I Saw A Film!

At best an Italian village, really. A town of folks with very red eyes loses a priest to suicide by hanging and slowly, very slowly, late-night-insomnia-slowly, develops a kind of undead problem. Christopher George, forever the Rat Patrol dude, is a crusty journalist investigating, or so it seems, a pair of lazy grave-diggers who not only inexplicably unearth a bare skeleton (Latin style communal graves, but then why are they adding a coffin?) but walk away from the unfinished burial at 5pm citing union rules. Lucky for the living woman locked in the coffin she’s dangerously rescued by our hero with a pickaxe. Oh incidentally this town is called Dunwich.

People are seeing visions of the hanging clergyman all over the place, and interspersed with piles of what looks like earthworms and red jelly. Lots of gooey yucky stuff gets cut into the film. Some horror films are mainly about trying to make you gag rather than give you anxiety about killers or mystery puzzles. Our Italian artists lean on the visceral. One sequence, hard to watch, has a young woman who sees the dead priest, basically regurgitate her entire peritoneal contents. Excessive? Definitely. But it lends itself to the roller-coaster ride these films used to be. The idea was to test your mettle through endurance. We made it through! Another notch on the belt.

Soon enough violent sequences start to pile up. Zombies are afoot and are crazy powerful, they can just grab a head and squeeze the brains right out. Oh have you heard of the Book of Enoch? It’s mentioned a bit. Someone claims it’s 4000 years old. That’s a bit of a stretch, but, OK old texts are always fun to refer to, it always seems to lend some credence to the outrage of having maggots blown all over you by the millions, or having some poor kid getting his skull literally drilled with a sideways mounted drill. However you don’t have to reach far in ancient texts to find undead emptying out of the graves, it’s right in the New Testament, which tells us all the graves in Jerusalem emptied out during the Passion of Jesus. So, quit acting like you need some apocrypha for zombies.

Now that we know all Christians have been taught to expect zombies we can get down to the business of closing some portal to Hell. We escalated quickly from a spate of undead to a portal to Hell, and our Sarge Troy has to lead his patrol into a layer of the underworld to somehow kill the already dead. It’s a kind of escalation ending in the immolation of the “boss” zombie . . . which, I don’t know, fire and the underworld have been synonymous since at least the ancient Greeks so I’m not sure why fire is our cleansing tool, but I’m being picky. We’ve been subject to so many of these sorts of stories at this point they’re more a part of our shared culture than the religions that inspire them.

This old Italian fun is running free on Prime. This was typical date night fodder when I first got my license to drive. I miss the ladies who used to sit through these messes with me!

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