Fulci’s Feral Food Feast.
Being of a “certain” age and being British, I was firmly around at the time of the ridiculous “video nasty” mania that swept the UK in the early 1980s. Films that usually involved cannibals, either ferox, holocaust or zombified, and torture porn revengers et al, were banned, prosecuted or given a Viking burial at sea. One such film was Zombie Flesh Eaters (the best title the film has of the few it is known by), it became like the Holy Grail of video nasties, where to see it uncut would be like witnessing the last miracle performed by Christ. I never did get to see it back then, and as my horror leanings waned over the years I let it drift from my conscious. But now I’m here in my middle age and finding a new appetite for horror, I have finally managed to see the fabled shocker from Lucio Fulci.
In many ways it’s a disappointment, I mean I understand that to view it now is never going to impact in the way that it did (could) in 1979, but casting aside for a moment the gore scenes, which I will get to, it’s a bad film awash with badness, and not in a horror bad ass way. Much like the other Fulci film I viewed recently, The House By The Cemetery, ZFE is a series of blood and guts scenes strung together by amateurish filler. Be it bad acting, bad dubbing, hopeless dialogue and half hearted attempts at something cranial. However, if judging this particular Fulci film on its key horror scenes? Then it’s got brains, imagination and style to burn. Marking it out as by definition a mixed bag genius disaster!
The zombies themselves are brilliant creations, all dripping with rotting flesh, caked in earth and having mother nature’s insect creatures wriggling around their ravaged bodies. They shuffle along in classic Romero mode, and feast on flesh with carefree abandon. They are also perpetrators of some of zombie cinema’s best moments, such as fighting a shark on the ocean bed, pulling a hapless female victim onto a wooden splinter – eye first! And one scene where they collectively rise slowly from the earth is atmospherically as creepy as it is stunning in its execution. It is these things that of course helped to make it a legendary part of the Italian Exploitation era, and it’s these things that make it watchable still today, but let it not be said there is anything else worthwhile, because the rest is simply awful. 6.5/10