Zombie Holocaust (aka, Dr. Butcher M.D.) (1979)
Directed by Mariano Laurenti

Starring Alexandra Delli Colli Donald O\\\'Brien Ian McCulloch Peter O\\\'Neal Sherry Buchanan

A number of different versions of this film are floating around, each with a different title.

The U.S. release was called "Dr. Butcher," while a long though not much gorier was released on DVD in 2001 under the title "Zombie Holocaust." Other titles include "Island of the Last Zombies," "Medical Deviate" and "Queen of the Cannibals." The film is even more heavily cut in the U.K.

It's a must if you're even remoately an Italian gorehounds. McCulloch and Delli Colli are regulars in Lucio Fulci films. Donald O'Brien (who starred in the cannibal film "Trap Them and Kill Them") is the psycho doctor of the title. Like many Italian gore films, the story starts in New York, where a few (very fake-looking) bodies are desecrated. Investigators, including a police inspector (McCulloch) and a doctor who also happens to be an anthropologist (Delli Colli), naturally decide to head to East Indies, where cannibalism still thrives.

Naturally they wind up on an island populated by cannibals, not to mention some zombies. It turns out that the evil doctor has found a clever way to extend human life: Turn people into the walking dead through the process of brain transplation.

There's a hell of a lot of cheap gore and nudity in this film, including one very sadistic scene where a woman is operated on after the sinister doctor has cut her vocal chords to keep her quiet. The most memorable scene may be when McCulloch cuts up a zombie with a boat motor. Unintentional humor helps prevent the film from being a total sick fest. After the anthropologist heroine finds a severed head in her bed, someone tells her not to worry about it. There's also a scene where a body goes flying out of a building. Its arm falls off when it hits the ground. But when the camera shows the corpse at the bottom, it's still intact.

Director Laurenti also directed the infamous (and many would say classic) mid-1970s gruesome cop thriller "Violent City." In the interview he conducted for the DVD of "Zombie Holocaust," he says he has no idea how good or bad his cannibal movie was because he's never seen it!

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-- Review by Lucius Gore


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