Saturday, May 28, 2011


Land Of The Dead 2005 - ***1/2 The long awaited fourth zombie film by the master George A. Romero was a welcome release after so many indie and direct to video genre films. Romero expands on his undead mythology while providing a violent, complex tale. The effects and overall production values are excellent, the acting sound. Just a great film !!!

Last Of The Living 2009 - *** This New Zealand zombedy has the same kind of vibe as "Shaun Of The Dead". Three average guys do what most of us would do if you survived the apocalypse, they hole up in a nice place, listen to music, play video games, and watch DVDs. It's when they venture out to get supplies that they run into trouble. They encounter a hot female scientist who may have the cure for the outbreak, and suddenly the fate of the world is thrust into their hands. They dispatch zombies with baseball bats, golf clubs, and the like providing decent gore, and the script provides some decent laughs. A nice find.


Life After Beth 2014 - ** This film is a bit perplexing. The lead character Zach is played by Dane Dehaan who viewers will probably associate with his role as Harry Osborne in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Zach is mourning the death of his girlfriend Beth, played by Aubrey Plaza.

Beth suddenly up alive, turning Zach's world topsy turvy, and we get to see her slow transformation into what is traditionally considered a modern zombie. That's really all I can say without spoilers, but will add that there is blood without much actual gore, and the ending is fairly anti-climactic.

I expected a comedy of sorts, mostly because of the supporting cast which includes John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon and Paul Reiser. The film does contain some moments of dark humor, but is rather slow moving until the third act.

In an age where distributors shrink away from the words "zombie film" like a penis during a cold swim was it necessary to throw what must have been a one to three million dollar budget at this project? Less expensive actors would have made this film's $80,000.00 domestic and International return easier to swallow.

This is a film that you should check out, but do not go in expecting the usual bloodbath. It does provide a different take on the usual tale, which is to be commended.

Living A Zombie Dream 1996 - 1/4* This is an extremely amateur production. The reason I am giving it the meagre rating that I am is that there are a few well done zombie consumption scenes. How this film ever made it to DVD is a mystery. 

There are a plethora of young would be film makers out there who shoot a film, take the time to put it through post, watch it, realize it's shit, and put it on a shelf. Not writer/director Todd Reynolds though. Releasing this garbage is tantamount to going on Jerry Springer after your girlfriend has left you for another woman due to your astonishingly poor sexual technique. Reynold's little movie is so poor in every way possible that it leaves the viewer dumbfounded. 

The plot about a man whose girlfriend fucks his brother, is told in what I think is supposed to be a Lynch/Fellini fashion. The fucking cuckold somehow becomes a zombie then has his bro murdered by a guy in a loincloth. The symbolism used is childish, the acting laughable, and the sound editing doesn't sync (I wondered whether this was done on purpose, if it was for effect it failed). There is a sex scene that had me howling, and what I refer to as "the 2X4 scene" which is unintentionally hilarious. As is my custom I check the IMDB after movies this awful to see if anyone involved in the production ever worked again. What I found was a review by someone named Jake:

 "I am very very surprised this is even listed..this is actually a film that was being made by some friends and students here in my home town. The film is crap I know..but support it anyway...a lot of energy and effort went into it..not bad for a camcorder and a few thousand".

Jake is, of course, wrong. It is bad, even for a 2003 camcorder and a low budget. Avoid this one.

The Living Dead At The Manchester Morgue 1974 - ****A.K,A. "Let Sleeping Corpses Lie" and "Breakfast At The Manchester Morgue". It was pointed out to me the other night that I hadn't reviewed this under rated masterpiece on this site. I honestly thought I had, anyhow I sat down and re-watched it for review purposes tonight. It is hard to believe that this Spanish/Italian co-production is 38 years old, it is not only beautifully shot, but is a film way ahead of its time. Made six years after "Night Of The Living Dead", and predating the Lucio Fulci classics it carries on the zombie theme admirably. Unlike Fulci, director Jorge Grau relies on mood and atmosphere to dominate this tale rather than all out gore. There is an intestine consumption scene, and several of the zombies tearing into their victims that are quite well done for the time period. 

Scientists have developed a form of "ultrasonic radiation" to use as an insecticide, only destroying life forms with primitive nervous systems. Unfortunately it turns newborn infants violent and re-animates the dead. The film revolves around a chance meeting between two young people who must battle not only the undead, but a local Police Sargent played by the great character actor Arthur Kennedy. The Sargent believes the two "hippies" are part of a Satanic cult and are responsible for the deaths caused by the zombies. It is a truly engaging film from beginning to end, and one that has been largely ignored over the years by zombie enthusiasts and critics. The one thing that I didn't like was the zombies wielding objects as tools and weapons. But all the rules were yet to be established in 1974, and it is only a minor quibble that doesn't detract from the overall quality of the film. I highly recommend it, and I'm still shaking my head about how I missed it on here until now. Watch and enjoy!!!

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