ZOMBIE ISLAND MASSACRE hails from the twilight years of the drive-in era (1984, to be exact), and in the grand tradition of drive-in flicks, the title promises far more than the actual film delivers. Zombies? No, not really. Island? You know, I'm not really sure. Massacre? That's debatable.
A group of tourists (including former Playboy centerfold and disgraced Congressional spouse Rita Jenrette) embark on a Caribbean island vacation, with a sightseeing package that includes the performance of zombie-raising voodoo rituals. (Don't call your travel agent just yet, folks; the aforementioned zombie-raising is little more than watching the dead person's fingernails grow.) When the tour guide and bus driver mysteriously disappear, the turistas are forced to make their way through the jungle to find shelter, while an unseen figure (or figures) picks them off, TEN LITTLE INDIANS-style.
The zombie elements are pretty much forgotten once the actual plot gets underway, opting instead to cash in on the then-lucrative slasher genre (indicated by the bland Henry Manfredini score) with uninspired stalk-and-kill scenes. Too bad director John N. Carter films these scenes in such a perfunctory manner that it's impossible to wring even a cheap thrill out of them. Less convincing than its special effects is its jungle backdrop, resembling more the producer's backyard than the imposing green hell the cast thinks it is.
The most irritating thing about ZOMBIE ISLAND MASSACRE (at least, in terms of this blog) is that the zombies are merely a gimmick, window dressing for what is ultimately nothing but an inane, convoluted cocaine deal (I'd explain further, but thanks to the atrocious sound quality and amateur-night performances I couldn't really follow along, though by that point, I frankly didn't care).
Scooby-Doo saw more action on his trip to Zombie Island. I'd recommend that dog over this one.