Monday, 30 September 2013

Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies - review

2012 (USA)

Contains mild spoilers.

I'll be honest, this was one I wasn't particularly looking forward to what with The Asylum's mockbuster mentality and Abraham Lincoln vs. The Vampires itself being quite the ludicrous low budget affair with little to shout about.

History has its secrets. The one director Richard Schenkman would like to tell us, all happened one week before Abraham Lincoln (Bill Oberst Jr.) addressed Gettysburg. Interviewing the deranged sick soul survivor of a covert military special op called 'Big Shanty' which Lincoln sent to secure Fort Pulaski and further the southern blockade, Lincoln learns that a dark damning infection that took his parents has returned. Feeling he, with his previous knowledge, is best suited to tackle the problem and that all this could potentially be more important than the war itself, puts together a crack team of his twelve best secret-operatives and heads off to quash the problem.

Yes, Abe Lincoln killed his own zombie mother and is now personally, scythe in hand, going to march headlong into enemy territory and capture a fort of strategic importance that's bursting at the seems with undead flesh eaters. I've come across some audaciously stupid ideas in my time but this is right up there. Now these days, I'm quite used to a wee bit of lunacy, and the modern zombie does tend to lend itself quite easily to the crass and cheap action horror flick. Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies though seems to have forgotten that ludicrously ambitious should, more often than not come hand in hand with equally over the top directing, acting and effects, and not, as is the case, steadfast seriousness. It's audaciousness comes not so much for the story it's trying to tell but the manner in which it goes all about it; it's President Abraham Fucking Lincoln, scything down zombies and skywiring from exploding forts and yet it all feels rather dry and grey presented as if I'm expected to nod rather than bellow at.

From the march to the fort to the first fight with the zombies and the few surviving confederates under command of General Stonewall Jackson (Don McGraw) to the final grand last stand, some one hour later, the combat, which makes up the bulk of the narrative, is methodical, bland, repetitive and by the number. The band of brothers Lincoln takes with him are all instantly forgettable civil war era tropes with bland dialogue, ridiculous false facial hair and lack-lustre b-movie performances. Bill Oberst Jr. himself isn't that bad as Lincoln putting in a performance at least recognisable to a character so routinely caricatured, but up against McGraw's exaggerated Monty Python-esque portrayal of General Jackson, which is both hilarious and painful, I might be being overly generous.

I'll say one thing for it, there's quite a few zombies and they do kind of all move in sync and look ok. Other than that there's not a lot to talk about. They're your typical western trope; shuffling, stumbling, biting when they get close and they're interested in passing the infection along at the any given opportunity. From a bite or scratch, the infection we learn takes about twenty four hours to fully take over with zombification causing the gradual degradation of brain and body function until the victim dies, and looks for someone to eat. The one addition, or deviation from the prescribed model is that the undead 'sleep' once they've run out of things to chase. They call it a 'standing slumber' which I quite like if I'm honest and it does lead too a few Blind Dead stealth moments that breaks the monotonous to-oing and fro-ing and killing the soldiers do between fort and town and fort and barn and fort but it's not nearly enough. It's also another one of those affairs where the zombies move so slowly you do wonder how such an elite crack force could succumb so easily. It's as if each set action piece required a certain number of zombie deaths and a certain quota of survivors to die before Schenkman could move the gang to the next combat arena where it could all rinse and repeat. It's lazy, lacking any integrity, cohesiveness or spark and the formula never deviates.

I've seen Schenkman describe Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies as terrible but in the best possible way and he's fifty percent right. Over drawn out weak dialogue, repetitive bland combat, pedestrian pacing and a story so lacking any real content it's yet another straight to TV zombie film to avoid. While the change to the Civil War period is at least refreshing the manner in which it's all been exploited leaves a lot to be desired. There are a few moments of unintentional hilarity but I always felt I was laughing at the film rather than with it and ludicrousness of the whole proposition is all rather lost in the languid serious tone the film adopts. All rather ponderous and forgettable and another The Asylum zombie stinker I'll only up-mark for a bugle playing General Jackson that needs to be seen to be believed, 3/10.


Saturday, 28 September 2013

The Serpent and the Rainbow - review

1988 (USA)

Contains mild spoilers.

Well here we are, review #100, and what better way to celebrate than to take a look at a cult 80s favourite from an established well known horror director and a film that's actually based, loosely, on the real world adventure of one Dr. Edmund Wade Davis who sought to uncover the secrets of the Haitian zombie, and wrote a book about what he found. I actually looked at this film last year, but passed it over assuming from the cover it was a vampire flick but I couldn't have been more wrong. It's definitely zombie although, and surprisingly for 1988, it's all about voodoo, or more accurately Haitian Vodou, the black arts and enslaved souls, and absolutely nothing to do with stumbling and shuffling around looking for fresh flesh to tuck into.

Bill Pullman plays Dr. Dennis Alan (Dr. Edmund Wade Davis), an ethnobotanist / anthropologist who spends his days scouring the far corners of the earth looking the next new super drugs. The film opens with what can only be described as a bad trip in the Amazon. Not wanting to refuse the hospitality of a tribal elder he's been dealing with, he inadvertently takes a  hallucinogenic potion, has a series of unearthly visions and receives a jaguar spirit guide. On sobering he then discovers his helicopter pilot has been murdered and then fearing for his own life he travels two hundred miles through the jungle on foot to get back to civilisation. Like I say, bad trip.

This is all just preamble though to the main story and an attempt to set the mood. Haitian voodoo is all about suggestion, symbolism and blurring the perceived boundaries of life and death / dreams and reality and Alan's Castaneda-esque spirit journey is used by director Wes Craven to set the narrative tone of a film that is equally ambiguous and tenebrous. Questioning not just what is real, but what real even means, is central to both Alan's Haitian adventure and the viewer's interpretation of events.

Safely back in Boston, Alan is persuaded by a large pharmaceutical company to travel to Haiti to investigate and bring back a sample of a drug they suspect is behind some reported cases of real life zombification, in the hope that if it is real it could make a potent new anaesthetic. Alan arrives in Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince with a clear set of goal. Find and investigate Christophe (Conrad Roberts) the alleged zombie who was certified dead only to later be seen walking about, find out who gave him the drug, pay them a lot of money for a sample and get out. However arriving at a time of huge political upheaval and civil unrest, and completely underestimating how seriously the dark sorcerer Dargent Peytraud (Zakes Mokae) wants to keep his secrets and how deeply ingrained vodou is into all facets of Haitian life, it's soon apparent he's completely out of his depth and potentially in a lot of trouble.

Part thriller, part action, part horror, The Serpent and the Rainbow is a fantastical journey into a different world and culture sincerely capturing Haitain life and the customs and rituals of vodou from the perspective of its practitioners, rather than the colonial white interlopers we're more used to seeing. Alan is prescribed western rationality and science but the further he delves into the Haitian underworld to uncover the truth, the further this is challenged. His companions on the journey, local psychiatrist Marielle Duchamp (Cathy Tyson) who helps him find Christophe and a local bar patron Lucien Celine (Paul Winfield) help him bridge the gap between his world and theirs, but the theme of struggle, with Alan always the proverbial fish out of water, is constant.

For a zombie film there's not a lot of zombies in it and when they are, they're a far cry from anything else of the period. Zombies are made. They're not the reanimated or resuscitated  dead; they're deliberately drugged to make them appear dead then their souls are stolen by the bokor, or Vodou priest or priestess, who can then control their actions and invade their minds. The paralysing zombie powder which includes a deadly neurotoxin, tetrodotoxin from a puffer fish and other toxins from a marine toad and hyla tree frog also requires ground human remains and a complicated ritual that needs to be performed by the potential master. Alan succeeds in bringing a sample back to the states scientifically validating that it is capable of disabling rotary brain functions whilst keeping the subject alive with sensory awareness. But, and this is where The Serpent and the Rainbow allows itself some creative licence over the real life events of Dr. Edmund Wade Davis, it can't explain the very real mystical events he believes he's been a part of.

This conflict of accepting magic and sorcery alongside perceived scientific dogma is the fascinating challenge of the film. Such is the blurring of dream, reality, sane and insane that by the end even the viewer is left questioning and pondering what actually happened and to what extent the events that took place were real or all inside Alan's head. Does a 'bokor' have the ability to capture souls or could the zombie drug also cause brain damage resulting in the resuscitated being more pliable, more congenial to persuasion. Is Alan's deeply symbolic fight with Dargent Peytraud all a psychological battle in his subconscious to rouse him from the mental slumber induced by the neurotoxin or an actual mystical contest with the loser forced to forfeit their soul. It's never clear, was never intended to be clear and impeccably written and directed to reflect the very real ambiguity of Haitian vodou and zombie myth.

The Serpent and the Rainbow is a deep, uncompromising thriller with first rate acting from a whole host of recognisable actors that do justice to the coherent and intelligent writing. Those looking at Wes Craven's back catalogue might be disappointed at the lack of out and out horror but the dark sorcery and the alien nature of vodou culture, along with some quite provocative and memorable dream sequences help maintain a constant eerie atmosphere that's both disorienting and perplexing. Wes Craven brings a certain professionalism to proceedings also, and it feels quite the accomplished film; effects are polished, and the sets and directing are evocative and feel authentic, and it all flows with a quiet ease. A fantastic film that I genuinely think has taught me a thing or two about vodou and Haitian zombies; but has also left me, as it should, head scratching, 8/10.


Thursday, 26 September 2013

Watching The Dead - refresh

I've felt for a while it was time for a refresh. My own fumbling photoshop skills coupled with a The Walking Dead style theme seemed perfect a year and 99 reviews ago, but now seems, to me anyway, and I do look at it a lot, quite stale and generic.

I've been very fortunate to get the blessing from the extremely talented artist Rolf Bertz to use some of his original work on my site, so here's the new look.

It's quite the change and my daughter likes the old one better, though she's notoriously difficult but I fancied something lighter, new and perhaps a little more contemporary.

Let me know what you think and be sure to check out Rolf's work:


Wednesday, 25 September 2013

The Astro-Zombies - review

1968 (USA)

Contains spoilers.

Twenty minutes into The Astro-Zombies as I sat patiently watching Dr DeMarco (John Carradine) the films Dr Frankenstein painstakingly remove three screws from a small metal box, drop in a small bit of a circuit board then screw them up again, only for the action to then move ponderously to his deformed Igor, Franchot (William Bagdad) who was crouching waiting for a switch to be flipped so we could watch his large bucket of blood dribble full I realised that I really do hope your guys and gals appreciate what I'm putting myself through on your behalf. That scene alone took about five minutes though it felt much longer, and that's the rub with The Astro-Zombies; it's just so damn ponderous and laboured.

I love a good-bad zombie film, and must even get some kind of masochistic pleasure from bad-bad ones as for all its problems, and there's a hell of a lot, Ted V. Mikels 60s exploitative space, pseudo scientific mumbo-jumbo spy thriller isn't actually all bad, though not for the reasons you'd think. It's not the wooden acting, the appalling masks and prosthetics, or the implausibly incoherent narrative or kitchen sink approach to content that pulls it down. Ironically it's the fact there's too much trying to present the ludicrously ridiculous as plausible and coherent, too much sincere explanation and a good thirty minutes of fluff that could easily have been cut or heavily edited out.

The story is pure b-movie super-cheese. The CIA, lead by Holman (Wendell Corey) are investigating a series of grizzly mutations suspecting it might have something to do with the missing Dr DeMarco who before he was dismissed from 'the space agency' had been working on an idea to put reanimated memory-and-will-sapped cadavers in space with solar powered hearts, disease free blood and thought wave transmission circuitry so that they could be operated from earth telepathically by highly skilled operators. Yeah. It's a bold idea and if I was the CIA I'd probably be keeping an eye out on him too.

They're not the only ones after him though. Not content for the film to be CIA vs the mad scientist and his zombies, Mikels deemed it necessary to add a third party to spice it all up and turn it into a bit of cold war spy thriller. The KGB have decided they want in on zombie space men so they've sent a crack team (I say crack team, I mean thug and camp sadist) lead by femme fatale Satana (Tura Satana) to acquire the research first by any means possible.

What we end up with a confusing tale, not helped with overly complicating editing. The CIA stumble about, the KGB stumble about, the rogue astro-zombie, or quasi-man, as they put it, stumbles about; there's a bit of espionage, a lot of 60s drinking and misogyny, a few shootings, lots of fringe-science / star trek-esque science-fiction that's over explained and even a few minutes of totally unnecessary topless go-go dancing from a painted girl to a Haitian Latin bongo beat. It's pure b-movie z-grade nonsense with hammy dialogue, poor effects and bad direction, but it did on occasion tickle my fancy so to speak. If we're honest we expected all this though; it is 1968 and the bizarre obviously fake prosthetic skulls, break away shots to blood spattered walls or silhouette whenever there's an amateur zombie fumble all attest the fact it's a shoe-string amateur production, obviously well intentioned but entirely lacking the ability to pull it altogether intelligently or cohesively.

The zombies are actually quite interesting all things considered. They're fresh cadavers, they've somehow and let's not get into it, had their emotions and memories removed to turn them into, as DeMarco puts it, pure calculating machines then they're given artificial hearts, organ transplants, a thought wave FM radio mind controller and then brought back to life. In many respects they're the perfect meeting point for the old Haitian voodoo zombies and the dead Romero-esque modern killers. They're automatons and slaves but they retain a murdering instinct and can go out of control. The rogue quasi-man is actually a rogue; he's bad, he's (with sinister music) dun dun dun, a criminal, and that's actually why he's gone off on his murderous rampage. You see, he may have been asset stripped of all that made him who he was but here central morality is all nature (not nurture). If you're a bad egg, you're a bad egg and you probably shouldn't be reborn with insatiable brutality, super strength and the ability to shake off being shot. Physically they entirely human in movement and even keep on their funeral suit; all that's different is the ridiculous head gear and all the cyborg circuitry.

The Astro-Zombie really is a clumsy cheap b-movie rehash of the Frankenstein story albeit spun as a poor early star trek episode allowed to be a bit gory and a bit less plausible. You've got to understand what you're getting yourself into with a movie like this though; it's right up there with Plan 9 and some of the worst movies ever made, with preposterous scripts and baffling audacity and ambition, especially given the lack of money and talent. The thing is, knowing all this, and going in expecting to be it all one can actually have a good time, and the absurdity becomes compelling. The Astro-Zombies is what is; the pinnacle of bad b-movie sci-fi horror film making with no redeeming quality other than having no redeeming quality. Great cheesy rubbish, 3/10.

The picture quality for such a b-movie was for the most part pretty good though there was the occasional scene or set of scenes with a lot of noise or sudden reduction in resolution. Sound was good if soft but I had no real problems with the disc. Some extras would have been nice though.


Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Dead Men Walking (Autumn) - review

2009 (Canada)

Contains spoilers.

Before we start I want to get one thing off my chest. I went into this thinking I was getting something pretty much hot off the press . It was released here a week ago, and even appeared on the NEW shelf at my local supermarket. It was ten or so minutes in, tablet on lap and a half glance at the Amazon review page that I saw those words that are becoming all too familiar and even jading my appreciation of the budget amateur horror scene; 'also released under the name'. It's happening all too often. Take a film that hasn't done particularly well, spend a few pounds tarting it up with all new and totally irrelevant box art, give it a new catchy name then throw it out on an unsuspecting audience that's lapping up all things Z in Brad Pitt's wake. I know why publishers are doing it; it's just cynical, exploitative and I don't care much for the practice. I also swear it's only going to be a matter of time before I spend too much money on something I already own and then if you think this rant's bad, I'll fucking explode.

Anyhow. What did I make of the 2009 Dead Men Walking? For a film that's the best part of two hours long, has awful film and sound capture and where nothing much really happens I actually didn't mind it. Let's be clear though. If you're after a zombie film with wall to wall flesh eating, pandemonium and action this film is going to bore you to tears. Adapted from David Moody's Autumn book series Dead Men Walking is a slow, character driven survival story concentrating on real peoples emotional and practical reactions to a world ending viral pandemic. The dead start dead, the survivors are arbitrary and their numbers miniscule and for well over an hour the main worry isn't whether something will leap out and gnaw your arm off it's more likely to be who's opening the wine and who will pass the mayonnaise. You'll either be drawn into this taut long winded post apocalyptic survival gubbins like I was, or, as I said, you'll be wishing you were watching The Horde again.

Dexter Fletcher is Michael, a high school lecturer who had to watch his entire class spew blood, splutter and die in front of him in a matter of moments. Dickon Tolson is Carl; a devoted father and husband aimlessly wandering the streets after leaving the corpses of his family to rot in their home. It's true and total viral apocalypse and the few survivors that are left are lost, confused and emotionally depleted.

It's a slow burn. Director Steven Rumbelow paints a good desolate post apocalyptic landscape, the streets are strewn with bodies, vehicles burn and there's an eerie atmosphere to a cityscape devoid of all human activity. The disparate group Michael and Carl find themselves hiding away with are in total shock unable to agree what course of action should be taken and unwilling to accept the full extent of the what might have happened. They've just about agreed on what they're arguing about when the dead stand up and there's a far bigger issue to deal with.

I'd not come across David Moody's work before and though the film does have an awful lot wrong, I did like the constant emphasis on the practicalities of surviving in a post apocalyptic world and I very much enjoyed the fresh and unusual approach taken to the zombie threat. Moody's zombies start dead. Really dead; their hearts expire, their brains shut down and they're lying on the ground not moving. A few days later something fires back up and a twitch here, a spark there and they're back on their feet shuffling around aimlessly but most important harmlessly.

As I said, for the bulk of the film the zombies aren't the threat; well that's not strictly true. Michael and few of the group are concerned about them, but only in that they are still technically dead and rotting and they know enough about disease to want to get out of the city before they catch something really nasty. There's a bit of macho posturing as the disparate group try to establish rank but it comes to little, Michael and Carl get away, they're joined by Emma (Lana Kamenov) and they find themselves an isolated pretty little rural farmhouse to call home. It ultimately proves to have been the wiser choice too as the dead getting to their feet seems to have been just the start of it all.

The zombies keep getting a little smarter, a little more aggressive, and Michael, Carl and Emma keep playing house waiting for corpses to rot or winter to come and freeze them all, all the while shrugging off the fact they might actually be in a spot of trouble and all the while struggling to find a reason to carry on believing the world bereft of future and hope. It's slow and rambling with a lot of long drawn out self indulgent dialogue but the acting is strong and the atmosphere coherent and constantly tense.

The zombies are well made up with dark blackened rotting visages and their transformation from recently deceased to spoilt-meat is convincing and bleak. Rumbelow may be good at picturing the end of the world but what's apparent is he struggles with action. Constant over use of blurry slowed or speeded film, off frame focus, and poor special effects; it's all a bit of an artistic and technical confusing mess, not helped by having, as said earlier, some appalling sound and film capture.

I can really understand why so many were left deeply unimpressed with Rumbelow's zombie foray. The action takes a long time to come and when it does it's flawed and deeply underwhelming. The narrative and dialogue is all also bit tempered and the times the story does branch out it all feels a bit clumsy and forced. But, taken as a bleak post apocalyptic character driven story that just happens to have zombies in, rather than a zombie horror that happens to be post apocalyptic there's a lot to commend. I've also been led to believe the prosaic survival emphasis and slow pace is a deliberate consequence of faithfully following the first book, and all in all I quite liked the change in pace from the day to day blood shed and carnage I put myself through. One final thought. I kind of felt Dead Men Walking was actually quite a poignant and fitting title. From start to finish I couldn't help but see the survivors as those who were the ones actually dead inside; lost, withdrawn without hope or direction and it was their journey, and their competent portrayal that drove the film. I would really have liked to see a sequel, perhaps with a new director, but as that doesn't look particularly likely I'll have to make do with the real thing (the books) and for that alone I won't be too hard on the film, 4/10.


Monday, 23 September 2013

Doghouse - review

2009 (UK)

Contains mild spoilers.

I've seen Doghouse described as a creatively bankrupt Shaun of the Dead for the British lads magazine reading audience and undeniably misogynistic, pitting, when it comes down to it, six foul mouthed, uncouth beer swilling guys against a ravenous horde of mindless zombirds (not my word), all presented as comical one dimensional stocking wearing parodies of characters you'd expect to see on a primary school wall; and there's certainly some merit to the criticisms. I do think though that dismissing the film in this way so quickly, is perhaps all a bit too easy and might even be actually kind of missing the point and even the joke.

Vince (Stephen Graham) is having a rough time of it, what with his divorce and all, so his mates, all dealing with their own relationship struggles have arranged for a weekend get-away to the small rural village of Moodley where the beer runs free and the women allegedly out number the men 4 to 1. Falling out with their significant others and meeting up at a local London pub to start proceedings with a lager or seven, director Jake West has captured British lad culture of the thirty something's painfully and clumsily transitioning from single carefree boys to grown men perfectly. They arrive full of exaggerated camaraderie and a macho facade hiding their real insecurities and pains, and the film is just as much a character journey with the lads rediscovering the confidence and masculinity of their lost youth, as it a good old fashioned low brow action zombie one. Their misogyny is exaggerated and a show; the film really a satirical jab at a demasculinised young British generation attempting to be warriors again.

Arriving at the village the lads soon come to realise two things. One, Mikey's (Noel Clarke) memories of the place are quite a way off with Moodley being quite the small, run down little place with little to offer them and two, they might actually be in a lot of trouble. You see, the villages lady folk have all been exposed to a biological agent that has turned them into rabid, man hating cannibals.

Yes, they're not zombies. They may look foul, exaggerated evil dead-esque and zombie like, and they may stagger about spasmodically, grunting and groaning, but they're very much alive and infected. Looking for a test site, the military chose the isolated rural hamlet, put in a for-ladies-ears-only high pitched immobilisation speaker safety system, which failed, and spiked the washing powder. The result? A bit of an implausible confusing plot full of inconsistencies, and a lot of men being eaten.

If anything I actually enjoyed the build up to the lads arrival, and the between action banter a bit more than the quite derivative action itself. Doghouse is a true show case of British talent. As well as Vince and Mikey, Neil (Danny Dyer), Graham (Emil Marwa), Matt (Lee Ingleby), Patrick (Keith-Lee Castle) and Banksy (Neil Maskell) are all fine character actors and their exchanges are constantly natural, witty and well delivered. All the characters feel authentic and the way in which they deal with the horror; by screaming, panicking and running away, is comically real and what makes the film. The action sequences themselves, while full of great and excessive blood and gore are perhaps a little flat and overdrawn with the same zombirds doing the same tricks a few too many times. There are moments of originality and some interesting ideas but the main action when the lads are desperately looking for ideas and scrambling from one shelter to the next all feels a bit contrived and seen it all before. I'm not saying it's not entertaining; it's just you could easily get yourself another beer without pausing and not really feel like you were missing anything.

It's another infected like The Crazies experience. Of late I've started to relax and really question my early assumptions about what it means to be a zombie and while I agree there needs to be a little deadness to proceedings, it's how this deadness manifests itself that's got me pontificating. The ladies are clearly no longer self-aware, or cognisant and are driven by a primal insatiable hunger; their humanity, their self, if you want to call it that, is dead. They're mindless rabid automatons, albeit with a pulse. They're not zombies as Romero defined it but in the grand scale of things, especially if we look to include old Haitian voodoo slaves, they maybe are. I'll leave this debate here for now but I will say the make-up and prosthetic team have done a fantastic job meeting the design goal of having thirty odd distinctly identifiable weapon wielding gruesome monstrosities and whether it's the horrific scissor snipping hairdresser (Emily Booth) or the large and gratuitous Bubbles (Annie Vanders) they play their evil caricatures with menace, exuberence and authenticity.

It's a clever and ironic stab at lad culture and the demasculinisation of the British man, and a well intentioned authentic attempt at a gore laced zombie film in the evil dead tradition, or it's misogynistic load of old wank; it all depends on your perspective. Either way, it just about gets the comedy, horror, action mix right and if you're happy to not think too hard about anything that's happening there's a fun, competent, albeit juvenile zombie film here and plenty of laughs. One to be enjoyed with a beer, rather than a fine cognac or full bodied Bordeaux in hand; a blood drenched battle of the sexes with a Demons meets Shaun of the Dead vibe it's recommended, 6/10.


Friday, 20 September 2013

Zombie Flesh Eaters 3 (Zombie 4: After Death) - review

1989 (Italy)

Contains mild spoilers.

High temp rock / latin synth score complete with fast crescendo digital pan pipes, crazed chanting voodoo priest, a writhing dancing sacrificial victim cum savage zombie-demon exploding from the fiery pits of hell; oh yeah! I knew two things after the opening ten minutes; one, from the sound track and copious amount of denim on show this film is a total child of the eighties and two, I was frickin' loving every minute of it.

Zombie Flesh Eaters 2 was a rambling incoherent mess if we admit it. A mishmash of styles and genres brought about by combining the directing ideas of multiple directors. Yet, somehow, and maybe because of such a crazy mix it came together to be utterly compelling and easily forgivable; the perfect carnival of all things b-movie, 80s and zombie. The film they produced still retained the indistinguishable Fulci atmosphere, but it was also layered with a livelier action focus and a contemporary style added by Bruno Mattei and his associate Claudio Fragasso who had a vision of their own but not enough time to combine it all in any cohesive way.

Zombie Flesh Eaters 3 is Claudio Fragasso's baby, albeit under the pseudonym Clyde Anderson and while he does continue at a pace with the particular action/horror vision he brought to the second he doesn't by any stretch abandon the essence and ambiguous Fulci style of its predecessors. If anything I felt this third film felt more authentic to the tone of the first than the second, perfectly pitching the absurd, the shocking and the surreal back in a far more coherent way. Ok, we're not back with Fulci's original slow shambling macabre flesh eaters and the pacing had definitely upped the ante with new and improved zombie flesh eater (MII)'s jumping and throwing themselves about but Fragasso is allowed his own take, and at least there's general unity to the zombies' identity and behaviour (for the most part anyway).

White men came to a remote Pacific island to look for answers to all the incurable modern malaise, including an investigation into cancer and how it could hold the secret of eternal life. Looking at local tribal witch doctors' methods they combined their understandings and attempted to cure the local priest's daughter of leukaemia only for her to die and infect the rest of the tribe with some strange reanimating disease. Seeking revenge and to rid their world of the invaders, the priest opened the third gate to hell by reading from the book of the dead and sacrificing his wife. He wrought a curse on all the scientists by commanding the dead back to life and to hunger for flesh, which they did, all other than a three year old girl who managed to escape with a protective amulet. Honestly, it's utterly balmy, b-movie insanity, a strange heady mix of science and voodoo but not, if we think about it, that dissimilar from Zombie Flesh Eaters which too was deliberately ambiguous as to the exact origin. It's daft, it's presented in 80s b-movie amateur splendour with false fangs and cheesy effects, but, if you're inclined like I am for this kind of thing it's bafflingly brilliant.

The bulk of the film is set twenty years later. The girl who fled, Jenny (Candice Daly) has for some utterly unknown reason, gone for a little boat jaunt with friend Louise (Adrianne Joseph) and her boyfriend Rod (Nick Nicholson) and his three mercenary for hire buddies and arrived by remarkable coincidence, back to the island. The boat is possessed, lands and the group set off to look for help. Meanwhile,  three intrepid explorers looking to discover, for reasons I either missed or weren't overly explained, the answer to why the colony was wiped out by following clues from an old diary, find themselves in the ritual chamber with the book of the dead and decide it's a good idea to read from it. That's the build up, it doesn't take that long and the rest of the film is action, survival and lots of death, slaughter, screaming, and you know, normal stuff.

You're either going to love Fragasso's high octane vision, where zombies literally throw themselves at the ever depleting survivors en masse wave after wave, and agree to disregard the obvious impact having a severely depleted budget had on make-up, effects and costumes, or like many reviewers I've read, you're not. With funding drastically reduced because of the poor reception of the second film, other than the main front of house zombies, they had to make do with rags and bandages to cover the many extras faces. Personally I didn't think the effect was that bad and it all reminded me if anything of the undead from the hospital in Fulci's The Beyond; and that's no bad thing. By the front of house zombies I'm referring to the many actors that are bitten, die and come back horrifically and authentically unpleasant. In some respects the juxtaposition between these recently deceased visitors to the island who are very much undead parodies of their former selves and the reanimated indigenous horde works. They're two distinct zombie tropes and it kind of lets Fragasso off all questions of consistency, as we watch the new guys alone retain the ability to still fire guns and even mutter a few words.

I really was quite smitten with Zombie Flesh Eaters 3 despite going in with low expectations. The pacing is fantastic, the narrative flows cohesively from scene to scene, and for a crazy-stupid story it's actually convincing and beieve it or not never felt derivative. It's the action and the many copious zombie fights that makes the film and it's refreshing when those in possession of guns and the understanding that a zombie needs shooting in the head, to do so with such convincing efficiency. They limit their use of ammo, they choose when to take their shots and they're intelligent in all aspect of their survival; and other than when Rod loses his girlfriend and subsequent mind and goes all Rambo I was thinking these would be just the guys I'd like to find myself with come the end of the world. There's also a rationale, ok a pure fucking insane one, to the speed and aggression with which the zombies siege the clinic, and it makes for some good, entertaining action. Fragasso is also obviously a disciple of the shocking trademark gore and staged brutality. There's a return to the first and homage to Fulci's own gates of hell trilogy with some quite gruesome and gratuitous mutilations which all look convincingly gut churning and feel as totally overplayed as they should.

This was everything I would want from a cheesy 80s low budget zombie video nasty. Fun, high intensity, an unrelenting and unashamedly 80s sound track by Al Festa and no holding back. How does it compare to the other two? They're all good and all bring something different to the table but I'd argue After Death is certainly the most fun, and what an ending, oh yeah! 8/10.

The transfer on Vipco DVD I watched while being better all round than that of Zombie Flesh Eaters 2 was still quite grainy and murky on occasion (though never all the time) but I was having too much fun for it to ruin it for me. It's probably the best uncut version out, though there have been rumours of a HD Blu-ray release, though nothing substantiated at this time.


Thursday, 19 September 2013

Kill Zombie! (Zombibi) - review

2012 (Netherlands)

Contains mild spoilers.

This one, it turns out, is an amateur zom-rom-com Dutch production set in its own capital. It's an unabashed unassuming little Shaun of the Dead wannabe that never strays too far from what's expected and doesn't really do anything wrong. All in all it's quite light, fun, the characters are likeable and quirky, the whole thing is very well presented and there's the odd memorable over the top bit of action or gore. The thing is, with zombies the current zeitgeist and a market flooded, not bad, quite pleasurable, nothing wrong, isn't really enough any more. I mean, unless your a true zombie nut, like yours truly, willing to watch absolutely everything out there you're only really going to pick the genre darlings and this unfortunately isn't going to one of them, despite, as I say, actually being quite good.

Aziz (Yahya Gaier) is Shaun from Shaun of the Dead, a shirt and tie wearing miserable disenchanted 9 to 5er. The only thing keeping him going is his dream of romancing co-worker Tess (Nadia Poeschmann) but on the eve of his first date a series of unfortunate events looks to have scuppered his chances. First he's fired, partly because his free and easy bum of a brother Mo (Mimoun Ouled Radi) can't stop phoning him but mostly because he has a jealous petty-Hitler of a boss. Second, he and his brother are arrested and thrown in a cell for the night after getting into a spat with a pair of Surinamese goons at a barbecue / pool party. And third, and this one's the most significant, a Russian Space station / satellite has crashed to earth covered in toxic green moss and turned the whole population of West Amsterdam into dangerous flesh eating zombies; oh, and Tess is still stranded at the office, which also happens to be ground zero.

Directors Martijn Smits and Erwin van den Eshof know how to paint quite the apocalyptic vision. Azis, Mo and their now Surinamese survival companions, Jeffrey (Sergio Hasselbaink) and Nolan (Uriah Arnhem) emerge from the cells into a picture-perfect (if that's the right phrase) ruined cityscape complete with building fires, abandoned cars and putrid green pustule covered alien-zombies. Everything looks great, the CG doesn't actually look that fake and the zombies are authentic appearing and quite gnarly. After a quick altercation with a wheel-chaired old lady zombie, emphasising at once the danger they're in and that we shouldn't be taking this all too seriously, the gang are ushered back into the police station and we're introduced to Kim (Gigi Ravelli) the films glamorous, kick-ass leading police lady.

As stated, there's nothing wrong with the film. Action and comedy guides the narrative and the group stumble from one location and goofy fight to the next all the while pitching Aziz's desire to rescue the damsel in distress with Mo, and the rest of the group who want to get the hell out of dodge. The various set pieces are well put together, stylish and playful with Smits and Eshof not afraid to go all Dead Rising with the extensive use of wacky and humour-some zombie dispatching weaponry and methods, and interspersing it all on occasion with zany comic-book / video game sequences straight out of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.

The word alien isn't actually mentioned, and it could well be some Russian biological experiment gone wrong, but the green goo spewing zombies are sure made up to look not of this world. It still suffers a little from the 'if touching the green goo turned the first into zombies, why are these particular survivors apparently immune', syndrome but as is the case with the not so serious zombie films, total coherence isn't necessarily the number one priority. The infection, or what ever it is, is transferred through the standard zombie bite with the victim deteriorating rapidly, zombiefying, dying then reanimating with a hunger for flesh, either alive or dead. There's also the hint everyone's infected anyway and the bite merely hastens death and the inevitable turn. Behaviour wise they're your usual slow shufflers, though as is the way the odd faster gnarly zombie appears sporadically to spice up the action, and even a completely out of place comedy zombie makes an appearance here and there though they kind of feel a little awkward and overly contrived.

All in all, Kill Zombie! is a quirky little Dutch zombie film. It's quite fun, quite coherent, quite well written and quite well acted and quite well paced. The zombies are well made up, the sets are lavish and expansive and there's more than one great, gratuitous memorable scene. The comedy compliments the action well despite the fact I never felt it was quite as funny as it thought it did and the cast do a good job with either their dry straight-man or slapstick roles. It's fine, honestly; a nice evenings viewing and it definitely scratched that apocalyptic zombie itch but, and here's the crutch. It does everything adequately, nothing more, coming across a tad stale, a tad going though the motions and derivative, like a poor mans Juan of the Dead or a trite Dutch multicultural Shaun of the Dead, both of which are fresher, more original and more authentic. Kill Zombie! is good, don't get me wrong, it's just good isn't good enough in a subgenre packed with truly great, 5/10.


Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Zombie Flesh Eaters 2 (Zombi 3) - review

1988 (Italy)

Contains mild spoilers.

Zombie Flesh Eaters 2, or Zombi 3 for those that maintain we have to keep to the numbering lunacy begun by Dario Argento when he was allowed to muck about with Dawn of the Dead and release it as Zombi to the Italian audience, is a film of three directors; and this point becomes very important. Lucio Fulci may be credited as the one true director, and he did shoot seventy odd minutes of it, but the job was actually handed over to Bruno Mattei and his associate Claudio Fragasso after he fell ill and left the set.  What is very apparent now I've watched it, is all three obviously had quite their own vision and none of them particularly follow or compliment the others. What we're left with is a positive festival of all things zombie; a cornucopia of genres and tropes with cohesiveness and coherence left at the door. On the surface it's all a bit of a mess, nothing flows, the story is baffling, ludicrous and implausible and the zombies change their stripes every chance they get. There's just one thing; in being such a celebration and having Fulci's sultry continental surrealist guide as the foundation it somehow and incredulously manages to actually come together in quite an interesting and enjoyable way. I'm really scratching my head to how it's managed it.

At its heart we've got quite the straightforward zombie survival story with mad scientists, an over zealous, over confident military and a group of disparate survivors. This time it's 'Death One' a bacteriological, radioactive pathogen or agent or something capable of reanimating the dead and as with all top secret, highly dangerous experimental compounds the first chance they can, someone loses control of it, mistakes are made, and giant swaths of the countryside are contaminated and the dead are up and miffed.

I say the dead are up. Death One is more the infect, transform, kill and reanimate sort of pathogen/virus/whateveritis and there's no climbing out of graves or sitting up in coffins. There's no ambiguous voodoo/science mix here with corpses rising from the grave and the infection somehow further spreading through scratches and bites. Here the airborne toxin is fully explained; we have back story and there's an attempt to provide a rational coherent template to all the zombie gubbins. I'm sure Mattei and Fragasso are responsible for the new more western Day of the Dead-esque narrative but in moving too far from the Fulci ambiguity template they're less able to hide the whole host of plot holes and narrative inconsistencies that abide.

Zombie Flesh Eaters 2 isn't about strong interesting narrative or coherent deep characters really though, and if you go at it with this in mind you'll be painfully disappointed. Whether it's the cookie-cutter GI's on leave or the pretty flirtatious American girls on the bus, the characters are there to drive the zombie action from one scene to the next. People get killed, people get bitten, barricades are made, barricades fail and the zombies keep coming. There's no big meta narrative or attempt to be clever, just lots of fights and lots of desperate survival. There's no depth or character development either and the actors do a poor wooden job at delivering the trite monosyllabic lines provided, but it doesn't really matter as you're not supposed to be listening to the strange, but of it's time English redub of English lines anyway. What we're all here for is the zombies and watching them dispatch said easily forgettable characters en masse with as much gratuitous well presented typically exploitative Fulci unpleasantness as possible. We're also here to see zombies dispatched en masse on a scale not previously seen in a Fulci film too. It's a win-win really, and I know Romero's influence can be seen but it doesn't detract from the high octane, quite stylishly presented zombie killing shenanigans.

The Fulci Zombie Flesh Eaters zombies are still there. They're foul grotesque, slow and shuffling, it's just this time they've been joined by all their friends, some of whom were quite unexpected. There's a fight with an extremely fast, hatchet wielding resident evil like junior executioner, there's all the fights with leaping, hiding, ninja zombies that fall from the ceiling and flip and climb with the best of them, and there's even quite the hilarious head; actually I won't spoil this one, but it's so out of place I was more shocked by the fact it was included, than it's sudden appearance. It's such a mishmash of styles though once you've accepted it all for what it is (if you can get over), it's all highly entertaining and even enthralling. Each high action scene comes with new surprises and new challenges for the unfortunate heroes to deal with, and you almost start to recognise some consistency in each zombie type encountered. I should say there is still a little trans-genre consistency though. They all die very much as they would if they were alive and there's no head trauma required. It's a moment of strange calm.

Mattei and Fragasso took Fulci's moody little sequel and turned it into a Zombie Flesh Eaters/Return of the Living Dead/The Crazies mash up and I can tell it's going to become a guilty pleasure of mine. Woeful wooden acting, a cliché story with no narrative, character or zombie coherence, a style that's a complete hodgepodge that's frankly ludicrous and bafflingly incoherent, my summation should be unanimously negative yet from start to finish I found myself laughing and cheering along. The action, deaths, blood and gore all flow in abundance and for all its faults it's all presented extremely well and even paced quite nicely, never dawdling. Zombie Flesh Eaters 2 is an accidental festival of everything zombie that approached the right way is implausibly brilliant and a must see spectacle, 7/10.

The ten year old DVD I watched has a terrible picture quality as if someone has smeared the screen with butter. It doesn't deride too much from the lunacy and there's not much choice available but it's not close to the beautiful crisp new HD release of Zombie Flesh Eaters. Here's hoping for the same treatment.


Monday, 16 September 2013

Return of the Living Dead Part II - review

1988 (USA)

Contains mild spoilers.

I argued Return of the Living Dead was the perfect mix of comedy and zombie horror. It was full of farce and jokes, yes, but at heart it was still dark, gory and menacingly thoughtful. My first thought after watching director Ken Wiederhorn's sequel was what happened to the horror? I'd acknowledged the BBFC (15) rating on the box, but still wasn't quite prepared for just how tempered down the production would be and how obvious it would be at targeting the teenage audience. Dialogue is expletive free, make-up, effects and animatronics are comparable to what you'd see on a ghost ride at the carnival, and I could count the number of genuinely gory scenes on one hand; I've even read that it was only the scene from the hospital that stopped it from receiving PG-13 in the US, from the MPAA. In truth I couldn't help but think it had all the atmosphere and pacing of an early Spielberg film, with a cast of feisty children like that of The Goonies crossed with Home Alone, rather than anything Romero or Russo would have put their name too. This isn't to say it's all bad; quite the contrary, but it isn't Return of the Living Dead as we thought we knew it.

The Army are not good at logistics. Yet again they managed to lose a barrel of 245 Trioxin, a military reanimate compound, and yet again they've managed to put something incredibly dangerous in the hands of exactly the sort of people they wanted to avoid. Careless isn't the word. Jesse Wilson (Michael Kenworthy), is our child star. He's been brought to the cemetery for a reluctant initiation into the local gang but changing his mind at the last moment he breaks for it hiding in the best and convenient of traditions, exactly where the barrel is. Searching him out from his hiding spot the two bully-goons that brought Jesse here, do what all good bully-goons do and ignore all the warning signs, tamper with the locks and open up it. Cue green toxic reanimating gas, a close proximity graveyard and mausoleum complete with comedy grave-robbing duo Joey (Thom Mathews) and Ed (James Karen), back to reprieve their roles and lines from the first, and we're off on another ground zero z adventure yet again. Toxic rain falls, the dead pull themselves out of their graves and those caught up start screaming and running for their lives.

For Return of the Living Dead Part II, heritage is serious business. Scenes are lifted, story arches are repeated and the same jokes are retold; though this time it's all done with less emphasis on risqué black humour and more on keeping the Saturday night family-TV crowd entertained. Never is this more obvious that in the Michael Jackson Thriller-esque dead rising from the graves opener and whether it's zombies putting their glasses on, or comically stepping on each one-another's heads, it's slap-stick comedy central and I honestly don't think I'd have much problem letting my eight year watching it all.

This humour and desire to present itself as a teen-comedy and not a controversial horror is pervasive. The undead are well made up and even more over the top than those of its predecessor, but it's all so over the top it becomes comic-book and a bit goofy. There are a few sinking the teeth in scenes, with blood and gratuitous, if fleeting, gore, but they almost feel out of place and a bit too staged; even the zombies low resonating guttural call for brainssss has been replaced with higher pitched more jovial utterances as it was all a tad too dark.

The zombies do start off slow, shuffling and true to tradition but the narrative soon tires of this letting them run about, talk, smell and even drive 4 by 4s out scouting the streets for brains. It's stupid and a farce but it works with a narrative that never tries to be anything above banal or quite frankly average. Return of the Living Dead Part II as said, likes to play constant respect and homage to its origin and the undead are still total reanimates capable of being shot in the head and decapitated with severed limbs allowed to scurry about in true Evil Dead tradition, and the only way to destroy them for good is fire (and now electricity). This self referral, and cross film coherence is all good but for some reason Wiederhorn felt the need to go further, pulling out many of iconic narrative sequences, spitting them back almost verbatim and sanitised. All the edginess that made them what they were is missing and this, as stated epitomises the films problems.

As a light airy family horror comedy Return of the Living Dead Part II isn't so bad. The humour is goofy, the story reasonably coherent and it's all presented in an exaggerated harmless way that's constantly pleasing to the eye. The problem is, I didn't want a sequel so tempered. I wanted and expected another gritty horror, comedy farce full of disturbing and shocking ideas and scenes. If you want something you could watch with your kids, albeit with a couple of quick fast-forwards, I can see the appeal, it's just not the sequel I was hoping for. Return of the Living Dead Jnr gets 5/10.


Friday, 13 September 2013

Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead - review

2006 (USA)

Contains mild spoilers.

Poultrygeist is a fowl, eggspoloitative orgy of the hensane; full of oeufensive imagery and bad yokes. Yes I did write that, no I'm not sorry.

Even though I knew what I'd be letting myself in for with a such a stupid title and knowing it was a Troma film, I still wasn't prepared for just how far they would take it. Make no bones about it; Poultrygeist is the most excessive, audaciously obscene and stupid film I think I've ever seen. There is nothing, and I mean nothing, director, producer and co-writer Lloyd Kaufmann wasn't prepared to shoot and the results are both shocking and spectacular.

Arbie (Jason Yachanin) has returned to the site of his only sexual liaison, an Indian burial ground, only to find it's been bulldozed over and an American Chicken Bunker fast food franchise has been built on top. Outside he stumbles into his lost love Wendy (Kate Graham), who's back from college after one semester taking part in the protest against the maltreatment of the mass produced chickens with her girlfriend Micki (Allyson Sereboff). Offended and angry Arbie decides he'll show her, by getting a minimum wage job in the restaurant.

It doesn't take long for the spirits of the dead Indians to mix with the existential angst of millions of mistreated dead chickens for the restaurant to become ground zero for the zombie chicken apocalypse. The food is possessed, the food is eaten, people die, chicken burgers speak, shit, vomit and blood all flow in equal and gratuitously large quantities, and protestors, staff and customers alike all combine in a giant orgy of repulsive silliness that you have to see to believe. Add to the mix as many offensive or controversial stereotypes as you can to parody and poke fun at, totally gross and unnecessary slapstick scenes at every opportunity, and you have a film that people will either admire for its sheer audacity or actively wince at and condemn.

Did I also mention it's a musical. I was a little hesitant when I read about song and dance routines on the back sleeve but I needn't have been. In the best tradition of South Park crossed with Rocky Horror the musical interludes are daft, witty and deliberately both childish, satirical and offensive. I say offensive, but as with the entirity of the film, it's all handled in such a childish and glib manner to not actually cause offense. I'll admit there's a fine line being tred, but by simultaneously firing shots at everyone and everything, with no one coming out on top, it almost acts to nullifies any or all the intent. All that's really left is the offensiveness itself and there's no real victims.

Zombie chickens are a first, I'll admit and they're a nasty looking thing. I should mention that, as is the Troma way, the vast majority of those working on the film did so voluntarily and for free. Extras flew in from all over the world to aid on set, play one of the many extras required or to help with make-up. For such an amateur, low budget affair I thought they all did a stand out job and somehow they got the zombie-poultry hybrid to actually work. They're an unsightly abomination, as are the myriad of obscene and outlandish sequences that occupy most of the film leading us up to their full on introduction.

Again, for unknown names the acting is first rate perfectly capturing the tone of the film. The dialogue is  sharp and stupid, the actors play their hyper-realised parodies with gay abandon and despite all the gratuitous nudity the film never feels it's sexually exploitative; just the opposite, promoting natural real beauty. The narrative is as coherent as it needs to be, the extras do more than stand in the background making up the numbers and action flows from outlandish scene to song at pace.

Sometimes a film comes along that perfectly understands confident and professional film making and the desire to produce something that stands up amongst its peers, but does so without losing the atrocious b-movie that lies at its heart. Anyone could come up with the dumb idea of possessed zombie chickens, but to actually produce it with style, vision and professionalism is commendable.

Poultrygeist is an orgy of the ridiculous; a vomit inducing slapstick farce of biblical proportions. My partner actually commented three quarters of the way through she'd wished she'd not eaten just before it started; and even though she does have a weak stomach I can't help but agree it's not one for the squeamish and possibly the grossest film I've ever seen. It does have a few issues; I felt the pacing fell away through an overly drawn out middle section and it is kind of a one trick pony that slightly over plays its joke but the fact my complaints are so few and minor given not only the nature of the film but how it was put together surprises even me. A chicken-shit crazy bad trip into excessive no holds-barred film making, it's lame, stupid, crude, vulgar and clucking (sorry) fantastic, 9/10.


Thursday, 12 September 2013

Zombies Zombies Zombies (Strippers vs Zombies) - review

2008 (USA)

Contains mild spoilers.

I'm going to start this review by saying two things that will considerably give away what I think of Zombies Zombies Zombies. The first is go watch Zombie Strippers, it's considerably better in every way imaginable. The second is skip the first 30 minutes. Really, unless you just have to see a few really quite tame topless strip routines and lots of truly atrocious cat fighting between the Grindhouse dancers (the name of the girls' strip joint) and Johnny 'BackHand' Vegas (Anthony Headen), the local total cliché, total douche-bag pimp-daddy, and his gang of hoes.

I've read director and producer Jason M. Murphy's aim was for a zombie comedy with a bit of satire in the vein of Shaun of the Dead. Well, there are zombies in it and I did manage a few chuckles, though mostly these were awkward and as a direct consequence of the bad acting and awful plot; and as for satire, if plastic cookie-cutter centre-page models parading around in next to nothing, all the time being constantly degraded and abused by misogynists, was some big clever meta-narrative poking fun at itself, I think it kind of dangerously missed the point.

Dr. Stewart (Michael Clinkenbeard) plays the overused mad-scientist working this time on a cure for cancer, on the side he likes helping drug addicts and an accident in the lab allows one such nefarious fellow to leave with some zombie-crack. Pamela (Stephanie Miller) one of the local ladies of the night, is the first to indulge her narcotic cravings and finally, some thirty minutes in, as she vomits blood and collapses in the street then returns to her feet with all new flesh cravings does the film kind of get going.

Somewhere in the mix I do believe there was the foundation blocks for a good over the top zombie horror, and cliché and tried and tested can have its place; it's just with a script this dire, and execution this excruciatingly painful it was never going to be able to get off the ground. The first thirty minutes as I've said are hard going. The acting is wooden and painful to watch, but with a cast made up of real playmates and calendar models it was probably to be expected, though the additional male cast are no better.  Overall I felt I was watching some weird and unnatural cross between a preamble to a very poor porn film and some z-list British sea-side pantomime with the regular overuse of multiple people saying the same line at exactly the same time.

The zombies are exactly what you'd expect. Shuffling, groaning extras with their arms outstretched and for ninety percent of the movie whenever the action got interesting, as a zombie finally got to sink his or her teeth in, the camera would shift, just at the money-shot to a silhouette or inanimate object to get splattered with blood. And so the next half hour unfolds. The disparate group hole up at the Grindhouse, the zombies banging on the doors swell in number and a mishap here, a mishap there sees the hoes, strippers and additional ensemble get picked off one by one. There's nothing new, nothing interesting and little to no money spent on effects. It's only with fifteen minutes to go and the final set of sequences that we finally get to see where the entirety of the budget's been spent. Finally there's blood, gore, CG exploding zombies and perhaps the most casual acceptance of being eaten by zombie in the history of cinema and it's actually quite good fun, quite b-movie and dare I say a tad inventive. It really is all too little too late though.

Not a good zombie film, not by any stretch a good comedy and if this is satire I'm a banana. Zombies Zombies Zombies is the worst film I've reviewed and I've really nothing positive to say. A hackneyed incoherent plot that felt like it was being made up as it went along, bad-bad (not good-bad) dialogue and painful forced acting; it's atrocious. Even if you went into it thinking there would at least be a bit of titillation, you'd be severely disappointed with a few limp dances with the merest nudity to satisfy the girls contracts. I'll will try to end positive though; at least that's off the list, 1/10.