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Film / Zombi 2

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Zombi 2 (1979) is a zombie horror film directed by Lucio Fulci, which made Fulci a horror icon. Despite the fact that it purports to be a sequel to George Romero's Dawn of the Dead (the Italian title of which is Zombi), the two films are unrelated. It's called Zombie Flesh Eaters in the UK.

Patrolmen investigating a derelict yacht drifting into New York Harbor are attacked by a rotting man, who kills one of them by biting out his throat. The owner of the yacht is nowhere to be found, so police question the man's daughter, Anne (Tisa Farrow), who knows only that he'd gone to the Caribbean island of Matool to conduct research. She meets Peter West (Ian McCulloch), a reporter who has been assigned the story, and together — with another seafaring couple, Brian (Al Cliver) and Susan (Auretta Gay) — they travel to Matool.

Problem: Matool is a cursed place, where the dead rise to attack the living. Dr. Menard (Richard Johnson) is on the island to investigate why. His high-strung wife Paola (Olga Karlatos) wants to leave for fear of being attacked. But hey, they're only dead dudes... what could they possibly do?

Then our intrepid investigators arrive...

This was followed in 1988 by Zombi 3D. A rip-off was made in 1980 by Marino Girolami, called Zombie Holocaust.

"Zombie Trope Eaters":

  • Action Prologue: The film opens with a sequence of an unidentified individual holding on a gun on a filled makeshift body bag, which then sits up only for the gun-holder to open fire, achieving a Boom, Headshot!. Cue the title credits.
  • Advertised Extra: Ole' Worm Eye is depicted in much of the film's advertisement and posters, making it look like he's crucial to the plot in someway. He actually doesn't appear until midway through the film, and his screentime is at most three minutes.
  • All There in the Manual: The Zombie Graphic Novel CD contains several spoken-word tracks by a Hunter Thompson soundalike, giving people clues about what was going on in New York when the zombies hit.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: While most of the zombies are destroyed, one manages to escape at the beginning of the movie and starts a Zombie Apocalypse in New York while everybody's distracted.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: The only survivors from the island are en route to New York only to learn via radio that the entire city has been taken by an uncontrollable horde of zombies.
    Reporter: I've just been informed that zombies have entered the building. They're at the door... they're coming in! YI-YAGH! ROOOWWAARRRRGGHHHHHH!
  • Brick Joke: The ending is a particularly grisly one. This would've applied more had the scene where the boat zombie emerges onto the New York shore been left in.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Anne and Peter fake it to avoid being arrested for trespassing on Dr. Bolt's boat. The officer that finds them buys their act and simply shoos them off the boat.
  • Bottomless Magazines: During the hospital shootout, the characters go through a lot of ammo than what their respective guns can actually carry, and are never visibly seen reloading them.
  • The Cameo: Diver and shark trainer Ramon Bravo shows up as a zombie fighting a shark.
  • Coincidental Broadcast: At the end of the film, after barely surviving the zombie outbreak on the island, Peter and Anne escape to a boat and then proceed to turn on the radio... which informs that the United States is being taken over by zombies.
  • Cool vs. Awesome: Underwater zombie versus shark. It ends in a draw - the zombie tears out and eats some of the shark's flesh, but the shark takes one of his arms in retribution.
  • Covers Always Lie:
    • That picture you see on a lot of advertising for the film, including many video covers and the page image? That's actually Ottaviano Dell'acqua, in full worm-eyed zombie regalia, doing his best impersonation of Olga Karlatos as Post-Eye-Gouge!Paola. Though he does appear in the film proper as the zombie that kills Susan, he just doesn't "smile" like in the posters.
    • This scene of the boat zombie coming ashore never made it into the film.
  • Creator Cameo: Peter's boss at the newspaper is played by Lucio Fulci himself.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Paola and Dr. Menard are both killed in ways that would make it impossible for them to come back as zombies; Dr. Menard was bitten in the face twice, but Paola flat-out becomes an item on the zombies' menu. As zombies, it wouldn't even be them anymore, so technically they aren't any deader than the others.
  • Deadline News: At the end of the film, as Peter and Anne realize the zombies have taken over New York City, we hear a radio announcer report that they've broken into his building. The report ends with him screaming as the zombies break into his studio.
  • Downer Ending: Peter and Anne escape the island after burning the zombies alive. Due to the deaths of all of the other main characters, the film is shaping up for a Bittersweet Ending. Then they turn on the radio, and learn that Naw York City is in the midst of a Zombie Apocalypse.
  • Dubtitle: The Media Blasters DVD release, the first in America with an Italian language track, does this for the English subtitle track; however, the Blue Underground release has a subtitle track that's translated closer to the original Italian.
  • Dub Name Change: Anne and Brian's last names are "Bolt" and "Curt" in the Italian version.
  • Due to the Dead: Anyone doomed to become a zombie gets a summary funeral consisting of a headshot followed by burial in a mass grave, including Dr. Bolt. This is done to prevent the corpse from running rampant on the island.
  • Dolled-Up Installment: This film was developed as stand-alone film titled "Gli ultimi zombi" ("The Final Zombie") before its title was changed to Zombie 2 to tie it to Romero's Zombi.
  • Everything's Deader with Zombies: And everything becomes deader because of the zombies starting with Matool which becomes a ghost island with no inhabitants except reanimated corpses by the end of the film and then the deadness starts to spread into New York...
  • Eye Scream: Hoo, boy... One of the most famous scenes in this movie is where a zombie grabs Paola's head, and then drags it towards a massive splinter of wood. It is not pretty.
  • Finger-Twitching Revival: As the doctors at the NYC Medical Examiner's office prepare to perform an autopsy on the harbor patrolman who was bitten and killed by the boat zombie, the camera pans down to the cadaver on the table, whose hand begins to stir beneath the sheet.
  • Foreshadowing: See those eyes the camera is zooming toward? They're about to go SPLAT! later on courtesy of a wood splinter.
  • Four Is Death: During the climax, it takes four Molotov cocktails to get a good enough fire started to destroy the zombies.
  • Gorn: Many scenes in the film can get graphically gory.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: A very vague and cryptic speculation made by the Matool's natives and voiced by Lucas, is that an evil voodoo doctor is behind the rise of the dead but it is left deliberately indefinite till the end without any clear answer though the lack of any scientific evidence supports it as black magic.
  • Gross-Up Close-Up: Fulci is a master of this. Proudly showcasing his gory setpieces in graphic close ups.
  • Island of Mystery: What exactly animated the zombies on the isle of Matool is not expanded upon beyond some vague voodoo thing.
  • The Jaywalking Dead: The protagonists encounter one as they flee Menard's villa, and it ends up causing their car to crash.
  • Mad Scientist: Subverted with Dr. Menard. He is obsessed with his research which ultimately causes the zombie apocalypse but he is not insane or evil. In fact, he tries to find a cure for the zombie-plague and help out the protagonists whenever he can.
  • Neutral Female: Played straight for the most part. The women in this movie have an annoying tendency to stand still and scream as zombies bear down on them.
  • Nightmare Face: There are a lot of closeups of the zombie's faces. Hell, there's even one on the cover!
  • Numbered Sequels: Spiritually, Zombi 2 is meant to follow Dawn of the Dead, which Dario Argento re-edited into what amounted to a different movie, called Zombi, to which various people made five sequels, called Zombi 2, Zombi 3, and so forth. To make this even more confusing, Zombi 2 was retitled Zombie for its North American release (see the page image), but later sequels followed the numbering pattern on both sides of the pond. Therefore, you can rent Zombie, Zombie 3, and Zombie 4, but not Zombie 2 (except via the 1992 Edde Entertainment VHS or the 2004 Media Blasters DVD). Confused yet?
  • Only Sane Man: Dr. Menard's wife Paola was fighting with her husband for refusing to drop his Mad Scientist tendencies and flee the island while they still had a chance. Neither of them are crazy; the zombies are real, and the danger is real, but Dr. Menard is more optimistic than anything.
  • Precision F-Strike: Susan has one when she and the others hear what sounds distinctively like voodoo drums.
    Susan (official subtitles): I hate them! Fucking drums! I hate them!
    Susan (English dub): I hate it! Damn you, you bastards! I can't take it!
  • Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain: The surefire way, just like in many other zombie works, to kill the zombies is to aim at the head. Not everyone is aware of this.
  • Threatening Shark: Subverted in the well-known "zombie vs. shark" scene. It's a tie.
  • Token Good Teammate: Invoked and most likely parodied with the shark-fighting zombie by supplementary materials; at least one home video release actually mentions that said zombie saved Susan from the approaching shark.
    • Thought ironically in film, it's the zombie who attacked Susan the second time and the shark who comes rushing in, effectively making the killer fish the Token Good Teammate of the movie's monsters.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • The survivors actually had a pretty decent chance of holding out against the horde in the hospital near the end of the film... if only Dr. Menard had remembered to shoot the corpses already inside the building. You know, like he'd been doing the entire movie already.
    • Then finally Brian comes across a zombiefied Susan as the survivors are fleeing the hospital. Considering he saw her get killed by a zombie only a short while ago, and he's spent most of the day killing zombies, you would think he'd realize what's happened and shoot her or at least get the hell away from her. But instead he just stares at her, lets her get close, and then actually seems surprised when she bites him.
    • And how did Susan die? By just standing there for a good minute or so as a zombie slowly crawled out of the ground in front of her. The fight or flight reflex apparently just passed her over.
  • Vader Breath: For whatever reason, the zombies tend to make a noise similar to Darth Vader's breathing.
  • Video Nasties
  • Whatever Happened to the Mouse?: It's never revealed what happened to the boat zombie at the beginning of the film after falling into the water nor the policemen that he attacked. Considering New York is revealed to have been taken over by zombies at the end of the film, it's easy to put two-and-two together...
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Remember the undead corpse at the morgue in the middle of New York City? Yeah...
  • Zombie Gait: And how. The ones in Zombi 2 are even slower at trudging along than George Romero's zombies.

Alternative Title(s): Zombie, Zombie Flesh Eaters