Vengeance of the Zombies (1973)



Don’t be mislead by the title for this film.  It’s neat sounding but, in order to actually take vengeance, you have to be motivated by someone who violated your personal, social or moral code.  And zombies can’t do that because zombies can’t think!

Anyhoo, Vengeance of the Zombies is a movie I thought I really loved upon first viewing but, after a second viewing induced by the stupid netflix DVD skipping, I realized that I didn’t really get what happened or what the purpose was.  It hits all of my quintessential check points; it has voodoo, Satanism, gore, nudity and is shot in a European style by one Leon Klimovsky but is a little dull in parts and, I dunno, kinda silly.

As far as I gather, Paul Naschy, who plays three different roles, goes around using voodoo to raise the dead and those zombies go around killing people.  But I found it a little confusing; is it because I’m stupid?  There was a guy who looked like V from V for Vendetta that went around killing people violently without the aid of zombies.  Who the hell was he?  There are a couple of neat stalking and killing sequences.  A lecherous couple get impaled by a knife and then the killer strangles the girl with a metal string.  One old woman’s head plops clear off her head.  One man is forced to slice his own throat via voodoo.  One old man gets axed in the face.  Like I said, it’s a pretty gory movie.

But, aside from gore, there are Satanic sequences that make no sense at all.  Are they dream sequences?  I couldn’t tell!  It’s cool looking!  The Satanic, sacrificial room with its altar of sacrifice is designed well and the camera has a cool fish-eye effect during the first sequence.  Paul Naschy has cool, goat horns and his face is painted green in this segment.  And there is another segment where Naschy’s face looks all burnt up.  The makeup job is great!

Also I must say the zombie resurrection scenes were actually kind of creepy.  The opening scene with the graverobbing couple getting trapped in the mausoleum and being attacked by a white, clear sheat draped, female zombie who rises from the coffin and brutally dispenses with the couple drew me in to the whole thing in the first place.  But, also what annoyed me is that the film’s supposed main character, Elvira (Romma) didn’t really drive the plot and more just seemed like a casual witness to the proceedings.  She seemed virtually immune to all of the violence surrounding her and I didn’t quite understand why.

Lastly the score was something else entirely; funk jams, percussion filled afro beat (I think?) and messy jazz music; all quite enjoyable if you ignore the fact that they rarely fit the film’s scenes.  Only one time is this not true and that’s aforementioned stalker and murder sequence.  Other than that, minus making much sense, this film is pretty darn cool!

One thought on “Vengeance of the Zombies (1973)

  1. Pingback: Friday Pairing: VENGEANCE OF THE ZOMBIES and the Zombie Cocktail | drinkscoaster

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