What do you get if you mix an island of scientists, a voodoo witch doctor, zombies... and then open the third door to Hell (apparently neglecting the fact that Fulci had already opened all seven doors)? Well, you get "After Death".
The first thing you'll notice about this film is the 80s metal soundtrack thrown together by Alberto Festa (including his song, repeated throughout the film, "Living After Death"). Not unlike other 80s Italian horror films, this seems to make sense even though it really doesn't.
The second thing you'll notice is that this film features gay porn star Jeff Stryker. (Unless, of course, you don't know gay porn stars... then you won't notice at all.)
This film is greatly under-appreciated by audiences, I fear. I loved it, and it seems that the hardcore fans of Italian horror do, too, despite the general agreement that this film fails. Jim Harper says the film features "fast-paced, sharply edited action scenes that rely heavily on excessive gore", and despite the fact "the story is patently absurd" the film is "gruesome enough to please gorehounds." Likewise, Jay Slater praises the film when he says the picture is "a blast of energy, rippling with violent action and awash with gore", an "energetic splatter picture in the spirit of Herschell Gordon Lewis" This is absolutely right. While trying to pass itself off as a sequel to "Dawn of the Dead", it has much more in common with Lamberto Bava's "Demons". The splatter effects and rock music make it perfect for this series.
Director Claudio Fragasso laments that the most intense gore had been stripped by the censors. He also insists that the "special effects were all made laboriously by hand", which I think pays off -- most of the zombies are remarkable. What gore was cut is unknown to me... it's already a fairly gory picture as is... to increase it would make this one for the record books.
If you only know Fragasso from the "best worst movie" "Troll 2" or don't know his work at all, this is a fine introduction. Taking the zombie jungle island formula many others have used and mixing it with the gore and colorful blood of Lamberto Bava, "After Death" is a film worth catching, and at least for me, owning.