The 3 in the title refers to the three movies stitched together to make this petrified toad of a movie, none of them seemingly good on their own, either. And if we want to be up front, there's nothing I can say about how bad this movie is that won't make it sound better and better to those inclined to read any further. Fulci's 1987 follow-up to his seminal 1979 splatter-fest Zombie (to you stateside fools, but Zombi 2 to Europe) is no Zombie, it's hardly even Fulci's movie. It's three movies, all of them terrible, but when stitched together by some random Italian accountant, are like a red velvet cake with tarantulas crawling all over it.
Copping dutifully from Return of the Living Dead, Zombie 3 hinges on the ashes from burning zombie corpses infecting others as they waft through the air or sink into the groundwater. (And maybe if the ROTLD crew had been in the Philippines, snorting cocaine, shooting heroin, and getting their 8 glasses of whisky a day (or more), they might have come up with this lamentable effort.) Some dipshit scientist and his girlfriend/assistant (or whatever) kind-of team up with some military party-boys and their new-found girlfriends to fight off a bunch of ninja-zombies who fly out of the cupboards or sprint after you with a chain-saw, unless they're slowly staggering like a real Fulci zombie. Somehow it all works out, except for that shock ending.
I'm sorry, did I spoil it for you? Don't despair, there's no benefit to be derived from going into this movie blind! And for the three of you still reading, you just want to know if the movie delivers on any cinematic score at all, or which 'so bad' category it belongs in. I'm struggling with that myself. I see a note where I describe the movie as 'lugubrious and workmanlike'. I notice later I'm speculating as to whether at the halfway-point they deliberately switched the genre from 'action-horror' to 'horror-comedy'. Of the whole effort, I opine that they can't even get simple aspects like lighting to conform to a cohesive feeling. So yeah, we're having FUN!
As with any Italian/Filipino action-horror-comedy, the entire movie sucks on every level, from production to script to acting, to overdubbing, cinematography, editing, whatever you want. Each weakness highlights the next, so when you notice little things like a shot down a hallway a little off-level for no reason, then, when a zombie gently presses the maids face into the mirror, and starts rubbing it around, you wonder why she's screaming and blood is spraying everywhere. But then a ninja zombie drops from the ceiling, grabbing your neck in a leg-lock, and the scientist represses a stutter while very slowly yelling at the army man, and you never want to see another Bruno Mattei movie again, even though they're so much fun. (As much as Claudio Fragasso and Lucio Fulci want you to think they had something to do with this, like one scene looks like Fulci, while most of it screams Mattei.)
Skip It, which means Highly Recommended for you Euro-trash masochists.