Where Romero’s “Dead” films were incredibly modern and immediate, “Zombie 2” looks to the past to hook its narrative. Screenwriters Dardano Sacchetti and Elisa Briganti shape the film’s story from a mix of pulp fiction, EC Comics, and “Scooby-Doo” style mystery, giving the film a classic, timeless feel.
Drawing inspiration from classic zombie movies like 1932’s “White Zombie” and 1943’s “I Walked With a Zombie” (as well as the lore surrounding the traditional voodoo creature), “Zombi 2” is set primarily on the island fictional Caribbean of Matul, where sleazy Dr. David Menard (Richard Johnson) conducts research into the zombified resuscitation outbreak occurring on the island. After an abandoned Matul rogue boat drifts into New York Harbor, the boat owner’s daughter, Anne (Tisa Farrow), reunites a reporter (Ian McCulloch), a ship’s captain (Al Cliver) and the girlfriend of the captain (Auretta Gay) travel to the island and investigate.
The adventure story feel of ‘Zombie 2’ is no accident – according to a 2002 interview with Sachetti, the writer began the script for the film as a tribute to the character of Tex Willer, which was “an Italian comic in which there are fantastic episodes”, including a race where Tex fights zombies. Thus, “Zombie 2” is a film that has more in common with classic horror, adventure and pulp fiction stories than with Romero’s films. Except, of course, for the opening and closing scenes set in New York, which the writer says were added in order to “make the zombies invading New York look like the same [as] those of Romero.”