‘Hell of the Living Dead‘ is a low-budget Italian zombie movie that was directed by Bruno Mattei.
The movie was released as an attempt to capitalize on the successes of George A. Romero’s ‘Dawn of the Dead‘ (1978) and Lucio Fulchi’s ‘Zombi 2‘ (1979) that left an audience hungry for more zombie films.
‘Hell of the Living Dead‘ was also released under the alternative titles: ‘Virus – l’inferno dei morti viventi‘, ‘Zombie Creeping Flesh‘ and ‘Night of the Zombies‘.
‘Hell of the Living Dead‘ did not get a good reception, and the entire film basically borrows as much as it can from ‘Dawn of the Dead‘ and ‘Zombie 2‘. The plot revolves around a group of soldiers who are sent to investigate a chemical leak at a lab that is causing an outbreak of zombies, the soldiers subsequently team up with a group of journalists to try and get to the source of the chaos.
This film epitomizes the phrase ‘low budget’ – the jungle setting is provided by lots of sequences of stock footage, the acting and script are poor, the plot is formulaic…..but to counter this, it should also probably be noted that the budget available was low, it ticks all the boxes that you would expect from a Bruno Mattei film (so B-Movie fans will be mostly happy here), and the zombies are slow and shuffling, just how we like them.
For a film that borrowed heavily from the films of George A. Romero, Lucio Fulchi (and others), it is probably only fitting that the soundtrack is also borrowed from them. Yes, that’s right, ‘Hell of the Living Dead’ took its soundtrack from other films as well – there are large parts of the film that brazenly uses music created for other films.
Parts of the soundtrack are directly stolen from Goblin’s score for George A. Romero’s ‘Dawn of the Dead‘ and also from a soundtrack that they did for a film called ‘Alien Contagion‘.
And it wasn’t just Goblin that had their worked used without permission for ‘Hell of the Living Dead‘.
The main title theme used for ‘Hell of the Living Dead‘ was actually created by composer Luis Enriquez Bacalov for another Italian film called ‘Blood and Diamonds‘ that was directed by Fernando di Leo and released in 1977. The theme opens with a pulsing and whirling synthesizer that eventually gives way to a rock rhythm, complete with overdubs of emergency announcements through a public address system at a military facility – which all adds to the sense of urgency and panic.
Listen to the main theme from ‘Hell of the Living Dead’
The film’s musical director was Giacomo Dell’Orso, listed on the credits as Gianni Dell’Orso, and there is speculation that he contributed some music to the film also.
Despite the fact that the soundtrack was lifted from other films without permission, it has to be said that it is used effectively enough and the Goblin tracks like ‘Zombi‘ (from ‘Dawn of the Dead‘) and ‘Connexion‘ (from ‘Alien Contamination‘) provide atmosphere and gravitas.
Listen to ‘Connexion‘ by Goblin, a track originally from ‘Alien Contamination‘ that was also used in ‘Hell of the Living Dead‘ below:
I guess if you are making a zombie film with little budget or resources, then you may as well take things, like your soundtrack, from the best already out there.
Get Goblin’s soundtrack to Dawn of the Dead from Amazon.com
Get Goblin’s soundtrack to Dawn of the Dead from Amazon.co.uk
Get Goblin’s soundtrack to Alien Contamination from Amazon.com
Get Goblin’s soundtrack to Alien Contamination from Amazon.co.uk
Watch ‘Hell of the Living Dead at The Zombie Site