on this one. Go get ZOMBIE FLESH EATERS (and Zombi Holocaust) first.