AKA Oltre la morte (Italy)
AKA After death - L'isola maledetta (Italy)
AKA Das Böse ist wieder da (West Germany)
AKA After Death
AKA Zombi 4
AKA Zombie Flesh Eater 3
AKA Zombie Flesh Eaters 3
(Release Date: USA 26 November 2002 (DVD premiere) What's the original date?)
In the scant months between ruining the third (which is actually the second) film in this series, it's obvious that our boy Claudio had been busy! Busy renting better movies that is! I can sort of picture him sitting in front of his VCR with a self-satisfied smirk taking notes from the most interesting aspects of better Zombie films and eventually throwing those bar napkins, torn yellow pages and the backs of porn receipts to "writer" Rossella Drudi and saying "Hey, make this into a movie script, will ya? I'll be in the men's room!"
Seriously, there are some fun little frights in this film making it about the kind of horror film I might have found creepy and scary when I was 13 years of age! Now desensitization and the existence of actually good movies prevent even the mildest of frights. It also doesn't help that each and every moment of this film that approaches the Zip Code of effective was liberally stolen from Romero (again) and, this time he even shamelessly rips off Raimi's Evil Dead Trilogy! You could make a drinking game of the Highway Robbery here!
A Satanic Voodoo Witch Doctor (yeah, like those exist) puts a curse on the Island of the Living Dead after the death of his daughter! The daughter aparently died under the supervision of scientists working on a cellular regenerative serum that should have saved her from Leukemia. This curse, coupled by the Zombie Serum (I guess) causes the deceased to walk the island in search of Human Flesh to dine on! It's even possible that this is the same island and the same scientists from Zombi 2, but they don't make this real coherent, Kemosabe. The lone survivor of this debacle was a five year old girl who (somehow) makes it off of the island and grows up to be a major hottie, I don't mind telling you!
Twenty Years Later, the same kid accidentally shows up on the same island and starts remembering the events that had transpired, either that or she'd just watched all the movies that Director Fragasso had ripped off and it gave her nightmares, I don't know. Anyway, her team of four disgusting men and two hot chicks (including her) who have no business being in the Carribean on an inboard-outboard motor boat leagues from society end up broken down on the island of screaming souls (!) and are soon Purina Zombie Chow. Meanwhile a team of three completely different idiots serendipitously arrive on the self-same island at the self-same time (must be some travel package) to investigate the horrors of 9 (oh, I mean 20) years before.
The second team happens upon a "Book of the Dead" (they know this because in big black letters on the cover it helpfully states "BOOK OF THE DEAD") and read aloud from it (like in The Evil Dead). Naturally the dead begin to rise at that very moment. Now, I realize this was supposed to be dramatic and frightening, but... the Island was already over run with Zombies!!! There were already Zombie attacks and Zombie infections and everything, and now we're supposed to get worried because the dead are rising? Who cares at this point?
And that's what's interesting about this movie (not from an "entertainment" standpoint, but from an "Academic" one): nothing in this movie seems particularly fleshed out to the point of full-fledged suckiness. It seems, watching this, that Claudio Fragasso thinks that it's okay to suck! It's as if he realizes he sucks and has gotten comfortable with his suckiness. I'm sure someone along the way, a friend, an employer, possibly his parents, must have told him that he sucked (which is probably why he's credited as Clyde Anderson in some releases of this "movie")! Strangely, this seems almost as if it's a meditative suck, as if suck was the point. It's like he was watching Jacques Cousteau on the Discovery Channel and saw that under-sea Vacuum that moves silt out of the way with incredible force to aid in the discovery of sunken goodies, and like, Claudio said, "You know, I can suck like that, I think! Let's try!" Success! Not even light can escape you! It should be noted that even with these few good ideas, it is not okay to suck outside of oceanography expeditions and porno movies. Please don't suck out of some obligation to same-ness! There are groups that can help with this disorder. I'll help you!
Even some of the decency that arises in this movie (and its predecessors) is immediately dashed here, especially in the unendurably stupid ending. Zombi 2's lip service toward both the "Zombie Infection" Zombie mythology and the actual VooDoo Zombies is trounced here by Claudio's attempt to amalgamate all the different Zombie genres into one ungainly whole; the equivalent of taking puzzles of Zombie Movie Posters and throwing them in the air and letting them fall in any order. What caused this Zombie Outbreak? Was it the Zombie Virus the scientists made or was it the curse of the Satanic Voodoo Priest? Fragasso's just hedging his bets here.
Script-wise this has almost nothing to do with either Zombi 3 or Zombi 2 (and ass-loads of nothing to do with Dawn of the Dead) but this film does carry on the worst traditions of the most recent in the series. Zombi 3's talking Zombies are here, and so are the fast moving almost Kung-Fu trained Zombies that we hated then. For some reason in this film all the Zombies dress like the Vampires in The Omega Man. Is this a "Death Shroud" or are these all big fans of Black Sabbath? It took nine years after Zombi 2 to make the debacle that was Zombi 3! Why Producer/ Sadist Franco Gaudenzi thought Zombie 4 was just "In Demand" for the same year is as unfathomable as infinity to me.
The occasional startling moment and an anatomy lesson of facial-dermal ripping does not a good horror film make, however, this is a good, solid B-Movie that is occasionally just what the doctor ordered. Mercilessly there is no nudity or any other legitimate gratuity to throw at the Audience for watching this thing. Amazingly, one thing Italian Schlock movies are known for is a lot of nudity. Take the two Previews on the VHS I rented. Eaten Alive and The House on the Edge of the Park both had previews filled with full frontal female nudity... in the preview! What the hell? And the story line was more coherent in the previews too. Look, if the Previews are more entertaining than your movie, it's time to go back to the drawing board on this one! B-Movie or not, let's have some B-Movie necessities! Zombie 4: After Death gets No Stars out of Five! That's right... Zombie 4 gets a DOG! It can be much fun to watch and probably a scream to make fun of, but if your movie is "good" only as MST3k Fodder, then Bad Dog! BAD DOG!
Son, we know you suck, and... and that's okay! But, could you like, not use our name? Go for, um... Clyde Anderson! How about that?
-Paraphrased from Mike Judge's Beavis!
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