Ready for a deep dive into horror? Each week, acclaimed director, writer and producer Eli Roth compiles a curated list of films that best exemplify horror’s various sub-genres. Whether you’re a new horror fan or a die-hard expert, “Eli Roth’s Deep Cuts” has a recommendation ready for you.
Zombies and exploitation films collide in these gruesome, gory and sometimes heinous additions to the zombie genre. Featuring a Frankenhooker, a fight between a zombie and a shark, and more, these lesser known films will bring any waning zombie mania back from the dead.
Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things (1973, dir. Bob Clark)
An early film by Bob Clark, whose masterpieces A Christmas Story (1983) and Black Christmas (1974) have become alternative holiday classics, Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things is a horror comedy about a theater troupe who run into problems after digging up a corpse from the cemetery. On a lark, the group performs a séance to raise the dead, but the joke’s on them: it actually works!
Zombi 2 (1979, dir. Lucio Fulci)
George Romero’s masterpiece Dawn of the Dead was released in Italy under the title Zombi and proved very popular. Almost instantly, Lucio Fulci produced a very unofficial “sequel” featuring voodoo zombies, lots of brutal Italian-style sleaze and gore, and the pinnacle (or nadir, depending on how you look at these things) of zombie cinema: an underwater battle between a zombie and a shark.
Hell of the Living Dead (1980, dir. Bruno Mattei)
A commando team and a news reporter must survive more than just the jungles of Papua New Guinea when a chemical leak causes a zombie outbreak. The film shares more than just its theme with Dawn of the Dead (1978): Hell of the Living Dead’s score was recorded by the progressive rock band Goblin.
Frankenhooker (1990, dir. Frank Hennenlotter)
Distraught by the death of his fiancé, Jeffery uses his knack for science and the body parts of some New York City prostitutes to bring her back as Frankenhooker. Eventually Zorro, the pimp whose prostitutes Jeffery used for parts, comes after Jeffery and murders him. Forlorn, Frankenhooker reanimates Jeffery with the only body parts she has available: leftover prostitute parts.
Deadgirl (2008, dirs. Marcel Sarmiento & Gadi Harel)
Two high school students find a zombie woman chained up in a boiler room while skipping class. Their friendship falls apart when one of them insists on utilizing her as a sex slave. Unsurprisingly, the film has been controversial and criticized as misogynistic.
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