Plot: A colorful band of treasure hunters were able to haul up an old treasure chest, loaded down with gold and other valuables. But then the rotten wood crumbled and the riches sank into depths, pissing off the intrepid crew. As bad as that situation was, things only get worse when the ship runs into problems just offshore from a remote island. The mechanic remains behind to work his magic, while the rest of the group heads to the island to have a look around. As he tinkers with the ship, the mechanic is soon joined by some uninvited guests…the living dead. In an effort to save the others, he sacrifices himself and blows up the entire ship. Now the rest of the crew are stranded on the island, where even more shambling corpses reside. But these are no ordinary zombies, as they wield swords, wear cool helmets, and can regenerate limbs! Can anyone survive this horrific tropical nightmare?
Entertainment Value: This is a shot on video, tropical zombie adventure from Bruno Mattei, so yeah, you need to own this movie. The cameras used make Island of the Living Dead look and feel like a foreign soap opera, which is only bolstered by the hilarious performances and melodramatic dialogue. So if you’ve always wanted a zombie soap opera, this is your chance to live that dream. That description might scare some fans off, but to me, it is a perfect union. All the zombie goodness, Mattei madness, plus hilarious overly dramatic elements. The zombies look cool and behave like zombies should…well that’s not always true. I mean, at one point a zombie strums a guitar for a flamenco dance and other zombies wax poetic about the past, but most are just hungry for brains and content to shuffle around. I did appreciate the zany aspect to some of the undead though, as the genre is so overdone, it never hurts to have some fresh elements, even if they’re ridiculous. The cast is melodramatic and seriously seems like a soap opera crew, which adds so much entertainment to this one. The voice overs are so dramatic, with rapid mood swings and sudden volume shifts. These people erupt into sudden bursts of shouting, then calm down instantly, seem to be ok with the odd events around them, then surge back into emotional outbursts. Love. This. Shit. If you’re a fan of zombies, horror, or just wish zombies had a soap opera, buy this right now.
Almost get a peek at some zombie jugs, but no nakedness. The blood level is solid, with the usual zombie mayhem like bites, scratches, and a man cleaved in twain with a giant scythe. Ok, so the last one was pretty awesome. This one also has a beheading, several exploding heads, burning undead, and a woman dressed like Shakespeare who melts under the flames. The makeup work is good for some of the zombies, while others are a little threadbare. But overall, the effects work in Island of the Living Dead is solid and fun to watch. The dialogue itself is not that memorable, but the overacting of the cast makes even basic lines seem hilarious. As I said before, the unnecessary emotional roller coasters the characters go on make them shift moods in a heartbeat. The voice overs also stumble over some of the words, so the phrasing is odd at times and of course, that just makes it all the more fun. A lot of dysfunction and mood swings, but the score is owed to the cast, not the lines themselves. The craziness runs high as well, with talking zombies, guitar playing zombies, a guy in a Snoopy shirt, and the overall soap opera, off the rails texture of the movie. Even if there wasn’t a single zombie in this movie though, it would still be batshit crazy.
Overall Insanity: 8/10