Archive for Claudio Fragasso

Rats: The Night of Terror (1984) Review

Posted in Rats: The Night of Terror with tags , , on September 26, 2014 by Last Road Reviews

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RATS: THE NIGHT OF TERROR

*** Out of 5

Tagline- Mutants of a Nuclear Disaster.

Release Date- August 3rd, 1984

Running Time- 97-Minutes

Rating- NR

Screenplay- Claudio Fragasso & Herve Piccini

Director- Bruno Mattei (as Vincent Dawn)

Starring- Richard Raymond, Alex McBride, Janna Ryann, Richard Cross, Ann-Gisel Glass

When it comes to the films of Bruno Mattei I can’t confess to being a huge fan of his work, but I easily get the appeal of his films. Quite honestly the only films by Mattei I enjoy are Rats and Hell of the Living Dead and to some degree The Other Hell. I can tolerate some of his other films, but only Rats and Hell of the Living Dead are the films I find myself revisiting. By many Mattei is considered the Italian Ed Wood and I think I’d have to agree with that. Bruno Mattei was very much one of the kings of schlock cinema and his films aren’t exactly high quality and I think Mattei was very much aware of that. His goal was just to craft a fun film and seeing as he’s gained cult status its obvious he was able to accomplish that in his career even if a lot of what made his films fun weren’t always intentional. I enjoy some of Ed Wood’s films and I also enjoy some of the films by Juan Piquer Simon (Pieces, Slugs) who’s often dubbed the Spanish Ed Wood so I again easily get the appeal of Bruno Mattei, but I find the good bulk of his work to be a bit sluggish at times and I go from enjoying them to getting a bit bored. Hell of the Living Dead is perhaps my favorite film by Mattei, but Rats would be a very close 2nd. I knew of Rats, but never saw it and I bought the DVD when it was released by Blue-Underground and it just sort of sat there on my shelf for a few years until I finally watched it in 2013. As I mentioned even in the films I enjoyed by Mattei I still have issues with them and Rats as stated is no exception and while the film may have been better served with a little bit of editing to tighten the pace, but when all is said and done Rats more or less proves to be silly fun and the twist at the end of the film is one of the most absurdly hysterical things I’ve ever seen and its an ending that has to be seen to be believed! .

The good portion of the films Bruno Mattei is known for were written by Claudio Fragasso and Fragasso also served as co-director though only Mattei received the directing credit however during the opening credits for Rats, Fragasso does get his own credit as co-director under the name Clyde Anderson. The partnership between Mattei and Fragasso would last several more years with such films as Strike Commando and Zombie 3 (half the film was directed by Lucio Fulci, but reshoots Mattei & Fragasso). However around the time of Rats, Claudio Fragasso would also start making films on his own without Mattei mostly using the alias Clyde Anderson or Drake Floyd and his first directing credit was Monster Dog (1984), which starred Alice Cooper and his other notable credits would be Zombie 4: After Death and the infamous Troll 2.

After nuclear war has ravaged the planet a group of survivors head up to the surface to find supplies, but along the way come across thousands of rats that have a taste for human flesh!

The screenplay by Claudio Fragasso & Herve Piccini is a lot of fun filled with characters who more often than not make the most idiotic of choices. While the characters lack depth they are however quite fun to watch as they say the silliest of things and as stated make the most moronic of choices. The basic idea behind the film was Night of the Living Dead only instead of zombies they’re replaced with Rats. The concept is quite absurd and if you know the work of Claudio Fragssso you should know exactly what to expect. Even if not intentional, Fragssso’s writing and directing is schlock and I don’t think any of us would want it any other way, however with that said the writing here is probably better than the bulk of Fragssso’s work and while they may not exactly be a glowing compliment, but at the end of the day the absurd nature of the script by Fragssso & Piccini is a lot of fun.

Director Bruno Mattei under the name Vincent Dawn crafts a fun film that’s quite absurd and silly, but is generally a fun film in its idiocy. Running at 94-minutes, Rats can still feel a little overly long in spots, which as mentioned is the issue I have with a lot of Mattei’s work. Despite his best intentions, Rats is quite light on suspense, but what it lacks in suspense it makes up for in fun. Claudio Fragasso played a big part in the direction and in some cases he may have been the driving force in the films he worked on with Mattei. Rats is a low budget film, but to the credit of Mattei & Fragasso it does look professional. For me the film works due to my fear of rodents and there are some creepy moments, which have more to do with my fear of rodents than the direction. Rats is schlock cinema at its finest and while the pacing can be sluggish, but Mattei and Fragasso deliver a fun ride.

The cast is actually quite strong and fans of Italian horrid will no doubt recognize many of the cast members such as Ottaviano Dell’Acqua under the name Richard Raymond, Massimo Vanni under the name Alex McBride and Geretta Geretta under the name Janna Ryann being the most notable.

Bruno Mattei would pass away May 21st, 2007 at the age of 75 from a brain tumor. The height of his cult following were in the 80s, but he continued making the same type of films he was known for throughout his career even as other Italian filmmakers moved onto other genres or retired. Even towards the very end Bruno was still at it with his last 3 films being The Jail: The Women’s Hell, which was a WIP film and than there was Island of the Living Dead and Zombies: The Beginning with both being released in 2007 the year he died. The fact that Bruno never strayed too far at least to me shows he had a passion for what he was doing. The market for these films were fading in the early 90s and were basically dead by the end of the 90s and as for Italy these kind of films for the most part died in the very early 90s. But yet Bruno kept churning them out even in the last few years of his life. I can’t really see these films turning much of a profit, but I can’t say for certain, but seeing as his partner in crime Claudio Fragasso moved on as did such filmmakers as Umberto Lenzi and Lamberto Bava my guess is passion in these films had to be the biggest reason he never stopped making them.

Rats was released on blu-ray by Blue-Underground on August 26th, 2014 in a double feature along with Hell of the Living Dead carrying over all the same features with a brand new documentary, which covers both Rats and Hell of the Living Dead and actually has some of the actors taking part as well as Claudio Fragssso. While there are little tidbits on Fragssso & Mattei the good bulk of the documentary focuses on the two films. As for the audio and video on Rats it’s actually quite terrific and makes for a major upgrade over past DVD releases. The blu-ray release is not only one of the top releases of 2014, but also one of the best from Blue-Underground.

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Women’s Prison Massacre (1983) Review

Posted in Women's Prison Massacre with tags , , , , , , , on August 25, 2014 by Last Road Reviews

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WOMEN’S PRISON MASSACRE

** ½ Out of 5

Tagline- The Killing Never Stops

Release Date- August 31st, 1983

Running Time- 89-Minutes

Rating- NR

Screenplay- Claudio Fragasso & Olivier Lefait

Director- Bruno Mattei (As Gilbert Roussel)

Starring- Laura Gemser, Gabriele Tinti, Ursula Flores, Lorraine De Selle, Franca Stoppi and Carlo De Mejo

The Women in Prison genre was fairly successful in the 70s, but in 1969 Jess Franco’s 99 Women is sort of the film where the formula for the WIP film started, but as I stated in other reviews for these kind of films the Roger Corman productions of the early 70s with films such as Women in Cages, The Big Bird Cage and the Big Doll House were the ones that kick started these films and most filmmakers followed their style even if 99 Women had a slight jump ahead. Throughout the 70s there were plenty of WIP films made, but by the 80s they were starting to fade. Released in 1983 Women’s Prison Massacre is a late entry in the WIP film and I’m not sure if anyone really cared about these films by this time and after seeing Women’s Prison Massacre I’m sure people cared even less. Women’s Prison Massacre has a nice cult following and its quite easy to see why, but by this time the WIP film was more or less a tired act and while cult filmmaker Bruno Mattei takes the basic elements and throws in a few other ideas to the mix it just for me wasn’t working.

Bruno Mattei has gained a large cult following and I can easily get his appeal as I’m a fan of such filmmakers as Juan Piquer Simon (Pieces, Slugs) and Ed Wood (Plan 9 from Outer Space), but I never really got into Mattei in general except Hell of the Living Dead though I have issues with that film and its mostly the opening and closing act I enjoyed, but I did find Rats to be more or less a fun time. And of course there was his partner in crime Claudio Fragasso who wrote a lot of films for Mattei before becoming a director and like Mattei I never really got into Fragasso with the exception of Troll 2, which was one of the ultimate so bad its good films, but point is its kinda fitting two of the worst would form a partnership. Also working with Mattei and Fragasso was Rosella Drudi who is married to Claudio Fragasso and the three formed a match made in bad movie cinema, but Rosella wasn’t involved in this.

Emanuelle (Gemser) a reporter gets too close in exposing a corrupt official is sent to prison where its run by a cruel warden (De Selle). However things take a turn for the worse when male inmates trying to escape take over the prison.

The screenplay was written by Claudio Fragasso & Olivier Lefait and the film is poorly plotted with mostly dull characters. Basically the characters are copies of those from past WIP films and by this time it was a tired act. Outside of the male inmates taking over the prison its your basic WIP film, which again by 1983 was pretty much dead. Like I said I get the appeal of Fragasso as both a writer and director, but most of his films I find rather dire with again the exception of Troll 2 and to a lesser degree Zombie 3.

Director Bruno Mattei under the name Gilbert Roussel delivers a very sluggishly paced film. After a slow start, Mattei crafts some fun scenes and Women’s Prison Massacre works on the so bad its good level, but around the midway mark the pace again gets sluggish and I found it a chore to get through at times. While the final act picks up a bit, but by this point I no longer really cared and I’ve seen this all before only done far more entertaining. Fans of Bruno Mattei will no doubt find plenty to enjoy here, but I’ve never really been a huge fan and this was the typical poor paced film by Mattei with some fun moments.

The cast is actually quite strong here with plenty of notable stars from Italian horror such as Lorraine De Selle (House by the Edge of the Park, Cannibal Ferox), Carlo De Mejo (City of the Living Dead), Franca Stoppi (Beyond the Darkness) and of course Laura Gemser of the Black Emanuelle series. After her acting career was over Gemser would continue to work in film as a crew member and was a Costume Designer on Troll 2.

Overall Women’s Prison Massacre in my opinion was quite poor though with that said there were a couple of fun moments, but not enough to make too much out of this. If you’re a fan of Bruno Mattei I’m sure you’ll find plenty here to enjoy, but as stated I’m not really into Mattei and after a decent start I lost interest and was sort of bored throughout. However with that said I would watch this again.

There is one thing of note here a male inmate attempts to rape a female inmate unaware she’s put a razor blade in her well you know. That was the only real highlight.

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Troll 2 (1990) Review

Posted in Troll 2 with tags , , , on March 14, 2014 by Last Road Reviews

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TROLL 2

*** Out of 5

Tagline- One Was Not Enough

Release Date- October 12th, 1990

Running Time- 95-Minutes

Rating- PG-13

Writer/Director- Claudio Fragasso (as Drake Floyd)

Starring- Michael Stephenson, George Hardy, Margo Prey, Connie McFarland and Robert Ormsby

Released in 1990 Troll 2 is often dubbed the best worst film of all time. The word worst movie ever is often tossed around way too much and 99% of the time its way off base. Troll 2 is a bad film lets make no mistake, but while a hack job I have seen films far worse such as some films by Uli Lommell such as BTK Killer and Curse of the Zodiac. Those two films have no redeeming qualities and could be considered two of the worst films made. What keeps Troll 2 from being the actual worst film, is as scary as it may sound its better made than the two films I mentioned and Troll 2 is a complete blast! Worst movie ever to me is a film that’s not only poorly made, but worst of all boring and as bad as Troll 2 is its never boring as this film throughout most of the running time is hysterical. However with that said Troll 2 is easily one of the ultimate so bad its good movies and its really difficult to hate a film this bad and one of the stars of the film Michael Stephenson even made a documentary titled Best Worst Movie.

Troll 2 was directed by Claudio Fragasso using the name Drake Floyd and when it comes to Fragasso he’s gained a cult following as many see his films as so bad they’re good. Some have called him the Italian Ed Wood (same for Bruno Mattie who would form a partnership with Fragasso, but more on that later). In many ways Troll 2 can be seen as Fragasso’s Plan 9 from Outer Space as both films were made as serious pictures, but both were hack jobs loaded with unintentional comedy. When it comes to the films of Claudio Fragasso I can’t say that I’m a fan of his work and while I get his appeal I often find his films fun early on, but as they go on they just get annoying. Films such as Zombie 4: After Death and Monster Dog, which he made under the name Clyde Anderson, have some fun moments in particular Zombie 4, but when all is said and done I really have little desire to see either anytime soon I’m more into filmmakers such as Juan Piquer Simon who is dubbed the Spanish Ed Wood and as for the actual Ed Wood I also prefer him to Fragasso. Troll 2 unlike a lot of other Fragasso films is a movie I every so often revisit. Troll 2 isn’t a sequel to Troll the 2 was thrown on for marketing and this in my opinion would be Fragasso’s best film, which is truly a scary thought.

The screenplay was written by Claudio Fragasso and Rossella Drudi who is actually Claudio’s wife, but she isn’t listed in the credits as a writer. To say the screenplay for Troll 2 is bad is a major understatement, but its one of those screenplays that’s so poor it almost becomes great. Troll 2 was written straight as its meant to be a serious film with a little comedy mixed in and I think that in part adds to the film and makes it even funnier since the dialogue and plot are quite absurd. More often than not the script is flat out hilarious even though it isn’t meant to be comedic and add the poor, but very entertaining acting into the mix, Fragasso & Drudi deliver comedic gold. The characters are great due to the mixture of the absurd dialogue and poor acting. Here’s some of the highlights from the script (or would it be lowlights?)

Are you nuts? You trying to turn me into a homo?

Wouldn’t be too hard. If my father discovers you here, he’d cut off your little nuts and eat them. He can’t stand you.

They’re eating her and then they’re going to eat me. Oh my god!

Do you see this writing? Do you know what it means? Hospitality. And you can’t piss on hospitality! I won’t allow it!

What are you going to do to me, daddy?

Tightening my belt one loop so that I don’t feel hunger pains, and your sister and mother will have to do likewise. Ok Joshua. You wanna get rough with me? You wanna show me that you don’t like the choice of this house for our vacation by going on a hunger strike? Well, I’ll accept the the challenge. But just remember when I was your age, I really did suffer from hunger. We’ll see who gets through this, but just remember I’ve for more practice than you. I’ll see you tomorrow.

Nilbog! It’s goblin spelled backwards! This is their kingdom!

Joshua, start singing. Come on, sing that song I like so much.

I don’t feel like singing, mom.

Just sing.

Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream.

Regardless if he’s Claudio Fragasso, Clyde Anderson or Drake Floyd, Claudio isn’t exactly great at his craft. As I mentioned I’ve never been a huge fan of his work as I find his films fun to a certain point, but at some point of the film I lose interest. As I mentioned the script was meant to be serious and so was the direction. Fragasso says he made a deep film dealing with life, death and family and he doesn’t understand why people laugh at the film. The fact he was actually trying to make a good film makes Troll 2 even more fun. The actors realize what the film is, but not Fragasso and he even heckled the cast at a Q & A for insulting the film! However over the years, Fragasso has come to terms with the reputation of the film. Troll 2 runs at a great pace as for the good portion of its running time its quite hysterical and while the 2nd half can be a little sluggish in spots where it does slightly run out of steam, but it picks up again quickly as Fragasso crafts enough absurdly bad moments that are quite fun. I think the truly scary thing is how Fragasso not only attempted a legit and deep film, but how oblivious he is on what he made. Great film or bad film I think every filmmaker should be proud of their work, but you also have to be honest and know when you made a turkey, but knowing this was made as a legit film really does make things even more fun. At times its actually quite shockingly bad, but Fragssso easily in my opinion delivers one of the ultimate so bad its good films and while its no Plan 9 from Outer Space, Fragasso still makes such a bad, but so much film.

What’s also funny is its not even trolls, but goblins not that it really matters! As for the appearance of the trolls (um goblins) it looks like they’re wearing masks that can be bought for a few dollars.

What can I really say about the acting that’s hasn’t been said? I for one love the performances since they greatly add to the badness of the film. All the actors in particular the main ones were so much fun to watch and as we learned in Best Worst Movie Connie McFarland doesn’t even list Troll 2 on her resume.

As I mentioned Claudio Fragasso and Bruno Mattei would form a partnership with Claudio writing or co-writing such films as The Other Hell, Hell of the Living Dead, Women’s Prison Massacre, Rats and Strike Commando with Bruno serving as director. Claudio Fragasso also wrote Zombie 3, which was directed by Lucio Fulci, but roughly 40-minutes were added in reshoots as after editing the film was only about 50-minutes and the additional scenes were shot by Bruno Mattei. In most of their collaborations, Fragssso besides writing also often served as an assistant director. Their partnership would deliver plenty of so bad its good films and Fragasso’s wife Rossella Drudi was often involved in the writing, but her name was almost always left off. Its kinda of fitting isn’t it that these three would make films together. As I mentioned Bruno Mattei was often dubbed the Italian Ed Wood and Bruno unlike Claudio would be the first to admit his films weren’t very good, but its quite easy to why the films they made together have become cult classics.

Laura Gemser best known for the Black Emanuelle series served as the costume designer on Troll 2.

Troll 2 was released on blu-ray by FOX and if you’ve seen any of the MGM title FOX have put out on blu-ray you should know what to expect. Audio and video is fairly decent and probably better than most would expect, but its nothing demo worthy. The cover boasts the words 20th-Anniversary Nilbog Edition, but there aren’t any features on the disc except for a trailer. Not much of an edition. Also a DVD copy is included. Despite being a 20th-Anniversary Edition there isn’t anything special about it, but while I’m sure fans would have liked something on the disc, but its still a worthy edition to a collection. Too bad FOX couldn’t work something out for Best Worst Movie to be part of the release. Its again disappointing that Troll 2 is a bare bones release, but with decent enough audio and video and being such a fun film I guess it can be sort of overlooked to some degree.

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Monster Dog (1984) Review

Posted in Monster Dog with tags , , , , , on November 29, 2012 by Last Road Reviews

Review by Dave

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MONSTER DOG

** Out of 5

Tagline- The Fear, the Terror, the Nightmare, They Will Never Forget It!

Release Date- December, 1984

Running Time- 84-Minutes

Rating- NR

Writer/Director- Clyde Anderson (Claudio Fragasso)

Starring- Alice Cooper, Victoria Vera, Carlos Santurio, Pepa Sarsa, Pepita James

Released in 1984 starring rock legend Alice Cooper, Monster Dog was written and directed by Clyde Anderson also known as Claudio Fragasso and while it may be a different name, but its the same result. This was yet another turkey made by Fragasso and while I fully get his appeal on the so bad its good level I just find his films so bad they’re bad. Monster Dog does nothing to change my mind in his work, but from a production side of things this might be his best film as the production values are better than the bulk of his work. But while production values might be better the quality of the film is no better than his other movies.

Vincent Raven (Cooper) is a rock star returning to his childhood home to shoot a music video; the place Vincent is returning to is the site of a bunch of murders by dogs led by a monster dog, which is a werewolf. Secrets from the past come to surface as the dogs begin to maul people.

The script by Fragasso is the typical script by him; its idiotic with poor characters no sense of plot and idiotic dialogue. Fragasso in all his years never seemed to figure anything out as a writer or director for that matter and while this isn’t his worst script and if anything its one of his stronger ones, which isn’t saying much since the script is a complete mess with some decent ideas, but with a hack writer you get what you pay for.

As poor as the script was the direction by Fragasso is even worse. With Monster Dog, Fragasso attempts at creating an eerie tone with a film based on suspense and not much of a shocker, but its a complete failure every step of the way as the film is poorly paced and despite running at only 84-minutes it feels like 500-minutes. Even in some of Fragasso’s past work as poor as the films were at least they weren’t boring, well for the most part. They were bad films and while some found them so bad their good I just found them bad, but again at least in general they weren’t boring, but with Monster Dog, Fragasso delivers a boring sloppy paced movie. The gore is light and the action scenes are forgettable in general.

I actually liked what Claudio Fragasso was attempting with Monster Dog and with a director with a clue this could have turned out decent, but Fragasso isn’t a good filmmaker and all he creates is a boring film with action scenes few and far between and even when there is action it’s so poorly staged.

As most fans of Italian cinema know more often than not these films are dubbed even if the cast is English speaking since these films are normally shot with no sound and its all added in later and Alice Cooper didn’t do his own dubbing, which is kind of annoying since we see his mouth moving, but not his voice. Cooper also lends his music talents to the soundtrack and no question Alice Cooper is one of the rock greats, but the songs used come across as B-side singles, but they were still decent tracks.

Overall Monster Dog is in typical Fragasso fashion a mess of a film; I was quite bored through most of the film and the F/X are quite poor and the Monster Dog is hysterical. If you’re one of those that can find the fun in Fragasso’s work you might dig this, but for those like me that dislike him this turkey is a skipper.

Zombie Series AKA Confused Yet?

Posted in Zombie Series AKA Confused Yet? with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 14, 2012 by Last Road Reviews

Is there anymore of a confusion set of films than those titled Zombie? I’m gonna try and keep it as simple as possible without confusing anybody. But most people don’t realize most of the so called sequels aren’t sequels at all, but were marketed as sequels in certain places.

It all started in 1978 with the release of Dawn of the Dead; when released in Italy Dawn of the Dead was called Zombi. There are movies that actually predate Romero’s Dawn of the Dead AKA Zombi that are billed as a sequel, but those movies used the Zombi title during a re-release, but it still creates a confusing mess for most people.

So we set up Romero’s Dawn of the Dead going under the title Zombi in Italy and the movie was a big success and Lucio Fulci’s Zombie Flesh Eaters was already shot and the producers changed the title to Zombi 2 and was released in 1979 so now people thought it was a sequel. The sad part is due to the Zombi 2 title, Fulci’s film is called a ripoff, which does make me laugh since if you’ve seen both movies they couldn’t be anymore different besides having Zombies. And again Fulci’s film was already shot.

In 1988 Lucio Fulci would release Zombie Flesh Eaters 2 and in Italy it would go under the title Zombi 3. By right Zombi 3 is actually the 2nd part since Zombi 2 isn’t really a sequel to Romero’s film.

I might have missed a few movies, but its not easy to find every movie under the title Zombi also I have no idea when any of these movies used the alternate title Zombi. In most cases the distributors changed the title for theatrical or video releases and most likely re-releases.

So in Italy the series would go like this.

Zombi (Dawn of the Dead)
Zombi 2 ( Fulci AKA Zombie, Zombie Flesh Eaters)
Zombi 3 (Fulci’s movie AKA Zombie Flesh Eaters 2)

In the UK the series is slightly different and different titles well sort of. Zombi 2 is called Zombie Flesh Eaters, which of course is the original title. Zombi 3 would be called Zombie Flesh Eaters 2 so thus far the UK releases are the correct ones until we get to Zombie Flesh Eaters 3. The 3rd part is called After Death, but in the UK it carries the Zombie Flesh Eaters name even if it isn’t part of the series.

So the UK series goes like this.

Zombie Flesh Eaters (Zombi 2)
Zombie Flesh Eaters 2 (Zombi 3)
Zombie Flesh Eaters 3 (After Death)

Upon their release in Germany they would be slightly different. Once again Romero’s Dawn of the Dead would be called Zombi, but in Germany, Fulci’s Zombi 2 isn’t considered part of the series. Instead Zombi 2 is actually Day of the Dead, which is the actual follow up to Dawn of the Dead and Zombi 3 would be well the 1988 film by Fulci Zombi 3, which is Zombie Flesh Eaters 2 since once again Fulci’s Zombi 2 (Zombie Flesh Eaters) and Zombi 3 (Zombie Flesh Eaters 2) are the only official parts.

Are we confused yet? Kind of odd how Fulci’s Zombi 2 isn’t seen as part of the series.

So in Germany the series goes like this.

Zombie (Dawn of the Dead)
Zombie 2: Das Letzte Kapitel (Day of the Dead)
Zombie III (Zombi 3)

I find the Germam series the most interesting since its correct on the first 2 movies, but weird how they would include Fulci’s Zombi 3 rather than Fulci’s Zombi 2.

Over in Thailand like the UK they are almost correct. The first film is Zombie Flesh Eaters (Zombi 2) then comes Zombie Flesh Eaters 2 (Zombi 3), but than they have 2 more films. Zombie Flesh Eaters 3 (After Death) and Zombie Flesh Eaters 4 (Killing Birds).

The interesting thing here is After Death was released in 1990 and Killing Birds in 1988 yet in Thailand After Death is part 4 of the Zombie Flesh Eaters series. But different parts of the world gets these films at different times so I guess they got After Death before Killing Birds or the distributors for whatever reason could have just changed up the order.

So in Thailand the series goes like this.

Zombie Flesh Eaters (Zombi 2)
Zombie Flesh Eaters 2 (Zombi 3)
Zombie Flesh Eaters 3 (After Death)
Zombie Flesh Eaters 4 ( Killing Birds)

Over here in the US the series is the same as it is in Thailand only with different titles and perhaps more confusing. So we’ve already established this all started with Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, which in some places is called Zombi. But here in the US it only goes under Dawn of the Dead.

Some releases of Lucio Fulci’s film goes under Zombi 2 and other releases Zombie. I can’t tell you how many times I have read people buying Zombi 2 then seeing Zombie unaware they are the same film under a slightly different title. Or how many people have asked I have Zombi 2 is Zombi 1 out?

So the series in the US is Zombie with some releases as Zombi 2. Then comes Zombi 3, which like Thailand is correct until we get to parts 3 and 4. Like Thailand the series goes in the same order with different titles. After Death is now called Zombie 4: After Death and Killing Birds is now Zombie 5: Killing Birds and remember Killing Birds came before After Death, but like Thailand After Death gets the 4 and Killing Birds 5.

So the US series is the same as Thai only different titles.

Zombie (sometimes Zombi 2)
Zombie 3
Zombie 4: After Death
Zombie 5: Killing Birds

Are we confused now? Well I’m not done yet. By the end of this you’re head will probably be spinning much like mine was trying to write this.

The film by Joe D’Amato called Antropophagus sometimes goes under the title the Grim Reaper or Antropophagus: The Grim Reaper. There was also a sequel of sorts released, which is called Absurd. Yet some video releases link these movies in with the Zombie series and screw up the order.

Now remember folks, Antropophagus comes first than Absurd yet some release Absurd is billed as Zombie 6: Monster Hunter and Antropophagus is called Zombie 7: The Grim Reaper.

None of these films are even zombie movies they are slasher flicks. Also despite the order being wrong when called Zombie it doesn’t matter since there is no connection between the 2 films. If anything look at them as their own movies and not sequels, but they follow a similar plot and that’s why Absurd is called a sequel even if it has no real connection.

You didn’t think I was done yet right? Well in 1974 Let Sleeping Corpses Lie was released, which also goes under the title Living Dead at Manchester Morgue and for some reason Don’t Open the Window and the poster and trailer make it look like a slasher flick, but its a zombie movie. Here in the US it went under all 3 of those titles. I believe the theatrical release was Don’t Open the Window and Anchor Bay released it in DVD as Let Sleeping Corpses Lie and when Blu-Underground released it they also released it under Let Sleeping Corpses Lie, but then re-released it on DVD and blu-ray as Living Dead at Manchester Morgue.

Why am I bringing this up you ask? Well it has also gone under the title Zombi 3. It actually predates both Dawn of the Dead (Zombi) and Fulci’s Zombie Flesh Eaters (Zombi 2).

Then we have Zombie Holocaust, which also goes under the title Dr. Butcher, MD and also Zombi 3

Burial Ground has also been called Zombi 3.

Still not done yet.

Nightmare City also called City of the Walking Dead also has been called Zombi 3

Wow so many movies called Zombi 3 lol. There are posters for Let Sleeping Corpses Lie as Zombi 3 as well as obviously Fulci’s Zombi 3 and Burial Ground. I will include those posters at the end of the post.

As for the others I assume there are posters somewhere. But can’t find them. Odds are the other movies called Zombi 3, were called that during video releases or re-titled for a theatrical release as I stated earlier. It’s very common for Italian horror movies to go under a number of different titles, Let Sleeping Corpses Lie I believe was from a production company in Spain, but had a few Italian crew members same for City of the Walking Dead, but while a Spain production was directed by Italian filmmaker Umberto Lenzi.

And lastly we have Hell of the Living Dead, which is also called Virus, Night of the Zombies and Zombie 4 lol

Well I hope I didn’t confuse anybody here lol if I did sorry lol. Writing this I got confused lol

Dawn of the Dead posters

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Fulci’s Zombie 3 AKA Zombie Flesh Eaters 2

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Fulci’s Zombie AKA Zombi 2 AKA Zombie Flesh Eaters

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Day of the Dead AKA Zombi 2

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Don’t Open the Window AKA Let Sleeping Corpses Lie, AKA Living Dead at Manchester Morgue AKA Zombi 3

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Burial Ground AKA Zombi 3

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After Death AKA Zombie 4: After Death AKA Zombie Flesh Eaters 3

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Killing Birds AKA Zombie 5: Killing Birds AKA Zombie Flesh Eaters 4

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Zombie 3 (1988) Review

Posted in Zombie 3 with tags , , , , , , on October 12, 2012 by Last Road Reviews

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ZOMBI 3

** ½ Out of 5

Release Date- July 29th, 1988

Running Time- 95-Minutes

Rating- NR

Screenplay- Claudio Fragasso

Director- Lucio Fulci & Bruno Mattei (un-credited)

Starring- Deran Sarafian, Beatrice Ring, Ottaviano Dell’Acqua, Massimo Vanni, Ulli Reinthaler, Marina Loi

Released in 1988 Zombie 3 continued the downward spiral for Lucio Fulci who in my opinion with the exception of Cat in the Brain, didn’t really make a good movie after the New York Ripper in 1982 and some even feel the decline started with Ripper, but I disagree and consider that one of Fulci’s best movies and his best of the 80s. Cat in the Brain again is the only post-Ripper movie that I liked a lot and I can tolerate Murder Rock from 1984 and Zombie 3 is better than anything else he made in this time, but that really isn’t saying much. I would hate for people to see this movie and form an opinion on Lucio Fulci since this in no way showcases what he could do as a filmmaker. When people think of Fulci they think of his splatter flicks of the 80s and while these were enjoyable films, movies such as Don’t Torture a Duckling, Seven Notes in Black and Zombie 2 really show what a wonderful filmmaker he actually was. When most think of Zombie 2 they think of the excellent gore F/X and for good reason, but the movie had a lot more than just gore F/X.

As I’ve stated before in many reviews for late 80s Italian horror flicks by this time the tide was turning on them and not long after this with the exception of Dario Argento, Italian horror was pretty much dead and seeing some of the movies to come out of Italy at the time that really isn’t a shocker. The one thing that surprises me about Zombie 3 is how weak the production values are, which is something that plagued a lot of late 80s Italian horror flicks except films by Argento and Michele Soavi. Zombie 3 is easily one of Fulci’s weaker efforts, but my biggest gripe is how this feels nothing like a Lucio Fulci movie. If not for his name in the credits I never would have guessed he made this movie; legendary hack filmmaker Bruno Mattei also played a part in this film, but more on that later. Apparently at the time of Zombie 3, Fulci was in poor health and according to writer Claudio Fragasso would throw pages away from the script refusing to shoot them.

Writer Claudio Fragasso is really terrible at what he does regardless if he’s writing and or directing I don’t think the guy could make a halfway decent porno flick, but yet for some odd reason I keep watching his work. According to Fragasso, Fulci threw the pages away because he deemed them too complex, but normally Fragasso has an excuse on why his films often come out so poorly, but I think Fulci was throwing away pages because he realized what a turkey the script was. Fragasso for the most part rips off George A. Romero’s The Crazies as well as taking elements from various zombie movies to write a screenplay so poor it’s sort of entertaining. Fragasso also attempts some social commentary, but everything is so laughably bad all this ends up being lost. The characters are total idiots and if anyone can remember any of their names you deserve an award. True a lot of horror films have weak characters, but these characters are total idiots with zero depth. The structure of the script is weak and Fragasso once again shows what a clueless of a filmmaker he is.

Director Lucio Fulci fails at really delivering much suspense and or excitement and seems to simply be going through the motions. The pacing of the film can be quite dreadful at times and despite running at only 95-minutes it does seem longer and the movie really could have used a shorter running time. Like I said earlier in the review I’d hate for people to see this and judge Lucio Fulci as the movie has nothing to show what made Fulci an Iconic horror filmmaker. After the movie was done it was said to be too slow and after editing it was too short and Fulci refused to do any reshoots so enter Bruno Mattei and the really sad thing is this might be the best work of his career. By this time in his career one would think Bruno would have learned a thing or two about filmmaking, but I guess not. In typical fashion Bruno Mattei delivers a hack job, but at least it has a couple of fun moments. Mattei’s scenes are just as sloppy as Fulci’s, but I actually found the pacing a tiny bit better. Regardless, Zombie 3 is a weak film in the career of Lucio Fulci and a decent film in the career of Bruno Mattei.

Make no mistake Zombie 3 is a bad movie, but that is why I sort of enjoy it. As for the zombies they range from slow moving to rather fast with one even wielding a machete! Some zombies have a few lines and others are silent. This is probably due to two different directors. You’d think Bruno Mattei would follow what Fulci was doing, but I guess not; but seeing as Fragasso’s script has no structure either not much of a surprise things constantly change.

The gore is fairly decent; it’s not the gore fest like some of Fulci’s prior work, but Zombie 3 has some decent gore, but could have used a bit more. But gore-hounds should be semi-pleased even if again it could have used more and it also wasn’t all that great. The zombie make-up I honestly didn’t really care for. It looks way too cheap.

My review is negative, but there is some fun to be found here; the idiotic characters can sort of make things fun at times and the machete zombie was quite fun and the zombie head in the fridge that comes flying out at one of the characters was hysterical. While Zombie 3 does have fun moments the movie isn’t as enjoyable as it could have been. At this time in Fulci’s career you can’t have too high expectations and with Fragasso and Mattie involved that also should lower expectations. I have a love/hate relationship with this movie and my enjoyment or lack of really depends on my mood. Once again I can’t stress enough don’t let this movie form your opinion on Lucio Fulci and it’s quite sad to see how low his career sank.

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Zombie 4: After Death (1990) Review

Posted in Zombie 4: After Death with tags , , , , , on October 10, 2012 by Last Road Reviews

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ZOMBIE 4: AFTER DEATH

** Out of 5

Release Date- July 27th, 1990

Running Time- 84-Minutes

Rating- NR

Screenplay- Rossella Drudi

Director- Claudio Fragasso (As Clyde Anderson)

Starring- Jeff Stryker, Candice Daly, Alex McBride, Jim Gaines

By this time the Italian horror film industry was on a major decline and Zombie 4: After Death was one of the very worst from the late 80s. Obviously we’re watching this movie to see a so bad it’s good movie and well you sort of get that, but for the most part you simply get a bad film, while there are some moments that are so bad they are fun they are few and far between, but for the most part After Death is just simply a terrible film from a terrible filmmaker. Zombie 4: After Death is billed as a sequel to Fulci’s Zombie AKA Zombie 2 and Zombie 3. But the Zombie 4 title was just thrown on for a marketing ploy.

When you have Claudio Fragasso as the director you should know what to expect. He is what would be labeled a hack. Granted he never had much of a budget, but in the horror genre does that really matter? There are filmmakers out there who aren’t good storytellers, but can put together a well-made movie. Sometimes it’s the luxury of a budget that helps make your movie enjoyable. But in the horror genre, some of the very best were made on low budgets. You could give Fragasso 100-million dollars and his movies would still look poor and come out poor.

The script by Rossella Drudi is lousy, but has she ever written a good screenplay? The script is just really poor and not in a good way where it’s fun. The characters are total idiots and often do the most idiotic things. Sometimes that is part of the fun, but not here. It’s kind of funny, Claudio Fragasso is best known for working with the late Bruno Mattei who in his own right was also a bad filmmaker, it was a match made in bad movie heaven. And Rossella Drudi is actually the wife of Claudio Fragasso. Kind of fitting they would marry each other isn’t it? Horror films often have idiotic characters, but sometimes it’s just annoying and in After Death it’s just that annoying.

Director Claudio Fragasso (under the name Clyde Anderson) fails at pretty much every turn. It’s obvious he had no passion for this project and it very much shows. There are moments when Fragasso attempts some suspense and scares, but they don’t work very well. Bottom line is Fragasso isn’t a good filmmaker. He lacks any storytelling skills and his movies are also poorly made. But he does have his fans; he’s one of those guys that can craft a so bad its good movie. Though for me, his movies are just bad. The pacing is boring as there are many scenes where nothing really happens and After Death lacks any real excitement. The zombies look and move terrible; They range from fast moving to really slow, some talk and some don’t. Seems like Fragasso couldn’t make up his mind on what he wanted to do. Actually the zombies aren’t very zombie like. They at times come out more demonic, think Evil Dead and others seem more like humans infected with some kind of disease now think George A. Romero’s The Crazies.

One of the main reasons to watch this kind of film is for the gore, but the gore is actually tame and when there is gore it’s not very well done. The make-up F/X was done by Franco Di Girolamo and I was rather un-impressed. He has done some solid work in the past, but he has also done some very poor work as well and here outside of maybe 2 or 3 gore scenes they look really poor. Franco Di Girolamo seems to be very hit or miss and here he was pretty much always missing. If the gore isn’t any good is there really any reason to watch this movie? I don’t think so.

I understand the appeal of After Death and the appeal of Claudio Fragasso and while this movie and some of his others have their fun moments, but for the most part they’re just badly made and worst of all boring. It’s not really a surprise the Italian film market was dying around this time when you have movies like After Death. In closing while After Death has its fun moments, but for me they were very few and far between and I found myself mostly bored.

As I stated this isn’t a sequel to Fulci’s Zombie 2 or Zombie 3. There is also Zombie 5: Killing Birds, but that also has no connection to Fulci’s movies or this one. Zombie 5: Killing Birds was actually released before Zombie 4: After Death so that shows you the lack of connection between the films.