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Friday, July 19, 2013

ITALIAN HORROR WEEK - Berdinski's ITALIAN ZOMBIE MOVIE!!!

We like to promote the new wave of Italian Horror coming out of Italy. Directors like Davide Melini, Francesco Picone, Ivan Zucco and more. Right under our collective nose, the next wave of Bava’s Argento’s and Fulci’s are perfecting their craft in Europe; finding their own style and unique take on the horror genre beyond their influential forefathers. There is, however, another growing movement both here in the United States and abroad though outside of Italy. These are a motley band of filmmakers who are inspired by and creating works that carry distinct Italian influence. One such filmmaker is Thomas Berdinski creator of Zombie Abomination aka The Italian Zombie Movie Part 1 and Zombie Atrocity aka The Italian Zombie Movie Part 2 who created a portrait of the yester-year of zombie cinema as created in Italy… today. Oh, and did we mention Berdinski is straight out of America?

Synopsis from IZM:

When his twin brother is brutally killed (and eaten!) while on a secret mission, Sergeant Bruno Deodato, his estranged psychic sister-in-law, a sexy succubus, her oafish boyfriend, two utility workers who might be aliens and the Michigan Militia inadvertently combine forces in a landfill of the living dead!

Imagine you found the Trioxin. Now what? The dead come back to life and then… well… you know. Italian Zombie movie does not rely on its plot point originality to win accolades, however it’s near, serial style of story telling as if episodic action, horror drama does feel original. Between the two films it’s actually a rather complex tale of relationships and the end of times with a cast of brilliant actors who understand the stereotype they are to convey. I general will refer to the two movies in tandem as that is how I experienced them; We’ll call them Italian Zombie Movie rather than Zombie Abomination or Zombie Atrocity (though both names capitalize on the outright over the top nature of Euro-zombie naming conventions).



While The Italian Zombie Movie series isn’t necessarily as stylized as the movies to which it pays respects and homage, it is a snap shot of everything that movies like Hell of the Living Dead, Nightmare City, Zombi, Zombie Holocaust and City of the Living Dead (to name a few) embodied typically with a fair amount of melodrama and perhaps overenthusiastic actors. IZM recreates classic scenes from zombie films and puts its own gory spin on them. From eyeballs thrust onto nails, to ravenous attack sequences featuring zombies straight out Burial Ground, you’ll know where the Berdinski is pulling his shot list from, and you’ll nod your head and tip your Peroni in approval. 



Italian Zombie Movie does suffer from some troubles that mostly seemed to have occurred due to budget. Some computerized effects that leave you feeling sour are immediately compensated for by the abundance of practical special effects. Sure, we aren’t dealing with the next Tom Savini, but what we have here is a filmmaker who can capture the camp and over the top gore to great comedic effect. You don’t just get the gross out. You get the gross out, the laughter and the “what the Hell are they going to do next”. Having watched several cuts of the films including the Grindhouse Cut, I can tell you that this series can drag a bit. There are moments of comedy that fall flat. There’s dialogue that probably sounded funnier in the script than when realized on film. There are plot points that seem to tangle up in dreadful webs continuity errors that could catch very large horseflies… or human flies. I offer these criticisms as both a warning and an invitation. A warning because this isn’t the highly polished production that you might have expected to leave Rome circa 1980. If you’re expecting Lucio Fulci, Jr. you may want to pass this one by. An invitation because fans of independent horror films that enjoy a blood bath focused study in nihilism and post-apocalypse will want to rush through the theater door (or at east to their website HERE). Which of our favorite Italian classic zombie films could boast that it was completely with errors of continuity or performances that left the audience in tears of laughter? Intentional or not. Budgetary or by intent. Italian Zombie Movie captures more of its predecessors than perhaps it even realizes.

Cast Party

One thing I want you all to remember... Berdinski wrote, produced, directed, scored and created the effects for this film (among other things). He is a master of understanding Italian film of the late 70’s. The music is spot on and mirrors perfectly the variations between ultra prog and soundscape synth effect drops. The blood is fake… the correct level of fake. Even the aging/scratching of the film is done with care. Surrounded by some folks who obviously understand Berdiniski’s vision, this is a work of love. Not just a love letter. A book of poetry on film…. with blood and guts though I will note there is a conspicuous lack of boobage.

There are two separate versions to consider. The Grindhouse Cut and the double feature DVD. The Grindhouse Cut feels like one start to finish run of the entire series (we’re waiting on the third installment). The Grindhouse Cut feels cohesive. You get the complete story, the cover is fantastic featuring a big ol’ Italian flag and some choice zombified fonts (I even used something similar for Italian Horror Week last year completely unaware of the imagery on this edition). The double feature disc breaks both movies out independently. The letterboxing is also more extreme. Newbies, start with the Grindhouse Cut if at all possible then work your way into the double feature release once you become fan boys and girls.


Berdinski’s other work includes Giant Rubber Monster Movie... and that's exactly what it sounds like... AWESOME! Also, Berdinski’s latest project, House with a Morgue looks to pay homage again to the Italians, having some distinct House by the Cemetery elements, this is definitely going to be worth enjoying especially if you’re a fan of Italian Zombie Movie. You can check out the Facebook pages for Italian Zombie Movie, House with a Morgue and Giant Rubber Monster Movie and make sure to support The Cult of Moi and Vous Film Producioni Company by going to their website HERE and buying any of these movies. Indie horror fans, fan of Italian Horror and people who like to laugh need apply. Oh, and folks who like disembodied, talking heads in luchador masks… you people need to get on this.

Don’t forget the tagline: The Dead Are Back… for a Snack!


Also, note that the FBI warning is missing from the move and instead replaced with the Michigan Militia Warning due to concerns over using the FBI logo without receiving copyright permissions. Don’t Tread on Italian Zombie Movie.

-Dr. TERROR

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