Director(s) – Claudio Lattanzi (Everybody’s End, Aquarius Visionarius) and Joe D’Amato (Erotic Nights of the Living Dead, Anthropophagus)
Starring – Lara Wendel (Ghosthouse, Tenebrae), Robert Vaughn (Superman III, Transylvania Twist), and Timothy W. Watts
Release Date – 1987
Rating – 3.5/5
Blu Release – 4/5
A few years ago I was hanging with some friends at Cinema Wasteland. This twice a year convention is home to horror and cult cinema fans. Over the years I’ve met some of my best friends there and every time I attend I have a blast. Anyway, several years ago I was hanging with some friends and one of them had hooked up a projector in his hotel room. We all piled into his room with booze and binged a few movies.
One of the movies we watched was Zombie 5: Killing Birds. I don’t remember a lot about it but I do remember that some of the guys and gals I was with was ripping it to shreds and laughing at certain moments. I was pretty drunk and just remember having a good time while it was on. When Vinegar Syndrome announced the release of the film I was looking forward to revisiting it sober to see exactly what it was I had watched. Thanks Vin Syn for sending this one over!
**Spoiler Alert** The film follows a group going out in search for a rare and almost extinct bird. They venture to Louisiana to visit a bird watcher who is blind. What they don’t know is that he went mad and killed his family and friends after discovering his wife’s infidelity. Now his sins are coming back to bite him and everyone that ventures into the swamp near his home as the bodies begin to rise from their graves. **Spoiler Alert**
Zombie 5 doesn’t really get the credit that it deserves. Sure, Fulci’s Zombie is the best of the series but the other films that followed, officially or unofficially, still deliver their fair share of memorable moments. Killing Birds is one that has a lot riding on it and fails to deliver a film as good as it’s predecessor but it still delivers some zombie fun.
The acting in this one is exactly what you would expect. The cast overacts in many of the scenes and hams it up. It offers up some laughs while the more intense and horrifying scenes lose their impact due to the cast’s cliched reactions. They are not genuine but the cast still tries.
The story for this one is a little chaotic and impulsive at times. It’s a simple story but the way the film unfolds you find yourself questioning if you had missed something in one of the scenes prior. It’s very confusing and difficult to follow such a simple and straight forward story. I think this is why the film often catches heat from fans and critics. The movie isn’t perfect but the way the story unfolds doesn’t make it a bad film but does make it difficult to finish at times.
Finally, the film has several death scenes with some solid practical effects but this installment is not as gruesome as some of the previous films. In fact, I found myself very underwhelmed in regards to the carnage. The effects we get are decent enough but I wasn’t of a fan of the make-up effects on the dead. Overall, Zombie 5: Killing Birds should not be as fun as it is. The movie is often hated but genre fans but I find it to be very entertaining regardless of the faults with the film. Fans the sub-genre should really give this one a chance and the blu from Vin Syn looks absolutely amazing. Check it out.
Region Free Blu-ray
Newly scanned & restored in 2k from its 35mm original negative
Includes both the English language track and the Italian dubbed track
“Title TBD” – an extended video interview with director Claudio Lattanzi
“Title TBD” – a video interview with sound man Larry Revene
Brand new audio commentary with film historian and author Samm Deighan
Reversible cover artwork
Newly translated English subtitles