ZMMM Dailies: 6/10/2009 – Redneck Zombies

Posted by Cory Casciato On June - 11 - 2009

zombaby-redneckzombiesI think the argument can be made that no zombie movie marathon would be complete without at least one cheap, shitty, shot-on-video bomb in the mix. Well, Redneck Zombies is that cheap, shitty, shot-on-video bomb. It’s the usual Troma formula – lots of cheap, goofy gore effects, terrible acting and offensive jokes thrown about haphazardly. Every offensive stereotype you can imagine is in here: it’s an equal opportunity offender. Gays, blacks, rednecks and even upper-class white folk get a few digs, all beyond the pale of good taste. The gore is unbelievably crappy but still kind of gross, the story is more or less irrelevant and almost nonexistent and the pacing is measured in geological time. In other words, it stinks. There was a really cute zombie baby, though. I’ve included that picture so you needn’t watch the actual movie.

Tomorrow we attempt to class the joint up with the 1936 Boris Karloff gangster/zombie flick The Walking Dead.

ZMMM Dailies: 6/9/2009 – Mutant

Posted by Cory Casciato On June - 10 - 2009

mutantI can’t believe I have never seen Mutant. Not because it is good, or some kind of lost classic or anything of the sort. It’s not — it’s terrible. But it came out in 1984 and it’s exactly the sort of movie that they used to run on late night cable in the mid-to-late ’80s, a time when I would regularly stay up all night and watch all manner of shit movies on TV. How did I miss this then? And because it is so strongly reminiscent of so many fond memories of that time, I definitely enjoyed it far more than it deserved. It’s got Wings Hauser, some zombie-mutant-vampire hybrid things, rednecks, toxic waste and a drunken small-town sheriff. The cast is all B and C list talent or below, the acting is laughably bad, the writing, direction and effects are all ridiculous. It’s prime MST3K material, honestly. Yet in some strange way I loved it.

By the way, that cover there, to the left? Far better than this movie deserves. It deserves something lurid and stupid, like the movie itself.

Tomorrow we move on to the legendarily bad Troma feature Redneck Zombies. I have no real love for Troma’s style (except for Sgt. Kabuki Man NYPD, which I inexplicably loved), so I expect this to be mildly to moderately painful.

Also, the first Film Club paritcipant has weighed in on one of our selections. Check out Zombies’ Summer review of Dead Set. And kids, if you watch the movies I watch and write about them, I will link to you in a ZMMM daily, too! And again at the end in my wrap up! Fun!

ZMMM Dailies: 6/8/2009 – Pet Sematary

Posted by Cory Casciato On June - 9 - 2009
pet_sematary_gage

Gage wants to play

I almost can’t believe how bad Pet Sematary actually was. The direction was ham fisted, the writing was trash and the acting was bad — like cover-your-eyes bad. Even the usually reliable Fred Gwynne was crap here — I suspect the awful script didn’t help. When the best acting is delivered by the three-year-old playing an evil, re-animated corpse, your movie has issues. Predictable, cheap and full of unsympathetic characters, there isn’t a lot to like here — at least until Gage comes back and starts “playing” with everyone. The effects shot where Gwynne’s character gets his achilles tendon severed is famous, and rightfully so, for its visceral effectiveness. If you could muster up any emotional connection to the character, it would have been even better. It is a testament to how watchable decent production values can make even a terrible movie, but that’s a slight endorsement.

Tomorrow night, Wings Hauser in Mutant.

ZMMM Dailies: 6/7/2009 – Return of the Living Dead

Posted by Cory Casciato On June - 8 - 2009

rotldcapI’ve already written about my feelings toward and experiences with Return of the Living Dead pretty thoroughly (missed it? read it here), and I intend to write a proper review and some discussion about its place in zombie movie history at some point, so I will keep this brief. I scheduled it for viewing this year because my daughter had never seen it and it filled  a need for a classic on the schedule. There are certainly some issues with it (pacing is a bit off in spots, some of the zombie makeup is little more than mud smeared on stuntmen’s faces, some inconsistent treatment of the zombifying agent 2,4,5-Trioxin) but hey, it’s a freaking punk-rock/zombie comedy that single-handedly introduced the notion of zombies craving brains into the zombie mythos. It’s genuinely funny and even has some subtleties stirred in amongst the slapstick stupidity. And it features possibly the most iconic zombie in all filmdom in the Tarman (only Bub from Day of the Dead comes close, in my opinion).

Oh, and gratuitous nudity lovers? A young, lovely and luscious Linnea Quigley runs around for about a third of the movie stark naked. There’s a tiny shot of it to your left (sorry, those reading this at work, but it’s only 150 pixels wide and only shows a bit of side boob and side ass, cover it with your hand if the boss comes by).  Her assets are a significant part of the movie’s appeal.

Tomorrow night is the Stephen King adaptation Pet Sematary. In HD, no less. I was going to say I haven’t seen this one in a while, but I was thinking about it and I’m not sure I have ever watched it all the way through. I won’t be able to say that this time tomorrow.

ZMMM Dailies: 6/6/2009 – Zombie Honeymoon

Posted by Cory Casciato On June - 7 - 2009

zombie-honeymoon-leadsI may have spoken too soon. Maybe silly romantic melodrama is the theme of the marathon. This movie makes it five of six movies that contain that sudsy element. Zombie Honeymoon was reminiscent of the plodding, emo, “thinking man’s” zombie movie I, Zombie, only more briskly paced. Our lead gets attacked and turned to a zombie on his honeymoon, spends the rest of the film killing and feeling kinda bad about it. But not that bad. His wife, who kind of looks like a poor man’s Maggie Gyllenhaal and is topless briefly, helps him deal with it — which mostly means covering it up. It struck me as goofy and forgettable, but not altogether unpleasant. I suspect this one could have been better as an old-style movie, with more focus on the romantic melodrama (not that there wasn’t plenty) and less on the unimpressive gore.

Tomorrow I’m watching the timeless 1985 classic Return of the Living Dead with my daughter. That should be fun.

ZMMM Dailies: 6/5/2009

Posted by Cory Casciato On June - 6 - 2009
marcelmarceau

Marcel Marceau, the world's greatest mime, playing a zombie master and pedophile? Sold!

A while back, I praised the queer zombie film Otto for simply being completely original in the zombie milieu. By the same token, I have to tip my hat to Shanks. The world’s greatest mime playing a naive puppeteer who becomes a zombie master? And he’s also in love with a thirteen-year-old girl, who thinks he’s just swell? And it’s all presented as some sort of whimsical fairy tale, until a gang of bikers randomly appear and rape and murder his Lolita girlfriend and are murdered in turn by his zombies? How was this not a hit?

If you aren’t sold yet, there’s an appearance by a young Don Calfa, who’s also appeared in the zombie classics Chopper Chicks in Zombie Town and Return of the Living Dead (his greatest role, where he played  a Nazi mortician). Still not convinced? How about a guy pecked to death by a zombie chicken? Again, how was this not a hit?

Admittedly, it is deadly slow and wholly nonsensical, not to mention a little disturbing (was borderline pedophilia really that acceptable in 1974?), but I can’t help but make a place for it amongst the movies recommended for the fact of their batshit insanity.

This year’s theme is turning out to be “whacko” which I am down with. Tomorrow night is Zombie Honeymoon. In case you missed it (I see people Googling for it) I am posting the complete list after the break.

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ZMMM Dailies: 6/4/2009

Posted by Cory Casciato On June - 5 - 2009

childrenshouldnt8Ooh, boy. The best thing about Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things is definitely the name. The second best part is Alan Ormsby’s facial hair and the whole cast’s clothes — as ridiculous as today’s hipsters look, they have nothing on the hippies of the early ’70s. This movie spent almost an hour futzing around before finally delivering zombies, and the zombies were pretty sorry when they finally arrived. I did learn a few things: zombies are smarter than hippies; at least some zombies can sail a boat; jobs in the theater were really hard to come by in 1972 (Ormsby gets the others to go along with his grave-robbing/dead-raising shenanigans by threatening to fire them from his theater troupe). I actually think this could be remade into a decent movie, but Hollywood would rather remake movies that were decent the first time around into shit than remake something shitty into something decent. What’s up with that?

Tomorrow night, the William Castle/Marcel Marceau zombie/mime movie Shanks. And no, I am so not even kidding.

ZMMM Dailies: 6/3/2009

Posted by Cory Casciato On June - 4 - 2009

iwalkedwithazombie1Tonight’s entry I Walked With a Zombie was definitely not your average zombie flick. The 1943 movie had more in common with soapy, old-timey tear-jerking love stories – two brothers in a love triangle and the tragedy that ensues. Nonetheless, this is an inarguably good, perhaps even great movie. Sure, it’s dated and a little low on action — really, not a whole lot happens — but it looked good, the actors could actually act and the guy behind the camera really knew what he was doing. More interesting than entertaining, it’s nevertheless worth seeing. Plus, Roky Erickson wrote a song about it, which is reason enough to see it in my book.

Since IWWaZ was so short (a mere 68 minutes — amazing that that used to be long enough for a feature film!) I followed it with the humorous Danger! 50,000 Zombies! short (27 minutes), which starred Nick Frost and Simon Pegg of Shaun of the Dead fame. Pretty funny stuff, a lighthearted look at classic zombie tropes — a lot of it seemed lifted nearly straight out of Max Brooks’s Zombie Survival Guide — with added homoeroticism. Up tomorrow is the cleverly titled Alan Ormsby classic Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things.

ZMMM Dailies: 6/2/2009

Posted by Cory Casciato On June - 3 - 2009
Brigitte Lahaie: By far the best part of Grapes of Death

Brigitte Lahaie: By far the best part of Grapes of Death

Night two of the second annual Zombie Movie Marathon Month brought us the mediocre Grapes of Death. Seems the French just can’t give good zombie. They can, however, give great hot French girl, as this film proves via the presence of Brigitte Lahaie. Wowza. Something special here, folks. And for the people who keep finding my website via variations on the search term “gratuitous nudity,” you’ll be glad to know that Grapes of Death is all about the gratuitous nudity — including a nice nude scene with Lahaie, which almost justifies this movie’s existence.

This film is basically a protracted chase scene broken up with gratuitous nudity and cheesy gore effects. Snore. Still, it’s arguably an important developmental zombie flick, and it is far better than director Jean Rollin’s other zombie flick, the execrable Zombie Lake. Still, it’s not good. I paired my mediocre French zombie flick with a mediocre French wine, so at least I got a decent buzz out of the deal. I’ll have a full review up in a few days (and a splitting headache tomorrow) most likely. Next up is our June 3 installment, I Walked with a Zombie, an American film, but directed by a French guy.

Deadlines: News roundup 6/2/09

Posted by Cory Casciato On June - 2 - 2009

deadlines

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

It’s nearly a month old, the sound and music are sketchy and it looks pretty rough, but maybe, just maybe the teaser trailer for the new George A. Romero zombie film embedded after the break is real. The comments indicate it’s some kind of internal work-in-progress reel, and I think I recognize one of the actors from another Romero film (he’s known to like to re-use actors) so maybe this is real… It’s worth a look anyway, and you can do that after the break. (Thanks CG user demoniotto for the tip)

If you like your zombie movies extra-stupid and possibly offensive, you’re going to be thrilled to hear that Retardead comes out on DVD today. I’m pretty sure that title tells you all you need to know about this one. (Dread Central)

Yesterday, I posted my wish list for Left 4 Dead 2, then I saw this early preview of the game. Shit, looks like I am getting most of my wishes (incendiary ammo? sweet!) … but not all (although the new Charger boss looks plausible given the existing menagerie, and I can accept a Witch that walks around). And there’s some stuff I didn’t dream up that we’ll be getting, too, like dynamic weather. (Rock, Paper, Shotgun)

Fangoria has some screens and details from Dead Rising 2 and Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles. (Fangoria)

Zombie toy collectors will be thrilled with this upcoming limited-edition zombie figurine from FearWerx. They’ll be available first at the MonsterMania Convention in Hartford, Connecticut. (Dread Central)

Finally, the second annual Zombie Movie Marathon Month kicked off in fine fashion with Dead Set last night (review here). Starting tomorrow, I will be posting ZMMM Dailies, with the Zombie Movie Marathon Month tag, for easy tracking. Don’t forget that possibly authentic Romero trailer after the break.

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