10,000 Bullets   Exploring the world of Cinema from the Arthouse to the Grindhouse™

Island of the Living Dead 
Written by: on February 17th, 2015

Theatrical Release Dates:
Italy, September 17th, 2008
Director: Bruno Mattei
Writer: Antonio Tentori
Cast: Yvette Yzon, Gaetano Russo, Alvin Anson

DVD Release Date: February 10th, 2015
Approximate Running Time: 97 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: NR
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo English
Subtitles: N/A
DVD Release: Intervision / Severin Films
Region Encoding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95

Bless the folks at Severin for releasing the final duo of films infamous Italian director Bruno Mattei here to the masses, this first flick being a loving look back at the bloody, crunchy legacy of the country’s messy zombie movie heritage.

Island of the Living Dead was originally released in 2007, long after the g(l)ory days of Italian genre cinema had passed by such directors as Mattei, yet this fact failed to dissuade the enthusiasm of the unflappable filmmaker, as proven by the straight-ahead, old school approach Bruno and his producer/co-screenwriter Giovanni Paolucci took to task here with this film.

Indeed, the tone is mostly serious here, despite the awkward dubbing which occasionally derails the film-well…that and characters with goofy names like “Snoopy”-as Mattei and Paolucci tell the tale of a group of treasure hunters who become shipwrecked upon an undead inhabited island, full of unpredictable black magic, vengeful ghosts and bloody death traps. The old school zombie flick atmosphere is bolstered by the excellent make-up work and successful gore effects which work well alongside the subtly incorporated digital assistance.

Of course, this wouldn’t be a Bruno Mattei flick without a bunch of heisted musical cues, and Island of the Living Dead makes good on the director’s legacy (sort of), by sharing an action suspense cue with the popular Food Network competition show Chopped! Elsewhere, there are also chunks of dialog and famous sequences stolen from other/better films, such as George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, Lucio Fulci’s Zombi 2 and even Mattei’s own Hell of the Living Dead!

Still, this flick is a fun ride for foreign gore fans, even if Mattei’s earlier shot-on-video productions-such as Land of Death and Mondo Cannibal-were a bit more fun in their devil may care, over the top sense of pacing and fun. Island of the Living Dead may drag a little bit in comparison, but this flick is still highly recommended for Italian horror fans seeking some late period determination from one of its truly dedicated masters.

The DVD:

Severin presents Island of the Living Dead in an anamorphic widescreen presentation with plenty of bright color tones, and an audio quality which is without error…although one could argue that could be a bad thing, given Mattei’s penchant for “off” sounding dub tracks! Extras for this release include interviews with screenwriter Antonio Tentori and producer Giovanni Paolucci, as well as the film’s original trailer and an international sales promo. making this a superior presentation to Severin’s prior late-period Mattei DVDs. Recommended.

Disclaimer: Some of the reviews contained here at 10kbullets contain screenshots that may not be suitable for those surfing the website at work and discretion is advised while viewing these pages. All of the screenshots and other images used on this site are solely for promotional purposes and are copyrighted to their respective owners. All reviews, bios and interviews unless noted in the text of the review, bio or interview are original content that was written exclusively for 10kbullets and has never been published anywhere else. On occasion there may be typos or errors in the text and if you let us know we will be more then happy to correct all typos or misinformation in the text. All opinions expressed on this site are solely those of the author(s) and not that of any company or person referred to. All the written material contained on 10kBullets is intended for informational purposes only and it is copyright © 2004-Present by the authors.