Written by: Antonio Avati, Pupi Avati and Maurizio Costanzo
Directed by: Pupi Avati
Revenge of the Dead is a 1983 Italian horror film directed by Pupi Avati, and starring Gabriele Lavia. Lavia plays “Stefano” a young novelist who upon purchasing an old used typewriter, discovers that the text on the ribbon is still readable. On the ribbon are remnants of research from scientist Paolo Zeder and his discovery that some parts of the ground, called “K-Zones”, have the power to revive the dead that are buried within them. Stefano’s obsession with discovering the truth leads him to find an old compound where scientists are still practicing Zeder’s methods with the dead and they do not want anyone outside of the circle to know about it. Now Stefano is on the run from a group of hit men trying to rid him of his undead discovery.
Now with that out of the way, I can tell you that this film is a classic example of Italian films being released in America in the 1980’s under a different name. This was done to an insane amount of foreign horror films during this time (some are still being done this way today) because they were simply seen as “unappealing” to the American horror market. In this case, Zeder is the original name for this film. What the hell is a Zeder anyways?…Maybe I see their point…It was then retitled Revenge of the Dead for the American market, for a reason I can’t even begin to explain. They then slapped an awesome looking totally pissed off zombie on the front and BAM! Video store gold, or false advertising at its finest as I’d call it.
Being completely in the dark beforehand about all of this, I went into this movie with pretty high expectations seeing that my previous history with Italian zombie films always left me thirsty for more! Boy, did I feel like a kid who dropped his ice cream and got smacked in the face with a shovel when this P.O.S. was over.
It starts with a young girl with unexplained psychic powers, locked in an old dank basement only to be attacked by…a shadow man. With this random and pointless little girl never being spoke of again or really holding any significance to the rest of the story, this unfortunately sets the endlessly boring tone for the rest of the movie. I’m kind of stuck here honestly. I mean, I know I’m supposed to write about the movie, but I don’t know what else to write. A lot of weird noises happen and suspense is built up, that ultimately leads to nothing, other than more shadow men. Yes, shadow men and not zombies. Twenty minutes, no zombies. Forty-five minutes, still no zombies. Wait! One hour and twenty-four minutes in…..what the hell is that?? Is that a zombie?? On a TV screen?? That’s the result of all of the build up?? HOW TERRIFYING. Why is he laughing?? It just looks like someone’s homeless drunk uncle in a bad family reunion home video.
The ending of the movie sees Stefano retreat to bury his now dead wife in a “K-Zone”, only to have her return and bite him on the neck as he goes in for a hug. He screams, credits roll. Realizing the Pet Sematary similarity, I came to the realization that if Stephen King actually used this as an inspiration to get his book turned into a movie, I might find him and kick him in the nuts. Lets hope this was a really bad coincidence.
Upon finishing this crap, I searched for other reviews of this film to see if anyone else shared the same opinion. To my surprise, I found a reasonably larger amount of people defending the film than expected. Some people seemed very offended that viewers would even dare call it a bad film. They even went as far as saying that it was an “amazing masterpiece” that “deserves respect”. Well then, I must be as blind as Stevie Wonder and as dumb as Snooki. I watch movies to be entertained, plain and simple. I’m sure that to some people thought that this was a great piece of suspenseful slow burn art, but to me this is about as stale as it gets. I mean, the directors name is even Pupi. Seems to be a way more fitting name for this film.