Zombie (1979) – Episode 62 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“What is all this about the dead coming back to life again and… having to be killed a second time? I mean, what the hell’s going on here?” Peter West (Ian McCulloch) tries to make sense of the dead rising from their graves to eat the living in Zombie (1979). Doc Rotten returns and he brings Lucio Fulci to the 1970s podcast for the very first time. Jeff Mohr, Chad Hunt, and Bill Mulligan are on hand to discuss the highlights, the effects, the living dead, Italian horror, and Fulci’s dreamlike plot structure. Oh, yeah, and a zombie versus a shark! What else do you need?

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 62 – Zombie (1979)

When George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead (1978) was released overseas, it was often known as Zombi. In Italy, Fulci’s zombie epic was titled Zombi 2 without his knowledge or consent. His film is not a direct sequel to Dawn or any other living dead film. In fact, given the story, it would be more a prequel to the 1978 classic. When the film did cross the seas to play in the States, it kept the general idea of its moniker and became Zombie (1979). The film begins and ends in New York City but takes place mostly on a remote island with its lead characters looking for lost relatives, encountering the living dead and fighting for the lives.

“We are going to eat you!” – the poster tagline grabs its audience from the very get-go.

The Grue-crew explore the film, tackling Fulci’s filming techniques, the acting, the dubbing, the gore, and so much more. The film is iconic with its scenes of zombie horror. If not the underwater zombie-vs-shark scene, then the Spanish Conquistadors rising from the grave to attack our heroes, including the famous zombie with the worms swarming out if its eye socket. Fulci also seems to have a fetish for eyes as the scene with the splinter is intense even today. The gore is plentiful and the final battle in the church turned hospital is non-stop white-knuckle intense. Bill Mulligan even starts off the podcast by suggesting that Fulci’s Zombie is a favorite even over Romero’s Dawn of the Dead. What’s interesting about these zombies is that they are a mix of pre-70s voodoo zombies and modern Romero-ghoul zombies. The cast features Tisa FarrowIan McCullochRichard Johnson (…remember him from The Haunting 1963?).

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The Beyond (1981) – Episode 123 – Decades of Horror 1980s

“You ungodly warlock! Because of you this hotel and this town will be cursed forever!” An angry mob storms the hotel of Schweick (Antoine Saint-John), a warlock trying to keep the 7th doorway to hell at bay. Or whatever the hell is happening in this opening as he’s covered in queso. The Beyond – like many a Lucio Fulci film – takes liberties with logic and forward momentum in story. There’s a lot more emphasis on the horror of the images rather than a traditional narrative structure. It’s an acquired taste. But who amongst the Decades of Horror 1980s crew acquired this taste? Listen to find out!

Decades of Horror 1980s
Episode 123 – The Beyond (1981)

The Beyond is the middle chapter in Fulci’s Gates of Hell trilogy, following Gates of Hell (or City of the Living Dead) and just before The House By The Cemetery. While a loose trilogy, each has a Giallo sensibility that combines bright gore with nonsensical narratives. Outside of the basic premise of a young lady Liza (Catriona MacColl) inheriting a hotel that has a gateway to Hell, The Beyond is mainly an excuse for the madness to unfold. Tarantulas bite a guy’s face. A woman’s face melts after being covered in acid in front of her daughter. Zombies attack for no real discernable reason.

So, does this sit well with the Decades of Horror crew? Well, Doc Rotten is a tried and true Fulci fan, though he admits that the Italian legend frustrated him initially. Christopher G. Moore and Thomas Mariani admit they aren’t as up on their Italian horror. Christopher has some trouble with the dream logic and lack of consistency in the characters. Thomas can see that, but revels in the unintentional hilarity at play. It’s a brazen frank discussion about auteur theory, gore and the grammatical errors of “Do Not Entry.” Make sure to go Beyond the extra mile and listen to it all!

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Special thanks to Neon Devils for their awesome song Bone Chillin!

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