Fulci, Mattei, Fragasso, Drudi, and the Grisly Coctail that is Zombie 3 and Zombie 4: After Death

July 9, 2018 | By

Last month I reviewed Bruno Mattei’s Shocking Dark, a balant rip-off of James Cameron’s Aliens (1986) and Terminator (1984), newly released on Blu-ray via Severin. The label’s been adding more of Mattei’s work to their catalogue, and satisfying fans with original uncut versions with supportive extras that contextualize the films within the director’s filmography.

Key collaborators to Mattei’s canon (ahem) are screenwriter Rossella Drudi and screenwriter-director Claudio Fragasso, the married couple responsible for the infamous Troll 2 (1990).

In my upcoming reviews of Strike Commando (1987) and Robowar (1988) I’ll examine the trio’s fixations and approaches to filmmaking within the Z-grade realm, but today’s postings address Severin’s new BR editions of Zombie 3 (1988) and Zombie 4: After Death (1989).

The zombie entries were previously released by Media Blasters around 2002, and Severin’s new interviews with Fragasso and Drudi add further details on their involvement with Lucio Fulci, who’s the de facto director of Z3. It’s a fascinating tale of a difficult shoot in the beautiful Philippines, in which Fulci declined reshoots, and Fragasso and Mattei added new material scripted by Drudi. From an editorial stance, I always get a kick in seeing how a film was constructed under unique circumstances, and whether he final results work or prove more harmful.

Z3 is somewhere in between – it is a clever salvage job – but Fulci’s own contributions feel half-hearted. One exception involves a zombie attack in a deserted gas station, which naturally ends in one indulgence shared by Fulci, Mattei, and Fragasso: shit blows up real good. Whether by cigarette lighter, rifle shot, bazooka or whatever, Mattei and Fragasso really love dynamiting sets and sending particles into oblivion.

Z4 shares that fetish because it’s an exclusive Fragasso-Drudi production, and a portent of the incoherent nonsense in Troll 2.

I’d argue Z4 is a better and more enjoyable film because there are no bland families and attempts by Fragasso and Drudi to interpret small town America. Z4’s end goal is simple: zombies will conquer humanity, one island at a time, and it’s told with supernatural amulets, childhood trauma, a porn star, and sometimes bizarre music score choices.

Coming very shortly is a review of Twilight Time’s nice Blue of My Gal Sal, the 1942 Technicolor musical starring Victor Mature (he sings!), Rita Hayworth (she sings & dances!), and Fox starlet Carole Landis.




Mark R. Hasan, Editor

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