Hell of the Living Dead (also known as Night of the Zombies, Virus, or Zombie Creeping Flesh) is a 1980 Italian-Spanish zombie horror film written by Claudio Fragasso and directed by Bruno Mattei.
In Papua New Guinea, secret research laboratories called "Hope Centers" work to help feed impoverished nations... or so they claim. Unfortunately, one of the labs' projects, Operation Sweet Death, has a chemical leak that causes the facility—and the country—to be overrun by zombies.
The film is largely known for its plagiarism of George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead, with characters wearing similar uniforms to the heroes of Romero's film, as well as using some of its music, although much of Hell of the Living Dead's soundtrack also came from the Alien rip-off Contamination, which like Dawn was scored by Goblin.
This film has the examples of:
- Action Survivor: Zantoro.
- Boom, Headshot!: As with most zombie films. Zantoro figures this out, and is increasingly annoyed by the lack of this, though he himself fails to make headshots when really upset.
- Break the Cutie: Lia, the journalist, after finding out that developed nations had created the zombie plague to thin out the populations of Third World Countries.
- Chewing the Scenery: Zantoro, and the film is all the more entertaining for it. Actor Franco Garofalo did most of this by improv, according to the DVD bonus feature documentary on the blu-ray.
- Crapsack World: New Guinea is a third world country in the first place, and the organization providing foreign aid is actually wanting to unleash a zombie gas to stop overpopulation. Then the gas leaks, and the country goes full Zombie Apocalypse. The ending shows that the zombie plague is spreading to the rest of the world.
- Creator Cameo: Mattei and Fragasso appear as police early in the film.
- Downer Ending: All of the main cast is eaten by the zombies. Meanwhile, the zombie plague is spreading across the world.
- Everything's Deader with Zombies
- Exploitation Film
- Eye Scream: From the INSIDE!
- Gory Deadly Overkill Title of Fatal Death
- The Hero Dies: Lt. Mike London is eaten by the zombies.
- Hostage Situation: A group of terrorists take hostage of Consulate, demanding closure of the Hope Centers.
- I Shall Taunt You: Zantoro spends half the movies taunting zombies.Zantoro: *Completely surrounded by zombies* Hey you, what are you staring at? Are ya hungry?! Ah, I get it, you want a little bite outta me. What meat do ya like, drumstick? *Zombie grabs arm* A wing? *The others watch him in disbelief.* Ohhh, oh yeah, that's great, a wing, eh? Well, suck this! *Pull back, shoves gun into zombie's mouth, and fires.*
- After Lia threatened but failed to kill Lt. London, Zantoro points the very same gun at her, fires, and mocks her because it wasn't loaded.
- As noted on The Bruno Mattei Show, this is like if Wooley from Dawn of the Dead got his own film.
- Ms. Fanservice: Lia knows how to blend in with the natives. Cut to: pulling her shirt off...
- Operation: [Blank]: "Operation Sweet Death".
- The Place
- Plague Zombie: The zombies. Which was engineered by the First World nations so Third World people would get infected and eat each other.
- Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain: "Cut it out! Stop wasting your damn bullets, you jerks! You need to hit their heads! I told you! See, like this!" (shoots zombie in the head)
- Stock Footage: Used to simulate the characters walking through the jungle.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Zantoro yells that all it takes is a headshot...right after emptying the entire magazine into the zombie child's head!
- Title of the Dead: Combined with Gory Deadly Overkill Title of Fatal Death.
- Too Dumb to Live: Checking a house for zombies? Perfect time to throw your guns on a shelf, dress in hat & tutu, and imitate Gene Kelly!
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: The terrorists know what the Hope Centers are actually up to.
- World of Ham: As pointed out in this video review, all the performances are blown up to pantomime proportions, with the acting making that in a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta look natural by comparison. Zantoro in particular is especially hammy.
- Would Hurt a Child: A small infected boy is found eating one of the soldiers.
- The X of Y
- Zombie Apocalypse: Obviously in third-world nations, but it has spread to first-world by the end of the movie.
- Zombie Gait: Some are hilarious.