When the cannibal sub-genre found the reign of its terror nearing the end and the witness the strong rise of the dead, with creation of more zombie films, producer Fabrizio De Angelis decided why not combine the two genres, hence creating Zombie Holocaust. In the process, an Italian gore saturation of explicit carnage and insanity spread across the screen and found itself so easily banned by various censor boards. Director Marino Girolami (who passed on in 1994) helmed this gory sleazy project, which used sets and some of the same actors from the legendary Lucio Fulci’s Zombie (1979) lowering the costs greatly. Fabrizio and Romano Scandariato both worked on the screenplay, and used some influences from the movie Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals (1977), a Romano film into this flick. However, the movie does contain a bit of a problem, the transitions between scenes and the plot-hole chasms abound often, nevertheless it truly doesn’t matter splatter and gore fans know exactly what they have before them. Aside from this, one may ask what any of this discussion about Zombie Holocaust has to do with Doctor Butcher M.D. (Medical Deviant). Simple, it is the same flick, just edited definitely and was the title used in the United States, for this very exploitive movie, that had a sloppy reception, but lived well on the seedier side of infamous and legendary 42nd street in New York City from the 1970s to 80s.
Opening the movie, in a New York hospital one witnesses a left arm removal, and later during Dr. Dreylock (Walter Patriacra) teaches anatomy, and becomes more alarmed about a medical deviant torturing corpses, yet refusing to contact the authorities. Soon they medical staff captures the psychopath, and the orderlies do a very poor job of securing him, as he dives out the window falling to his death (upon impact, an arm visibly pops off the dummy), before dying he utters the word “Keto”. But wait! One of the doctors who was at least five floors above, now downstairs and in the parking, an anthropologist, recognizes the word as having connections to ancient dialects throughout South-East Asia a before expiring. Who is the medical marvel none other than Dr. Lori Ridgeway (Alexandra Delli Colli), whose parents and her lived among this region of people long ago. She shares information with a New York Health Inspector Dr. Peter Chandler (Ian McCollough) seems there has been a rash of cannibalistic acts, who was in Zombie, manage to locate “Keto” to one single island filled with cannibals. Now, the audience knows the traveling coming soon and the gore flows quickly behind it, therefore uncaring of the ludicrous leaps of logic to get them to this point. Meanwhile, Dr. Lori’s apartment destroyed and Keto sacrificial dagger stolen and she too doesn’t report it, some very nice people in NY. Dr. Chandler organizes the quickest all inclusive package trip and expedition to Moluccas, along with Dr, Lori, two extras, first George (Peter O’Neal), and then reporter Susan Kelly (Sherry Buchanan). They meet Doctor Obrero (Donald O’Brien) that asks his servant Molotto (Dakar, also starred in Zombie) and while everyone gets cozy, Lori decides to venture to her room to fully disrobe and wash up only to discover a maggot human head in her bed, Quickly and strangely dismiss by Obrero, as a joke and Lori. Fast forward, to a series of cannibal attacks and their picnic side of raw gut munching and the movie comes together faster, though saving a few of them zombies which scares away the cannibals. In the flick, one learns the real monsters may not be the zombies, but as the title suggests the doctor but which one, tune to discover the answers.
Some directors who worked in this sub-genre, such as Ruggero Deodato visited it more than once with success, but Girolami made only one trip to the region, perhaps the pacing issues, or the actions sequence shuffled along too much. He delivers the sleazy attributes and the gore, especially crushing the skull of zombie with an outboard motor. He provided throat slitting, torso tearing, and eye gouging, believing in the motto, winning hearts and mind with splatter-punk gross fest. One note, that the set design is good if one can use another films locations, but if not avoid having a scene, where Lori’s wall paper of white with little flowers matches pillowcase, lamp shade and chair while the green lamp matches the green nightstand and green carpet, it all stands out. Another issue in the plot, the ceremonial dagger from Dr. Lori’s apartment in the hands of the Keto cannibals but no need or reasoning given how or why, hence move along to the next nude scene brain-transplanting moment – got your attention with that one.
This movie clearly has a limited intended audience, and they know exactly who they are, deviant gore hounds find this movie interesting and enjoy that the Blu-ray distributed by Severin Films comes with a mini poster, an authentic barf bag complete with patent number for it. In addition, a reversible cover art, loads of extras and lastly contains the DVDs for both cuts of this classic gore-delight creation. The ownership of this product will feed the hunger for generous portions of cannibalistic feeding frenzied especially knowing that no deaths came to animals in the film, and only a mannequin lost his arm.