Thursday, January 11, 2024

snack attack.

Just found out that the fantastic Tisa Farrow has died so in way of a tribute here's a reposting of my review of one of her best known (and greatest) movies.

Apologies  for the distinct lack of 'laugh now' and 'mooth shite' references ahead but this was from a time when I thought folk were actually interested in what I wrote so I tried to be quite serious.

That didn't last long.

Anyway, enjoy.

Zombi 2 (AKA Zombie Flesh Eaters, Island of the Flesh-Eaters, Island of the Living Dead Gli Ultimi zombi 1979).
Dir: Lucio Fulci.
Cast: Ian McCulloch, Tisa Farrow, Al Cliver, Auretta Gay, Richard Johnson, Olga Karlatos, a shark and some zombies.

What is all this about the dead coming back to life again and... having to be killed a second time? I mean, what the hell's going on here?

Welcome to New York - thanks to some rather wonderful Cinéma vérité  style of the cuff (and off the radar) footage - where a seemingly abandoned ship drifts spookily thru' the harbor, out of control and unstoppable.

Luckily the local harbor patrols two best men are sent to investigate.

Well second best.

The two best are out investigating another mysterious ghost ship filled with huge Kinder Eggs further up the river.

Arriving on board in a flurry of Action Slacks and sideburns the brave officers find that the ship is deserted, or so it seems until the fattest bastard zombie you will ever see shambles out of the hold, moaning and dribbling as he goes.

Tho' how the fuck he managed to hide aboard such a little boat is never explained, I mean even if you discount his size he still must stink worse than your gran after the retirement home Xmas party.

Anyways back to the action.

Refusing to show his ID (tho' not ashamed to flaunt his terrifying man-tits) our rotund rotter kills one of the patrolmen with a nasty bite to the throat and a quick stroke of the balls before the other, less dead cop shoots him in the face causing him to flop overboard faster than Natalie Wood before sinking straight to the bottom.

"Fiona! Where's mah lunch?"

Seeing as stuff like this doesn't usually happen in the Big Apple, NYPD's finest decide to get in touch with the boat owner's daughter, the delectable Ms. Ann Bowles (genre superstar, sister of Mia and the reason we are here - the late, great Tisa Farrow) in order to question her regarding the scary fat cannibal bloke, find out who styles her hair and ask the whereabouts of her missing dad.

Pleased that someone appreciates the effort she puts into looking so good but surprised to hear her dad is missing (close family eh?) Ann, concerned not only about his welfare but her huge inheritance too, returns to the ship that very night to search for clues and stuff but what she finds on board is far more exciting.

And considerably sexier than anything we've seen so far.

Please welcome ace reporter and all round studly Italian horror movie hero, the scarily comb-overed yet still cool as fuck Peter West (the man, the myth, the legend that is Glasgow's finest, Sir Ian of McCulloch).

West has found a letter written to Ann from her father (told you he was a good reporter, well it's either that or he's broken into her mail box, which frankly is the last box of Farrow's I'd want to break), which tells of a mysterious disease that is ravaging his home on the mysterious island of Matool and that he may never leave alive.

Ann, now very worried about her inheritance (you can tell by her quivering lip), and Peter, interested in the story (and in Ann), decide to travel together to the island to discover the truth.

McCulloch: He's got something to put in you.

Being too tight to get their own boat, the dynamic duo hitch a ride with a couple of hip American tourists, the swoonsome beefcake Bryan (the fantastically furry chinned Cliver) and his shapely wife Susan (Auretta 'Brillantina Rock' Gay- can this cast get any better?), who are enjoying a pleasant sailing holiday.

By sailing holiday I mean Cliver stands around looking rugged in a shirt that's about three sizes too small whilst Gay spends her days busying herself scuba diving in nothing but a pair of flimsy, fanny revealing pants and a pink flowery swimming cap.

We are indeed in cinematic heaven.

Gay: areola's like dinner plates.

It's during one such dive that possibly the greatest scene ever committed to celluloid occurs when the positively pneumatic Susan is attacked by a terrifying Tiger Shark.

As she wiggles her huge arse and sticks her breasts out towards the camera in fright to a terrifying Fabio Frizzi score, the fairly ferocious fish swims around menacingly thinking check the hat whilst licking it's shark lips.

But that's not the best bit, you see just when it looks like it's going to eat her whole (you know the punchline) a zombie pops up from behind a clump of undersea fauna and tries to bite the beast on the arse.

The shark that is not Susan.

The ensuing spectacle of watching a stuntman attempt to punch out a shark will stay with you forever, pant wettingly exciting and probably the reason that cinema exists in the first place.


"Slate and Vera Lynne?"

Eventually the intrepid party arrive on the shores of Matool and are approached by what looks like a gang of drunken tramps.

On closer inspection tho' they discover that they are, in fact an ARMY OF ZOMBIES who are also FLESH EATERS.

Tho' in retrospect the title does kinda give it away.

Unsurprisingly our heroes leg it up the beach (to be honest it's more a leisurely jog up the beach seeing as zombies aren't that quick) and, after stopping for a rest, being chased again, stopping for another rest and being chased again, a pal of Anne's dad, the enigmatic Dr Menard (a very angry Johnson) turns up in a jeep and offers them all safe haven at his house for tea and crumpets.

Some zombie flesh eaters yesterday.

Menard is convinced that the mysterious plague ravaging the island is also responsible for the dead rising from their graves.

Peter West nods sagely and adjusts his hair whilst the others look on - Susan in a particularly toothish manner usually seen only on rabbits.

Now it's a race against time as Menard struggles to find a cure, Peter and Bryan struggle over who's the more alpha male, Ann struggles to find her fathers whereabouts, Susan struggles to keep her kit on and Menard's sexily stern wife Paola struggles to finish her shower before a zombie pierces her eye on a large shard of splintered wood....

Will they survive the terrifying attack of the zombie flesh eaters and will horror cinema ever be the same again?

"Eye hen!"

What can you possibly say about the late, great Lucio Fulci's magnum opus that hasn't been said a hundred times before and by better folk than me?

I mean come on, everything about it is just brilliant, from the opening shots in New York to the exotic locations in Haiti which add a stark otherworldly air to the proceedings making the island of Matool a nightmare of dust storms and barren decayed buildings which cleverly mirror the colour palate used in the zombie make-up.
The dead being as much a part of the island as the beach and sands; a stark contrast to the vivid greens of the jungle scenes.

Also on show is Fulci's predilection for using the "crash zoom" as a shorthand way to heighten the audiences reaction to scenes of horror and gore.

Sometimes overused in his later movies, this (his) signature effect serves him well when it comes to the sheer horror of the decaying army slowly lumbering towards our heroes; never have zombies looked so hideous or repellent, bloated and muck encrusted with gaping wounds, tore flesh and dead eye sockets writhing with maggots.

Something that living in Glasgow I'm used to, having had to navigate Sauchiehall Street every weekend.


"...bloated and muck encrusted with gaping wounds, tore flesh and dead eye sockets writhing with maggots..." Yup gotta love a Glasgow gal.

The cast is, quite frankly magnificent, featuring the ultimate team of the grumpy Scotsman McCulloch, whining waif Farrow (who will always be the horror film definition of the final-ish girl) and the manly Cliver, all mainstays of the Italian horror genre and all never better than onscreen here.

Plus when you add the Ruebenesqe form of one (oh go on then two) hit wooden wonder Auretta Gay and her much needed gratuitous nudity to the mix, wobbling about in a pair of her mums pants as she desperately trying not to chafe her nipples on her oxygen tanks you know you're in the presence of genius.

Auretta Gay, or as she'd be these days Auretta Non-Binary.

Behind the cameras Fulci is served well by his crew, from husband and wife team Elisa Briganti and Dardano Sacchetti's cut to the bone script to the unforgettable make up effects from Giovanni Corridori and his team via Sergio Salvati's stunning cinematography, the whole film is a lean, mean experiment in sheer horror that still stands up as a masterpiece of the genre today.

Seriously, everything in the movie just falls perfectly into place but I have to say that the icing on the (very gory) cake is the stark synth' score from Fulci regular, the wonderful Fabio Frizzi.

Cinematic gold from the grand master of grand guignol.

Fulci, we salute you.

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