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.

ZMMM Volume 6 progress report part V

Posted by Cory Casciato On October - 18 - 2013
Scooby Doo + zombies

Scooby Doo + zombies

We’ve crossed the halfway line. Still going strong. That’s always been a good sign in years past, and I have some decent stuff lined up for the back half, so I am feeling good. Now, on to the films!

Portrait of a Zombie

This was an interesting little film. It’s a faux-documentary-ish effort about patient zero in a zombie apocalypse. We get a look at how it affects the family — who try to keep the bitey bastard locked up in his old room — the neighbors, the local crime lords… It’s not bad, but it’s a little confusing early on, and muddled throughout. And the makeup and effects are a shit show. But still worth a look, if only because the acting is streets ahead of what you usually find in low-budget zombie movies.

Insanitarium

I wrote a fairly lengthy review of Insanitarium after I first watched it, so you can refer to that if you like. I’ll just say this time I didn’t quite enjoy it as much, which has been a frequent occurrence with decent B-movies. I like the the first time, then like them less on subsequent viewings. I guess the low expectations theme mentioned in my earlier Zombie Movie Marathon Month report is a big part of why.

Scooby Doo on Zombie Island

As long as I am doing kids’ zombie movies this month, I figured why not do them all? Or at least all the ones I could easily lay hands on, and this one is easy to pick up. As an old-school Scooby Doo fan, it was a little disappointing. All new voices? Or maybe they just sounded wrong after all these years… The animation was typically shitty Hanna Barbera quality. There were lots of musical interludes, in true Scooby Doo fashion, but now it was all shitty ’90s alt-rock instead of shitty ’70s MOR. In this one, the monsters are real, in a weird inversion of Scooby Doo lore. They play that aspect up, of course. It was okay. I mean, I didn’t hate it. You could do worse for a kids’ zombie movie.

Nightmare City

It’s become something of a tradition to watch Nightmare City for my zombie movie marathon months, because fuck yeah, Nightmare City! It’s a tremendously entertaining piece of total shit. Umberto Lenzi tries to get all serious and deep, but alas, he is still Lenzi. There’s a lot of gruesome misogyny and gratuitous nudity, a molotov television (dude throws a TV at some zombies and it explodes in a giant fireball because, hey, TVs do that), and the zombies — who are just dudes that have faces smeared with what looks like a mixture of shit and kitty litter — run around shooting and stabbing people. It is awful and it is awesome. Those two words have the same root, you know? And this movie will help you understand why that is the case. You can read more about Nightmare City  from the past times I watched it, especially this previous year’s Nightmare City ZMMM daily report.

The wide world of zombie film

Posted by Cory Casciato On January - 21 - 2013
ZvSFulci

You can thank Italy for this classic moment

The modern zombie movie is a thoroughly American invention, forged in Pittsburgh by George A. Romero. But like rock and roll and nuclear weapons, it wasn’t long before foreigners had a look and decided they just had to make their own homegrown versions. Before the blood was even dry on his incredible undead innovation, zombie began popping up all over the world, a trend that continues to this day. Once you’ve finished picking the corpse of Romero’s canon clean, had your brains eaten by Return of the Living Dead and devoured Zombieland  and are ready to travel the world in search of new zombie thrills, this handy guide should get you started. It’s by no means comprehensive—that’s a book, not a blog post—but it should serve as an intro to what the world outside of the good old USA offers the zombie aficionado.

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ZMMM Dailies: 6/30/2010 – Cemetery Man

Posted by Cory Casciato On July - 1 - 2010

Thirty days, thirty movies: done. It all ended last night with Cemetery Man. If you aren’t familiar with the movie, the quickest summary I can give is its Italian title Dellamorte Dellamore, which translates to Death Love. It is a movie about death and love, with lots of zombies. It’s also beautiful (visually and otherwise), funny and damn strange.

I really want to do an in-depth review/critique/analysis of this film in the near future, so I will keep my remarks here brief. First off, if you haven’t seen this movie, put it at the top of your must-see list. Even if you don’t love it (and I think most of you will) it is an important film, both within the zombiesphere and within the larger context of “important” films. Hell, even if you think it is dumb as fuck (and it’s possible, though wrong, to interpret it that way) there is a whole lot of the gorgeous Anna Falchi nude in it (I’ll put a non-revealing nude picture of her below, for those who are curious), and arguably it’s not even gratuitous nudity since it ties closely into the plot.

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Deadlines: News roundup 4/28/10

Posted by Cory Casciato On April - 28 - 2010

deadlines

A daily roundup of all the undead news that shambles into view… Bookmark the home page or add the RSS feed to your reader for your daily dose of walking dead. Got news tips? E-mail me at cory.casciato[AT]gmail.com.

More Resident Evil: Afterlife coverage, in the form of an interview with Wentworth Miller (aka the guy from Prison Break). (FEARnet)

There’s a new trailer for “dead things in space” videogame Dead Space 2 but I can’t find an embeddable version, so you have to go here. (Kotaku)

Check out this trio of stills from upcoming Italian zombie movie Eaters (and read more about it on my list of top ten anticipated zombie releases for 2010). (Dread Central)

Japanese sleazeploitation zombie film Big Tits Zombie 3D gets a poster. It’s got big tits, but no zombies, strangely. (Shock Till You Drop)

List: 5 almost (or barely) zombie movies

Posted by Cory Casciato On March - 17 - 2010

Is this a zombie movie?

I saw The Crazies this weekend. I liked it pretty well. It wasn’t a zombie movie. It did contain some very zombie-movie like themes and ideas, and the infected were somewhat zombie-like, but it wasn’t a zombie movie. Director Breck Eisner does a good job of explaining why in this interview. Here’s the key point, for my money:

They don’t lose their personalities and persona completely. It just lets loose this monster within and it does it differently with each person. That’s what makes it different from a zombie movie.

Now, arguably the same could be said about certain Romero works, especially Day of the Dead and Land of the Dead, but even in those movies, the creatures were zombie first (eat the flesh of the living above all else), remaining persona second. The Crazies had some of its infected do nothing more than just mill about aimlessly, while others actively sought revenge on those they perceived to have wronged them. Some worked as a team, some drove cars — does that sound very zombie-like to you? Compare that to other “infected” movies that, to me at least, are zombie movies, such as 28 Days Later. The infected in 28DL act like zombies — they seek out and attack the uninfected. They have lost all vestige of their previous personality, mind or soul. They can’t open a door, much less drive a car or operate a firearm. That’s a zombie.

Time will tell whether Eisner’s The Crazies is considered a zombie movie or not, despite his explanations and intentions. Ultimately, it’s the film’s audience and history that decides how a film is classified (never forget, Romero never considered his creatures zombies until audiences classified them as such and he went with it!). And that definition can be fairly arbitrary. For reference, here’s a look at five movies that utilize zombie-like ideas and creatures, yet alter the zombie mythos in fundamental ways. Some are considered zombie films, some are not.

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Deadlines: News roundup 3/5/10

Posted by Cory Casciato On March - 5 - 2010

deadlines

A daily roundup of all the undead news that shambles into view… Bookmark the home page or add the RSS feed to your reader for your daily dose of walking dead. Got news tips? E-mail me at cory.casciato[AT]gmail.com.

Go behind the scenes of Zombieland and get an update on the status of Zombieland 2 in this extensive interview with director Ruben Fleischer. (IconVsIcon)

It looks as if Pet Sematary is being revived for another go-round. The remake will be scripted by Matthew Greenberg, who handled the adaptation for 1408, a movie I was thoroughly unimpressed with. I am unenthused. (Hollywood Reporter)

Strike a zombie pose, photograph it and send it to Michael Moreci and you could be immortalized as a zombie in his upcoming graphic novel Quarantine (no relation to the film of the same name). And win an autographed copy of the final book, of course.

Details emerge on the DVD/Blu-ray release of I Sell the Dead (review here), coming March 30. The only extra is a trailer (are you fucking kidding me?) and you can see the cover now. (DVD Active)

If you’re in Philadelphia, you can catch a zombie double feature tonight featuring One Dark Night (never heard of it) and Bruno Mattei’s Night of the Zombies (aka Virus, aka Hell of the Living Dead, aka a terrible piece of shit that ranks as one of the worst zombie movies ever). Better hurry though — it starts at 8 p.m. Eastern time at the International House. (Geekadelphia)

Deadlines: News roundup 1/21/10

Posted by Cory Casciato On January - 21 - 2010

deadlines

A daily roundup of all the undead news that shambles into view… Bookmark the home page or add the RSS feed to your reader for your daily dose of walking dead. Got news tips? E-mail me at cory.casciato[AT]gmail.com.

There’s a new trailer (embedded after the break, naturally) out for Zombies of Mass Destruction (review here) and an interview with director Kevin Hamedani. Word of warning on that new trailer — it kind of spoils a lot of the movies best gags. (Bloody Disgusting)

A few more details have emerged on the upcoming Italian zombie movie fun of Eaters (mentioned in yesterday’s news post, and there were two trailers in there, too!). It’s about a mad scientist screwing around with a zombie virus because he thinks it’s the next stage of human evolution. Not totally original, but considerably better than “four to ten random strangers hole up in a mall/theater/church/whatever to try and survive the sudden zombie apocalypse.” Dread Central has a more detailed synopsis and some cool images. (Dread Central)

Enjoy pictures of a scantily clad woman kicking zombie ass in these Resident Evil 5: Gold‘s “Mercenaries Reunion” screenshots. (Kotaku)

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Deadlines: News roundup 12/15/09

Posted by Cory Casciato On December - 15 - 2009

deadlines

A daily roundup of all the undead news that shambles into view… Bookmark the home page or add the RSS feed to your reader for your daily dose of walking dead. Got news tips? E-mail me at cory.casciato[AT]gmail.com.

Italy is getting the sequel to REC 2 and there’s a new trailer to prove it. The US? We’re just getting the shaft from Sony, as no release seems forthcoming. Fuckers. The Italian trailer is embedded after the break for you. (Dread Central)

The people behind Phase Two, an upcoming low budget, post-apocalyptic zombie film, want to wish you a Merry Christmas, via  a clip with a zombie Santa in it. That clip is embedded after the break. (Quiet Earth)

Got a few extra dollars and want to get in on the movie production business? How about joining the Indywood Project, which is aiming to fund a zombie movie called Invasion of the Not Quite Dead by reaching out directly to fans. (FEARNet)

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Film Club Special: Burial Ground: The Nights of Terror

Posted by Cory Casciato On July - 6 - 2009

BurialGround-filmclubWhen I heard that the Final Girl Film Club was doing Burial Ground: The Nights of Terror my heart filled with joy. I reviewed this movie as one of the first half-dozen posts on the site, then just last month, added thoughts in a reaction piece when I watched it as part of my second annual Zombie Movie Marathon Month. So for Final Girl, I had to do something different, something more — so you get this, a few of my favorite things about the utterly insane Burial Ground: The Nights of Terror.

  1. Plot? What plot? – There is essentially no plot in this movie. I guess technically it has a plot: Three couples and one fucked-up kid (see item 10) go visit an old coot for unspecified reasons, right after the old coot has unleashed some zombies, also for unspecified reasons. Mayhem ensues. That’s it. This is a good thing. Plot would only distract from the insanity.
  2. Gratuitous nudity – What’s an Italian zombie movie without gratuitous nudity? In this movie, the women all get naked within the first ten minutes. That helps clear up what kind of movie we’re watching, right away, in case there was any question.
  3. Bizarre soundtrack – The soundtrack is part lite-jazz stock music and part drug-fueled mindfuck on the dark side of the moon. I’d be willing to bet money the composer just got as high as he possibly could, fired up a borrowed synthesizer, hit “record” on the tape deck and started twisting knobs and hitting keys more or less at random. Clearly he was going for something like the Goblin score of Dawn of the Dead; just as clearly, he was far too incompetent to even approach such a thing. The results are strangely fitting to the rest of the movie, however.
  4. Random bear trap – In one scene, a couple is running from zombies. The woman steps into a bear trap that seems to just be set out for no damn reason. Are there a lot of wild bears in the Italian countryside? No one seems perturbed by the fact that a bear trap was just casually placed on the path of this country estate, right where you might step in it while running from zombies.
  5. Smart zombies – The zombies are smart enough to use weapons (pitchforks, scythes, other farming-implement type stuff mostly) and work together to use a battering ram to get at the tasty meats (i.e. our protagonists) barricaded inside the country estate. Later, they dress up as monks to lure the survivors into a trap. Oh, you wily zombies! Overall, they show themselves to be significantly smarter than anyone else in the movie.
  6. Stupid, yet incredibly dedicated staff – On the contrary, the staff seem quite stupid and preternaturally dedicated. Even once the hardcore dying begins, they still follow orders promptly, even when those orders put them directly in harm’s way. Why can’t you find help like that any more? Oh yeah, they all died off in situations like these, or they were so stupid they set themselves on fire cooking.
  7. The maid’s death scene – Speaking of those staff, the maid’s death scene is an all-time favorite. While she is trying to close the shutters, a zombie throws a spike at her and pins her wrist to the wall with it. While she struggles against this cruel fate, another zombie reaches up with a scythe and beheads her. Ah, cruel fate.
  8. Leslie’s death scene – My second favorite death is Leslie, who suffers the unfortunate fate of serving as the Fulci “eye-gouge” knock-off of the film. Okay, technically it’s a glass shard that goes into her temple, not a wood splinter in her eye, but I am pretty certain this had to do with the effects budget, not any attempt at originality, because every other element of this scene seems directly lifted from the splinter-in-the-eye setpiece in Fulci’s Zombie.
  9. Toasty Stuntman – They set a guy on fire by accident during the filming, but the director insisted they keep filming while the guy screamed for help because it was too good of an opportunity to miss. You only learn this by watching the special features, but if there were any doubt that this movie is insane from top to bottom, that should clear it up.
  10. Peter Bark as Michael, the creepiest “kid” ever – Hollywood and Japan love the creepy kids, but they don’t know creepy like the Italians know creepy. You want a creepy kid? Cast a 26-year-old dwarf in a bad hairpiece as the kid, dub his lines in a weird, affected voice, then give him an incest subplot where he lusts after his mother. And gets to third base with her, before he becomes a zombie and kills her by biting off her nipple. That’s fucking creepy. Why didn’t this guy appear in more movies? Or why I haven’t I seen them, anyway?

That’s it, my ten favorite things about Burial Ground. If you can read that list and not need to see this movie immediately, you are a far, far better person than I — or at least a far more balanced person.

You can access the Final Girl film club entries on this fine movie here.

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