“Zombi 3” (1988)


By Jerome Reuter

While being interviewed on the set of Demonia, the subject of Zombi 3 was brought up to Lucio Fulci. The director flew into a rage, and began screaming, “That is not my movie, THIS is my movie!” It’s quite easy to understand the maestro’s frustration. Zombi 3, released in 1988 practically destroyed his career. This is a film that’s all over the place; it’s full of clichés, and scenes borrowed heavily from previous horror films. While directing in the Philippines, Fulci grew ill and had to return to Italy. The project was turned over to assistant director Bruno Mattei, and screenwriter Claudio Fragasso to complete the project. The two had collaborated several times before on films such as Rats, Hell Of The Living Dead, and The Other Hell. Although those works are highly entertaining, they also exist in the ‘so bad they’re good’ category. Mattei himself was infamous for pirating stock footage, and making in name only sequels of more popular films.

Mattei and Fragasso even have brief cameo in a copycat scene from Return Of The Living Dead.

Mattei (left) and Fragasso (right)

The story itself is a mishmash of things we’ve seen several times before. Not once does it feel like a film from the godfather of gore. It has the look and feel of a Mattei flick. Which means that is borders on the ridiculous, the insane, and produces a huge amount of laughter.

Our story centers on a nuclear formula that turns any the come into contact with it into zombies. That’s the gist of this one. Chaos ensues on the ground, and the military keeps bickering with a group of scientists over the best way to solve the problem. I have a question: Nightmare City, much?

That’s what makes this film as entertaining as it is. It’s really easy to see what films a lot of scenes are ripped from. You’ll find copycat scenes from The Crazies, Day Of The Dead, Dawn Of The Dead, Eaten Alive, and just about every other zombie flick you’ve ever seen. Of course you’ll also find bad dubbing, overacting, and effects that scream ‘low budget.’

The Crazies, much?

Speaking of the effects, some of the original material in this one induces uncontrollable laughter. One of the films most memorable scenes includes a flying zombie head, and killer birds. The head sequence looks like it belongs in a bad music video, and not a horror film.


Aside from its hilarity, this one is thoroughly entertaining. It’s everything you’d expect from a Bruno Mattei film. It’s easy to see that Fulci had little to do with this catastrophe. In fact, he would spend the rest of his career trying to get his name removed from the credits. That fact notwithstanding, sit back and enjoy the massive train


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