The newest addition to the video game-based series of movies has been getting a lot of press lately (see here). Well, now Arrow in the Head is reporting: "First up Anderson announces that the film will be coming at us in 3D using the same camera system that James Cameron used for AVATAR! Secondly Anderson hopes that RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE will be the start of a whole new RESIDENT EVIL trilogy and that it'll have the largest budget of all the RESIDENT EVIL films. He doesn't even see AFTERLIFE as the fourth installment to the franchise. Instead he sees it more as a rebirth of the franchise. And lastly it seems AFTERLIFE and it's subsequent sequels will feature previous characters from both the RESIDENT EVIL movies as well as the video games."
It has also been reported that Anderson is back in the director's seat, which I personally rejoice in, due to the fact that he has only directed the first film, the only truly good one. I often wondered how much of his script was edited or blatantly destroyed by other directors and producers, especially in Apocalypse. Now I'll have the chance to see if it was all just a fluke in the original. I'm not too keen on the movie being 3-D, since there's such a craze going on with it right now (My Bloody Valentine and the upcoming remake of Piranha), but maybe zombies in 3-D could be pretty damn cool. I'm also happy to hear that other characters from the games will be making appearance in this new trilogy, but hopefully they're more fleshed out than Jill Valentine and Claire Redfield were in Apocalypse and Extinction, respectively. I'm praying Afterlife puts this series back on track. Or am I the only one who feels Apocalypse was terrible and Extinction mediocre?
Directed by Michael Hurst, written by Mark A. Altman and Mark Gottwald, and starring Emmanuelle Vaugier, Ed Quinn, Sticky Fingaz, Victoria Pratt, Nadine Velazquez, and Ellie Cornell.
"In Guesta Verde University, the deranged Professor Curien is trying to bring back the dead, killing students for the experiment. There is an outbreak of zombies in the campus, and the government sends a NSA medical research team, formed by Dr. Alexandra Morgan a.k.a. Nightingale and lieutenant Ellis, with a special force leaded by lieutenant Dalton, trying to get the zero sample from the first generation zombie. The team has a very short time to accomplish their mission and leave the place before missiles are sent to destroy the area. However, the place is crowded of hyper sapiens and the group has to fight to survive."
"Director Uwe Boll did not return to the sequel due to his commitment to BloodRayne (2005). When asked about the "Dead" sequel during its production, Boll himself wished the crew 'good luck.'" And with that we enter into the rare realm of a sequel surpassing the original, in almost every respect. Gone is the camp, and the terrible action filming, and here we have a more serious approach to horror, though in the end it falls a bit flat. Though the the original's successor is somewhat stale, one has to find it a bit noteworthy in the fact that one of the screenplay writers was present for both movies: Mark A. Altman. There is still some tacky dialog here and there, that could in all probability be blamed on him, but the sole fault of the original's mess seems to rest on Uwe Boll's shoulders.
Even though the title makes less sense this time around, with the movie centering around a college campus, the second in the series based off the Sega arcade games is superior in many respects. Even a few new ideas to the zombie sub-genre are thrown into the mix, namely infection being able to spread through mosquito bites. The acting is slightly improved, mainly by to two leads: Emmanuelle Vaugier and Ed Quinn, two AMS agents. There are ties to the original, but not too many to drag it down to its level. Even "Ellie Cornell returned as Colonel Jordan Casper even though, in House of the Dead, her character died. Casper was inserted during a script rewrite." There are a few laughs to be had, but overall, the movie is darker and more serious in tone. Here and there you'll see references to other films, such as Ghostbusters and even Boll's Alone in the Dark. With the success of its rival video game adaptation Resident Evil, one can see many similarities hoping to draw in more of its fans. It's not overly prominent, but enough for zombie fans to notice.
Aside from the better action sequences and more competent acting, I found myself enjoying quite a few scenes, specifically fighting the undead football players on the field and one great scene features a stand-off between two female special forces soldiers and the team asshole, who reminds me a little too much of Jeffery Combs, although the outcome leaves a little more to be desired. Without spoiling anything, if the situation had gone down differently, it could have made for an interesting twist in the final thirty or so minutes.
Regardless, I found this SciFi premiere, zombie sequel to be a better paced, more engaging film than its predecessor. No alcohol needed. Though most fans seem to be practically unanimous on this, critics have panned it almost across the board: "[It's] the cinematic equivalent of a rectal exam. Uncomfortable, embarrassing, painful, disconcerting, you just want it to end already, and when you're done you're bitter and sour. And you can't shake that feeling that you've been violated." I have a feeling that the reviewer spent more time coming up with something witty to say than the whole time he sat through the 95-minute movie. Also, look for the always awesome Sid Haig at the beginning as the college professor who started this whole epidemic.
Best quote: "Hey, zombies don't read. And they ain't hooked on phonics. So give it a rest."
My friends and I have a plan for the inevitable outbreak, like all good zombie fans do. We live in a somewhat rural area, but near enough to major cities to have us a little worried that, not only will the zombies eventually reach us, but scared people would soon be flocking to our local towns for shelter, food, and distance from the living dead. We all agree that they most definitely should be Romero's slow, half-decaying corpses instead of Boyle and Snyder's infected, sprinting zombies, because otherwise we'd be screwed. I write in my spare time, but I don't write zombie fan fiction. Most good ideas have already been had at this point anyway. But about a year ago, after discussing our plan at length, I decided to give it a shot in a short, rhyming story. So, addressing a little shameless self-promotion, here you go. And yes, the language is a bit excessive. Wouldn't have it any other way:
I was headed out on my way to work when I walked by a passive retail clerk who had empty eyes and a blank look. So I stopped him and threw a right hook, and grabbed the tire iron behind the seat and beat him down to the concrete. I knew this poor bastard had been bit and he would probably never make it. The R-town zombie invasion had begun. I knew the undead had finally come.
So I called Tyler and Sheebs, but they were already on their way to see me. There was a group between our trucks. So we sped up, jumped out and ducked. The sky lit up and left the group dead 'cause of all the nitroglycerin in the bed that I keep for situations just like this, 'cause I always knew that zombies exist. Out of ammo, so we went to the gun store ’cause we’d been through this before, but the guy at the desk had that same look and thirst. So we shot that fuck first.
I saw some zombie kids headed off to school, but to them I couldn't be as cruel. Rather than shoot them in the head, I ran them over with a school bus instead. John lopped off the head of an old bitch and she fell down and started to twitch. Kevin beat in a ghoul's brain with a spade like he was on a fucking crusade, and tore off another's arm with his own hands and beat down a marching band. Brock pushed a shopping cart full of kerosene at some fat chicks with ice cream and shot off a round that blew off their faces, and their hair, and their braces.
We hit the streets with shotguns and grenades as the zombies began to invade, and decided we probably needed an assist, so we called all our friends to enlist, but none of 'em lasted too long 'cause it was only we who had been ready all along. We blew up the mall and shot up Wal-Mart, but all of that was just the start. I rigged explosives to McDonald’s and BK, and then burned down China Buffet. We attacked every place where people go and left Richmond with a new asshole.
We hit the quarries on 121 and 227, 'cause the damned don't get into Heaven, and took two giant dump trucks 'cause they were dead and didn't give a fuck. Then we siphoned gas from Speedway and Shell after we sent them all to Hell, and turned the town into a police state and then we reassembled for our fate to blockade all of the roads and doors and load back up to prepare for more.
With Molotov cocktails and machetes, the fucking undead will never be ready for the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse who severe heads and empty clips like a little kid begging for some candy. So sit back and crack open the brandy and celebrate the end of this shithole town as we four turn it all upside down. When you see us next you may want to grin. Otherwise we’ll have to kill again. The pandemic will spread across the USA. I've waited my whole life for this Z-Day.
Here's a little hint: are they really zombies or do we want this to happen so bad that we jumped the gun? So, do you have a Z-Day plan?
Directed by Uwe Boll, written by Mark A. Altman and Dan Bates, and starring Jonathan Cherry, Tyron Leitso, Clint Howard, and Ona Grauer.
"This film is a prequel to all of the The House of the Dead video games. Set on an island off the coast, a techno rave party attracts a diverse group of college coeds and a Coast Guard officer. Soon, they discover that their X-laced escapades are to be interrupted by zombies and monsters that attack them on the ground, from the air, and in the sea, ruled by an evil entity in the House of the Dead..."
Supposedly taking place before the events on the light gun arcade game of the same name, which was produced by Sega in 1996, House of the Dead features not only the corny turn-table technique 360° shots for its characters in battle, but also thirty-two, count them, thirty-two clips from the series of games themselves. The former of the two is actually the last film to feature this camera technique, for fear of risking an actor's life. But Uwe Boll didn't seem to have a problem. Nor was he concerned with a relevant plot, cohesive dialog, or any form of entertainment, at least the kind that isn't made at his expense.
I watched this movie again the other night, for the first time in years. It may very well be only the second viewing, and though I didn't hate it as much as the first time, I can't say I truly enjoyed any part of the movie except for the unintentionally ridiculous script and how amazing Ona Grauer looks in rave gear. Aside from that, there is nothing worth saving this movie from being burned in a summer bonfire. I suppose if you have an illegal copy on a DVD-RW you could always rewrite over it with something more point worthy. If that isn't an option and you don't want to waste the money you spent buying it on chance, then invite a few of your buddies over, knock back a case of beer, and laugh it up Mystery Science Theater-style.
The acting is terrible, criminal even, the monologues and voice-overs are painful to your brain, like a blow to the head, and in the end, the only thing worse for someone to endure without the aid of alcohol is probably meth. "Reviews were so bad that Danish cinemas refused to buy it." While the action is one of the film's strong points, the "big finale" is unpleasing to say the least, by being dragged down with constant slow-motion and the above mentioned rotating camera featuring every still surviving member of your teammates...I'm sorry, I mean "of the cast". I kept looking for my blue light gun to point at the television, thinking I had dropped it while pointing it away from the screen to reload.
The film's other saving grace (well, not that it really has one)? Actor Jürgen Prochnow, who's had many prominent roles in movie such as: The Da Vinci Code, Air Force One, Beerfest, The English Patient, and The Seventh Sign, just to name a few. How Boll got him signed on for this shitfest I will never know. Then again, Boll has a knack for signing big name stars for bombs being dropped on the box office. I can't think of one reason to ever need to watch this film again. I think it's sucked enough enjoyment away from me to last a good while. If you feel otherwise, like I said, down a few brews with friends and have a laugh at Boll's expense. He deserves every bit of it. The sequel, not directed by Boll, is an improvement, if only slightly.
Best quote: Rudy-"You did all this to become immortal. Why?" Castillo-"To live forever!"
Doctor "S" Battles the Sex Crazed Reefer Zombies: The Movie
The Arrow reported today on a new zombie flick headed our way, calling it "a throwback to the horror films of the 50s and 60s, REEFER ZOMBIES is a black and white B movie (and proud of it) from director Bryan Ortiz." These reefer zombies have already taken the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature at the San Antionio Film Festival earlier this year, and looks to be well on its way to tearing up other festivals soon. Here's the official site, official Myspace page, and its own Facebook, for more information. And if it doesn't sound interesting enough already, here's the lengthy synopsis and a trailer:
"In a quiet American town, life has decidedly slowed down to a crawl. A small group of scientists have unwittingly unleashed a horrible force upon the town. Mary Jane, the all American sweetheart, parks on Make Out Hill with her boyfriend Billy Everybody. He smokes some of the reefer and is suddenly transformed into a sex- crazed reefer zombie. Just as Billy lunges forward he is pulled out of the car and thrown to ground and shot. Mary Jane looks at her brutal savior, Dr. S. Dr S. battles his way back to the city, while dragging Mary Jane behind him. While Mary Jane tries to come to grip with the possible reality of her family dead and asks Dr. S to explain how this all happened. Dr. S tells her of how he and his team developed the reefer for the military to use as a weapon, but it was too unstable. In a last ditch effort to create a more stable strain of the reefer, Dr. S tested some on himself. The reefer changed him, made him strong, but filled with an uncontrollable rage. Unable to stop himself Dr. S killed his whole team. Convincing Mary Jane there is a cure, Dr. S vows to set things right."
"The latest zombie opus follows a war-weary band of soldiers who are lured to a remote island that promises to be the last paradise on earth, only to discover that even here there is no escape from the appetites of either the living or the dead."
Well, George Romero's new film is no longer titled simply "...of the Dead". The new entry in Romero's now six-strong series is called: Survival of the Dead. It doesn't really have the great ring to it that I was expecting, but it does bring to mind a question or two. For instance, is he implying that the "dead" are the ones now fighting for survival? If, continuing with the social commentary of Land of the Dead, we may very well see a shift in the plot, which is nothing new for Romero. This could also just be me reading too much into the title, but if not, this could very much lead to an interesting new change of course.
"The film will have its WORLD premiere at the "Midnight Madness" section (of TIFF) come September. Says Romero, 'We’re in the final stages of post-production and it’s great to come up for air and find out the film’s been chosen to appear at the Festival. It’s just a terrific honor.'" Here's a few pre-release screens, and you can find the rest over at Bloody-Disgusting. Just click for the larger image. It's time to get pumped for Romero's next great feast for the eyes and the mind, like all good zombies should do.
Some people think they know what zombies are. That's a very crazy notion they've let sneak into their bowl for a head that's full of zombie food, if you ask me. Over the last seventy-seven years we've seen the definition of "zombie" change dramatically. Some people think George Romero created zombies. Those people don't watch movies. Some people think zombies have rules and guidelines, like when you're the son of a famous parody director, or the writer of a black and white comic book. You want zombie commandments? Book a flight to Haiti or West Africa. Otherwise, just read cheap fan-fiction, which is no more the truth than the word of Romero. So, what are some common misconceptions about zombies and the undead in cinema history?
1. First zombie movie: White Zombie in 1932. You can't dispute this one, so don't even try. Thirty-six years before George Romero "invented" zombies, Victor Halperin's White Zombie mysteriously did the same thing. Unless you don't believe the world existed before 1968 (which is ironically when Romero made the world end), then everyone must acknowledge this as the very first zombie movie. And who better to create the first on-screen zombies than Bela Lugosi? Exactly.
2.First deviation from the definition of a zombie: Night of the Living Dead in 1968. Zombies eat human flesh? That doesn't sound right. Let me check my dictionary that I have right here at all times. Well, I'm be damned (just not the resurrected kind). George Romero was the first person to change the definition of a zombie. Not Danny Boyle. Now I can stop giving 28 Days/Weeks Later such a hard time, and apologize to him. Oh, wait. Boyle never called them zombies. Now I'm twice the asshole. And I'm finished with the sarcasm (thrice for those keeping count).
3.First full speed, running zombie:S. William Hinzman's cemetery zombie in Night of the Living Dead in 1968. That's right. The first flesh-eating zombie to ever chase a living person on screen was running after a car and trying to bust in the windows. Simple inconsistency or not, Romero needs to can his "zombies don't run" talk. I love Romero. I truly do. But he screwed up. And he screwed up first. Remember that.
4. First zombie to speak:Bub from Day of the Dead in 1985. Only the coolest zombie from what I consider to be "the" zombie movie masterpiece. Bub was also the first zombie that fans rooted for. Well, that may be debatable, depending on how much of a jerk you are. You don't like it when zombies speak in all of these new movies? Tough. Once again, blame Romero.
5. First vegetarian zombie: Bud from Day of the Dead in 2008. Now if, judging by my last one, I consider the original to be the supreme living dead film, and can sit through this myself, and enjoy it (marginally), then surely you can, too. When I first saw this, and Bud, the vegetarian, became a zombie who didn't eat his friends, I thought, "That's a pretty creative idea, but surely this isn't the first movie to do that." Well, I was wrong. It was. Yes, you read correctly: a remake of a classic with an original idea. I suppose we're all a little too quick to judge. Then again, that was a very minor element of the story, so...the movie still blew.
6.First zombie movie remake:Zombie Holocaust (aka Zombi Holocaust, aka Zombie 3, aka Doctor Butcher, M.D.) in 1980 was, for better or worse, a remake of Lucio Fulci's Zombi 2, released only one year before the Holocaust "reimagining," or whatever they call it these days. Though you won't find it called a remake anywhere, the similarities are closer than any remakes nowadays: "Zombie Holocaust uses Zombi II cast members (most notably Ian McCulloch and Dakar in nearly identical roles); both movies are set in New York and on a tropical island location; the climax in both movies features the zombies perishing in a hospital/church fire; some shooting locations are the same (especially the church); Zombie Holocaust uses footage from Zombi II, like the burning church and the camera panning across the lake with the landrover driving along the side of it; in some markets, Zombie Holocaust was released as Zombie 3; and both movies feature a main character named Peter." Try saying this isn't a remake with a straight face. Now get off Zach Snyder's back.
(Bonus)First recorded case of a zombie in real life: Jesus Christ (32 AD). Offensive or sacrilegious as it may sound, he was. I'm not the first person to understand this. And I won't be the only one to burn in Hell for thinking it.
People hypnotized by voodoo are zombies. The dead returning to life are zombies. Unlucky, alien-infested rednecks are zombies. Virus-infected, violent Englishmen are zombies. There are many causes to the effect, including but never limited to: radiation poisoning, toxic spills, evil spirits (from ancient books of the dead or otherwise), simian rage experiments, mad scientists, cancer cures, asteroids, alien viruses, military super-weapons, Sumatran rat-monkeys, Hell is overflowing, and simply the vengeful wrath of God. Sometimes there isn't even a reason presented. Some eat human flesh. Some eat human brains. Some will even eat animals or organic foods from companies that employ them. And in rare instances, some return from the dead and purge mankind of sin. But with how often that happens, it's better to shoot first and ask questions later.
Removing the head or destroying the brain sometimes works. Otherwise, you'll have to burn them in an incendiary or electrocute them. They aren't always violent though. While some manage to even speak, many others can actually blend into society with several people none the wiser. Some like to dance. Some frequent shopping malls and high school proms. Some are household pets and butlers. Some are Nazis. Some wield weapons. Some, while dead, can still give birth. Some are immortal because they want to live forever. Sheep can be zombies. Chickens can be zombies. Even Dobermans, crocodiles, and crows are unsafe. Some shamble around from the rigor mortise and some run as fast as a living person. Decay can take weeks, days, or even seconds. The truth is, a zombie is no longer truly defined in this present cinema-scape. So you'd better start getting used to it, because in the war on zombies, those that get left behind are already dead.
"In a stark and terrifying future, a pandemic has transformed the general populace into murderous maniacs. Two of the uninfected, Daniel and April, meet on a remote Scottish farm. In spite of the situation outside the razor wire-encrusted walls of the farm, Daniel is certain there is both a cure and a solution. April has seen too much already in her 16 years on the dreadful and infected planet and clings to horrifying memories and the smoking barrel of her gun. Daniel has a number of hair-raising close calls with the infected. However, he ultimately finds the real enemy may not be the virus, but something equally deadly. THE DEAD OUTSIDE is a beautifully crafted nightmare within a nightmare. This film is presented flawlessly and delivers a haunting sense of ongoing fear and unsettling anticipation. THE DEAD OUTSIDE will scare you senseless!"
Directed by Kerry Anne Mullaney, who also wrote the screenplay with Kris R. Bird, The Dead Outside was originally premiered at the London FrightFest Film Festival on August 25th, 2008, then eventually at festivals in other parts of the UK, and most recently in San Fransisco, California, this past June. Though not officially zombies, these "dead outside" tend to look more like the infected from 28 Days/Weeks Later and Pontypool, which still lives in the realm of zombie, despite the best wishes of "purists" (who seem to overlook voodoo zombies). Amazingly, the film was shoot in only a mere 15 days, which is a great feat in itself. You can read more on the film's official site and its Myspace page. There's no definite date for a DVD release, but you can sign up here to receive information when everything is finalized.
Directed by Ubaldo Ragona and Sidney Salkow, written by Furio M. Monetti, Ubaldo Ragona, William Leicester, and Richard Matheson (as Logan Swanson), and starring Vincent Price, Franca Bettoia, Emma Danieli, and Giacomo Rossi-Stuart.
"Dr. Robert Morgan (Vincent Price) is the only survivor of a devastating world-wide plague due to a mysterious immunity he acquired to the bacterium while working in Central America years ago. He is all alone now...or so it seems. As night falls, plague victims begin to leave their graves, part of a hellish undead army that''s thirsting for blood...his!"
Though technically a vampire flick, the book that the movie is based off of, Richard Matheson's I am Legend, was the main inspiration for George Romero's Night of the Living Dead, four years after this film adaptation released. One could also say that the manner of the vampires and the way they move and act is instead much closer to the modern interpretation of zombies. So I think I can let this one non-zombie movie slide considering we may never have seen very many living dead movies over the years without Matheson's novel. To me, not reviewing this fine piece of cinema would have been blasphemy. It's a landmark in film history and is greatly underrated and under-appreciated. The film has been remade three times since this version with Vincent Price: The Omega Strain (1971) with Charlton Heston, the unofficial adaptation I am Omega (2007), and I am Legend (2007) with Will Smith.
For whatever reason, "Richard Matheson felt Vincent Price was miscast as Robert Morgan," but I can't honestly think of one instance when I felt Price's acting faltered, nor in any other movie he's starred in. From his cleaning up of the dead bodies littered throughout the city, to his constant barricading of his home, to the ever-pursuit of ridding the world of vampires, section by section, Robert Morgan deals with the pain and feeling of loss of living in a dead world full of maleficent creatures. You feel his plague of loneliness and seclusion from the world his used to know, most especially in his old family videos of his wife and daughter during a circus, which leads into flashbacks. It begins with his finding out about Europe's plague from his colleague at his daughter's birthday party. This is one element of the film in which I feel drags the movie down a bit, but not much. It's one of my favorite and least favorite parts of the movie, due to its necessary back-story, but also due to its length. It takes up a good portion of the middle, and without it, would have been little more than an hour really. Another fault is the poorly recorded post-production dubbing, which is more noticeable in the flashbacks than "present day." It tends to convey an amateur effect to the production of the movie, and that's unfortunate.
Many are right, in the fact that the movie plays out more like an extended episode of The Twilight Zone. But this doesn't sway me against it in any way. I grew up on the old, black and white series (though in the form of re-runs), and I got a certain satisfaction from noticing this myself. The movie itself is beautiful in its cinematography, though to a keen eye, to resemblant to Italy (where it was filmed) to truly be an nameless American city. It's eerie and claustrophobic, despite a good portion of the movie taking place outdoors. With streets and buildings empty, and no people or animals to be found (except a little dog that Morgan is barely given time to befriend), the whole world feels absolutely barren and devoid of life. It's no wonder that, after three dreadful years, Morgan is slipping into anger, depression, and even insanity with nothing to comfort him, save for old home videos, cigarettes, scotch, and the ever-near undead.
I've never read the novel myself, though I need to, but others have said that this film is the closest adaptation to its original content, and it rightfully should be. Author Richard Matheson helped write the screenplay himself, but in the end, was displeased with it, and used a psuedoname instead. What it does basically keep intact, though, is the title's meaning, which Will Smith's I am Legend failed to do. I won't spoil it for you if you haven't seen it, but I will say that few movies have such a powerful conclusion to measure up or compare, that it simply leaves me wondering why more people don't fully appreciate this movie for not only all that it is, but all that it has inspired since. You owe it to yourself to see it. I've seen this many times over the years, but if you haven't, then you can watch the full movie for free, now that it's in public domain, on YouTube, which is actually better looking than the copy I purchased a couple of weeks ago. Figures.
Best quote:"You're freaks! I'm a man! The last man..."
"Lt. Sandy Fletcher leads her squad of beat up 'Hell Patrollers' across a post-zombalyptic wasteland, to the safe city of San Francisco after a failed scrounging mission in Modesto, California. Her squad finds refuge in an abandoned farmhouse and they fortify the grounds for a possible attack. Lt. Fletcher, Sgt. Mark Daniels, Cpl. Chopper, Pvt. Mcwatt and Maj. Karl Brickhaus must fight their way through the unending wave of the undead to get home."
"The war's over, and we lost." At the helm is first-time director Turner Van Ryn, the film takes place in the wake of a zombie apocalypse. According to MoviesOnline, The Hell Patrol is "heavily influenced by Romero, World War Z and 'The Walking Dead' graphic novel." The release date is TBA 2009, but I'll keep you updated. You can find out more at Myspace and Facebook. The movie has quite a few cool looking posters as well, as seen below.
"When Juliet, of noble Capulet birth, falls madly in love with Romeo, a zombie, the streets of fair Verona explode in an ancient feud. As the star crossed lovers struggle to overcome the prejudice toward their unholy union, Juliet's best friend Mercutio fights to win her heart back from Romeo's rotting grasp. As this timeless tragedy unfolds into a fresh new comedy, Mercutio finds that he may have to choose between Juliet's happiness and his own life."
"Romeo & Juliet vs. The Living Dead sounds like a ridiculous title that suggests a ridiculous movie. Taking one of literature's greatest stories and slamming it together with the horror sub-genre of the zombie film. But almost in spite, or even because of its ridiculousness, therein lies the potential for a fun motion picture." Written and directed by Ryan Denmark, the flick promises to mash-up these two, well-liked ideas into something of a new classic. While obviously low-budget, only time will tell how well the flick pans out. I'm not sure if this is considered blasphemy or not, seeing as how I'm quite a fan of the original and even the modern-esque remake, despite its flaws. Anyway, Romeo & Juliet vs. The Living Dead just finished playing at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in June, and you can find more details at its official site.
Today we have two new screen caps for Zombieland that I've borrowed from Bloody-Disgusting who borrowed from Entertainment Weekly. "In the horror comedy Zombieland focuses on two men who have found a way to survive a world overrun by zombies. Columbus is a big wuss -- but when you're afraid of being eaten by zombies, fear can keep you alive. Tallahassee is an AK-toting, zombie-slaying' bad ass whose single determination is to get the last Twinkie on earth. As they join forces with Wichita and Little Rock, who have also found unique ways to survive the zombie mayhem, they will have to determine which is worse: relying on each other or succumbing to the zombies."
You can find more pictures and news about the movie here, here, here, and here, because apparently this is the fifth time I've reported on it without realizing it until now. You can also find new stills of two other new horror movies at BD: Pandorum and Thirst. I'm looking forward to all three of these flicks. On a side note, I'm worn-out from a long week, restless, hyped up on too many energy drinks, and my presently short attention span is preventing me from completing the movie reviews I had planned on writing this evening. That's why I'm instead wasting my time posting two little pics from a movie that, by now, everyone has heard about. Anyway, here's the trailer for z-movie Zombieland, which even Bill Murray has a cameo in as a zombie:
Bloody-Disgusting is reporting that "Sony Screen Gems' Resident Evil: Afterlife, the fourth pic in the game-to-film franchise, is slated to go behind cameras for an 8 week shoot September 28th at Cinespace Film Studios in Toronto. The studio has plopped the film on their release calendars for September 17, 2010. No word on who will be returning just yet, but the plot is said to take us to Tokyo for more Umbrella Corporation zombie mayhem." I previously discussed RE: Afterlife here and here. I can't say I'm much looking forward to this. The first was a decent video game adaptation (albeit not very inspired), though still flawed. But the second was atrocious, and the third was only marginally improved. Then again, it's hard to grow tired of Milla Jovovich doing stunts, martial arts, and spouting off cheesy one-liners. Yeah, I'll be there. Source: Bloody-Disgusting
"A Brooklyn band, General Malacarne, is practicing when once again, the power goes out. Little do they know that this blackout is unlike any other, and that while they relax and smoke up in the basement, everyone above ground is being transformed into vicious, undead eating machines. Will the band make it out of Brooklyn? Will they too become flesh eating monsters? Will their stash go dry? THE EATERS is the only horror comedy brave enough to find out."
Directed by Katie Carman and written by Elizabeth Lee, this independent horror film started playing on June 26th in New York at the Anthology Film Archives. I previously reported on The Eaters hereand here, and is also currently featured in The Watchtower. But I felt it deserved another look, seeing as how I barely gave any information regarding its release or its source sites. You could say that I was a bit lazy when first reporting. "The Eaters was chosen as an official selection of The Long Island International Film Expo, and the NewFilmmakers Summer Series at Anthology Film Archives." Its last showing was on the 14th in Bellmore, New York, and is scheduled next on the 29th at at the Anthology Film Archives in New York. Go see it if it's near you. You can find more information on Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, and its official site of Cold Hand Productions here. I'll keep you posted on future showings and other details. It's just too bad the local film festivals here don't play hip shit like this.
Update: "Our New Filmmakers screening at Anthology got re-zeduled!! It was 7/29/09 but got moved to TUES. AUGUST 4th at 8PM. -Katie and Liz"
"A highly contagious virus is spreading throughout the land. With one bite, it’s only hours before victims will turn into zombies and hunt for human flesh. Morgan, Ash, and Johnny might just be the only humans left, but they don’t seem to mind and find enjoyment lounging around in their underwear living in vacant homes."
Last of the Living is a low budget, New Zealand zombie comedy written and directed by first-timer Logan McMillan. First impressions are that the movie looks fantastically hilarious. And, damn, do I need that zombie-rigged '69 Ford Cortina. According to Gorilla Pictures on IMDb: "Got pulled over by the police driving it around and shooting scenes in downtown Christchurch on Xmas morning 2007 at 6am. But luckily they let us off with a warning - said if they caught us again they would throw the book at us." The movie has a Myspacepage and Facebook page, and you can find the official site for Gorilla Pictures here. The movie is currently out in Germany and the UK, but no news on a Region 1 release as of yet. On a side note, though the title fits perfectly, how cool would the tagline be as a title instead: "Those Damned Dead Just Won't Die"? Eh, maybe not.
[REC] / O.C. Babes and the Slasher of Zombietown / Zombie Pack
Three zombie DVD's released yesterday, including [REC], O.C. Babes and the Slasher of Zombietown, and Zombie Pack, the latter which comprises of Zombi 3, Zombie 4: After Death, and Zombie 5: Killing Birds. Unfortunately, Slasher of Zombietown and Zombie Pack are Blockbuster exclusives for now, as well as the Special Edition of [REC], if you plan on renting. I haven't reported on Slasher of Zombietown yet, and to be honest, I know little about it. Here are the gruesome details of each:
[REC]: "From Executive Producers who brought you Quarantine, comes the movie that inspired the terror. A beautiful TV reporter (Manuela Velasco, Law of Desire) and her cameraman are doing a routine interview at a local fire station when an emergency call comes in. Accompanying the firefighters to a nearby apartment, the news team begins recording the bloodcurdling screams coming from inside an elderly woman's unit. After authorities seal off the building to contain the threat, the news crew, firefighters and residents are trapped to face a lethal terror inside. With the camera running, nothing may survive but the film itself."
O.C. Babes and the Slasher of Zombietown: "Different groups of OC stereotypes are trapped in a bar due to a recent zombie outbreak. Little do they know that the Orange County Slasher who has been killing people all week is trapped inside with them. OC Babes and the Slasher of Zombietown is a horror/comedy that starts off when Sean and Ed (if you caught that one this is right up your alley) go out to a bar for the first time for Sean's 21st birthday. There, they meet Madison (the bitch), Savannah (the slut), Megan (the hot nerd), Lindsey (the hot edgy nerd), Ashley and Michelle (the porn stars) Mike and Bret (the bro jock guys) and a couple of old barfly skanks and some surfer chick. The night seems like any other for Sean and Ed; filled with rejection. That is until a half eaten woman runs into the bar and warns them about zombies outside. Once they lock the bar up they start dropping like flies."
Zombie Pack: "The dead have risen and they're hungry for human flesh! This unholy trinity of zombie classics has been assembled for the heartiest of appetites. With the aid of such talents as Lucio Fulci (Zombie 2), Joe D Amato (Beyond The Darkness) and Robert Vaughn (The Magnificent Seven), this gut-munching, flesh-chomping, brain-devouring Italian zombie collection is sure to satiate your undead bloodlust."
I personally loved [REC], and felt the insult, like most fans did, when Quarantine came to light. While still a good zombie movie on its own, it changed very little, at least not enough to warrant the remake. It was simply made to (1) cash in on the American market and (2) present a horror movie for Americans who are too lazy to read subtitles (or can't read at all). As I said before, I know very little about Zombietown, and concerning Zombie Pack, I've only ever seen Zombi 2. I know, I know. Sue me.
Directed by Brain Yuzna, written by John Penney, and starring Melinda Clarke, J. Trevor Edmond, Kent McCord, and Basil Wallace.
"Colonel Reynolds and his group of government scientists continue their work on re-animating the dead for military use. His son Curt and his girlfriend Julie use Dad's security pass to sneak in and watch the proceedings. Later when father and son have a disagreement, Curt and Julie take off on a motorcycle and Julie is killed in an accident. Grief-stricken, Curt takes her body to the lab and brings her back to life. Curt must help Julie deal with her new existence as military agents and local gang members try to find them."
I know, call me crazy, but I found Part III to be more engrossing than its predecessor. Though not really by much. Return of the Living Dead III lacks the comedic elements of Part II, and in this case, it's for the best. The humor of the first sequel just didn't work for me. It wasn't funny, and actually, was just down right annoying at times. This zombie film is the answer to the 90's as the original was to the 80's, though not quite as lovingly (or delicately) done. It's much darker than the two previous entries in the series, and comes across as Romeo and Juliet meets zombies (which just so happens to be the story of an upcoming new film). Here we see a few more minor changes to the zombie rules (which seems to happen in each of the Return movies): "Getting bit by Trioxin zombies in the previous two Return of the Living Dead films did not turn the individual bit into a zombie. However in Return of the Living Dead III it does."
The most interesting character of the story, by far, is Riverman, played by Basil Wallace. Wallace has had bit parts in numerous TV shows, as well as Joy Ride, Blood Diamond, and even Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home. Not really an amazing rap sheet, but experienced none the less. The two main leads, J. Trevor Edmond and Melinda Clark, do their jobs, and quite well at times. Though the dialog was a bit too teen movie for my taste, the love story was believable enough to work. Clark, who was originally offered the role of Xena: Warrior Princess but turned it down, does admirably in her part, going from rebellious teen in love to brain-craving, S&M psycho in the latter half. The rest of the acting is hit and miss, the miss namely being the street thugs, and an annoying girlfriend, who are over-the-top and clichéd at their best. They really should have found more able actors or just completely rewritten that part of the script. The music and score worked, though nothing stood out in my mind, and the overall feel of the movie was generally creepy and weird, which I appreciated. For the gore lovers, there's plenty to be had, especially in the unrated version. Some of the bloodiest moments take place in the military complex, which seems to be so easy to get in and out of. There are even a few scenes reminiscent of John Carpenter's The Thing towards the end, which also redeems Part II's ending. But this film isn't brain fodder. Zombie movies rarely are. Part III isn't perfect, by any means, what with it's plot holes, often bad acting, cheesy dialog, and poorly written characters. But it doesn't need to make apologies on its behalf. It put the Return of the Living Dead series back on track, and that should count for something. Just be glad that director Brian Yuzna didn't title the film what he wanted to originally: Kurt and Julie. I have yet to watch 4 and 5, which I hear are terrible. So this may very well be the last great Return of the Living Dead.
Best quote: "Julie, are you eating him? You should stop it."
"When a container washes ashore the residents of a sleepy cul-de-sac are plunged into violence, terror and paranoia. Ring fenced by the military a single mother must overcome all the odds to save her daughter."
Written and directed by Lawrence Gough, and co-written by Colin O'Donnell, Salvage is British zombie film that played at the Edinburgh International Film Fest. There's really not much news concerning the film yet, and likewise, no release date announced, but the movie looks quite interesting. I'll keep you posted once the movie picks up more speed.
Update: I may have been a bit too hasty to peg this film as zombie-related. A few sites are also claiming this to be true, but nothing is official as of yet. And now that I've reviewed the trailer, I noticed that it doesn't specifically call them anything of the sort. I'll keep you updated. Special thanks to Aaron at The Zed Word: Zombie Blog. Check his site out if you haven't already.
"A young married couple has to survive in a post apocalyptic Paris filled with zombies. Will love triumph over death?"
A few weeks ago (here) I dropped a few pictures from the new French short film: Paris By Night of the Living Dead. The short film has an approximate run time of 15 minutes, and is set to play at FILM4 FRIGHTFEST August 27th in London, details here. I think the film looks fantastic so far. I'm not completely sold on the CGI gore, but I'll wait to reserve judgment.
"Madeline Matheson is eight months pregnant and determined to deliver her unborn child, Grace, naturally. When an accident leaves Grace dead inside her, Madeline insists on carrying the baby's corpse to term. Weeks later, when Madeline delivers, the baby miraculously returns to life... With an appetite."
"A tragic accident leaves Madeline's unborn baby lifeless inside of her, but she carries the stillborn baby to term and wills the delivered corpse into life. But it is not too long before she realizes that something is not quite right with baby Grace, and she must make horrible sacrifices to keep her alive."
Grace is written and directed by Paul Solet, and stars Jordan Ladd and Gabrielle Rose. I meant to report on this a couple of weeks ago, and it just slipped my mind. It seems to be part vampire movie, part zombie movie, and all kinds of fucked up. The movie played at Sundance, and now has an official DVD release date of September 15th. Click here to view the unrated trailer instead. Here's the list of special features:
• Audio commentary by writer/director Paul Solet, producer Adam Green and director of photography Zoran Popovic • Audio commentary by Solet and Jordan Ladd (Blu-Ray exclusive) • Grace: Conception featurette • Grace: Family featurette • Her Mother's Eyes: The Look of Grace featurette • Grace: Delivered featurette • Lullaby: Scoring Grace featurette • Grace at Sundance featurette • Theatrical trailer
Written and directed by Ken Wiederhorn, and starring Michael Kenworthy, Marsha Dietlein, Thor Van Lingen, Dana Ashbrook, Thom Mathews, James Karen, and Suzanne Snyder.
"Curious kids open a barrel of green gas linked to a mysterious military experiment, and soon a tenebrous green cloud of fog is making its way through the creepy town cemetery. Knowing exactly where this is headed is, of course, part of the fun in this tongue-in-cheek zombie sequel. Maybe it's not as fresh as its successful predecessor, but all of the key zombie ingredients are still well preserved in this second installment: ravenous "undead" in search of human brains, severed limbs with a life of their own, and lots and lots of shrieking! Taking a hackneyed premise that is a close retelling of part I, director Ken Wiederhorn (Freddy’s Nightmares, Shock Waves) rejuvenates the genre with sporadic genuine scares, lots of plain old silliness, and some literally eye-popping special effects. Followed up a few years later with the equally enjoyable Return of the Living Dead Part III, this is a fun franchise that reminds you of what '80s horror was all about: bad synth music, and perms." I just previously mentioned director Ken Wiederhorn's Shock Waves (1977) yesterday in my review for Dead Snow. Shock Waves was the first movie to ever feature Nazi zombies. Now, fast forward to 1988, and Wiederhorn's sequel to John Russo's The Return of the Living Dead finds him back in familiar territory. Unfortunately, Part II is much less inspired than its predecessor, with its fault found firmly in the main character being a child, who for better or for worse, can't act at all, and only leads the viewer to becoming annoyed and fatigued. It had only been three years since the first movie released, but, rather quickly, the landscape and overall feel had drastically changed. Gone are all of the vibrant, colorful characters of Russo's sequel to Night of the Living Dead, and in its place are boring, clichéd suburbanites that you can only hope meet a timely demise at the hands (or teeth) of the living dead.
But that's not to say that Part II is all bad. The gore is still top notch, there's a few laughs thrown in the mix, and despite all of the movie's cons, the familiarities found in the sequel are a definite plus. Thom Mathews and James Karen both return for the movie, though playing different (and yet, still the same characters), with homage lines such as: "If you like this job." and "Like this job?" It's one of the few nice touches really. But even the Tarman makes an appearance, albeit a short one. Though, just to clear the confusion, his head didn't grow back. It's simply another zombie from the same kind of Trioxin barrel. Though the comedy elements of the film are generally too tacky to enjoy, a few scenes gave me a chuckle: "A zombie dress up and looks like Michael Jackson makes a cameo appearance at the end of the film. While being electrocuted he performs some signature Michael Jackson dance moves."
While keeping the same rules of the undead from the first film, Part II adds one necessary new law for the zombies of the Return of the Living Dead series: "In this film it's revealed that the only thing which truly stops the zombies, without the risk of reanimating more corpses, is powerful electric discharges. The electric discharge can stop the reanimating effect created by Trioxin without generating Trioxin fumes the way cremation can." This ultimately sets the stage for a final showdown at an electrical station (which also happens to involve cow brains). While nowhere near as interesting or satisfying as the conclusion to Part I, the second film's ending is still rather amusing. Even though this movie is essential viewing if you're a genre fan, that doesn't necessarily make it an enjoyable viewing. I wouldn't go beyond a rental or late-night viewing on cable. I may be in the minority, but I found the follow-up, Return of the Living Dead 3, slightly redeeming of this mess of a movie. Make sure to listen for a cover of Boby Brickett's classic song Monster Mash playing over the end credits.
Best quote:"Look, they're ugly and they're dirty and they're dumb, and I don't even care if they are dead. I hate 'em, there's no way they're touching me!"
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I have a bit of an unnatural magnetism to horror. I dig nightmarish monsters, space terror, evil cults, and women covered in blood, but I'm not picky. I have a Tumblr called Terror Theater where I just post pics from horror films. I've been making electronic music for a little over five years now and release it all for free under the current moniker Steamgunk. I've been writing short stories and prose for about twelve years now and I read lots. I have Peter Pan syndrome and an enormous ego.