Jump Cuts: “Hell Of The Living Dead”

“Jump Cuts” reveals the thoughts that swirl through my head as I watch famous (or infamous) movies. This time it’s Hell Of The Living Dead, the 1980 Italian zombie movie about a small group of soldiers and news reporters on the run from the undead in New Guinea. It was a part of a wave of brain-munching films inspired by the success of George Romero’s Dawn Of The Dead (known there as Zombi) and its “sequel,” Lucio Fulci’s Zombi 2.

1. Campiest zombie movie joke ever: “Why the long face? Something eating ya?”

2. I like how Goblin’s music from Contamination, City Of The Living Dead and the Italian version of Dawn Of The Dead ends up in this movie.

3. How many times do you have to tell these guys? Aim for the head. The HEAD!

4. Since the film takes place in New Guinea but was shot outside of Barcelona, Spain, director Bruno Mattei used Japanese documentary footage of tribal ceremonies and animals roaming and killing in the wild as insert shots. It’s clever but kind of obvious.

5. Funny how the UN session debating New Guinea’s fate has only 12 people present in a giant chamber.

6. The usual post-production dubbing of an Italian film mars any decent performances in this movie.

7. The wicked zombie child proves that some kids are just evil. I like how the soldiers shoot him pretty fast rather than worry about whether he can be cured. Smart move.

The mindless masses unite in Hell Of The Living Dead.

8. That undead priest takes that “eat my body” thing seriously.

9. Senior zombies bring new meaning to the term “all you can eat buffet”.

10. The human intestines and guts often look like raw meat placed on the actors. Evidently lots of pig’s guts were used. Gorehounds will be amused, vegetarians and vegans disgusted.

11. “The readings are off the chart”! Yeah, because you keep turning the dial on your geiger counter more and more to the right, the same direction as the radiation meter.

12. A cat bursts forth from the open belly of a dead elderly woman. Then she comes back to life! Poor kitty.

13. Gratuitous nudity: The hot reporter has to get half-naked to mingle with the local savages to see what’s up.

14. I wonder if the New Guinea “savages” from a real documentary would have been thrilled to know where their footage ended up.

15. So the Italian, I mean American, government only sent over four soldiers to deal with a zombie outbreak at a chemical plant? They’re either overconfident or seriously brain damaged.

16. I wonder if people like me who love cult films enjoy them not for what they are but for the potential of what they could have had had more time, money and effort been put into them.

17. That said, there are some cool shots in this movie.

18. What all self-respecting (or not) Italian zombie and cannibal flicks have: boobs, blood and vomit.

19. Are those bluish zombies rejects from Pepperland?

20. The real life industrial plant and hordes of extras are impressive for a low budget film.

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