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Zombie vs. shark on the big screen at Coolidge

Posted by Nicole Cammorata  October 18, 2011 09:57 AM

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[Photo courtesy Blue Underground, Inc.]

Zombies are everywhere these days -- from the second season premiere of "The Walking Dead" grabbing 11 million viewers, to critically respected authors writing zombie fiction, to a zombie invasion of the historically witch-dominated Salem, it's not a bad time to be in the zombie business.

Thus, there probably isn't a better time for B-movie distributor Blue Underground to release a digitally re-mastered version of a somewhat forgotten zombie movie classic: Italian director Lucio Fulci's "Zombie."

The 1979 zombie thriller is getting a two-night run at the Coolidge Corner Theatre on Oct. 21 and 22 (shows start at 11:59 p.m. both nights). It's a rare opportunity for fans of the genre -- or of Fulci -- to see this film on the big screen. (Blue Underground has booked screenings of "Zombie" at theaters across the country this month.)

If you're not a zombie aficionado -- and have only heard of the George Romero classics ("Dawn of the Dead," "Night of the Living Dead," etc.), here's what you need to know about Fulci's "Zombie": it features a fight between a zombie and a shark.

Keep in mind that the scene, which really has no setup or meaningful payoff, wasn't shot using CGI or any other funny business.  (No, that is not the digitally enhanced shark from "Deep Blue Sea"). It's a real shark. And a real zombie (well, you know what I mean). Underwater. Bites are exchanged. It's classic.

Aside from this famous underwater encounter, the rest of the film is sure to please in a B-movie, '70s Italian horror kind of way. Fulci is notorious for his over-the-top violent scenes. And there are plenty in "Zombie," including one that will make anyone even remotely squeamish about eyeballs go running for the exits. Plus, the film also entertains with the unintentional comedy of overdubbed voices not matching the actors' lips, in true Kung-Fu movie fashion.

The movie was originally released as "Zombi 2" in Italy as an unofficial sequel to Romero's "Dawn of the Dead." ("Dawn" was re-edited for Italian audiences by another acclaimed Italian director, Dario Argento, and released there as "Zombi"). But it surely has not seen a movie theater screen for quite some time, so if zombie movies do it for you, check it out.

Jesse Nunes is the senior news producer for BostonGlobe.com, and also somewhat of a zombie movie aficionado.  Check out his list of the top 50 scariest movies of all time on Boston.com.

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