Saturday, May 28, 2011

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Abraham Lincoln Versus Zombies 2012 - **1/2 The whole premise that Abe Lincoln was a zombie slayer is precisely ludicrous enough to be wholly entertaining, but is it? Well, yes and no. Lincoln does kick some serious zombie ass with a weapon that resembles a Klingon Bat'leth, there are a couple of laugh out loud moments, and an interesting revisionist twist of history. The problem however is that while many zombies are slaughtered, none are killed with any imagination or innovation. We are not fans of C.G.I. head shots, and there are plenty to be found here. The film has a surprising lack of blood and proper gore, we figure that the zombies here were killed in maybe four different ways in an almost PG-13 fashion. 

The film itself looks like an HBO historical drama - the sets, wardrobe and make-up are suitably impressive. The glaring exception being the character of Stonewall Jackson whose beard was so fake looking that you're pulled out of the movie every time he appears onscreen. One feels that he is costumed for a high school play. The acting is quite solid, especially the portrayal of Lincoln by Bill Oberst Jr.

 


A Cadaver Christmas 2011 - ***And it came to pass that three men banded together to oppose the undead for the holidays. Could it be? Is there actually a film that is destined to be a seasonal favorite in the zombie film genre? Thankfully we can finally say yes. This film boasts a clever script, and is well acted by the leads who portray a janitor, a drunk, and a cop that has fallen from grace. This trio form an unlikely team to combat the re-animated, when a science professor's experiments go awry. That the film is shot grindhouse style with degraded picture and color just feels right somehow, as does the use of traditional Christmas music accompanying the splatter gore. We were pleased that first time writer/director Joe Zerull included some sequences of mayhem that we've always wanted to see in a genre film. Zerull manages to combine the right amount of nudity, gore, and uh...necrophilia to make this a heartwarming holiday classic. I can add that last sentence to the list of things I never thought I'd type.




Action Girls: Soldiers Of The Dead Part 1  2005 - NO STARS Where does one even begin when trying to describe this sexploitation garbage? In one of the longest prefilm title sequences in cinematic history we are told that a virus has wiped out most of mankind. Survivors have gravitated to gangs; the worst being run by a man named Helman, and yes it is a gang of neo-nazis. His right hand man, er woman is a ripoff of Ilsa AKA She Wolf of the SS, and together they enslave women and make them fight nude in the arena Spartacus style.
Where do the zombies come in ?  Well the Ilsa type character Adrianna discovers a lab during a raid that contains a secret formula for creating super soldiers, can you say Captain America ? She begins injecting the serum, which is a ripoff of the reagent in "Re-Animator", into the dead. The result is identical as well, as the subjects wake up as mindless, enraged woman beating machines. There are your zombies folks, they look normal and just run around yelling an awful lot. At one point in a ridiculous battle sequence they even exhibit wrestling prowess. The film's plot jumps back and forth to the point where one doesn't know if what they are seeing is a flashback or not anymore. There is also very little dialogue, and when the neo-nazis speak it is subtitled for no good reason. We love nudity as much as the next guy, but this borders on the gratuitous -  it isn't even titillating. The film makers at actiongirls.com don't seem to hold women in too high a regard either. There are more just downright nasty acts of violence performed on the girls here than we've seen in quite some time. A women is chained in a cell, suddenly we see her getting attacked by rats. To add insult to injury the first zombie we see bursts into the cell and beats the living fuck out of her. Another scene involves a women being beaten repeatedly across the stomach with a bar as she dangles from the ceiling. The action sequences here are poorly choreographed, the story derivative, the acting substandard, and the "zombies" a joke. We were going to say that this film was made for only the most attention deficient, prepubescent gamers out there, but then we recalled they actually are used to more story than is provided here. When we checked out the film's website to find its release date (it is not listed on IMDB, Hmmm) we saw reviews from some credible sources like Dread Central that sang its praises. We can only conclude therefore that they were paid. If the film makers would like to pay us to improve this review don't hesitate to contact us. Just a stipend would suffice for making us endure your little film. In closing since this is part 1 and six years have passed, we think it is safe to say the sequel isn't going to happen. We are thankful.



After Sundown 2006 - * The poster above would have you believe that this is a zombie movie, and it sort of is. In reality it is a vampire film first and foremost. It is a predictable tale about some vamps from the old west who are resurrected to wreak havoc in the modern day. The Master vamp has the ability to make the dead do his bidding, thus the zombies. This film is a mess, poorly told, and overall just a waste of the viewers time. It would be OK we suppose for the vampire completist, but for the zombie fan skip it. The single star is for the obvious care and effort the film makers took to organize the shooting of the mass zombie scenes. They are the only thing the film does well. That they changed the DVD cover to exploit the zombie fan speaks volumes.



The Alchemist 1981 - ** Nothing special to speak of, just a decent film to watch if you're bored one evening. It's redeemed by a few scenes of decent gore.



The Alien Dead 1980 - * We'll admit the zombie make up is good, but there is no gore to speak of. The production values and script are terrible. There is no trailer available, surprise, surprise. However for your edification the first ten minutes of the film are below.



A Little Bit Zombie 2012 - **1/2 Steve was unavailable when we found out at the last minute that this film was playing in Kelowna during a limited theatrical run in its native Canada. So my girlfriend Susan and I went to the 7:15 showing on a Thursday night. This would be only the second time in my life that my companion and I were the only ones in the whole theater, it did make us feel kind of bad for the film makers. Later as we were driving home I asked her what she thought of the film. Her response went something like, "It was pretty funny, I wish that cunt would have gotten eaten in the end". Now bear in mind Susan is not much of a zombie film enthusiast, yet she hit the nail right on the head.

 It is indeed a funny movie, but one must be warned that if you are looking for an over the top gore fest this is not the film for you. There is some zombie killing at the beginning of the film by a zombie hunter character played by Stephen McHattie (Pontypool), but the focus here is on the predicament of a young HR exec named Steve. Steve is engaged to Tina (the aforementioned cunt) and they are on a getaway to the family cabin with Steve's sister Sarah (Kristen Hager who plays Nora on the U.S. version of "Being Human") and her husband Craig. While at the cabin Steve is bitten by a mosquito who has recently drained some blood off of one of the undead, which starts his transformation into a zombie. The zombies in this outing are of "The Return Of The Living Dead" style, shambling along uttering, "Braiiins". Steve's desire for brains, his search for them, and how this all effects the relationship with his peers round out the action. McHattie's zombie hunter character and his assistant are there to complicate things for the foursome as they try to adjust. 

There are many laughs to be had here, the acting is high calibre, and though there are few gore effects here, they are first rate. This film was made on a budget of just under two million dollars in the greater Sudbury area of Ontario. I believe this is the first time that I've seen dozens of people listed in the end credits who donated to the project. I am always wary of such financial pleas for production money, but I hope this is typical of the kind of quality one can expect from such endeavors . We recommend this one, and hey it even makes a great date movie.



American Zombie 2007 - 1/2* This mockumentary revolving around the lives and travails of self aware zombies is like three movies in one. The zombies as social metaphor aspect is transparent and the film makers beat it to death. On another level it tries to be a dark comedy, it fails. The third act tries for an actual zombie vibe that, all things considered, is too little too late. The only thing that we came away with was shitty individuals make shitty zombies. The production values and acting are very good, but in the end the question we asked each other was, "why bother making this boring pseudo intellectual fluff"? Not recommended to those looking for violence or a typical zombie outing.



Apocalypse Of The Dead 2009 - *** (A.K.A. Zone Of The Dead) We had seen a lot of bad reviews of this film that essentially said it was horrible. We have to totally disagree. This is an excellent zombie movie, which features the best zombie make up we've seen in a long time. We will agree that at times the pacing is off. Scenes of character development come off as boring rather than revealing. The script is the weak point. Other reviewers took shots at the acting. Well, it's a medium budget zombie film. "Dawn Of The Dead's" Ken Foree would be the biggest name, and yeah it's not great acting by Hollywood standards. However if you watch as many of these films as we do, you know that there are faaaaaar, faaaaar worse acting performances in this genre. Most of the gore is provided by head shots, there is one intestinal scene, these scenes are done professionally and are quite satisfying. There is a secondary character, a zombie killer, who serves no other purpose but to increase the violence. Most of the intimate moments that try to manipulate you to care for these characters are clunky and non effective.  If someone was to re-cut this movie to reduce its running length by ten minutes it would be beneficial. Don't let the other bad reviews fool you, trust us it's worth it.



Apocalypse Z 2013 - 1/2* A.K.A." Zombie Massacre". To quote our friend Brad Gullickson, who is one of the writers at the excellent, "In The Mouth Of Dorkness", 
 http://inthemouthofdorkness.blogspot.ca/ "UWE BOLL MUST DIE !!!

This film, which was shot in Germany and Italy, is as hackneyed and cliche as could possibly be. The story seems to be cobbled together from a number of past zombie efforts by a teenager trying to write his first screenplay. The U.S. government is trying to create a super soldier, and of course there is a mishap that turns the residents of a small European town into infected, zombie like creatures. So the President, played by Uwe Fucking Boll himself, in a ludicrous performance given his Euro Weenie accent, has his people put together a group of mercenaries to clean shit up.The mercenaries include a Scottish explosives expert who tries his best to sound like James Doohan in Star Trek, a misogynistic sniper, and a redheaded female assassin trained in the orient.

 The dialogue here is juvenile, the gore is sub standard (CGI blood), and one wonders where the one million dollar budget was spent. It certainly wasn't spent on actors because there wasn't one within 50 miles of where this film was shot. It's always amusing watching European actors trying to portray American stereotypes, rednecks, etc. but it just isn't enough here. The half star we're awarding here is for the zombie make up, a merciful running time of 83 minutes, and some entirely gratuitous nudity during the film's "shocking" ending, which were the only redeeming features of this mess.



Army Of Darkness 1993 - **** I know, a few movies in and we're already breaking our own rules. They may not be Romero type zombies, but one has to include this film, it's Ash baby. The third film in the "Evil Dead" trilogy may not be as entertaining as its predecessors and leans towards camp, but is still highly entertaining.



Autumn 2009 - **1/2 We have a certain affection for this film, and not just because it is Canadian made. Other reviewers have called it boring, we disagree to a point. While it is true that it is slow moving, and there is no actual zombie violence to speak of: it is an interesting psychological slice of life piece. The zombie movie genre is reaching the point that there is nothing new under the sun except inventing new methods of zombie disposal. This film in which 99% of mankind is wiped out by a virus only to rise again is almost more frightening without the usual violence associated. The dead here are attracted by sound, and they are plentiful in number. At first they shamble about, but as time passes they start becoming more like the Romero standard. They are not menacing early in the film, making one wonder what it would be like to survive in a world where the rotting dead are just there. They look in the window, if you make noise they come to you like a fly to shit. Yes, at two hours it does plod along, but the fantastic make-up and the characters reaction to their new environment make it worthwhile. Also the late David Carradine makes an appearance as a man who has lost his mind from desolation and loss, a cameo part really. Apart from the fact that this film would be better served with a re-edit to reduce it's running time by 20 minutes or so, we recommend it. Just don't go in expecting a lot of the usual action and gore.



Aye, Dead On 2012 - ** The first in what promises to be a number of shorts about the misadventures of a couple of metal heads during the apocalypse in Belfast is pretty enjoyable. We have a slight quibble with the make-up quality, but that can be corrected. A decent first effort, Rock On Boys !!!

1 comment:

  1. Fun film to work on! Bruce Campbell is a great guy and consummate professional. It was a hard shoot, but we were thrilled with how it came out!

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