Cast: Tisa Farrow, Ian McCulloch
Extras: Trailers, TV Spots, Radio Spots, Photo Gallery, Biography
"Zombie" has been released under countless monikers throughout the world, including titles such as "Zombi 2" creating a big deal of confusion around which film is which. Media Blasters is also releasing a version of the film under the title "Zombi 2" including about 2 hours of extras to the release as well. The reason why both studios are handling the same film is that different rights holders of the film have licensed the US rights to two studios, giving both Blue Underground and Media Blasters the rights to release the film. For years, Bill Lustig wanted to release an improved version of the film but couldn’t because the licensors would not give him access to proper materials. At the same time, the good folks at Media Blasters managed to obtain the original camera negative of the movie to strike a transfer from. Quickly Blue Underground and Media Blasters made an arrangement under which both could access the transfer and under which Media Blasters would have the right to release a Special Edition while Blue Underground would release a bare single-disc version.
Far away in New York City, his daughter Ann (Tisa Farrow) is worried, because she hadn’t heard from her father in months and when his sailing boat is found drifting into New York’s harbor, complete with a zombie onboard that kills a police officer, she quickly decides to find Matool and learn the truth about her father’s whereabouts and his work. Joined by reporter Peter West (Ian McCulloch) she’s soon on her way to the mysterious island only to find horrors greater than both had ever imagined.
Sticking with the old saying that less is sometimes more, Fulci did a great job staging the zombies, and scripting them in the story, without revealing too much of them. Unlike Romero, who brought them in by the hundreds, Fulci utilized only a limited number of shambling undeads in "Zombie", but those to great effect. They are not all over the place, but wherever they are, there is no escape. To many people, "Zombie" is a mixed bag, I would think. It is not what you’d call an exceptionally good movie – but cult movies rarely are – but it is one that is clearly worth seeing. The story has some problems with logic, the acting is rather poor and the dialog dub is pretty shameful at times. The film has a distinct quality however that easily lets you forget about these technicalities. Fulci’s stylish direction and choice of images make the film a good visual experience. The pacing is good and constantly builds towards the inevitable climax. Personally, I found that I liked the film a little more, every time I watched it, and as with most of Fulci’s work, every time I see it I detect yet another subtle hint here and another interesting shot there.
Blue Underground gives us a sparkling <$PS,widescreen> transfer of the movie here in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio that is <$16x9,enhanced for 16x9> TV sets. "Zombie" presents itself looking like a million bucks – without any grain, without any haze, without any blemish and razor-sharp. Scenes in which it was previously impossible to make out any details – like the zombie sitting in the hall having their feast – are suddenly coming to live in full detail with every bit of the image reading very clearly. The attack of the zombies on the hospital at night brings out more definition than ever, going as far as letting you see more actual zombies than ever before. The transfer renders colors very rich, perfectly contrasting the tropical paradise look of the sea and shoreline with the stark, gory horrors on the island. Skin tones are very naturally rendered and the blood has never been more intense. All without over-saturation or color bleeding Blacks are deep and solid and absolutely neutral, never tingeing the film like they did in previous versions. No notable edge-enhancement is evident and the compression is without a single artifact. It may sound like a cliché but it is absolutely true. This is "Zombie" like you have never seen it before!
The DVD also contains a vast selection of audio tracks, including newly remixed <$5.1,5.1 channel> <$DD,Dolby Digital> tracks in English and Italian, complemented by <$DS,Dolby surround> versions and the original mono tracks. So, whichever way you wish to view the film, Blue Underground gives you the option, complete with subtitles in English, if you so desire.
The dynamic range of the track has been improved during the remix, making Fabio Frizzi’s haunting score even more effective and also adding spatial information to the sound effects. The result is a track that is breathing more than ever before, giving you a much better impression of a live sound stage. While the dubs are still awkward at times, the remix has definitely added to the overall presentation value of the release.
I had high expectations for "Zombie" and I am elated at the result. The film could not look better and it is almost frightening to realize now just how bad previous versions of the film looked. I am in awe at this presentation and I am once again in awe at Fulci’s deliberate work, which is becoming even more evident now that you can see so many more little details in the image.
"Zombie" is a film that belongs in every horror film collection, plain and simple, and Blue Undergrounds presentation on this release is nothing short of a revelation.