Zombie Holocaust Reviews
[originally posted 19Jan2001]
Another film known by many names (eight, to be precise, that IMDB has been able to track down), Zombi Holocaust is probably best known by American cult-film devotees as Dr. Butcher, MD. I ended up picking this one up because there are a rather large number of crossovers with Lucio Fulci's brilliant splatterfest Zombi 2-writer Fabrizio DeAngelis was one of the producers of Fulci's film, male lead Ian McCulloch was the lead in Zombi 2, character actor Dakkar plays a native guide in both, etc. (Most interesting, one of the film's actors, Walter Patriarca, was Zombi 2's costume designer. Go figger.)
Simple plot, which should sound familiar to anyone who's seen Fulci's film; a number of deaths occur in New York City, and Ian McCulloch, a beautiful sidekick, and two of their pals end up going to a remote Caribbean island where there's an English-speaking doctor who treats the natives. Sound familiar?
For about the first forty-five minutes of this film, I was too busy thinking that it was exactly like Zombi 2 to be impressed. (No one, these days, is sure which film came out first, and most people also draw parallels to another classic of the genre that came out the same year, Ruddero Deodato's Cannibal Holocaust.) Then Ian McCulloch disposes of a zombie with a motorboat motor, and suddenly things started getting a whole lot more fun. Rather like The Evil Dead, this is a film where there's a whole lot of setup (though Raimi pulled it off miles better), but when the gore starts, the director lays it on thick, fast, and ugly. And while death-by-propeller is probably the funniest and nastiest scene in the film, there's certainly more than enough blood flowing/spraying/dripping/being drunk/etc. to please most fans of hardcore horror. Pound for pound, though, in comparison to Zombi 2, the latter stands up as the better film. As one reviewer put it, "Fulci... might have had the sauce, but [he] passed on the cheese." Fulci's obsessive attention to detail, better scriptwriting, and stunning score give Fulci the edge over Girolami. But man, it's fun to be the judge. ***
The gore is of the bright red variety and while there are some good realistic moments of gore using real organs and such, most of the blood is candy apple red. While I enjoy the gratuitous amounts of the red stuff, it's too bad it isn't more realistic.
This movie could have been really good. It had lots of decent gore, and a storyline that had potential, but it just tried too much and failed unfortunately. There are too many inexplicable scenes.
Full UNCUT Version (81 min.)
ZOMBIE HOLOCAUST / DR BUTCHER M.D : in the wake of Lucio Fulci's ZOMBIE, came several other Italian zombie films. One was this film called ZOMBIE HOLOCAUST another gruesome bloodbath with not just Zombies but also Cannibals as well thrown into the mix. When a sadistic person hacks and mutates dead bodies in a hospital in N.Y.C, it turns out the culprit is a member of a Cannibal tribe on some remote island. So it's up to a team of various people to go to the island and figure out why the tribe has appeared in N.Y.C, with the help of a local doctor the group end up on the island question. But when the cannibals start killing the team one by one something even weirder happens Zombies show up and scare the natives away. The Zombies are in fact the failed experiments of the doctor who now decides to use the surviving members of the group in his Frankenstein experiments.
OVERALL THOUGHTS; another notorious Italian Zombie bloodbath that borrows stock footage from Lucio Fulci's ZOMBIE and in the U.S realise titled DR BUTCHER M.D also uses stock footage from an incomplete zombie film in it's opening credits that no surprises ended up on the U.K Video Nasties list in the 1980's. For a quote unquote zombie film it's interesting to see a Frankenstein type mad scientist, Zombies and Cannibals in the same film. Well what can one say about ZOMBIE HOLOCAUST? It's trashy, banality offensive to most, stock full of gratuitous female nudity, graphic, bloody, gruesome and its pure z-grade exploitation so I can be too hard on it for not liking it. Hell it's got one of the most fucking hilarious ways someone kills a zombie in a movie by using an outboard boat motor to grind a zombies head into a bloody pulp! So what do I give this Z-Grade- Italian- Zombie Exploitation romp? A justifiable 60% I believe.