Friday, July 15, 2005

Great Moments in Screen Dialogue: Zombi 3

Yes, I do have a taste for "that sort of thing." I blame my childhood.

Zombi 3 (1988) consists of approximately fifty minutes of film directed by the talented but utterly incomprehensible director of, among others, House by the Cemetery, Lucio Fulci; and another fifty minutes directed by that exploitation hack, Bruno Mattei. Because Fulci did not deliver a movie of releasable length, and because the actors (Deran Serafian and an all-star cast) were no longer under contract, the producers hired Mattei to shoot more footage in the Phillippines with different actors, under the apparent instruction that the subject have something to do with zombies. This makes for a rather entertaining movie, as Fulci's footage shows a modicum of creativity, while Mattei's is gratuitous and derivative. For those who have trouble figuring out which is which, remember that Fulci likes mist, and lots of it, regardless of context; and that Mattei likes bright glare, and his sequences always have a helicopter somewhere in or near them.

But you don't need to watch this movie, because I have done it for you, and I have even transcribed some of the more memorable dialogue. This eliminates the necessity of reciting the plot, which in any case makes no sense on any level, because anyone, even someone who has never seen anything more extreme than The Princess and the Pea, ought to be able to infer developments from the examples of spoken dialogue below.

Our first scene consists of two scientists (you can tell because they wear white coats and there is the obligatory clipboard) in the inevitable secret underground installation, which of course is run by The Military. The male scientist is injecting a substance into a corpse:
M Scientist. Something's gone wrong.
F Scientist. Aaaaaaaaaaaahh----

Dr Holder, discussing Secret Formula on phone. Take every precaution; it's very dangerous.

Enter helicopters. The inevitable happens.
Dr Holder. That box is top secret... They have to stop them or it will mean the end of everything!

They recover the box -- but not before one of the thieves has been infected.
Dr Holder. (Def-1 is) far more dangerous than any of us ever imagined... (It's a) military biochemical agent...You have to find this man before it's too late... (It's spead by) body-to-body transmission...

Lady scientist. Had it not occurred to you (in disposing of the infected body) that the ashes assimilated into the air could fall back to earth again?
General Morton. That's ridiculous -- pure science-fiction!

Still later:
General Morton. Put all units on red alert!

Scene shifts to hotel where soldiers on leave, fun-loving girls stop for some fun.
Soldier. What happened to the hotel?...It's a mess!...I don't like the look of this.

Meanwhile, elsewhere, jeep with soldier and girl overheats, breaks down. Girl goes off on her own to "find water," while soldier, inexplicably, remains behind gazing at engine.
Girl in abandoned building (with mist.) Anyone there? Please answer me!

Radio announcer. Unprecedented incidents of mass violence...The dead are rising up again and murdering their own friends and relatives...Then they eat the bodies!...Stay in your homes.

Meanwhile, somewhere else, Patricia checks on her boyfriend, who is ill.
Boyfriend. I feel better, Patricia, but I'm thirsty... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... for your blood!

Back at the hotel:
Nancy (alarmed.) They're coming! -- they're coming! -- they want to eat us! -- they live on human blood!

But scientists back at the secret military installation are sedulously contemplating diagrams drawn on a blackboard.
Scientist. Put these two molescules together!
Scientist. That might work.

Dr Holder (earnestly.) I don't want to bring about the end of humanity!
General Morton (sarcastically.) Nice philosophical sentiment!

Back at the hotel, things go from worse to bad:
Soldier. We've run out of ammunition!
Soldier (a few moments later.) We've only got a few shots left!


The End.

Showing this weekend on the subterranean screen at Bleak House: Black Sunday, Black Sabbath, Planet of the Vampires (restored versions, Mario Bava Collection); Nightmare Castle (restored version, with Barbara Steele); and Castle of Blood (restored version, with Barbara Steele.)