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Zombie Flesh Eaters(1979)
Strangers looking for a woman's father arrive at a tropical island where a doctor desperately searches for the cause and cure of a recent epidemic of the undead.
For more about Zombie Flesh Eaters and the Zombie Flesh Eaters Blu-ray release, see Zombie Flesh Eaters Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on November 26, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Director: Lucio Fulci
Writer: Elisa Briganti
Starring: Tisa Farrow, Ian McCulloch, Richard Johnson, Al Cliver, Auretta Gay, Stefania D'Amario
» See full cast & crew
Zombie Flesh Eaters Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, November 26, 2012
Italian director Lucio Fulci's "Zombi 2" a.k.a "Zombie Flesh Eaters" (1979) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Arrow Video. The supplemental features on this release include original trailers for the film; radio spots; exclusive introduction to the film by actor Ian McCulloch; audio commentary with scenarist Elisa Briganti; audio commentary with Lucio Fulci biographer Stephen Thrower and horror cinema expert Alan Jones; documentary film about Italian Horror Cinema; video interview with actor actor Ian McCulloch; Q&A session with Italian composer Fabio Frizzi; video interview with legendary special effects and make-up artist Giannetto De Rossi; and more. The release also arrives with a 40-page collector's booklet featuring brand new writing on the film by Stephen Thrower; new interview with star Olga Karlatos by Calum Waddell; history of "Zombie Flesh Eaters" and the BBFC by Craig Lapper; posters; Lucio Fulci CV compiled by Jay Slater; and more. In English or Italian, with optional English and English SDH subtitles for the main feature. Region-B "locked".
A ghost yacht enters the New York City harbor and two cops are quickly dispatched to examine it. One of them is attacked and killed by a zombie. Later on, the owner (Ugo Bologna) of the yacht is officially reported missing. The authorities then contact his daughter, Anne Bowles (Tisa Farrow, Antropophagus), who reveals to them that he was last seen on the remote island of Matool, and seal the yacht.
Determined to find out what might have happened to her father, Anne returns to the yacht and meets Peter West (Ian McCulloch, Contamination, TV's The Professionals), a local journalist also looking for answers. They agree to help each other get to the bottom of the mystery, for different reasons, and then decide to travel to Matool. They also hire Brian Hull (Al Cliver, Jess Franco's Devil Hunter, The Black Cat) and Susan Barrett (Auretta Gay) to assist them during their journey.
When they reach Matool, the four travelers meet Dr. David Menard (Richard Johnson, The Night Child, The Comeback), a researcher who knew well Anne's father and his work. He warns them to stay away from the village where the old man used to work because a strange disease has started bringing the dead back amongst the living. Soon after, the travelers are attacked by hordes of zombies and forced to run for their lives.
Completed in 1979, Zombie Flesh Eaters was cult Italian director Lucio Fulci's first horror film. To this day, it remains the director's most successful film. In Italy, it was released as Zombi 2 (an obvious attempt by its producers to link it to George Romero's legendary Dawn of the Dead, which was released locally as Zombi), while in the United States it was retitled Zombie. I mention all of the above because once you get to the main menu of Arrow's Blu-ray release you could actually choose one of these titles to access the film.
Three are three key reasons why Zombie Flesh Eaters has obtained a cult status as one of the greatest European genre pictures ever filmed. First, it is the purest and best balanced of Fulci's horror films. The film has a very good buildup and while it attempts to impress with plenty of gore it never looks kitschy (rent Marino Girolami Zombie Holocaust to see how bad these genre films could look).
Second, the atmosphere in the film is quite fantastic. Despite some rough transitions, Sergio Salvati's lensing is surprisingly elegant. Even the truly odd material, such as the famous underwater footage, looks very good. Considering the film's budget, what the great special effects and make-up artist Giannetto De Rossi (Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West, Fellini's Casanova) and his team managed to accomplish is also impossible not to admire. Even by modern standards, the close-ups of the zombies reveal astonishing emphasis on detail.
The key ingredient that gives Zombie Flesh Eaters so much depth is Fabio Frizzi and Giorgio Tucci's soundtrack. The music themes are simple yet incredibly lush, dark and seductive. Their roots are in classic Italian psychedelica (Franco Bixio, Berto Pisano, Piero Piccioni) but the modern edge of progressive rock can also be felt in them. Simply beautiful music, arguably some of the very best ever composed for a horror film.
Note: In 1981, Zombie Flesh Eaters was nominated for Saturn Award for Best Make-Up (Giannetto De Rossi) by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films.
Zombie Flesh Eaters Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Lucio Fulci's Zombie Flesh Eaters arrives on Bluray courtesy of British distributors Arrow Video.
The following text appears inside the booklet provided with this Blu-ray disc:
"Zombie Flesh Eaters has been exclusively by Arrow for this release, with all work personally overseen by Restoration Supervisor James White at Deluxe Soho, London.
The film was sourced from the original Techniscope 2-perf 35mm negative made available by Variety Communications, Italy. The pictures was scanned at 2K resolution and fully graded on a Nicoda Film Master at Deluxe Soho, London. Restoration work was completed in 1080Psf HD resolution using a combination of software tools and techniques. Thousands of instances of dirt, scratches and debris were carefully removed frame by frame. Damaged or missing frames were repaired, and density and stability issues were significantly improved. Throughout the process, care was taken to ensure that the film's original details and grain structure remained unaffected by digital processing. Although every effort has been made to present Zombie Flesh Eaters at the highest quality possible, some minor picture issues remain, in keeping with the condition of the original materials.
Both the original English and Italian mono soundtracks were restored, with audio issues such as bumps, clicks or dropouts removed or repaired. Audio sync to picture remains noticeably loose at times, in keeping with the nature of the film's production.
Lastly, working from the original 2-perf negative has allowed for access to the entire exposed image area of the film, so we have chosen to retain as much of the original frame are possible for this restoration."
Restoration supervisor: James White.
Audio mastering: Gary Sanders/Deluxe 142."
The new restoration of Lucio Fulci's legendary film is easily the best presentation of a classic European horror film that I have seen on Blu-ray to date. Depth and detail here really are quite impressive, with many close-ups from the daylight sequences looking particularly strong (see screencapture #3). The footage from the zombie attack during the final third of the film also boasts very pleasing clarity, with contrast in particular remaining notably stable. Color reproduction also does not disappoint. There are some minor fluctuations depending on where and how parts of the film were shot (color tonality during the underwater sequence, for example, is slightly different), but color stability and density are very good. The best news, however, is that there are no traces of post production degraining. Naturally, a light layer of grain is retained throughout the entire film, ensuring plenty of depth and strong detail (compare screencapture #19 to screencapture #17 from the U.S. review of the film). There are no traces of sharpening corrections either. Lastly, large damage marks, debris, cuts, and specks have been removed as best as possible. All in all, excluding some extremely minor inherited limitations, such as those observed during the underwater sequence, this is clearly the most satisfying presentation of Zombie Flesh Eaters accomplished to date. (Note: This is a Region-B "locked" Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you must have a native Region-B or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
Zombie Flesh Eaters Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There are two audio tracks on this Blu-ray disc: English LPCM 2.0 and Italian LPCM 2.0. For the record, Arrow Video have provided optional English SDH (for the English track) and English (for the Italian track) subtitles.
The English track is very good. It has pleasing depth, a good range of dynamics, and absolutely no background hiss. Fabio Frizzi and Giorgio Tucci's fantastic soundtrack, in particular, benefits a great deal, with the keyboard theme now sounding very lush and well rounded. The dialog is stable and clean. Obviously, because some overdubbing was done after the film was completed, some minor sync issues are noticeable at times, but it is important to remember that they are part of the film's final cut. For the record, there are no audio dropouts or distortions to report in this review.
Zombie Flesh Eaters Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Zombie Flesh Eaters Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Arrow Video have put together a mighty impressive release for a legendary Italian film that should make a lot of horror fans very, very happy. If this is a sign of things to come, then 2013 should be an enormously exciting year. I really hope that in addition to classic horror films we will eventually also see some classic spaghetti westerns and Italian sexy comedies. Arrow Video are most definitely the label that will treat them with the proper respect. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Zombie: Other Editions
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Zombie Flesh Eaters Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Zombie Flesh Eaters Blu-ray - November 6, 2012
Arrow Video are set to release a newly restored version of Lucio Fulci's controversial horror masterpiece Zombie Flesh Eaters on December 3rd. Painstakingly restored from the original camera negative, the film stands-out as one of the famed distributor's biggest ...
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