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Film / Zombi 3D

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Zombi 3 is a 1988 film and the sequel to Lucio Fulci's Zombi 2. The film was the brainchild of schlockmeister Claudio Fragasso and was originally under the direction of Fulci himself before he was replaced with Bruno Mattei.

Dr. Holder, a scientist stationed in the Philippines, is working on a virus called Death One with the hopes of bringing the dead back to life. Little does he know, the virus does more than that: it kills the living in addition to reanimating the dead. Horrified at how his work could have such killing potential, he volunteers to turn in his resignation and turn in what samples he has left.

Just before the samples can reach their intended destination, a couple of criminals driving a Ford Econoline show up to steal the box containing Death One. One is killed in the resulting shootout, but the other manages to escape with the box. Then he trips, and the box breaks. While trying to pick it back up, he accidentally touches the liquid and flees to the nearest hotel. No matter what he tries, the infection spreads and he dies.


A decontamination squad is sent to comb the area, and the blood samples left by the nutjob are traced to the hotel. The decontamination squad rounds up everyone inside and kills them after recovering their quarry. General Morton orders the hotel patrons and staff buried in a mass grave and the criminal brought to him. The body is then burned; as Dr. Holder fears, the ashes infect the air and turn the living into the living dead.

Meanwhile, a trio of GIs on vacation and a group of tourists unite against the ever-growing threat of the living dead...

Followed (albeit in the US only) by Zombi 4: After Death (a.k.a. Oltre La Morte)


This film contains examples of:

  • Affably Evil: General Morton, though in his case he's more Affably Antagonistic, though he has his moments of stress and urgency, particularly when he and Dr. Holder butt heads as the zombie problem escalates. He's noticeably calm as Dr. Holder finishes Chewing the Scenery at the climax of a Kirk Summation.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Glenn has a moment of this when confessing his crimes against nature.
    Glenn: I like smoking. I take a toke on a joint every now and then. And once in a while, I piss on a bush. Am I going to go to hell for that?
    Patricia: No, not for so little.
  • Artifact of Doom: Death One, the virus that infects virtually an entire island.
  • Ashes to Crashes: The burning of a body infected with Death One triggers an epidemic.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: GI Ken and Patricia flee the island as GI Roger is gunned down. As Blue Heart dedicates the next song to "all the undead around the world", Patricia worries that there may be nothing to return to. Then Ken decides to return.
    Patricia: We're going back to that? To fight?
    Ken: We're going back to win, before humanity's done for.
  • Cassandra Truth: The military doesn't seem to listen to Dr. Holder and his assistant when they warn them that burning the Death One infector could have serious consequences for the island's air quality and its population.
    General Morton: Oh, Doctor, it's you.
    Dr. Holder: Who told you to burn the body of the man infected with Death One!?
    General Morton: I had to close an episode.
    Norma: The episode could open again! Hadn't it ever occurred to you that the ashes, assimilated into the air, could fall back to Earth again?
    General Morton: That's ridiculous, pure Science Fiction!
  • Catchphrase: "Now you're talking Science Fiction." Spoken three times, sometimes with a variation, by General Morton.

  • The Cameo: Bruno Mattei as Coleman and Claudio Fragasso as Cheney, Those Two Guys to General Morton. Mattei himself has a couple of lines of significant length, first when he has Dr. Holder clear the room so that General Morton can speak with him and his assistant in private, and later when he confirms to the two scientists that they are, indeed, dealing with Death One right after getting off the phone following a report about presumably yet another violent and cannibalistic assault.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Blue Heart, as revealed when his face is shown horribly mutated, almost like those of the other zombies.
  • Flat-Earth Atheist: General Morton.
  • For Want of a Nail: For want of a high IQ, a body was lost; for want of a body, some birds were lost; for want of some birds, a bus was lost; for want of a bus, some people were lost; for want of some people, a country was lost; for want of a country, the whole world may have been lost. And all for the want of a decent IQ.
  • Four Is Death: The infector spends his last moments in Room 4 at the Sweet River Resort; it only gets worse from there.
  • Genre Blind: General Morton and Those Two Guys burn an infected body over warnings from the scientists and constantly accuses said scientists of watching too much Science Fiction films. Little does he know that he is in a Science Fiction film at the moment.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Dr. Holder intended Death One to simply reanimate the dead. Just not the way his test subject came back to life.
  • Hero Antagonist: General Morton is, for all intents and purposes, the antagonist of the picture; however, he's less evil than he is unwilling to take any chances when the Death One virus is loosed; if left unchecked, the epidemic on his hands could go entirely out of control.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The criminal that absconded with Death One wound up being done in by it. Then he inadvertently turns it on the Philippines when his ashes proceed to infect the air and kill a flock of birds that happened to pass by.
  • How We Got Here: According to Dr. Holder, Death One was mutated by the fire that consumed the infector's corpse, to the point where it actually resists oxygen and could potentially infect anywhere in the world if it so much as rains. Naturally, General "Now you're talking Science Fiction" Morton disbelieves the latter part of the theory.
  • In Name Only: Despite being the only movie in the Zombi series to be an actual officially-sanctioned sequel to its predecessor, it still has absolutely no plot connection with Zombi 2.
  • The Jaywalking Dead: When the zombie birds attack a bus, some of them ram into it headfirst and end up destroying their own brains for the effort.
  • Karma Houdini: General Morton. Also an Idiot Houdini.
  • Kill 'Em All: According to General Morton, "any living creature in a contaminated area is not going to get out alive. You can count on that, Dr. Holder!"
  • Kill It with Fire: The military takes this approach toward the zombies, as seen early on when a corpse infected with Death One is burned and in a later scene where the military throws dead zombies onto a massive funeral pyre. Zombies are also incinerated here and there by the main characters in creative ways, be it with gasoline or a flamethrower. Knowing the effects heat has on Death One (i.e. it mutates the virus into an oxygen-resistant killer), Dr. Holder is completely adverse to this method of corpse disposal.
  • Kirk Summation: Dr. Holder delivers one to General Morton shortly before the climax. At first, he sounds perfectly calm, but as the summation goes on, his Large Ham side starts to show itself, culminating in a declaration that he doesn't wish to be remembered as the unwitting architect of armageddon:
  • Large Ham: Several of the characters, but Dr. Holder takes the cake, particularly when General Morton says or does something that greatly upsets him. From the German trailer:
    General Morton: We have to cut off the epidemic area!
    Dr. Holder: Cut it off!? How? By continuing to kill thousands of innocent victims!?
  • Large Ham Radio: "I'll dedicate my next number to all the undead around the world." Indeed, Blue Heart is like this when he's not being serious.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Dr. Holder decides to resign from the Death One project due to the virus's lethal potential; he ultimately stays on, if only to lead the team in working on an antidote.
  • Noble Demon: General Morton.
    • The Noble Demon Wins: General Morton boasts to the scientists in his final scene that they've got the zombie problem under control without having to resort to science.
    General Morton: Nice philosophical sentiment. But the truth of the matter is, the virus has been blocked by the course of action we have taken.
  • Not So Stoic: Tracey, General Morton's bald and normally stoic adjutant, betrays some visible emotion when Dr. Holder complains to Morton about a spike in atmospheric radiation. Not helping is that he had just gotten off the phone following a report about presumably yet another violent and cannibalistic assault.
    Tracey: That's not the worst of it. There have been numerous incidents of inexplicable violence... murders and... people are eating each other!
  • Rule of Cool: The "zombie head in the freezer" scene, which makes clever use of the 3D medium as the head inexplicably flies toward the camera and latches onto a hapless victim's neck. Does it make sense? Nah. Does it need to? Also nah.
  • Shout-Out: To Alien, The Crazies, Day of the Dead (1985), and The Return of the Living Dead, among others.
  • Skewed Priorities: General Morton is more concerned with stopping an epidemic (in his words, "I had to close an episode.") than the air pollution potential. However, when Dr. Holder presents his theory about how burning the infector started the infection in the first place (as transcribed below) toward the end, Morton appears to be sold on at least that.
    Dr. Holder: Before you leave, General, I should like to inform you that the epidemic started with the burning of the body.
    General Morton: Oh?
    Dr. Holder: [matter-of-factly] The heat mutated the virus, made it resistant to oxygen, and let it escape.
  • They Killed Kenny Again: One character gets killed twice. After being attacked and killed by the flying zombie head (which is the first time he gets killed in the film), he returns to the group looking none the worse for wear.
  • Third Is 3D: Technically; as Zombi 2 is basically a fanmade sequel to Dawn of the Dead (1978), this film should count, as it was originally filmed in 3D.
    • It was only released this way in Italy. Poor box office there led the international release to be shown flat (and cropped to 1.85:1 from the original scope aspect ratio). Depending on who you believe, it's also possible that either only Fulci's scenes or portions thereof were filmed in 3D.
      • Actually, German followed this as well...weirdly. Their series goes Zombie (Dawn of the Dead), then Zombie 2: Das Letzte Kapitel, which is actually Dawn's proper sequel, Day of the dead. And then finally, the Italian Zombi 3. (Fulci's Zombi 2 was released as Woodoo.)
  • Those Two Guys: Tracey (played by Bruno Mattei) and Cheney (played by Claudio Fragasso).
  • Too Dumb to Live: General Morton and Those Two Guys burn a corpse tainted with a virus that could be let loose in the process, and the soldiers (particularly General Morton) never bothered to listen to a scientist's warnings. This turns out to be the Inciting Incident of the film as the ashes infect the air and a flock of birds catch it, accosting a bus some time later.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: General Morton. When Dr. Holder and Norma confront him as the body of the infector is burned, he simply acknowledges, "I had to close an episode." Norma warns him that "the episode could open again", with disastrous effects. Her warning proves to be very prophetic.
  • Villainy Discretion Shot: The anti-contamination squad following General Morton's orders after discovering the criminal's rotten corpse:
    General Morton: Yes... I see. Evacuate the premises, and eliminate everyone there. Bury them in a mass grave. Then transport the body of the infector, with maximum precautions, you-know-where. Well done, lieutenant.
    • In the original Italian version, he also condemns the Sweet River Resort where the infector spent his last minutes and orders the anti-contamination squad to demolish it. However, the hotel is still standing later in the film for some reason.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: General Morton intends to stop the zombies; he just doesn't know how to do so in a moral manner.
  • Worst News Judgment Ever: Blue Heart is a music DJ; his job's to play music by Clue in the Crew, not to report on the ongoing crisis.