Monday, April 23, 2012

War of the Zombies (1964)

Director: Giuseppe Vari

Starring: John Drew Barrymore, Susy Anderson, Ettore Manni, Ida Galli, Mino Doro, Ivano Staccioli

More info: IMDb

Tagline: See the blood dance of the zombies! See the Goddess of the night star whose gaze mummifies men!

Plot: In a deliberately non-defined pseudo-historical setting in the Roman Empire, the Sarmatians attack and defeat a Roman legion, stealing the gold they had with them. Since Rome doesn't hear of the legate in the region, it sends a consul (Manni, the hero) to inquire. He soon finds out that the Sarmatians are manipulated by an evil magician, Adherbad, and priest of the 'daughter of Osiris', a three-eyed goddess which seems to demand human sacrifice. The Roman legate happens to be a traitor, and so is his wife Tullia (Anderson). The consul catches her interest, but he falls in love with her slave (Galli), who happens to be a priestess of the goddess...

My rating: 5.5/10

Will I watch it again? Nah.


You know how I loves me some Italian Sword & Sandal pictures. This one’s pretty dull. It’s not helped by the rather tired vocal performance by the lead (it’s the same guy that did the English dub voice for the lead in WILD, WILD PLANET (1965)). The print I have is widescreen but dark and dirty which doesn’t help during the night scenes and there are enough to make it a trial to sit through.

John Barrymore makes a great villain and I dig his sorcery bits. The zombie army is more akin to the ghost army in LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING (2003) and less like any zombie you might imagine. While that might be a huge disappointment, it’s actually pretty cool and not the kind of thing you would expect in a S&S picture. As genres run their course they tend to stray from their origins. This is a long way from HERCULES (1958) but that’s a good thing. ZOMBIES isn’t exactly a great flick but it’s got a lot going for it. I can certainly see watching this again someday but it’s going to have to be a better looking print and preferably in Italian.

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