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Pupi Avati's bizarre zombie film combines science fiction conspiracy and supernatural investigations with elements of Night of the Living Dead and Pet Semetary to create one of the most unusual horror films of the 1970s. Writer Gabriele Lavia discovers a strange story imprinted on the ribbon of a used typewriter and his investigations dig up the supposedly dead scientist Paolo Zeder (who appears very much alive) and a shadowy corporation monitoring graveyard caskets with video equipment, a twisted science project of the dead. Avati kicks the film off with a lively Exorcist-like sequence, where a priest channels the dead through a young girl and the house undulates as if coming to life, and concludes the film with an action-packed undead chase through a veritable necropolis, with hands stretching up through the earth and corpses bursting through floors. In between those poles the film takes a moodier approach, winding through the complicated, sometimes confusing story with a measured pace and ominous tone more suggestive than horrific. It periodically falters, due in part to Lavia's bland performance (his perpetual look of worried intensity appears to stand in for every emotion), but Avati overcomes his shortcomings with a strange plot that becomes increasing surreal the closer we get to the true secret of Zeder.

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ID4774SI Zeder VHS (1983/Pupi Avati) $9.99