Saturday, August 1, 2015

Island of the Living Dead (2007, Vincent Dawn)

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"Some terrible monster, not human of any kind!"

New from Intervision Pictures Corp./Severin Films is one of the last films from famed Italian sleaze God Bruno Mattei (under his Anglo-pseudonym Vincent Dawn). My personal history with my namesake (my middle name is Bruno..close enough), goes all the way back twenty or so years ago to when I was 15. Living in a Massachusetts suburb, I devoured any film with the word "Zombie" or "Living Dead" in the title after watching Romero's first three Dead films, Evil Dead and Dead Alive all for the first time during one school vacation. Soon after, I happened upon a VHS of a schlocky movie called Night of the Zombies which I ended up enjoying quite a bit. Several years later, I bought the DVD of another zombie film titled Hell of the Living Dead, which I soon found out was actually Night of the Zombies under another title. From there I happened upon other Mattei films from various genres, my favorites of which are Rats: Night of Terror and Women's Prison Massacre. Which brings us to our subject of this review, Island of the Living Dead.

This film begins with a group of treasure hunters who pull a treasure chest out of the ocean, only to have the bottom fall out and all of the treasure to fall to the bottom of the sea. Shucks. And then, as if losing a treasure wasn't enough, their boat crashes and the crew, along with Captain Kirk...yes, their captain's name is Captain Kirk...happen upon a seemingly deserted island. As you can tell by the title of this film, the island certainly isn't deserted, it's very much alive...with the dead! Does that actually makes sense? Who gives a shit because what follows doesn't make any sense either! After all, too much sense (cents) makes dollars and that belongs nowhere near a Bruno Mattei film! Oh great, now I am writing plays on words. I think this film melted my brain. Anyhoo, the group come across a bunch of zombies...or are they vampires...or ghosts? Who the hell knows (I'm guessing not even the film makers)?

Island of the Living Dead fits well with Mattei's older films as well as his newer ones, including this film's sequel Zombies: The Beginning. Low budget, poorly dubbed and hilariously bad dialogue. But still very watchable, entertaining and above all the makeup FX are top notch! I do think Mattei's later films suffer slightly from the dissolution of his collaboration with writer Claudio Fragasso (best known for directing the "best worst movie" Troll 2), but only slightly. I would definitely recommend this film for old school Italian zombie fans because surprisingly not much has changed in Bruno's world. This nice looking release from Intervision features a trailer, sales promo and interviews with the producer and writer, giving some insight on how it was working with Mattei.

Rating: 7/10

Purchase Island of the Living Dead directly from Severin/Intervision Pictures Corp HERE

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