Zombie Movie Marathon Month the Seventh Progress Report No. 1

Posted by Cory Casciato On October - 6 - 2014

phantasm2_10 Another year, another month of marathoning zombie movies. This year marks my seventh dive into the depths of zombie filmdom, so I decided to do something different. The difference this year is I am watching ALL NEW MOVIES. Meaning movies I haven’t seen before. I don’t care when they were made so much, although the fact that I have seen a huge number of older zombie movies means that, by default, a lot of these will be new in every sense of the word.

Anyway, maybe you are wondering why? Well, as I said, I’ve been doing this a while now, and to keep it interesting you have to do new things. Also, the past two years I have been super busy, since I had a couple of kids. Those things eat up a lot of time… that means I’ve had a lot less time for watching zombie movies, so this seemed like a good time to catch up on all the stuff people keep asking me about. Now when they say, “Hey have you seen that new movie BlahBlahBlah of the Dead?” I can say, “I sure did!” Anyway, on to the movies…

Cockneys Vs Zombies
Let’s get the bad out of the way first, shall we? This movie has no reason to exist. It contains no new ideas of note, and its plot is a rehash of stuff we’ve seen a million times before. It also drags a bit, despite being less than 90 minutes long. That said, it was well executed for low budget zombie cinema, and it’s actually reasonably entertaining. The basic go like this — two ne’er do wells from London’s East End decide to rob a bank to get the cash to keep their grandfather’s retirement home from being sold. A zombie outbreak of massive proportions occurs during the heist. This leads to a lot of idiots running around with guns, a lot of idiots being bitten by zombies or shot by accident, and some old people fighting zombies. Plus lots of working class British accents and a few amusing special effects. It’s all very trivial and derivative (I’m pretty sure they just took the plot of JUNK and added in a twist of  Shaun of the Dead  and called it good) but not too bad for all of that. Worth a look, as long as you don’t expect too much.

From Romero to Rome: The Rise and Fall of the Italian Zombie Movie
This short doc looks like a student film, and it may be one for all I know. I’m not even sure where I got the damn thing, because people give me stuff to watch all the damn time. Anyway, the title is a little misleading, since it covers more than just Italian zombie movies, even if those are, nominally, the focus. Therein lies the problem, because there isn’t a lot of focus in this film. They meander their way through zombie movie history, via talking head segments from a bunch of British zombie fans/critics/filmmakers you’ve never heard of (also one American who’s similarly obscure). It’s not terrible, but it’s also not particularly worthwhile. Somehow manages to feel too long at just about an hour, which is quite a feat.

Life After Beth
A lame attempt at a zom-rom-com about a teenage couple and what happens after the girl dies and comes back. It stars a lot of famous people (Aubrey Plaza, John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon) and utterly wastes them on a terrible script, futile direction and general stupidity. These kind of movies always piss me off, because a significant amount of money was obviously spent here and for what? It’s dumb, it’s actively anti-funny and it’s super fucking dull. Just no.

Phantasm II
So I was talking to a film guy I work with sometime about this movie and realized afterward that I’d never actually seen it. WTF? I mean, I thought I had, but reading Wikipedia’s discussion of it made me realize, nope, sure haven’t. So I watched it. It picks up a few years after the first one leaves off, with Reggie and Mike (recast, by the way, and not particularly well) chasing after the Tall Man. They find all these deserted towns and empty graveyards, then they face the Tall Man and try to save a psychic girl that Mike knows from his dreams. It suffers from a bit of sequelitis (i.e. not a lot new here, just MORE MORE MORE) but it’s pretty entertaining all the same. Also, I’m 90 percent certain the creators of Supernatural are HUGE fans of this movie, and./or the series as a whole. Watch this and you will see what I mean.

Prison of the Dead
Full Moon puts out some decent trash, and this falls under that category. It’s a dumb ripoff of the Blind Dead series, with a bunch of ancient zombies trying to keep some witch ghosts from escaping an old prison after some dumb ass kids wake them up. It’s not good by any means, but it’s honestly just as entertaining (and not nearly as slow) as the Blind Dead films it’s ripping off (caveat: I am not a fan of that particular series, and had to give up after the first two). I wouldn’t seek it out, but if you stumble across it some night while drunk and/or stoned, it will probably entertain you well enough until you fall asleep in front of it.

That’s it for now, but I’ll be back in a day or three to cover another batch of films. Feel free to leave suggestions for what I should watch in the comments.

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