Zombi Holocaust review

Italian splatter classic throws in a little bit of everything - except a coherent story

A case a cannibalism in a New York hospital leads to a group of investigators coming face-to-face with flesh-eating natives, ghastly ghouls and a mad scientist in this 1980 horror. A mash-up of two of the most popular strains of Italian horror cinema at the time (zombies and cannibals), Zombi Holocaust (aka Doctor Butcher, M.D.) is unquestionably a weak film. However, in delivering such a delirious mix of laughable dialogue, terrible acting and unconvincing gore, it's also a lot more fun than modern genre trash like Cockneys vs. Zombies or Ouija.

Picture: In a first for the label, 88 Films has produced its own HD master. Funded through a successful crowdfunding campaign, it's based on a new scan of the original camera negative, with additional restoration work (grading, stabilisation, etc) undertaken at Pinewood Studios. Unfortunately, this hasn't stretched as far as a complete clean-up (which was no doubt financially prohibitive), so the Blu-ray's 1.85:1-framed Full HD transfer still suffers from speckles, blotches and other print damage.

It's also exceptionally grainy, but this is an unavoidable by-product of the filmmakers' decision to shoot Zombi Holocaust at 1.85:1 in two-perf Techniscope. While this saves money by only using half as much film stock as you would otherwise, it also results in an aggressively grainy image when projected at full size. Still, as far as we're concerned, 88 Films deserves a pat on the back for resisting the temptation to try and play this down with the aid of any noise reduction tools.
Picture rating: 3.5/5

Audio: Viewers get to choose between DTS-HD MA mono versions of the Italian and English soundtracks. Despite the inherent sync issues (the downside of recording the dialogue in post), the two tracks feature reasonable dynamics, pleasing tonal range and are devoid of audio dropout or distortions.
Audio rating: 3.5/5

Extras: The Blu-ray boasts a 48-minute Q&A with actor Ian McCulloch, a deleted scene, the trailer, and a 16-page booklet containing another interview with McCulloch. However, the undisputed highlight is Eaten Alive! (pictured below), a fascinating 85-minute documentary charting the history of the Italian cannibal movie sub-genre.
Extras rating: 3.5/5

We say: An impressive disc that arguably treats this horror mash-up with more respect than it deserves

Zombi Holocaust, 88 Films, Region B BD, £17 Approx