Archive for the ‘Features’ Category

Zombie Movie Marathon Month 7: THE FINAL REPORT

Posted by Cory Casciato On November - 8 - 2014
Dead Snow 2

Dead Snow 2

After 31 long days (and by now, a week of recovery), zombie movie marathon month is over. My seventh month-long binge of undead action was a rough one. Nearly everything I watched was mediocre. A small handful were reasonably solid, many more were terrible. Overall, it was a mix of boredom and pain, punctuated by the occasional grudging admittance that, yeah, this movie is okay. Nothing truly great, but plenty of stuff I probably would have enjoyed more if it had been surrounded by fewer full-on shitshows. I’d have guessed the overall low bar set all month would make the higher quality stuff seem even better than it was, but in truth nothing stood out enough to actually, you know, stand out. Now, on to the last two films.

Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead
Do you like Troma? Because I think this is maybe the apotheosis of Troma-style filmmaking. It’s a musical zombie comedy about a chicken restaurant built over an ancient Indian burial ground. It’s offensive, stupid and cheap looking. That said, it was far from the worst Troma film I’ve ever seen (and I am not a Troma fan, if you were wondering) nor was it anywhere close to the worst movie of the marathon.

In many ways, it was perfectly representative of this particular zombie movie marathon month. I’d had the screener for years, but just finally got around to watching it. It was a dumb and mostly unfunny comedy. Nothing good about it stood out above the crowd and the best thing it had going for it was some gratuitous nudity. So, yay? But now I’ve seen it, so I don’t have to see it again. For real yay!

Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead
Remember the first Dead Snow? Well, how about a lot more of the same, only with a few new wrinkles? The sole survivor of the first film gets charged with the murder of his friends, gets a zombie arm grafted on, accidentally kills a few people (that arm is a little feisty, see) and calls in the aid of the Zombie Squad for help in dispatching Herzog, the king shit zombie from the first movie. Hijinks ensue. Hijinks everywhere. Honestly, if you like the first one, you’ll like this one. It was one of the best of the marathon, for what that is worth. I definitely snort laughed a few times, which was nice. Also, my wife watched it with me, which is always nice.

So that’s it! I made it. I did a little wrap-up/lessons learned thing near the end for my weekly geek culture column elsewhere (“Five Lessons Learned from Binge-Watching 31 Zombie Movies“) and I don’t have a lot to add to that. Maybe to say that the overarching themes of this year were sleaze and dumb comedy, which was pretty painful. And also to give my man Zombie Shakespeare a shoutout (find him on Twitter at @ZombieShakes) for recommending a bunch of movies to me for the fest. Every one of his recommendations was decent, and they made up the bulk of the watchable films in this parade of garbage. Thanks, dude! This would have been infinitely more painful without you.

ZMMM 7 Penultimate Update

Posted by Cory Casciato On October - 30 - 2014
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I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and boy am I excited to get there. This program of all new-to-me movies has been a grueling one, and as I near the end, I am certain of one thing: I will never do it again. Oh, I’ll do another zombie movie marathon, of course — but I’ll make damn sure the next one is full of stuff I already know and love. There’s just too much crap out there not to make room for the great stuff, even if you have seen it an infinite number of times. Anyway, enough general grumbling about shitty movies, on to the specific grumbling about shitty movies!

A Little Bit Zombie
Here you have a silly little trifle of a movie about a man who gets bit by a mosquito carrying a zombie virus. It’s not enough to cause him to go full zombie, but it’s enough to make him (wait for it…) a little bit zombie. He’s about to get married to a shrieking horror of a woman, and boy is she pissed about this whole zombie thing. This one is yet another zombie comedy, and it is even funny here and there, but ultimately it’s not too compelling. It does have Stephen McHattie, who was incredible in Pontypool, as a professional zombie killer, and a surprising, even shocking, twist at the end, but it’s still a pretty meh affair overall.

Rise of the Zombies
Yet another movie from The Asylum! It’s a bit mistitled, because the zombies have already risen and taken over by the time the movie starts, but whatever. Levar Burton, Danny Trejo and Mariel Hemingway headline a cast of nobody else you have ever heard or will hear from again. They start on Alcatraz. They look for a cure. They seek an evac point. Levar Burton stays behind to do zombie experiments. It’s all kind of perfunctory and disconnected, while maintaining a vague air of competence — pretty standard stuff for The Asylum, really. It has a few standout moments, notably the gross-out/hilarious scene with the zombie baby, but it’s really forgettable and unremarkable when you come right down to it.

Stalled
What would a zombie apocalypse be like if you were trapped in a toilet stall? That’s the premise of this odd little British zom com, and while it isn’t always super plausible, it is a nice, new angle on the standard apocalypse tropes. The protagonist is a unpleasant little man who’s in the midst of stealing from his work when the zombies hit the fan and he gets trapped in a stall. Then he spends the rest of the movie trying to get out. It has some funny moments, but it’s a little slow, and it’s hard to care if the guy makes it out alive, simply because he’s kind of jerk anyway. Still, pretty pleasant if undistinguished.

Exquisite Corpse
A little bit Re-Animator, a little bit weepy romance and a whole lot of filmmaking incompetence. This was one of my most anticipated of 2010 and let me tell you — it didn’t live up to the hype. It was honestly pretty bad, but it could have been good! Maybe. With a better director and a serious rewrite (protip: cut both of the stupid twists near the end, okay?). Anyway, four friends (all super unappealing, with the exception of the one who dies first, of course) go to a cabin. One friend — a medical researcher on the verge of a breakthrough! — confesses his love for another. She loves him too! Then she dies, of course. And he brings her back! But has to kill a hooker to do it. Then, to keep her alive, he has to kill her again and inject her with more brain juice from yet another dead chick. Then repeat. It’s an interesting premise, actually, but it isn’t put to much use here. Intriguing, but ultimately a failure.

The Dead 2: India
I watched The Dead last year for my zombie movie marathon, so why not the sequel this year? I thought the original was a solid homage to the classic Romero and Romero-inspired zombies. It looked good and it didn’t insult my intelligence. Sure, it was a bit slow and unoriginal, but still a nice, B-list zombie movie. The second suffers from more of the same, albeit at a brisker pace. It just repeats the formula of the first with a slight twist and a new setting and it feels even more derivative and unnecessary the second time around. The title says it all, really. Curiously, this one felt exploitative in a way that the first one didn’t (or that I didn’t notice). I also couldn’t help but think it was mostly an excuse for the Ford Brothers to visit India.

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Oh, look, another of my most anticipated films of 2010! Then it got delayed forever and I kept checking on it and nothing then it was out! So yeah, totally not worth the wait. Or the original anticipation. Shoddy looking, with sound issues that were outright comical at times and plot holes you could drive a truck through, it was a weird watch. I kind of started hoping it would prove so bad it would rise to The Room levels of comical ineptitude and sheer WTF, but alas, it simply stayed at the level of a bad TV movie. There was some WTF, though not enough to make the movie interesting. It’s about a farmer facing hard times until a zombie apocalypse hits and his regular life problems seem inconsequential all of a sudden. Sort of. Despite its badness, I don’t want to spoil the film for those who might wish to see it, so I’ll just leave it at that.

Zombie Night
Our third (and final!) entry from The Asylum is actually not miserable. It isn’t any good, mind you, but it isn’t miserable either. It’s a very basic zombie scenario — for no reason, all the dead suddenly come back to life one night! And I do mean all. Like, dead fuckers are crawling out of graves everywhere. And chasing and biting people — the usual. Two families have to survive! Well, everyone has to, but the film focuses on two families (really one family and its friends and neighbors, really). Mostly of interest for the large number of familiar actors slumming in it, it does move along at a brisk enough pace to hide its total lack of substance, which is actually a noteworthy accomplishment in the annals of shitty zombie movies.

Okay, just two more movies to go…

ZMMM 7 Continues: Volume 5

Posted by Cory Casciato On October - 24 - 2014
The Living Dead Girl showing the proper amount of enthusiasm for this batch of films.

The Living Dead Girl showing the proper amount of enthusiasm for this batch of films.

Shit, it’s been a while. I keep having other things to do and the update keeps getting pushed back, but here, at last, the latest batch of movies.

The Dead Matter
Vampires and witches and zombies, oh my! This is an ambitious little indie about a group of friends who accidentally unleash some zombie hell when they find a magical locket sought by a vampire and use it during a seance. There’s also a vampire hunter and a rivalry between vampires. There’s a lot going on, and not all of it meshes well, but kudos to the filmmakers for a bit of ambition! Also, Tom Savini is in this, hamming it up as one a vampire drug kingpin. Parts of this work really well, much of it less so, but overall it’s worth a look. That whole “DEATH IS THE ANSWER! DEATH IS THE ANSWER! DEATH IS THE ANSWER! DEATH IS THE ANSWER! DEATH IS THE ANSWER! DEATH IS THE ANSWER!” thing was surprisingly creepy.

The Living Dead Girl
This is one of those movies that really makes you look at those hard-and-fast definitions of “zombie”, which is probably its sole saving grace. The plot concerns a dead girl brought back to life via toxic waste. She has a hunger for the blood of the living, not the flesh, but she’s no vampire. She also looks as alive as anyone, despite being dead for more than a year, and even retains her personality and conscience, once her old best friend meets up with her and helps her remember. So is that a zombie? Not in the Romero sense, for sure, but a reanimated corpse hungry for the living is pretty zombielike, right? Anyway, the film is dull as fuck, but it does have some gratuitous nudity if that does it for you.

Swamp Zombies!!!
Anyone can make a zombie movie, and here’s proof! There’s a porn star slumming as a “real” actress and a bunch of stupidity and some zombies in a swamp. The zombies got there when a medical researcher dumps them in response to a surprise inspection. They come back to life and start eating people. It’s all very dull, but they get their mileage out of that porn star with a long, salacious shower scene. Pretty sleazy and not all that interesting, but maybe inspirational if you always wanted to make a shitty zombie movie starring a porn actress! I mean, if these guys did it, how hard can it be?

Night of the Day of the Dawn…
The full title of this is actually Night of the Day of the Dawn of the Son of the Bride of the Return of the Revenge of the Terror of the Attack of the Evil, Mutant, Alien, Flesh Eating, Hellbound, Zombified Living Dead Part 2 and that is by far the most interesting thing about it. It’s little more than a redubbing of the original Night of the Living Dead, replacing the original audio with some idiot doing stupid voices and spewing misogyny, racism and homophobia spiked with juvenile toilet humor. Then, every once in a while, they break for something stupid. Ugh. So awful. I would really like my time back, please…

Johnny Sunshine
In the zombie apocalyptic future, porn and murder have become one, and the titular Johnny Sunshine is the world’s most popular porn star/murderer. Also, sometimes she chops up zombies with power tools for people’s amusement. Okay, this film has a couple things going for it. First, it’s shockingly stylish as far as the credits and interstitial graphics go. Second, it has a lot of ideas crammed in there. On the downside, the ideas are all repulsive, and so is the film. It’s about ten minutes of story padded to eighty minutes of movie with lots of lingering, pron style visual sequences. You get lots of rape and torture and gratuitous nudity and goth kids showing off their wardrobes. It would be even more repulsive if they didn’t manage to make it all so dull. And boy, is it dull. Hilariously, the sets appear to be two generic apartment living rooms/main rooms and one garage, all barely “decorated,” making it completely obvious what you’re looking at. The main character reminded me a bit of my first ex-wife, though.

Living Dead Lock Up
Did I say anyone can make a zombie movie? This movie is evidence that actually, maybe not everyone can. I mean, it is a zombie movie. It does exist. But holy shit is it a mess. It looks like the kind of thing you’d turn in as an assignment in a high-school videography class and get a C- on. Blurry, incoherent and just plain dumb, this is the absolute bare minimum you can even halfway call a movie. Also, it apparently has not one, but two sequels. God save us all. (Oh, it’s about a guy who goes to prison, then zombies. Like that matters.)

EDIT 10/28/14: Had to finish a sentence I somehow chopped off in the Johnny Sunshine blurb. Derp.

ZMMM 7 Progress Report 4

Posted by Cory Casciato On October - 17 - 2014
Mummy, I'm a Zombie

Mummy, I’m a Zombie

Eaters
Italy makes its triumphant return to the world of zombie cinema! Two soldiery looking dudes and a mad scientist against the zombie apocalypse, except of course the mad scientist maybe isn’t so much on the human’s side. (He is mad, after all.) There’s some secondary characters too, and a weird subplot with some Neo Nazis that doesn’t really go anywhere. Come to think of it, the movie itself doesn’t really go anywhere, but the ride to get there is pleasant enough. No big payoff or any real reason to recommend this, but it is very competent and a decent watch, which makes it better than at least 80 percent of all Italian zombie movies.

Babylon Fields (pilot)
Years ago, someone gave me a DVD-r of this unreleased TV pilot for a series called Babylon Fields. I finally got around to watching it! It was actually pretty intriguing. It plays around in the same space as They Came Back (Les Revenants) and the TV series based on it. Basically, all the dead people return to life, more or less the same as they were before except all decayed and gross. People freak out! The central characters seem to be a mother and daughter who aren’t too pleased to see the abusive patriarch of the family back, plus a cop with a dead wife. It’s a TV pilot, so things are really just getting good when it ends. I can say it is a shame that it didn’t get picked up, or even aired. It’s a little rough around the edges, but I think it showed some real potential. And look, Wikipedia tells me it’s being resurrected for another chance, in true zombie fashion.

Mummy, I’m a Zombie
Since I saw the first one and had them both, I figured there wasn’t any reason not to watch the sequel to Daddy, I’m a Zombie. It picks up pretty much where the first left off, and follows it in the obvious ways. More tween problems (does becoming popular mean I have to ditch my nerd friends?) mixed up with zombies and ghosts and shit. It may have been marginally more entertaining and worthwhile than its predecessor, or maybe repeated exposure has simply increased my tolerance. In any case, totally non essential, unless you maybe have a 10-year-old who’s obsessed with zombies and you aren’t ready to let them at the hard stuff just yet.

ZMMM 7 Progress Report 3

Posted by Cory Casciato On October - 14 - 2014
Coeds, zombies and cliches, oh my!

Coeds, zombies and cliches, oh my!

Dead Before Dawn
Canada is a really mixed bag when it comes to zombie movies. Some great, brilliant stuff — Pontypool, for example — comes out of there. Also some of the worst, most painful attempts at zombie movies ever made, like Zombie Night or Forest of the Dead. This movie is Canadian, and luckily it falls toward the better end of the spectrum. It’s not great, by any means, but it is reasonably entertaining and well put together. It’s kind of a meta-horror piece, like Scream, that comments on its own genre. That’d be zombies, if you didn’t figure that out on your own. Specifically these are curse zombies (lot of those this ZMMM — seems to be an emerging theme) that are brought to life when a dumbass kid does something dumb to try to impress a girl, then his dumbass friends make it much, much worse. It’s also horror comedy, and heavier on the laughs than the scares. Pleasant, if a bit forgettable.

Daddy, I’m a Zombie
More zombie movies for kids! This one looks to be aimed at tweens, based on its own just-teenaged protagonist, a girl who gets killed after being a jerk to her dad, then comes back as a zombie. The animation was weak, the plot was thin and I honestly had a hard time paying attention to this. It was just kind of dull and perfunctory, like some people decided to make a dumb tween movie and randomly decided to throw in zombies because, “Hey, kids like zombies!” It was made in Spain, I believe, which is neither here nor there, but worth mentioning.

Buck Wild
What happens when three idiots and one psychopath go on a hunting trip and run afoul of a bunch of chupacabra-spawned zombies? Buck Wild is what. Yet another horror comedy, working in the classic mold of the “guys getaway that goes awry” mold. A plan to marry a girlfriend is revealed, an affair uncovered and lots of zombies are killed. I enjoyed it honestly, but mostly because I expected nothing and got slightly more than that. The chupacabra was kind of pointless, but if you squint hard you can pretend it’s a Sumatran rat monkey.

The Coed and the Zombie Stoner
Is there anything you need to know about this movie that isn’t contained in the title? Okay, maybe one thing — it’s from Asylum. It is also exactly what you would expect — an artless melange of college movie cliches crammed into a sack with a handful of zombie movie cliches. And lots of gratuitous nudity, of course. The plot, if you can call it that, concerns a nerdy sorority sister who has to find a frat guy boyfriend or get kicked out of her sorority. She meets a zombie that her science teacher has kept on ice since the ’80s, spruces him up and dates him. Then at a party he goes berserk and makes more zombies, and it’s a full-scale campus zombie apocalypse! But really, just an excuse for a lot of dumb jokes, including a homage/rip-off of one of Airplane!‘s iconic scenes, and tons of weed jokes. How awful does it sound? In truth, it’s a lot less awful than it could be. I even was amused once or twice, though it did seem to go on forever. Probably only watchable if you are as stoned as the people in the movie (i.e. very fucking stoned).

ZMMM Progress Report No. 2

Posted by Cory Casciato On October - 10 - 2014
Frankenstein's Army

Frankenstein’s Army

Four more new (to me) zombie movies in the can! The month continues nicely, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised so far at how relatively painless it’s all been. Sure, a lot of the movies have kind of sucked, but nothing (s0 far) has reached the brain-curdling levels of awfulness that the worst zombie movies do. Anyway, on to the films…

Phantasm III
Since Phantasm II was part of the mix, I figured why not go ahead and just finish up the series? The third installment undid the weird casting change from volume two, while simultaneously making the reasons behind it more clear. (Spoiler alert: the kid who played Mike in the original isn’t a great actor, and is also sort of a funny looking dude.) The romance subplot from the second is similarly ditched within the first two minutes and then we get Mike and Reggie running around, chasing the Tall Man and fighting zombies and spheres and stuff. This one continued the horror-action vibe of the second (the original is much more pure horror) while adding something else: comedy. It worked really well. Even my wife liked it, and she has never seen a Phantasm movie in her life.

Frankenstein’s Army
If you ever dreamt of seeing Steampunk-style clockwork cyborg zombies, this is the film for you. A mad scientist is making weapons out of dead people for the Nazis and only a bunch of murderous Soviet commandos can stop him! Or get chopped up real good in the process of trying. The story here seems almost incidental to the use of the film as a showcase for some bad-ass creature designs, which is okay once in a while if the creatures are truly great, and these pretty much are. They look like a mash-up of Castle Wolfenstein and BioShock, and the plot is videogame level, but if that sounds fun, you will dig this.

Phantasm IV: Oblivion
The final of the original four Phanstasm films is kind of a letdown after the surprising awesomeness of the third. It’s not bad, per se, but it doesn’t do as much with the comedy and it feels a lot like it’s just going through the motion. Hardcore fans of the series will appreciate the inclusion of unused footage from the first film. Otherwise, there’s not a lot going on here. Final confrontation with the Tall Man, a little origin of the Tall Man and not much else. Still, competently made and not unwatchable. Just not essential.

Erotic Nights of the Living Dead
Hey, you got your porno in my zombie movie! Hey, you got you your zombie movie in my porno! The result is … less satisfying than a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, I’ll tell you that. Really, what you have here is a mediocre zombie movie about a greedy developer scouting out an island inhabited by zombies with about forty minutes of schlocky early ’80s porn mixed in. Cut out the porn and you’d have a forgettable, dull zombie flick with poor effects and lazy performances. Instead, you have something that will make you squirm for all the wrong reasons. Mercifully, the porn and the zombies are largely segregated. This one is eminently skippable, unless you just have to see every Italian zombie movie ever made, which I kind of do.

That’s all for now. Check back Monday for three more!

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.

ZMMM Volume 6 progress report part IX: Final!

Posted by Cory Casciato On November - 4 - 2013

shaun_of_the_dead

It’s over! The sixth annual zombie movie marathon month has drawn to a close. As usual, I am left loving zombies more than when I began, which is proof positive that zombies are best in large doses. Anyway, enough bullshit, let’s talk about the last four films, shall we?

Harold’s Going Stiff

It’s another faux documentary from the U.K. They seem to love them. This one posits a disease called ORD that makes people stiff and causes mental deterioration, eventually resulting in a lumbering, violent “zombie” running around. Then some laddish fuckwits go around killing the zombies. The story focuses on the first known victim of the disease, and eventually on his relationship with his nurse/physical therapist. It’s a decent movie, maybe a bit slow, but different in a good way. Like most of these faux docs, they do kind of break the frame a bit, putting in shots and scenes that no documentary could ever actually manage, but maybe that only bothers me because I watch so many documentaries… It’s a small quibble, but worth mentioning. Overall, the film is solid, if not entirely remarkable. Worth a look, though.

The Revenant

Hey, I already reviewed The Revenant! I saw it years ago, in two different cuts, via a screener and at a film festival. This version is yet another cut, the final one that appears on the retail Bluray. Honestly, it is the worst of the three cuts. It still needs to be a bit shorter, and there are some annoying and intrusive musical cues that need to go. Plus an unnecessary intro scene, but that is no big deal. Still a good movie, but I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much this time around.

Maniac Cop 2

A cop that got framed comes back from the dead to kill cops, and pretty much anyone else who gets in his way or looks at him cross eyed. That is also the plot of the first Maniac Cop, in case you were wondering. It’s vintage ’80s sleaze and violence, without much in the way of distinguishing features apart from an impossibly young Bruce Campbell, who is in it for ten minutes or so. Not terrible, but not special either. Still, if Maniac Cop left you with unanswered questions, this one will … well, it won’t answer them, but maybe you’ll enjoy it anyway.

Shaun of the Dead

A lot of these films get worse each time I watch them (a frequent theme in this year’s marathon) but not Shaun of the Dead. It just gets better and better. This is one of my top five zombie movies of all time. Maybe top three. Layered with references to the films that precede it, full of whipcrack wit and great action set pieces, and genuinely touching, this is simply one of the very best zombie movies ever. Good for noobs. Good for old-school fans. Good for everyone. There is no better way to end a zombie movie marathon.

That’s it! I’ll be back in a day or so with a wrap up, featuring the best, worst, and weirdest of the marathon. Until then!

ZMMM Volume 6 progress report part VIII

Posted by Cory Casciato On October - 28 - 2013
Abraham Lincoln: 16th US president and zombie killer

Abraham Lincoln: 16th US president and zombie killer

First up, let me acknowledge that I am bad at math. Circa last progress report, I said seven movies left. No. It was eight. Numbers am hard. Ahem.

Anyway, here we are. The second to last progress report. Just four movies (yes, for real this time) left. I feel good. I love zombies. Everything is going according to plan! [Evil laugh]

Mass Acre Hill

I am 99 percent certain I have now watched the worst movie of this marathon, so there’s that. This deserves a spot on my worst-ever zombie movies list, honestly. Like many of the worst-ever zombie movies, it is Canadian and basically zero budget. The acting is nonexistent. The camera work and sound are abysmal — intolerable, really. It had an abundance of the worst CGI I have ever witnessed. What it did have going for it was a can-do spirit and the desire to be completely insane. So there’s that.

The plot, such as it is, concerns two crashed pilots, plus a drug-dealer/cult leader, and some zombies. Of course. It hardly matters, as it is just an excuse for dumb Canadians to wander around the woods covered in fake blood, for the most part. You can watch the damn thing yourself for 99 cents.

28 Days Later

The single most influential zombie movie of the past 20 years! I know the debate rages on among purists about whether this is really a zombie movie or not, but seriously, have you seen this? It’s clearly an attempt at a “realistic” zombie movie (i.e. giving a semi-plausible explanation for zombies, since dead people do not, in fact, ever get up and walk around) and a damn good one at that. Hell, the 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake is basically a knock-off of this, with the semi-plausible Rage zombies thrown out in favor of traditional dead men walking (er, running). Anyway, got my wife to watch this one with me, making it the third ZMMM film she joined in on this time around — a new record!

Abraham Lincoln vs Zombies

The Asylum strikes again! It’s a alt-history retelling of the Civil War, with zombies. And Abraham Lincoln as a scythe-swinging badass. The plot gives us a bunch of zombies besieging a Civil War fort, and Lincoln is the only man who can deal with them (with the help of a few Secret Service agents). Apart from some sound issues, and the fact that it is mostly brain dead, it was pretty enjoyable. Don’t expect a lot and it’s a fun ride. I do recommend drinking at least three beers (or whatever your booze of choice is) and maybe two bong hits before proceeding, though. You’re going to need to shut off a decent portion of your brain for maximum effectiveness.

The Cabin in the Woods

Zombie redneck torture family fun! Sure, this is not a traditional zombie movie, but zombies play a big part, in both the aforementioned zombie redneck torture family and regular, flesh-eating horde forms. Love the meta horror of this film, and I am a huge Joss Whedon fan, so this was a real pleasure. Hadn’t seen it since it was in theaters, and this seemed as good a time as any to watch it again. If you somehow haven’t seen it, stop reading this nonsense and go check it out. It’s awesome.

Okay, that’s all for now. See you Friday with the ninth and final report!

ZMMM Volume 6 progress report part VII

Posted by Cory Casciato On October - 24 - 2013
Those zombies in The Beyond are getting a little handsy

Those zombies in The Beyond are getting a little handsy

More movies. More zombies. Thus, it’s time for yet another progress report…

The Beyond

I want to say this is the third, or perhaps fourth time I’ve seen this. Last year I watched a different edit of it (the one released under the name The Seven Doors of Death) and it was meh. This cut — the one the director intended, if I am not mistaken — is far superior, so keep that in mind if you are tracking this one down. Anyway, it’s the story of a hotel that happens to be built over a gateway to hell. A young woman inherits the hotel, and hell breaks loose (literally). Some of that hell comes in the form of zombies! It made more sense to me this time, suggesting it just needs repeat viewings to cohere into a reasonable story. I enjoyed it a lot this time around. The gruesome and creative death scenes were a highlight, as always.

You can read my original review of The Beyond here if you want more.

Osombie

What if Osama Bin Laden came back… as a zombie? There’s your premise. The execution is very SyFy, although I couldn’t find any reason to believe this was, in fact, a SyFy movie. The plotting is incredibly shoddy. The acting is weak. The CGI is awful. But it entertains for the 90ish minutes it takes to watch, so there’s that.

The story is this: some dumb girl follows her even dumber brother to Afghanistan. He’s seeking Bin Laden, who he is sure is still alive. She is seeking him, because he’s always been a flake and she is worried. Some special forces run into them along the way and take them along on a super important special forces mission, because apparently that’s how the special forces roll (“Civilians? Sure, bring them along, surely they won’t jeapordize this mission”). Big climax when they find the terrorist base, which is full of zombies. The end. Fun? Sure. But real, real dumb.

The Walking Dead

This has nothing to do with the TV show. It’s a 1936 Boris Karloff movie about a man who is framed for murder, executed, then returned to life via SCIENCE! Afterward, he seeks out the people who framed him and watches them die. Just watches, though. He doesn’t take an active role. It’s a solid movie, mostly due to Karloff’s charisma of infinite sadness. You can read my original The Walking Dead ZMMM daily or its entry on the list of old-school zombies if you want more. And seek it out, it is really worth seeing.

That’s all for now. Just seven movies and two progress reports to go before we’re all done.

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