DOCTOR BUTCHER M.D.
RELEASE DATE: Available Now on Blu-ray
WRITTEN BY: Fabrizio De Angelis, Romano Scandariato
DIRECTED BY: Marino Girolami
STARRING: Ian McCulloch, Alexandra Delli Colli, Sherry Buchanan
Borrowing half its title (not to mention actors, locations, and sets) from Lucio Fulci’s delirious zombie clas-sick ZOMBI 2 and the other half from Ruggero Deodato’s proto-found-footage gut muncher CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, Marino Girolami’s 1980 monster-piece ZOMBI HOLOCAUST has long been a favorite fright flick of yours cruelly. What does all of this have to do with DOCTOR BUTCHER M.D.? Well, they are (basically) one and the same film, my dear creeps, and when you take a ghoulish gander at the latest Blu-ray release from those sexy devils at Severin you will learn just how the two cuts stack up … and why any lover of outrageous genre spaghetti sin-ema needs this on their sinister shelf!
The story of ZOMBI HOLOCAUST runs as follows: after corpses and hospital patients are mutilated in the Big Apple in a fashion similar to a ritual by the indigenous peoples of a small island in the South Seas, an expedition (consisting of a sexiful anthropologist, a doctor, a reporter, and some dude) heads off to said island to investigate the connection. Once there, our heroes are introduced to Dr. Obrero (or Butcher, depending), a seemingly innocuous enough dude … except for his insane experiments to create a zombie army from rando corpses (think Dr. Frankenstein hanging out on the Island of Dr. Moreau).
But what of the DOCTOR BUTCHER M.D. version? Surely that presents a radical re-imagining of the tale told in ZOMBI HOLOCAUST! Nope. It’s a few minutes shorter, boasts a different score, and has some horses—t beginning sequence tacked on featuring a headstone for someone with the unbelievably unbelievable name of “Snuff Maximus” and a zombie (I guess?) wandering around a storm drain at night while scenes of the zombies from the actual film (who are standing in bright sunlight), but that’s about it. It’s pretty much sublime in its “I give zero f—ks” aesthetic. To be fair, this version has always featured a scene absent from the original Italian release (filmed in a completely different location from the rest of the film), so there is that.
As I stated previously, I love ZOMBI HOLOCAUST (and, by default, DOCTOR BUTCHER M.D.) so I tell ya to pick up this Blu on the strength of that alone … but of course Severin has to go and show us how much they absolutely love us by packin’ this release (which contains separate discs for both cuts each with their own special features) with an insane amount of beastly bonus content, including: an interview with Aquarius Releasing’s Terry Levine; a tour of 42nd Street with anecdotes from Temple of Shock’s Chris Poggiali and filmmaker Roy Frumkes (whose footage from an unfinished anthology film opens the BUTCHER cut and is included here as well); an interview with Gore Gazette editor and BUTCHER Mobile barker Rick Sullivan (yeah, they drove a tricked-out truck around in the ’80s to promote BUTCHER’s theatrical run); an interview with BUTCHER editor Jim Markovic; an essay by Gary Hertz; an interview with actors Ian McCulloch and Sherryl Buchanan; interviews with FX artists Rosario Prestopino and Maurizio Trani; an interview with Italian genre director Enzo Castellari (whose father, Marino Girolami, directed the film); a featurette on the film’s New York locations; a song by Ian McCulloch; and a handful of trailers for both versions of the film. Exhaustive doesn’t even cover this, my creeps!
I don’t know how it happened, but the fact that we live in an age where ZOMBI HOLOCAUST gets a comparable release to a film like CITIZEN KANE puts a smile on my face 13 miles wide. Just buy this already!