Zombie Flesh Eaters (1979)

One thing about the rise of DVD in the last decade that’s always amused me is the respect, for want of a better word, shown by the likes of Blue Underground, Anchor Bay, etc, to the often disreputable genre films they release, making a greater effort to present them properly than the major studios do at times with their acknowledged classics. It has bothered me, though, that a lot of Euro-genre films like this only seem to be available on DVD dubbed in English, so it’s nice to see Zombie Flesh Eaters again (insofar as it’s nice to see it at all) in its “own” language (and yes, I know Italian films were dubbed in Italian too)… indeed, it was a generally happier viewing experience second time round; my first viewing was of the Umbrella edition, a fairly horrible PAL conversion of the old Anchor Bay edition; the BU disc is not only a better NTSC transfer but anamorphic, and that makes a remarkable difference. You realise just how fucking strange the famous zombie vs shark sequence actually is when you can see it clearly. On the whole, I’m willing to concede ZFE is now OK, at least, though hardly problem-free (it takes far too long to really establish the zombie threat), and while it must be acknowledged that it did revive Fulci’s then-flagging career (not to mention triggering a whole wave of Eurozombie films in its wake), it’s still a bit sad that his zombie films from that period have generally kind of eclipsed his earlier 70s films… still, those got rediscovered and maybe so will the even earlier ones. And it must be said the film is a lot less “what the flaming fuck?” than City of the Living Dead or The Beyond too. I still don’t think it’s an epic masterpiece or anything, but I’m not sorry I gave it a second chance.

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