(a.k.a. Zombies, Zombie Bloodbath and Voodoo Blood Bath)
Director: Del Tenny
Starring: William Joyce, Heather Hewitt, Betty HyattLinton, Dan Stapleton .USA. 1h 25m
There’s a kitchy comic wanderlust feeling about this movie which is what makes it so memorable, no matter how cheesy or racist it ends up, it’s from the mid 60’s it’s going to be questionable by todays standards but it had a great vibe, a goofball story and possibly the first suicide bomber zombie?
Written, Produced and Directed by Del Tenny in the mid 60’s there wasn’t much scope for getting the movie released until 1971 when it was unshelved and became a drive in legend with a similar named production called I Drink Your Blood (1970) and as off key freaky duo they work together however with the addition of savage natives, zombies and evil scientist neither are really all that scary. Tenny’s other swinging flicks include The Horror of Party Beach and The Curse of the Living Corpse both from 1964 and share all the psychobilly themes of any halloween tiki party.
Del Tenny, stirs up the fun with a playboy writer Tom Harris (Joyce) narrowly escaping a beating from a jealous husband as he seduces women poolside. His agent and saviour has heard about a secluded island and has chartered a private plane to take them and his incredibly blonde wife to the secret destination in a vain attempt to inspire the writer. Somehow no one calculated the fuel for the journey and the trio and tiny crew have to make an emergency landing (thanks to Tom, a sort of Sean Connery Bond type character) and quickly encounter a tall black zombie creature stalking a “supposedly” naked girl in the jungle and it’s game on.
Greeted by armed “security” the outsiders are whisked off to a homestead/hotel/mad scientist lab where they get to grips with that antics going on within Voodoo Island. The local are practicing their tribal voodoo peacefully are the first culprits to causing the zombie outbreak, and Tom begins to question them, but through his novelish sleuthing he uncovers diabolical plots from a cancer sure made from radioactive snake venom, armies of the dead being used to world domination and a peculiar legend of the undead needing to sacrifice blonde virgins. But don’t fear ladies Tom Harris is here, there will be no virgins by dawn!
The story is fickle and straight out of a retro comic book, but it makes a kooky movie enjoyable but sadly doesn’t make it a better movie overall. You’ll need to stretch your imagination to really fathom everything that happens but the film does have its merits, in one action packed scene when Tom is trying to escape Voodoo Island he boards a helicopter and is (slowly) chased by a undead creature holding a crate of explosives, possibly cinema’s first suicide bomber zombie? Even Tom, who is the epitome of B Movie Bond has to to fight hard to keep a straight face through all the antics. It’s hard to ignore the similarities to Fulchi’s Zombie 2 and other directors such as Romero have admitted to being inspired by it, however most have been able to write a better story around visiting a voodoo/zombie island with mad scientist and curses scattered on it.
I Eat Your Skin (1964/1971) A playboy writer and his agent travel to Voodoo Island for inspiration for a novel only to find the island has real Zombies! Psychobilly Tiki Horror filled with Kitchy plotlines, but no real scares, perfect trashy cult classic & suicide bomber zombies.
Related: I Drink Your Blood (1970), Zombi 2 (1979),
Lists: Horrors from 1964, 16 Films from 1964 still worth talking about
Vs: I Eat Your Skin vs I Drink Your Blood
Article: AOFA short introduction and history to cannibal cinema
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