Saturday, May 28, 2011


Rammbock: Berlin Undead  2010 - ** Rammbock translates to "battering ram" in English, which is not surprising as such a device plays a pivotal role in this far too short film. The running time of just an hour doesn't do the premise justice. This story of a man returning his apartment keys to his newly ex lover, only to be trapped in the apartment complex as a zombie outbreak occurs is well shot, and has some great gore effects. The story is an old one, as is the ending which seems too sudden, but it is an enjoyable tale nonetheless. One can only wonder how good it might have been if the budget had allowed it to follow its course. There are a lot worse films you could choose, and hey, it's only an hour of your life.

Re-Animator 1985 - ***1/2 Based upon H.P. Lovecraft's "Herbert West - Re-Animator, this is an excellent, witty update of the story in its unrated version. Yes this film and its two sequels don't feature Romero style zombies, but there is good zombie action in all of them. This first installment features innovative gore, nudity, an interesting cunnilingus scene with the beautiful Barbara Crampton, and stars the always entertaining Jeffrey Combs. Bears repeated viewings.

{REC} 2007 - ***1/2 This Spanish film tells the tale of a local television journalist and her cameraman as they chronicle an evening in the life of fire fighters. They accompany the firemen to a call at an apartment building where a woman has been reported injured. From here the film becomes a tale of dread, as one cannot help but be mesmerized as events unfold through the camera's eye. An infection has broken loose transforming the apartment building's residents into what would appear to be zombies. They act and look like zombies, they bite, they eat flesh like zombies. This would be the only film of the current three that it could be argued is an actual zombie film. The building is soon sealed off by the authorities, and no one is getting out. There are very effective gore sequences, and downright scary moments when the creatures come at the camera out of nowhere. The actors are very believable which allows you to become absorbed by the action on the screen which is shot after the "Blair Witch" style for the most part. A very well done film that demanded a sequel.

{REC}2 2009 - *1/2 The sequel picks up precisely where the first film leaves off. We are introduced to members of a SWAT team on their way to the infested apartment building. So far so good, we have the same creepy quality for the first twenty minutes or so as they explore the building. Things go awry however as we learn that a man sent in to lead the team is, in fact, a Catholic priest. As it turns out these aren't zombies at all but folks who are demonically possessed. Apparently the Catholics believe that possession is caused by a virus that can be transmitted through saliva. Suddenly the film is about the priest trying to retrieve a blood sample for the Vatican. We found the second half of the film tedious, as even the creatures coming at the camera had been overused by that point. By the time we got to the entirely predictable ending we'd had enough. Not that this is a bad horror film, it just isn't a zombie film.

{REC}3 Genesis 2012 - * The first two installments in this series were written and directed by Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza. This time Balaguero is not involved, and Plaza is on his own. Admittedly one had to get away from the apartment building setting of 1 and 2, as the story there had pretty much run its course, but this is as drastic a departure as you'll ever witness. The story revolves around the wedding of childhood sweethearts Koldo and Clara, and the first act is simply generic wedding activities. The film's title isn't even revealed until the 22 minute mark, and it is also, thankfully, where the annoying single camera P.O.V. ends. As it turns out Koldo's Uncle was bitten by a dog the previous evening, and he is the catalyst for the mayhem that ensues. Plaza attempts to make this a more traditional zombie outing although it is still demonically possessed creatures and not actual zombies per se. Elements of humor are introduced where there were none previously in the series, they all fall flat. It isn't until the third act that things get a little better. We are giving a one star rating because there is some enjoyable, well done gore here. Overall though this is a contrived, predictable love story with those ridiculous Catholic influences that the Spanish cling to. A scene where a priest prays the creatures into submission is mind numbingly ridiculous. Do Not watch this with the idea that it resembles its predecessors in any way, shape, or form, it is actually just a waste of time. The I.M.D.B. lists an upcoming sequel entitled "{REC} Apocalypse" to be directed by Jaume Balaguero with no apparent involvement by Paco Plaza, let's hope it turns out better.

Redneck Zombies 1987 - 1/2* Loyd Kaufman introduces this Troma film as being "the first shot on video film to be released on video". It shows, particularly in the special effects department where things like drug hallucinations are simple camera setting changes. You'd think a film that makes fun of hillbillies would be funny, but that is not the case here. Most of the humor provided is obvious, painful, and just falls flat. The zombie make-up is of the simple white pancake/ blackened eye variety. There are two versions of this film available, if you must watch this make sure you get the unrated cut. We have seen both, and the unrated edition has some decent gore, why it would be left out in the first place is stupefying. That would be the only reason to recommend this, but we still don't anyway.

Rest In Peace 2009 - *** We really like this short from Deadhead Films. It features a simple and classic premise, but it is shot in a way that invokes a strong 1950's feel. The makeup seems just right for the black and white presentation, and everything has a professional feel to it.  We present it below in its entirety. The first half is the short itself, the other are some behind the scenes of its making.

Retardead 2008 -  1/2* This sequel to "Monsturd" (which we are not going to check out ever) revolves around an evil doctor who turns a special needs class into geniuses, who then in turn become zombies. There are also zany police officers, FBI agents, and a masturbating exhibitionist. We really don't know what else to say, there are probably those that would consider this a cult classic, we do not. There is a lot of gore - some good, some awful. The film intends to be a comedy, but comes off as juvenile. There are a couple of faux trailers at the beginning narrated by Herschell Gordon Lewis that exemplify the problem with the majority of the humor here. The film tries for a "Kentucky Fried Movie" vibe, but can't pull it off. This is B moving making that is far from it's finest. The most enjoyable part for us was the closing theme song. For any emetophobics who may be reading this, it is certainly not VF. The rating given is for the bloodbath in the second half of the film.

Return Of The Living Dead 1985 - ***1/2 We've always liked the work of Dan O'Bannon, and here he provides us with a zombie film laced with humor, bawdiness, and wit. I think we've watched this film about 50 times each, and it never grows old. Who would have guessed that almost 30 years later so many aspects of this movie would be iconic? It has the perfect soundtrack, Tarman, and of course the emergence of the greatest Scream Queen ever, doing her tombstone dance, lovely Linnea Quigley.

Return Of The Living Dead II 1988 - *** A reasonable sequel, though the writers should have branched out a bit. The gags are familiar, and the film even uses the same actors to get the action moving. It does have its moments though, and some decent bloodletting.

Return Of The Living Dead III 1993 - *** Forsaking the camp of its predecessors this is actually a more thought provoking undead film than most. Two young lovers must face the moral and ethical dilemmas of re-animating a corpse when one of them is killed. There's a little something here for everyone, a must see.

 The Return Of The Living Dead: Necropolis (2005) -  * We remember trying to watch this when it was a new release at Blockbuster. We pulled it out of the DVD player about 3/4 of the way through in disgust. In fairness to you the reader we tried again. Did we like it any better the second time around ? Not at all. During the first half one wonders if they they are watching a zombie film or a movie about thoroughly unlikable teenagers riding motor bikes. The second half does contain well done zombies and gore, but commits the unforgivable sin of having talking zombies. We don't just mean, "Braaiins" - we could accept that as part of "ROTLD" canon, but zombies having conversations, not to mention fist fighting simply crosses the line. The script is full of inconsistencies, and the acting so so. Somehow the whole production has an 80s vibe to it, and not in a good way, there are even ripoffs of the Borg here. This film is a complete utter waste of time trying to mask itself under a once proud franchises laurels. Skip it.

Return Of The Living Dead: Rave To The Grave (2005) -  *1/4  Our ineffective protagonist from the previous installment returns for more of the same, which isn't surprising considering the two films were shot back to back. This time a college nerd manufactures a drug called "Z" from the canisters containing the bio agent from the earlier films. It is all very routine. There are a lot of bullets to the head, and shots that would have one believe it is easy to bite through the back of a human skull. The film touts itself as a zombedy which is surprising considering there are no laughs to be had. This one gets an extra 1/4 star for the display of nubile, young breasts on display.

Return Of The Evil Dead 1975 - 1/2* Don't let this one fool you, it has nothing whatsoever to do with the "Evil Dead" trilogy. Rather this is a typical Spanish film featuring cloaked zombies on horseback. A real piece of shit that doesn't fit in with our established criteria.

Rise of the Zombies 2012 - * We actually watched this months ago and thought we had posted the review. I guess it slipped our minds, maybe there was something better to do. Honestly speaking, there is no question that we had something better to do. Could have been anything really..... laundry, bowling.

This is another in what is becoming an annual zombie presentation from the Syfy channel. This is by far their best effort, but that really isn't saying much. The film reeks of a made for TV film from start to finish. The SFX are what we have come to expect from such endeavors, CGI blood, etc.

The plots of these films are essentially interchangeable, only the casting differs. This time we have the likes of  Levar Burton as a brilliant, yet naive and sentimental scientist, Mariel Hemingway as a dedicated and tough scientist, French Stewart as the doctor responsible for the apocalypse, and Ethan Suplee as, well, Ethan Suplee. Then there is the presence of journeyman tough guy Danny Trejo. Mr. Trejo is a well deserved legend in the action/horror genre, he's fucking Machete after all. There is no denying that he is an excellent go to when you need a tough hombre, here however he is cast as a bit of a whiny, conniving bitch. 

There are two pretty enjoyable scenes in this movie. The first one had us in stitches as we watched 52 year old Hemingway menace Trejo with a knife, and his cowardly response. The second involves a new born baby, but we won't spoil it for you.

This is one of those films that you could check out if there is nothing else available. It is neither good, nor horrible, it just is.

No comments:

Post a Comment