The Italian Zombie Series Quagmire

In 1978, George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead was released, with an Italian or European Cut was cut by filmmaker Dario Argento and more music from Goblin.  The Argento cut also has scenes not seen in either the Theatrical cut, nor the 139 minute Cannes extended cut or what is known as the director’s cut.  The Euro-cut is paced differently, more action based and tones down the comedic elements of the movie.  While the Romero’s cut is legendary, the Argento or Euro-cut is way more tense and the score helps when the tension.

We all know in 1985, Day of the Dead was released and it is Romero’s “sequel” to Dawn of the Dead.  But, in Italy there were other filmmakers and studios who wanted to cash in on the success of Dawn of the Dead.  So, like the Italian horror scene, they decided to make their own sequels or even rip-offs.  Yeah, there are plenty of Italian horror rip-offs of American film, like Contamination (1980), is a rip-off off Alien (1979) and there is even a Jaws rip-off that was fought by Universal Studios called “Great White” aka “The Last Shark” (1981).  Which adds even more fun to this article, Italian movies with multiple titles.  This should be fun, right.  Because to be honest, there are only, truly 4 zombie movies with the title “Zombie” for Americans.  This is a bizarre trip to be sure, because there are multiple strains of the zombie series and it all started with Dawn of the Dead.

Zombi 2 (1979)

This is probably the most well known, I did mention Day of the Dead as the Romero sequel.  But Dardanno Saccnetti and Lucio Fulci make their own sequel.  Of course it is only to capitalize on the success of Dawn of the Dead.  Now this movie has absolutely nothing to do with Dawn of the Dead and it takes place before the outbreak.  At the very end of the movie we see the zombies descend on New York city.  While this is only Zombie 2 makes it a sequel, it really isn’t, Dawn of the Dead is on known as Zombie in the Euro-cut.

As we go in to the films and sequels to Zombie, lets look at all of the titles it has gone by. SanguellaThe Island of the Living DeadZombie Flesh EatersZombieZombie: The Dead Walk Among Us, Gli Ultimi Zombi, WoodooL’Enfer de ZombiesZombie 2: The Dead Are Among Us and Nightmare Island.

I do think Zombie 2 is one of the best zombie movies ever made and it spawn 3 more…sequels, kind of.  But, this is the beginning.

Zombi 3 (1988), of course this movie is a crazy addtion it is followed by Zombie 4: After Death (1989) which may be the worst of all.  The final entry is Zombie 5: Killing Birds (1988), it is also known as simply Killing Birds.  So yes, the supposed sequel to Zombie 4 was released before Zombie 4 was released.  Crazy the way Italians do things.  But, it gets weirder with the T-Z video series, which is listed below.

Zombie Holocaust aka Dr. Butcher MD

Now, here are films know as Zombi 3 other than the 1988 film.  Let Sleeping Corpses Lie aka The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue and Don’t Open the Window, which was released in 1974, 4 years prior to Dawn of the Dead.  Zombie Holocaust aka Dr. Butcher MD from (1980), I could see his, although it also features Ian McCullouch in a main role, he was also in Zombie, I also feel this is a great bridge movie for the Italian cannibal craze and zombie movies, as cannibal films were dying out.  Nightmare City (1980) is Umberto Lenzi’s answer the the zombie movie craze, it is said that Tom Savini was going to remake NIghtmare City and there was an Indiegogo campaign that gained over $130k, but nothing has happened yet.  Burial Ground (1981), this is the movie that inspired this article and is also known by the titles of Nights of TerrorZombi HorrorThe Zombie Dead.  There is one more, it is a Spanish horror film called Zombie 3: Return of the Zombies (1973), better known as The Hanging Woman and Beyond the Living Dead, Return of the Zombies and Terror of the Living Dead,

So, there are six total movies that use the title “Zombie 3”.  Which, brings the total, including Dawn of the Dead and Zombi 2, to eight, if we include After Death and Killing Birds, that makes ten.  But, you know what…we are not finished with the movies called “Zombie”.

Burial Ground aka Nights of Terror aka Zombi Horror aka The Zombie Dead

So, lets move on to Zombie 4 and all of the movies called Zombie 4.  This isn’t as wild as Zombie 3, but other than “After Death”, we have Zombie 4: A Virgin Among the Living Dead (1973) a Jess Franco film and Panic (1982), a.k.a. Bakterion, is known as Zombi 4 in Greece.  But this is about as linear as it gets.  Because in total, were looking 11 movies.  As we move in to Zombie 5,, we know about “Killing Birds”, but we have another Jess Franco movie, Revenge in the House of Usher: Zombie 5 (1982).  The odd thing, the word Zombie 5 were added the VHS box only, not on the film print.  The movie is actually titled Revenge in the House of Usher.  So, 12 now and were only up to number 5.

The rest of the series, Zombie 6: Absurd aka Zombie 6: Monster Hunter, which is not a zombie movie and has been released as Absurd.  Zombie 7 (Joe D’Amato’s Anthropophagous (1980) aka The Grim Reaper.  The next movie is from the Blind Dead movies, which are Spanish, Zombie 8 (1975) a.k.a Night of the Seagulls, which is the 3rd Blind Dead movie and came out before Dawn of the Dead.  The Blind Dead movies really make no sense either, but they have nothing to do with the Zombie series.

There are few more.

Pulgasari (1985), a North Korean film, allegedly released in Pakistan as Zombi 34: The Communist Bull-Monster

Zombie ’90: Extreme Pestilence (1991), also known as Zombie 2001: Battle Royale, has also been released as Zombi 7.

Joe D’Amato’s Anthropophagous aka The Grim Reaper aka Zombie 7

You can see this series is out of control and no linear form, the closest would be Dawn of the Dead, Zombie 2, Zombie 3, After Death and Killer Bird.  You could add Absurd and Anthropophagus if you wanted to.  But there is no real linear way to watch these, they are all single serving films.  We’re talking 17 different movies make up the zombie series if you want to count them all.  But, really this is all because of marketing, trying to get people to see their movies, with unofficial sequels.  But this was all made possible by the Italians cashing in on Dawn of the Dead and soon, other movies.

Thanks for reading this article. Next time I will dive in to the Italian Demons series, why, because there are 3 versions of Demons 3 and each one is completely different.  I kind of did this already in discussing Demons 3 issue.  But, there may be more to it.

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Here is a complete breakdown of the Italian zombie movies, via Wikipedia.

About Ray Marek III 699 Articles
I have been watching horror films since I was 6 years old. The story, one Saturday night, my mom and I were watching movies and she fell asleep on the couch. We had the channel set on HBO and the movie we were watching ended and the next one, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge. This was some time in 1986. I watched then entire film, I was sitting on the edge of my seat. When my mom woke, she asked me what just ended and I told her, “Freddy”. That was all I talked about for weeks and finally she broke down and rented more horror films for me. She rented, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre part 2, Re-Animator, Friday the 13th VI: Jason Lives and Halloween II. I watched all and fell in love with horror films forever. 5 Horror Films to Watch Inferno (1980) A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) The Beyond (1981) Friday the 13th VI: Jason Lives (1986) Horror of Dracula (1958)