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…
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.
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!