BluRay/DVD Reviews

ZOMBIE HOLOCAUST

By • May 21st, 2002 •

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A Media Blasters ‘Shriek Show’ release.
1982 U.S. theatrical release as Doctor Butcher, M.D.
90 mins. 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Dolby digital 2.0 / Not rated.

As you can see, I have more than a passing interest in this one. Terry Levene, the US distributor of Italy’s Zombie Holocaust, never told me what the film was going to be, just that he needed three minutes of zombie footage for a new title sequence since he’d lost the rights to the Italian title. He also promised me an upfront screen credit. Seemed fine to me. It shouldn’t have been. It’s not a film with which I had any hands-on connection, and the blowup of footage from a unfinished feature I produced – Tales That’ll Tear Your Heart Out – wasn’t good. But it’s an odd footnote to my career, and I was glad to help with the DVD of the original version (the Tales-laden title sequence is not contained on this disc).

Zombie/Cannibal films are strong subgenres of the Horror genre. ZH has gone by many names, and the US moniker – Dr. Butcher, MD (for medical deviate), heralded upon its release by a‘ButcherMobile’ cruising Manhattan’s streets, only helps perpetuate its rep.

The film is neither special nor disappointing for its fanbase, but it is chock full of gore, zombie makeup and nudity, stalwart staples of the genre. There’s even nostalgic footage of NYC. And the extras are fun, if I must say so myself, since many of them concern me. The video interview was conducted at my wife’s apartment by Edward Samuelson. It focussed on whatever background I could supply about the US release and my involvement therein, with some additional questions about my career which are less relevent (but it was kind of Edward to ask). Watching the DVD for the first time, I noticed that I appeared strikingly youthful in the interview, and on closer inspection realized that this was because I was slightly out of focus (the poster on the wall in back of me is razor sharp). I’ll have to remember this clever effect for future interviews since, on a recent DVD release – Hardcore Poisoned Eyes – in an interview filmed between me and Director Sal Ciavarello, I apparently looked tired.

Behind the scenes on <strong>Tales That’ll Tear Your Heart Out</strong>. Clockwise from Top: Ted Bonnitt, Brendan Faulkner, and in zombie makeup, your humble editor.”></div>
<p>Two uncompleted sequences from Tales are presented in rough cut form. Frank Farel’s concerns the corpse of a former rock star who died one night after a concert when, stoned, he strangled on blue glitter. Reanimated, he returns to complete the concert. The other sequence, directed by Brendan Faulkner, finds the corpse of a former serial killer back to complete his last murder which had been derailed by death. Seems he was so intent on his victim he didn’t look both ways while crossing the street. This serial killer’s peculiar taste was in unwed pregnant women, and I recall approaching pregnant women in diners, etc., and asking them if they’d be willing to be in the film, and willing to do brief nudity…and as I recall I got some takers, but their husbands nixed the idea.</p>
<p>Finally there is a small section of stills from the production of <strong>Tales</strong>. Some of these are point expansive time capsules, since we see Ted Bonnitt (creator of last years charming <strong>Mau Mau Sex Sex</strong>) operating a fog machine, and Victor Petrashevich (DP on <strong>The Projectionist</strong> and <strong>The Comeback Trail</strong>) posing with Brendan on the grounds of a mental institution where he filmed part of that sequence. There’s also a shot of me in my zombie makeup, relieving myself against a tree… Others involved in <strong>Tales</strong> included Wes Craven, Al Kilgore (‘Bullwinkle’ panel strip creator), Chuck Hirsch (producer of <strong>Greetings</strong> and<br />
<strong>Hi Mom</strong>), DeWitt Bodeen (who wrote the ’42 version of <strong>Cat People</strong>), Ernest Tidyman, and Chris Wedge.</p>
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<p><strong><u>DVD Features:</u></strong><br />
Contains still and poster gallery, trailers, talent bios. Interview with Special Effects creator Maurizio Trani. Sequences from Tales That’ll Tear Your Heart Out which were raided for shots for the American version title sequence.<br />
Video interview with your editor, who produced Tales. Narration under the Tales clips by yours truly.<br />
Stills from Tales.</p>
<p><strong>Credits:</strong><br />
Directed by Marino Girolami.</p>
<p><strong>Cast:</strong><br />
Ian McCulloch, Alexandra Dellicolli, Sherry Buchanan, Peter O’Neal.</p>

				

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