Horror, Supernatural, Zombies

Island of the Living Dead (2006)

Comments Off on Island of the Living Dead (2006) 18 June 2015

Island of the Living Dead coverStudio: Intervision

Theatrical Release: 2006

DVD Release: February 10, 2015

Rating: Not Rated

Directed by Bruno Mattei

Review by Craig Sorensen

For all intents and purposes the Italian horror industry goes bust in the late‘80s/early ‘90s.  Thankfully no one told Bruno Mattei.  He kept pumping out ludicrous genre pastiches up until the mid 2000s.  Intervision has picked up four of these ridiculous late efforts for release.  Jamie has reviewed the two cannibal films (Mondo Cannibal and In The Land of the Cannibals) which he evidently didn’t like very much.  So I’m going to give the two zombie films a go.  I have to say that I enjoyed them both.  Sure, they’re cheap, stupid, shot on video and there isn’t anything even remotely original in them (and that’s being generous) but I still can’t help but be entertained. 

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Our story begins, obviously, with conquistadors.  In a prolog we learn how a Spanish settlement on an island in the south seas is overrun by zombies.  Cut to the present day and we get a typical group of rowdy treasure hunters out searching for booty on the high seas.  They get lost in a mysterious fog and end up shipwrecked on the Island of the Living Dead.  Once on the island everything goes apeshit.  There’s secret Spanish treasure, karate vs. zombies, ghosts, possession, ancient curses, flamenco dancing, vampires, and a black guy named Snoopy who wears a Snoopy shirt.

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This movie is nuts.  Even when the plot isn’t careening all over the place there’s plenty to keep you entertained.  The dialog is fucking hilarious.  Sample dialog:

Tao sacrificed himself for us!  We have to go back”!

“No, Tao sacrificed himself for us! We have to get to the boat”!

And the way it’s dubbed makes it even better.  And there are ‘homages’ sprinkled throughout, like the scene directly lifted out of Night of the Living Dead.  Of course Romero didn’t have the foresight to include a little kickboxing at the end of his scene.  Not everything is a joke here though.  Despite being shot on video there is some real old-school Italian atmosphere here.  The production design is pretty good throughout with lots of spooky old corridors to skulk around in.  The island location work is pretty good too.  It makes the whole production feel much more expensive.  Makeup effects are pretty good too.  There’s plenty of gore on display here.  It’s about up to the standards of Mattei’s own Hell of the Living Dead at least.  The video quality does make it look a little cheap but it’s still impressive low budget gore. 

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Intervision’s DVD transfer looks probably about as good as this is going to look.  It’s anamorphic at least.  I don’t think it looks too bad considering the limitations of the video format.  Colors look pretty good and sound is acceptable.  This is much better quality than, say, some of the other Intervision shot-on-video releases (Burning Moon or Sledgehammer come to mind).  Also included is a few extras.  You get a trailer and a slightly longer international sales promo.  The best feature is an 18 minute featurette called “Bungle in the Jungle” with the film’s producer Giovanni Paolucci and screenwriter Antonio Tentory.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

- who has written 151 posts on UnRated Film Review Magazine | Movie Reviews, Interviews.

Craig hails from 'Parts Unknown'.

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