Night of the Zombies (1981)

Genres - Horror  |   Run Time - 88 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Fred Beldin

Often fraudulently advertised as a sequel to Bruno Mattei's film of the same name, Night of the Zombies is an unrelated genre workout directed by Joel Reed, who apparently exhausted every ounce of sick imagination he had on his magnum opus Bloodsucking Freaks. This flimsy tale of WWII era soldiers becoming immortal blue-faced zombies after exposure to experimental chemicals has none of the unforgettably repellent energy of Reed's signature film, and even with Nazis, gut stabbings, and plastic skulls in the snow it remains stubbornly inert. Porn actor Jamie Gillis turns in a listless performance as the hero, but his appearance isn't out of place in a film which appears to have been lensed primarily in hotels. Gillis' air of jaded amorality suits him in grimy sex spectaculars like New Wave Hookers and Waterpower, but he makes for a lousy action hero, even with his ever-present pipe and trench coat. Strangely enough for such a bargain-basement production, Reed transported a portion of his cast to Bavaria for some on-location atmosphere. It's a wasted effort, as everything else in Night of the Zombies is so cardboard that Flint, MI, could have passed for Germany as efficiently. This film is best avoided, and viewers seeking cheapjack zombie mayhem should try the equally-stupid but more engaging Garden of the Dead.