Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Virus From Hell


_"Virus: Hell Of The Living Dead"(1980)__

Directed by: Bruno Mattei
Margit Evelyn Newton
Franco Garofalo Zantoro
Selan Karay
Tag lines:
"They eat the living!"
"Pray it will never happen."
"If only they would die..."
"Get ready... It's gonna be one hell of a Night..."
"When the creeping dead devour the living flesh!"

Well I got sold on this movie after I saw its trailer. Which now looking back on it, shows how gullible I am. The movie is a Italian zombie gorefest, which is a rip off of George A. Romero's Dawn Of The Dead, which inspired many many many other Zombie movies. And like many Italian Exploitation films..theres a million different titles for this, lets go over some right now. While the one I got is called "Hell of the Living Dead" its actually supposed to be called "Virus" according to IMDB.There are much more tiles, like:
Zombi 4 (USA)
Zombi 5: Ultimate Nightmare (Italy)
Zombie Creeping Flesh (UK)
Zombie Inferno
Zombi enation kannivalon (Greece)
Apocalipsis caníbal (Spain)
Die Hölle der lebenden Toten (West Germany)
Inferno dei morti viventi (Italy)
L'enfer des morts vivants (France)
Night of the Zombies (USA)
Virus cannibale (France)

Hell Of The Living Dead is directed by Bruno Mattei, who did a lot of Low Budget Italian Exploitation films. Mattei got his start in the film world threw his fathers editing studio, and eventually became a editor. Mattei claims he has edited more than a 100 movies between the 60's to the 70's and looking at how many films he did work on, hes probably telling the truth. Mattei's first Directing job, was shooting additional footage for Jess Franco's movie "99 Wemon". Mattei then started doing his own projects, starting with a Drama called "Armida, il dramma di una sposa". For it he used the alias Jordon B. Matthews. Mattei has used more pseudonyms then any other director in the world. After that he went on to write, then direct some Nazisploitation movies, and some Pornos. He then went on to shoot some horror movies called "The Other Hell" and "Virus".
Mattei's filmography includes:
Virus: Hell of the Living Dead
Shocking Dark Aka Terminator 2
Cruel Jaws Aka Jaws 5
In The Land Of Cannibals Aka Cannibal Ferox 3: Land Of Death
Cannibal World or Cannibal Holocaust 2
Bruno Mattei has made about 50 movies in his life and has a big cult following behind him, and is refereed as "The Ed Wood of Italian film making". Mainly because of his use of Stock Footage, stealing soundtracks, and cheesy acting in his films.

So we get a pretty good idea who Bruno Mattei is, but now lets delve into the movie Virus. Being "Inspired" by Dawn Of The Dead, it has a lot of the elements of Dawn. Including the group of Commandos busting in on a building, and well..Zombies. This movie also makes use of Dawn's theme by Goblin, which is used a lot.
The movie is set in Papua New Guinea, where after a Radiation from a factory turned a dead rat into a flesh eating monster that turns people it kills/bites into Zombies. It then goes to our main characters, a group of Commandos who are there stopping Terrorists who took a group of people hostage. Their demands are to have the factory, in the previous scene shut down. They are soon taken out by the Commandos in a scene similar to Dawn of the Dead's Apartment building scene. The Commandos are made up of a bunch of dirty old men who spout bad one liners, and constantly talk about Women in grass skirts.

This brings us to our other characters, which consist of a journalist and her crew who are out there reporting. One of the party, a child was bitten and is is bad condition. They stop at a base and go search around. There they are met with a group of zombies who kill off half of them. The ones who survived are the Camera man, and the reporter Lia. The Commandos come and save the day killing the Zombies. The only problem with it is it takes them forever to realize they have to shoot zombies in the head to kill them. Through out the whole movie it has this problem, and it really is ridiculous.

As for the zombies, they look much better then say..Burial Ground: Nights Of Terror's Zombies, but I still prefer Zombi's even though the ones in this have the same Glued on Maggot look to them. After this point..I really get lost mainly because of the fact that it becomes so disjointed! First they go to a cannibal tribe for some reason. Which personally, I think is only there just for the sake of some T & A. This scene also contains a big amount of stock footage of Cannibals. Not only that throughout the whole thing they use a lot of slow motion scenes of Animals running and crap like that. Apparently these scenes are from the documentary "La Vallée". These scenes really Differ from the scenes Mattei shot, mainly because suddenly the cannibals look much much more shottier then in the footage used from "La Vallée".
I kinda loose what exactly the plot is of this movie by then end..They loose a few men, and end up in this house for some reason..They obviously cant fight all these Zombies, and I doubt they were trying to escape, because if they did why park and run into a house!?The movie ends on a dark note, as each of the characters are killed leading to Lia getting killed in a horribly gorey way.

The movie is obviously not a good movie, its not a coherent movie, its not a consistent movie..But it is a fun movie. If your a fan of Zombies, this one isn't that bad. If your a fan of sleazy Italian Exploitation Films, then you will Enjoy this. And if your a fan of Cannibal could go either way.

Another thing..The middle zombie in the poster of this movie looks a lot like the Zombie head in on the cover of City Of The Living Dead/Gates Of Hell...Weird.
Another thing is why on the IMDB page its date is written (1980/I)?


Zombies 3/5
Gore 4/5
Nudity 3/5
Sleaze 4/5
Best Part: Lia's Death, and Undead Rat.

3 out of 5

The way the head looks...


  1. This movie was...something. I remember the joy that went through me when I saw the heading 'Soundtrack by The Goblin.' This was followed by sheer hate when I realized that it was just the "Dawn of the Dead" soundtrack. Talk about your bait and switch!

    I did not completely hate the movie, but I also only liked it as much as I have liked any Bruno Mattei movie- not that much.

  2. Its by no means a great film, but I found it entertaining.