A boat floats into New York harbour, inhabited only by a hulking, flesh-eating zombie. A journalist traces the trouble to the voodoo-haunted, zombie-overrun Caribbean island of Matoul.
This became semi-famous as one of the fabled 'video nasties', chiefly on the strength of a single, memorable bit of abuse in which a woman has her head pulled through a shattered door and a long shard of broken wood slowly pierces her eyeball.
The scene is not quite on a level with the eye-abuse of La Chien Andalou in 1928, and in fact – though it’s heretical to say so in fan circles – plays better in the BBFC-truncated version, which conveys the nasty idea but snips the footage before the ketchup-filled plastic novelty eye gets gored. Directed by the cheerful Italian hack Lucio Fulci as an imitation of George Romero's Living Dead films (it was passed off as a sequel to Dawn of the Dead in Italy), this mixes melodramatic devices from the '30s with 1979‑era hard gore as a whiskery Richard Johnson drinks himself insensible on an island while zombies gather outside his hut.
Some sequences are quite striking as the shambling undead emerge from their graves or advance menacingly and the serial‑style silliness is sort of endearing, but Fulci's monotonous pacing and a few too many descents into total absurdity curtail the entertainment value.
Nice to see Mia Farrow's sister Tisa running away from flesh‑eating monsters, though and few other films can claim anything to equal the dynamite scene in which an underwater zombie grapples with (and takes a bite out of) a surprised shark.
Various similar efforts have been passed off as Zombi 3, and Fulci proceded to more personal, occult-themed (but just as gory) pictures like The Beyond and The House by the Cemetery.
A few memorable scenes but this doesn't keep up the pace or plausability sufficiently.