Year of Release1981
DirectorBruno Mattei

Hell of the Living Dead (Also known as Night of the Zombies) is a fairly underground film by Bruno Mattei made in 1980. From the outset this film looked to have been transferred well to DVD which is a good start for some of these films. It really makes them a pleasure to watch.

The story opens up in a lab of some sort, where a rat gets into a secure section of the laboratory, and causes a gas leak. Try as they might, they can’t contain the leak and yep you guessed it, the gas leak causes the rat to turn into a kind of zombie rat. It attacks a worker so viciously he dies on the spot and causes a toxic leak. He then of course comes back right after as the first human zombie of this zombie plauge. it’s some sort of zombie gas. The italian movies in the zombie genre are generally not high budget affairs. They do seem to be able to make some fun movies within those budget confines.

The zombies look a bit like the zombies in “Dawn of the Dead”. Some of them look a little cheap but some of them look really cool. When they put the effort in these guys get results. The movie cuts around a little and from the onset seems a little disjointed. Further into the film it does make more sense. Anyway the scene cuts from the lab to the Military (or military police) police operation dealing with a terrorist situation where the “terrorists” are trying to get the forced shutdown of the above mentioned lab. The movie then cuts to some other soliders on what appears to be a tropical island the gas cloud has infected many of the Papua New Guinean tribe folk. From there its up to anyone and anyone who can to attempt to stop the zombies.

I’m assuming this movie wasn’t originally shot in English as the dialogue seems hammy as all hell. This is another area the guys that set this up for an American / Rest of world release could have put a bit more time into this movie. Despite some inherent sloppyness, this film is still actually quite fun to watch. There’s lots of cool meaty bits and cool killings done in just that way that only Italian horror seems to be able to do. Rest assured there’s enough blood and guts in “Hell of the Living Dead” to keep even the most hardened gore fans happy.

I’m going to say honestly if you’re new to the zombie flick thing, there are better movies than this one. If you’ve seen a lot of them or want to deep dive into the genre this isn’t too bad at all. The levels of gore a are pretty good one. Kind of reminds me in some ways of the cannibal movies that came out of Italy at the same time. Once the movie kicks in, the action doesn’t make it feel like it was just a cheap cash grab. The only real complaint was some of the dialogue (or overdubs as they might have been) but for the nature of this film it doesn’t ruin it.

For more great horror movie reviews be sure to keep checking back on Gorenography.com on a regular basis!

Leave a Reply