Lucio Fulci’s Zombie Flesh Eaters (1979) was a film that scared the hell out of me as a youth growing up in the 1980s and I hadn’t even seen it. It was listed as one of the notorious video nasty’s during a hysterical campaign lead by the right wing government and media in the UK during the 1980s, chiefly the ‘newspaper’ The Sun wrote articles about what a shocking, sick and disgusting film it was.
The video art, and posters looked terrifying, stills from the film looked shocking. As a fan of horror I read reviews that mentioned a 14 inch spike going through an actresses eye, the author Chas Balun gave it 10 out of 10 for gore in his seminal book ‘The Gore Score’.
So, I avoided the film. Forming the opinion that I liked horror but that this film was an affront to moral taste.Until this week when I bought the newly released BluRay. In the time since my youth I’d watched some other Lucio Fulci films, and I was aware he was a talented craftsman, but this film still scared me.
I settled down to watch it as my wife was going to bed early, but she picked up on my mood and said she’d watch it with me. I was worried about the gore, and the terrifying film we were about to watch – my 13 year old self was obviously deeply traumatised. But I bravely forged ahead and put the film on. The remote close by in case I needed to turn it off to save my sanity.
Well, the film is hilarious – it would probably but classified as a 15 certificate today. It was not only great fun, it has some brilliant moments, a real campy appeal and I want to watch it again as soon as possible. It’s like a really gory, tongue in cheek, badly made (at times), Carpenter flick.
I watched in awe as a zombie had an underwater fight with a shark (I shit you not). The 14 inch spike through the eye is a terrific suspense sequence worthy of Hitchcock, the dubbing is atrocious, the make-up FX are old fashioned and great fun. There’s some lovely location photography, good looking ladies and a rousing all-action ending.
This is a great cheesy, campy, retro horror treat.
Most of the video nasty’s of the 80s are now available un-cut. Just goes to show, you can’t believe anything you read in The Sun.
Matthew Cooper has been a script writer for hire for over 20 years. He’s written for most of the UK soaps, including writing award winning episodes of Emmerdale, EastEnders, Hollyoaks and Family Affairs and has been BAFTA shortlisted and Royal Television Society nominated as a script writer. He also works as a content writer for hire and as a UK script consultant. You can find some of his broadcast credits on the IMDb. You can get in touch with Matthew on email@example.com or hire him on Peopleperhour