fredag 30 september 2011
One part of me would like to state that Bruno Mattei was a mediocre, incompetent moviemaker but that isnt really true. His movies are loaded with stolen scenes, bad scripts, lousy actors and dubbing that is out of this world and it is very easy just to point and laugh. But some years after his passing I realize again and again how much I miss him. One of these occasions was his next to last movie, Island of the Living dead, a very old school Italian zombiemovie. No, it is not a good movie. It is stupid, absurd and probably has the worst dubbing I have ever encountered. But when I think back on what Mattei gave us I realize that even though some of his movies were pretty awful, he was still a professional director of an almost lost era. He may have been a bit of an opportunist that went to great lengths to finish his movies, including ripping just about anything off, but the flicks always looked good no matter how stupd the scripts were. I have a little understanding for the fact that some called him the Italian Ed Wood but those people never saw an Alfonso Breccia flick. Another thing, which saddens me greatly, is that with Matteis death, something dear to me is lost. The age of the great Italian exploitation is over. Dead and buried.
Island of the Living dead is a pure and simple zombieflick that looks like it came straight out of a time capsule from 1987. It starts sometime during the 15th century on a Spanish colony in the Philippines where an outbreak of the zombie plague is causing some mayhem. 400 years later we meet a group of horrendously dubbed failed treasure hunters that end up on the very same island we saw in the beginning. The boat breaks down and they all decide to explore while it is being repaired. Yes, the island is full of zombies, the boat blows up when the self destruct device is activated (yes, every boat should have one) and now our heroes are trapped on an island full of ruins and zombies. And some vampirezombiepirates as well.
This is exploitation at its simplest. Made on a very low budget with the previously mentioned awful dubbing and overacting in the extreme, and a script that is about as original as a Joel Silver cop movie. If someone else than Mattei had done this it would probably have been unwatchable but he took it as seriously as he always did and manages to crank out a fun flick (shot on dv but still way better than most flicks in the same ilk. Mattei never forgot how to use a camera well) with decent pacing and always something interesting to look at, be it some cheap gore or some nice ruins. Mattei may not have been the worlds best filmmaker but he cared enough to make his movies entertaining, to give them a bit of heart. Thank you Bruno. We miss you.