Posts Tagged ‘Zombie’

Return of the Living Dead Movie Poster

*** This review may contain grave dancing spoilers ***

A group of teenage punks and business owners deal with the accidental release of a horde of brain hungry zombies.

The late Dan O’Bannon writes and directs this novel zombie film; no stranger to horror he’s notable for collaborating with John Carpenter and co-writing the screenplay for Alien. With its foggy graveyard, crematorium, chapel of rest, dimly-lit factory basement and empty wet streets O’Bannon creates some atmosphere. Return of the Living Dead while not a sequel to George Romero’s The Night of the Living Dead (1967) connects it amusingly with Frank, played wonderfully by James Karen making out that the movie was based on real events to his bumbling sidekick Freddy Thom Matthews (who both return for the sequel). It’s more comical than Romero’s films, with a morbid humour, eccentric dialogue and some slapstick comedy. While it may not have Romero’s political satire, O’Bannon worms in a subtext of mortality and what it means to be dead.

As the loud characters attempt to destroy the zombies, flee in panic, and/or sometimes become a zombie there’s plenty of entertainment to be had. Clu Gulager plays up his straight lace typecasting as Burt who’ll do anything to save his business. Actor Don Calfa is excellent as Ernie the mortician, stealing every scene with a Peter Lorre kookiness. The group of teenagers are on fine form, capturing an array of 80’s stereotypes with their fashion, music taste and attitudes akin to Lamberto Bava’s Demons (1985) of the same year. There’s a great 80s soundtrack along with some significant nudity where Linnea Quigley infamously dances on a grave. In addition Quigley’s Trash when in turned zombie is menacingly eerie. With some great effects the icky superb Tarman zombie is performed by actor and puppeteer Allan Trautman.

It’s a satisfactory zombie movie, with some genuinely creepy and amusing scenes, notably where Ernie deals with rigor mortis, pieces of a cadaver wriggle in black bags, Frank and Freddy being pronounced dead, the attack on paramedics and where a cut in half rotting female explains why they want to eat the living. Memorably, at one point after a horde of zombies eat a police unit one of the ghouls gets on the radio and asks dispatch to send more cops. Amongst the cinematic zombie tropes of main players barricading entrances, trouble comes from within and just about everyone dies, you know you’re in for a scary ride as the Tarman may pop up at any moment.

In retrospect O’Bannon’s unchained offering is a little rough around the edges (notably recycling the grave and skeleton footage prior to the end credits) but it has a certain 80s (timeless) charm thanks to the setting, supplies of great grisly special effects, reanimated cross-sections of lab specimen dogs, severed limbs and dried out zombies to name a few. The grim but admirable nihilistic ending is the icing on the cake and to O’Bannon’s credit Return of the Living Dead popularises for the first time zombies eating, specifically – Braaiinnsss!

Overall, its good gritty zombie cult fun.

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zWWII battle worn soldiers come across a Nazi complex where experiments are taking place to resurrect dead prisoners.

Zombie Massacre 2: Reich of the Dead (2015) is dark, gloomy and more serious than 2011’s entertaining ride Eaters and more sombre and grounded than Zombie Massacre a.k.a Apocalypse Z.

Again filmmaker talents Luca Boni and Marco Ristori deliver a grim competently constructed bleak zombie horror that is stylishly shot with some good blood and gore effects presented on a saturated colour palette. The practical effects come better off that some of the CGI explosions and splatter. The sets and location look outstanding for the budget.

With actors Andrew Harwood Mills, Dan van Husen and Lucy Drive who is stunning as Erin the rest of the cast are on form and give performances as their picked off one by one that far surpass those in the first outing.

Zombie Massacre 2 is slower and more dramatic than Boni and Ristori’s previous work, and while the story isn’t the most original there’s plenty of gore, creepy visuals, dead soldiers and vertical white stripes zombies, creepy faces and the like.

Boni and Ristori are becoming somewhat cult directors and need a breakout mainstream film but for the moment we have to wait a little longer nevertheless its still agreeable zombie fodder.

  *** This review may contain dead girlfriend spoilers ***

A guy’s overbearing girlfriend, who he’s afraid to break up with dies in a freak accident. However, she rises from the grave hampering his new relationship.

Written by Alan Trezza reminiscent of IZombie, Big, Over Her Dead Body (2008) only with the ghost aspect replaced with a zombie and Death becomes Her to name a few just a few, Burying The Ex has its own inner city charm. Packed with horror references, it’s a genre aficionados dream thanks to Joe Dante’s magic touch, effects, score and on location shoot.

Things get interesting when vegan Ashley Greene’s Evelyn returns from the grave and Anton Yelchin as Max tries to juggle his new crush, Olivia (Alexandra Daddario) and possessive ex. Yelchin gives the same great every guy performance as he did in Odd Thomas. Greene steels the show with some good makeup effects, from spewing up embalming fluid to being a drop dead gorgeous psycho corpse.

There’s touches of the Howling (1981) with the old reference books and Amazing Stories (1986). Some jokes fall flat, but most of the lines, gross out gags are on the money. There’s some eerie scenes, vileness and blood when Evelyn realises what zombies enjoy. The film then takes a macabre turn in the latter Evil Dead-like half.

Dante creates a unique off beat atmosphere as he did with Gremlins and Small Soldiers. While zombies have become stale and saturated lately Dante injects some life in what could have been a Twilight Zone, Monsters, Tales from the Darkside or Crypt anthology episode into a snappy horror comedy film. It’s not John Landis’ American Werewolf but it’s a hoot for old school horror, practical effects fans.

  When a government vaccine fails to stop another zombie infection a man teams up with an infected woman to escape the quarantined area before a crazy man wanting to be king of the zombies expands the territory.

Sony’s Crackle, all streaming online, on-demand in conjunction with Legendary pictures offer an adaptation of Dead Rising Capcom’s best selling video game. What’s clear from director Zach Lipovsky’s offering is that it’s no cheap cash-in. Opening with a cute cartoon explanation of the zombie anti virus Zombrex, we’re the introduced to hordes of the dead, a creepy clown and policeman zombie within the first few minutes flashback. 

With sweeping city scales and tight close ups there’s a sense of scale, urgency and panic especially with the impending military action. Jesse Metcalfe’s Chase Carter is reminiscent of a mix of D.J, Cotrona and George Clooney’s Seth Gecko nonchalant delivery. It’s good to see one of the biggest 80’s stars Virginia Madsen on the screen in the role of a troubled mother. With plenty of screen presence Meghan Ory is notable as Crystal O’Rourke and Bate’s Motel’s Keegan Connor Tracy is weighty in a small role as Joran.

Sadly Dead Rising is broken up by satirical Robocop-like news reports and interviews featuring Rob Riggle and TV-like fade outs don’t help the pacing. It has a C.S.I crisp look, while not filmatic it doesn’t feel like DTV and has some great special effects. With slicing spinning blades, bats used as weapons and gun-play there’s plenty of zombie blood and guts on display. The second half during the night time scenes gets a little darker, no pun intended, with eerie dead girl characters, chainsaws, rough raping nomads, shotguns, nose biting, motorbikes and more explosions. 

Even though I’ve never played Dead Rising its surprising how it captures the feel of at least the posters, clips and game adverts I’d seen and subconsciously locked away with Metcalfe striking poses of Carter in framed angles synonymous with the game series (think Prince of Persia).

Dead Rising a.k.a. Dead Rising: Watchtower is a solid addition to the saturated zombie film market with well executed effects and action stunt set ups. It’s main issue by default and through no fault of it’s own nor Lipovsky’s or writer/producer Tim Carter is that it’s all been done before. The game also apparently had a liable suit brought against it in 2008 for its similarities to Dawn of the Dead ’78 and 2004. Nevertheless, if Dead Rising the film had been released in 2006 the same year of the game release it may have faired a little better as while it is a good production it feels like it’s covering old ground, zombies in general are not as fresh as they used to be, say in 1985. 

Hopefully it fulfils Dead Rising fans dreams but for the average viewer with nostalgic inducing cult films like Wrymwood and Bloodbath Bombshell injecting new life into the tired genre and big budget outings like The Dawn of the Dead remake and WWZ, Dead Rising feels a little too Resident Evil Apocalypse or TV pilot-like with its expensive C.S.I feel and odd set up for sequel ending. If a TV spin off is to come, Rising’s well executed focus on violence would put it above Z Nation and debatably below The Walking Dead.


 *** This review may contain spoof zombie spoilers ***

After a zombie apocalypse a band of survivors and a sheriff team up with a thinking zombie to get through the outbreak.

Also known as Walking with the Dead opening with a news reporter giving the possible cause of the outbreak due to people not washing their hands after handling sushi you know what you’re in for. It’s surprisingly humorous and entertaining, to get the most out of director Scott Dow’s The Walking Deceased you’ll mostly likely have to be into beer, over the top lampooning parodies and have a toilet sense of humour. A knowledge of zombie films will help but it’s probably essential to have seen The Walking Dead series and the film Warm Bodies.

Dave Sheridan’s excellent over emotional mickey take of The Walking Dead’s Andrew Lincoln’s Rick Grimes is the film’s main highlight. Sheridan’s Sheriff Lincoln hits all the notes, mimicking some of Grimes finest moments. His shouts for Carl and little speeches will make any viewer familiar with Rick Grimes chuckle. There’s plenty of other Walking Dead characters on the spoof chopping board nearly all of which have been killed off in the series.

Yes, it’s low budget, lowbrow stuff, from jabs at drugs, crossbows, social media including LinkedIn to stabs at strippers and prayer, you have to be in the right frame of mind. Dow’s offering looks grander than it should thanks to some good direction, coupled with some blood and guts effects and Troy Ogletree’s Romeo lone zombie is notable giving some amusing undead voiceover lines.

The opening 20 minutes of the spoof is probably the strongest, leave your brain at the door and familiarise yourself with the aforementioned films and you may get a kick out of this Romero send up. Worth seeing for Sheridan’s bare butt sheriff using his pointing index finger as a gun alone.

*** This review may contain blood curdling spoilers ***

A woman and an old lady are removed from the building and wedding where a parasite and viral outbreak took place and are taken to ship for confinement but things go awry.

The strong lead Manuela Velasco returns as the Spanish female TV reporter, Ángela Vidal. Dropping the found footage Blair Witch Project (1999) style of part one and two and retaining the traditional shot style of part three, Jaume Balagueró returns to the directing chair with a more action orientated sequel. Along with some sharp editing from David Gallart and fitting music by Arnau Bataller, Balagueró offers plenty of blood, guts, slicing and dicing of zombie-like nasties as the ship is overrun by the infected.

To writers Manu Diez and Balagueró credit it links all the films together and ties up some ooze ends putting the Tristana Medeiros Da Souza religious connotations from the first, second and mention in Genesis to rest. They successfully connect the series including the solider, Guzman played by Paco Manzanedo who finds Velasco’s character at the end of the second film. Guzman is sent to the ship for quarantine along with all the characters that have encountered the outbreak.

Ismael Fritschi is great as Nick the obsessed techie fan of Vidal. It’s a nice touch to have characters review the tapes from the other films. Héctor Colomé oozes presence and menace as Dr. Ricarte who wants to experiment on Vidal. The supporting cast are strong a play it straight with touches of dark humour. 

Small segments of the CCTV footage on the ship is introduced for fans of REC. The change of setting to a merchant ship is refreshing and retains the claustrophobic feeling synonyms with the series, captured by cinematographer Pablo Rosso the location feels gritty and real. With blood thirsty infected, rabid monkeys and Vidal’s parasite causing conflict between the characters there’s plenty going on as they must escape the ship in an Aliens-like countdown finale.

While the tension and scares are replaced for a more action horror experience it still retains its great gore makeup and special effects and is another fine addition to the series.

Hey, I haven’t shared my comments on a zombie film for, oh, about two minutes now, so here’s another one:

*** This review may contain spoilers about zombies that you probably already knew***

A loan man survives a zombie-like outbreak and finds the perfect hiding place, a military compound.

Extinction successfully borrows and merges from the best trying to appease all walks of zombie fans, there’s slow walking, fasting running, hibernating, green and red blooded infected. 

It’s dark, gloomy with the solid cinematography, a muted colour palette and style reminiscent of 28 Days/Weeks Later and Mutants to name a few. Thanks to a minimalist script the acting for the most part is pretty naturalistic. The mix of different foreign English accents gives it a worldwide edge. 

The story works with the initial military base set up where Tom Keller sets up home, what follows is an exposition flashback then flash forward back to the present. There’s voice over narration by actor Daniel Buder who plays Keller who also makes diary logs to a web-cam throughout. Tobias Kay is particularly notable as laid back Max Fischer and the supporting cast including Luise Bähr’s Sattler and sharp shooting Lee Rychter as Luke who are all effective enough. 

With some good effects and a complementary score it then takes a different direction when Keller finds other survivors, brings them back to the base and they then try to get to a bunker. There’s not as much tension as it could have but it blows away most modest budget zombie films. Director Niki Drozdowski offers a well made zombie drama with some good action setups and periodic fighting scenes on the doom and gloom atmospheric backdrop. 

It’s a solid serious entry to the genre and although it breaks no new ground and can be a little sluggish its one of better zombie films doing the rounds.

A survivor of a zombie plague prepares to battle his way through a horde of sinister soldiers and ravenous monsters after the death of his loved ones. 

Reminiscent at times of Dawn of the Dead, Undead and the Mad Max series surprisingly Aussie Wyrmwood stands shoulders above many indie zombie films. Written by Kiah Roache-Turner and Tristan Roache-Turner it has plenty original of ideas for the genre and while it moves away from the traditional George A. Romero Night of the Living concept it puts a spin on the sub-genre by literary injecting a scifi fantasy element which works in its favour. 

Director Kiah Roache-Turner offers great special effects, black humour, buckets of blood, guns, needles and a cast of heroic and quickly characters. Starring Bianca Bradey as Brooke, she lights up the screen with some physical action and a strong performance. One of the strengths of Wyrmwood is that you care about the characters even the squeaky chemical suited, creepy music loving scientist.

Zombie gas, DNA experiments and mind control sit nicely in this post apocalyptic adventure as heart broken Barry, Jay Gallagher, goes about finding his sister, meeting an array of characters played excellently by the supporting cast long the way. Leon Burchill is notable as the likable Benny and Yure Covich memorable as Chalker. 

The road trip at times ominous and tense with some nice cinematography from Tim Nagle. It has well designed costumes and make up and an excellent pumping music from Michael Lira with some clever sound design.

There are some solid setups, scary zombie girls in a garage, the shoot out in the bush and the action packed escapes. Thankfully it’s not as slapstick as the likes of Evil Dead or Brain Dead. While it may not please those wanting a straight forward traditional zombie film complete with it’s They Live-like fight scene, it exceeds all expectation as piece of horror, action entertainment. 

Wyrmwood deserves more than cult status, not just for being refreshingly entertaining but for being more than competently produced, acted and directed. Roache-Turner’s offering does for zombies what Dog Soldiers did for werewolves.

Zombie 108 (2012)

Posted: February 16, 2015 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

zombie 108As a virus sweeps the city, it falls into a bloody zombie- apocalypse and array citizens come together to survive the nightmare.

Yes we’ve seen it all before but what writer/director Joe Chien does have like his semi-side-quel Zombie Fight Club (2014) is a dark and ominous atmosphere.

Following the opening of a large abandoned metropolitan area where a woman wanders around and finds a mass of hungry zombies we are then presented with a flashback of how the city became deserted. Chien borrows from the best, which is a good thing but sadly Zombie 108 biggest slip up is an unnecessary off-putting subplot where a sordid pervert kidnaps women and traps them in his apartment. He keeps them locked up, tortures, rapes and murders them.

It’s messy, chaotic, graphic and at times borderline incoherent in keeping with many Asian zombie outings. That said, it does have its eerie creepy moments, it’s played serious and the zombies are well executed. However, you’d be excused if you skipped this mainly due to the distasteful secondary plot and went straight to Chien’s more rounded Zombie Fight Club.