Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Zombie Island Massacre, Public Corruption and Zombie Carnage

Okay, think back...Rita Jenrette!  Come on.  You remember.  Need some clues.  Friends with Senator Hubert Humphrey and Edward Kennedy.  With clues like that it will come as no surprise that nudity will slip into our little game.  In 1978 she married Democratic Whip John Jenrette.  During a break in an all night House session, she and John had sexual intercourse on the Capitol steps.  Unfortunately for John, the FBI came a calling and he was convicted of taking bribes from undercover agents.  And Rita?  She did spreads for Playboy in 1981 and 1984. In 1999 Rita sued a property company for failing to pay her a commission for the sale of a high rise to Donald Trump. This brings us to 1984's "Zombie Island Massacre."  Perhaps a fitting metaphor for the swamp that is Washington, DC.
A dozen tourists take a boat excursion to the mysterious island of San Maria,  The highlight of this all day trip is a voodoo ritual in which the tourists see a zombie brought back to life.  The carnage begins here.  A pair of newlyweds (Deborah Jason and Tom Fitzsimmons) go into the bush (no...not Jeb) for sex, but are bludgeoned to death by a smelly monster.  With the bus driver and tour guide also killed, our remaining tourists try to find shelter in a villa...not a good idea.  On the way, more of them get murdered, either spiked, drowned, or strangled.  Sandy (Jenrette) is one of the remaining survivors. As some voodoo monster penetrates the house, our survivors are once again on the run.
Uh oh!  There is more to the plot than originally thought. In addition to a smelly voodoo creature, and an irate voodoo tribe, our survivors are also caught in the middle of a multi-million dollar drug deal gone bad.  Machetes, decapitations, shotguns, and spears will rule the final half hour of this film.  Oh yes, don't forget about the snakes and lizards.  Will the beautiful Sandy survive and make it to Washington, DC to marry her congressman?  Is the voodoo in this film a metaphor for the inner workings of the U.S. Congress?
The film opens with a gratuitous nude shower scene of Ms. Jenrette. The nudity then gives way to the gory carnage.  Don't cry for Ms. Jenrette.  She later received an MBA from Harvard and married a prince from Rome...I'm not kidding.  She is the lady of a huge Italian castle now, living in filthy luxury.  You can't make this stuff up.  As for John Jenrette...not quite as happy an ending.  In 1989 he was arrested for shoplifting in the DC area.  As for "Zombie Island Massacre"?  Good or mediocre, our film today is a neat footnote to one of the nations most notorious political scandals, commonly known as ABSCAM.


  1. Good handling of a difficult movie to review without giving away a spoiler of the main premise. I think the title, though certainly an attention grabber, gets it negative reviews along the lines of "I was so expecting something else", even though it is a decent enough mystery movie, though more fitting for a, sans shower scene, Night Gallery type TV movie.

  2. ABSCAM. The whole Jenrette saga. I love the 70s. Of course we had the gratuitous nudity but that is the MO for these types of niche films. I wouldn't mind sitting down & watching this little gem. Good review, Christopher.