Thursday, December 13, 2007


Although Shriek Show's DVD adds ZOMBIE 4 to the title, as did several bootleg copies making the rounds in the early '90s, both the trailer and the film itself simply go by AFTER DEATH. Under any moniker, this 1990 Italian production from Claudio Fragasso (using his Americanized pseudonym Clyde Anderson) is an uninspired, strictly by-the-numbers affair.

The movie shows quite a bit of potential with its prologue, as a satanic/voodoo priest transforms his wife into a zombie, which he then sics on a group of research scientists; with a look reminiscent of Lamberto Bava's DEMONS, the zombie priestess makes short work of the white devils in a splattery FX display (complete with an awesome face-ripping scene). This extended sequence sets the gory bar pretty high; so high, in fact, that the movie doesn't even attempt to raise it.

The plot quickly loses steam as it shifts to the story proper, as a group of mercenaries, accompanied by a couple of random party girls, and another group of researchers/explorers (led by porn star Jeff Stryker, billed here as Chuck Peyton) land on an uncharted tropical island. From there it becomes a surprisingly generic zombie outing, with very little to differentiate itself from other films; people are bitten and become zombies, many head-shots are fired upon the swarming dead, etc. The zombie make-ups themselves devolve into simple green face-paint, and the grue level steadily drops.

Fans of Italian zombie films will probably want to take this one for a spin, though there isn't much under the hood. Good for a slow night with a pizza and a few beers, AFTER DEATH delivers the bare minimum of lowest-common-denominator goods.

(Special thanks to Donna Williams for providing a copy of this film.)

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