Lucio Fulci's sad swan song is Zombi 3, filmed in the Philippines on leftover sets from Apocalypse Now. Hold on, it gets weirder. Because the producers were unhappy with what the ailing Fulci delivered, the movie was completed by Bruno Mattei and Claudio Fragasso, so this is sort of an all-star Italian B-horror superteam product. Oh, and it's based on a Fragasso script, so hope springs eternal that this will be a classic of its kind.
ACTION! Some scientists are working on a formula called DEATH ONE. Something goes wrong in their experiment and the corpse on which they are working melts. This is apparently too much for the lead scientist, who quits the project and makes arrangements to turn Death One over to the military. Things go awry, as terrorists in white jumpsuits steal the suitcase full of corpse reanimator/dissolver and head for a cheap motel. Infection quickly follows. But who cares, look at the ID that the lead scientist gets to wear! It's the thing that says ID.
The Zombi "series" (of which more here) is notable for having no consistency from movie to movie. But Zombi 3 kicks it up a notch by having no consistency from scene to scene and beyond. Take the first contamination. It occurs over a prolonged period. The infected terrorist has time to check into a hotel, drink lots of water, and cut off his hand before he becomes a zombie. And then he kills a maid by pressing her face against a mirror, which causes her to immediately vomit gallons of blood somehow.
So, okay, slow infection. But not always! Sometimes people turn into zombies immediately after being bitten. And zombie movements vary a whole fuck of a lot, too. Some zombies stumble and bumble around like classic zombies. But other ones could win gold medals for their gymnastic and running abilities. Some zombies can use machetes, some zombies can talk and make wisecracks, some zombies can operate radio equipment, and one memorable zombie can fly!
The absurd patchwork of the script and the relentless pacing are what makes this good. Zombi 3 also delivers on the Fragasso front, with the bafflingly inane plot twists and dialogue that make Claudio one of my all-time favorite Italians. The anti-greenery of Troll 2 pops up here in dialogue like "I like smoking, I take a toke on a joint every now and then, and once in a while I like to piss on a bush!" (this in response to boring Greenpeace talk). Other key lines that are better than Jane Austen:
"When you asked us to work on Death One, you should have told us about the RISKS!"
"I'm feeling better, Patricia. But I'm thirsty...for your BLOOD!"
"That'll fix you, you friggin' monsters!"
Splendid. I also love how this major crisis is being handled by a whole ten people in total. And one of the Army aides is named Cheney! Could Zombi 3 be the prologue to the Middle East policy of the terrible 2000s?
This thing is not even in the zip code where good movies are permitted to live, but it is so furiously active and spastic that it's impossible to dislike.
And, again, it has a flying zombie head.