Posts Tagged ‘Zombies’

Image result for Ibiza Undead impawardsIn a world where zombies are rumoured and known, a group of youngest head to uninfected Ibiza for the holiday of a lifetime – only it’s not as zombie free as they thought.

A low budget comedy yarn, with sex, partying and zombies. It’s not in the league of productions values as The Rezort or the likes of Cockney Vs Zombies. Writer/director Andy Edwards offers a watchable rough round the edges undead romp.

Some of the lines are funny but without Ed Kear as wise cracking Big Jim this would have completely fallen flat. Dealer Karl played by Richard Brake, Rhys Ifans-like Matt King is notable and plays a good psycho, but he’s too good compared to the rest of the cast and feels out of place. Also UK’s Alex Zane cameos as a Club Host in amongst the rubbery makeup and fake blooded zombie extras.

It’s not Shaun of the Dead, as a gauge picture a low budget The Inbetweeners Movie (2011) mixed with Kevin & Perry Go Large (2000) versus zombies. With limited production values and a sod’s law twist at the end it has its limitations but to Edwards credit, you can’t fault his effort as he works with what he has and makes the most of the sun, sea and location.

Teens who want to see some bikinis and a pair of boobs should enjoy but everyone else, well…

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.

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Abigail arrives at the Mexico coastline and Strand leads the group through a town to Thomas’s gated estate.

Director Kate Dennis delivers an important sixth episode of the second series. While writer Brian Buckner retreads George A. Romero’s ideas and the second season of The Walking Dead with the living keeping the dead, here in a wine cellar, it breaks ground in terms of what means to die, love and loss.

The opening where parishioners take their communion and die one by one this sets up the group’s action driven standoff later after an ill fated run-in with a Mexican flotilla which is guarding the border. Talking suicide notably is the emotional set up of Strand (Colman Domingo) shooting lover Thomas (Dougray Scott) in the head. But interesting there is a bit of misdirection with them at one point contemplating committing suicide with the help of Celia, Luis’s mother. Both Scott and Domingo really give outstanding performances here.

In addition, you have the topic of living being more dangerous than the dead; Chris contemplates killing Madison and Alicia after letting Madison almost get eaten just out of interest and Celia’s divisive view on death and the dead saying the infected are simply “what comes next.” Dennis and Buckner also give an insight into Nick’s tired state of mind, as well as Kim Dickens’ Madison Clark and Cliff Curtis’ Travis Manawa relationship strains.

Overall, “Sicut Cervus” is one of the standout episodes, not only does it develop the characters, including a flashback of Daniel (Rubén Blades) in the Salvadorian Junta, holistically it gets under the skin of the undead themes as well as offering a rounded story of both drama and action.

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

A group of uninfected band together to escape the mutants to get to a coastal road.

After a wacky action packed opening, director Rene Perez delivers a low budget infection affair. Perez’s heavy score is excellent when reminiscent of Euro splatter flicks and it harks back to Italian horror’s when a woman’s shirt (Raven Lexy) is ripped open exposing her breast. Writers Barry Massoni and Perez offer some interesting moments, mainly those involving a deaf character Stephanie, played notably by Iren Levy. Lead Robert Tweten with a practical and cool costume also deserves a mention.

Akin to Zombie Massacre’s dead make up, the mutants also growl. Nevertheless, plenty of effort has gone into the production which is traditionally shot, its not another PoV or found footage movie. It’s a zombie mash up, while not as well executed as Wyrmwood or as stylised as Bomshell Bloodbath, thankfully it’s not as sleazy as Zombie 108 or Zombie Fight Club. Sadly, Perez links it to his 2011 predecessor Cowboys and Zombies a.k.a The Dead and the Damned in the latter half, jarringly taking the edge off this with some unnecessary flashbacks.

At times in the spirit of B exploitation flicks its better than anything made for the Syfy channel, zombie completest may get a kick out of this low budget offering.

  The dead have come back to life and a group of survivors take shelter in a city apartment building.

I must admit was was really looking forward to the retelling of a classic, Night of the Living Dead: Darkest Dawn, (formally Night of the Living Dead: Origins) especially given the horror talent involved. Directed by Krisztian Majdik, Zebediah De Soto their animated CGI effort echoes the likes of the Resident Evil Damnation and Resident Evil: Degeneration.

What it lacks with the video game like presentation it makes up for with its great voice characterisations. There’s the talent and animated likeness of horror favourites Tony Todd, Bill Moseley (both reprising their characters from the 1990 remake), Danielle Harris (Halloween IV & V), Joseph Pilato (Day of the Dead) and character actor Tom Sizemore (Saving Private Ryan).

Following the 1968’s narrative there’s a few interesting story tweaks that are welcomed on the refreshing contemporary city set backdrop. With countless rip offs and cash-ins already made, fans who like original may be pleased, as this is arguably one of the better adaptations since Savini’s 1990 remake.

While the visual graphic aesthetics aren’t too hot, frankly a little disappointing (and another remake is unnecessary) the voice work and story changes make it worth a viewing.

  After a group of teenagers unlock a centuries-old curse on Halloween a town becomes overrun by the demons of hell from zombies to witches.

Made in 1985 when TV movies still looked filmatic, TV specials were still special and had good production values, The Midnight Hour certainly to an outside America viewer is an obscure ABC Halloween treat. Directed by Jack Bender there’s some great make up monster effects and it’s far from a mediocre made-for-TV horror comedy. With homages to The Wolfman, Dracula and the more recent Night of the Living Dead and Thriller there’s plenty of cobwebs, graves and gate crashed suburban Halloween parties to hold attention.

As with the risen from the dead 50s cheerleader Sandy (Jonna Lee) highlighting the differences of 1985, that’s The Midnight Hour biggest hook as now plays a great piece of 80s nostalgia. There’s also a subplot love story town in amongst the TV horror shenanigans. With almost every horror track from Blue Moon to The Smith’s How Soon is Now there’s also (The Terminator) Brad Fiedel’s ambitious fitting score.

The cast are above average and include the stunning Shari Lynn Belafonte, LeVar Burton, Jonna Lee, Dedee Pfeiffer as Mary Masterson, Kurtwood Smith cameos and Macaulay Culkin makes a brief debut.

Not too scary for junior children, werewolf, vampires, zombies, ghouls, and goblins add up to on screen creepy campy fun, you can’t go wrong.

Anger of the Dead
In a world ravaged by a virus that turns people into cannibals, survivors endeavour to reach an island, however, it’s not just the zombies that are a threat

Right from the opening where a little girl gets eaten you know it’s not going to be a fluffy DTV addition to the genre. Writer/Director Francesco Picone’s offering looks bigger than it is with real locations, lots of gore and a steady pace. Zombie completists au fait with Eaters (2011), Apocalypse Z (2013) aka “Zombie Massacre” and Zombie Massacre 2: Reich of the Dead (2015) will be familiar with the makeup style and saturated look that the talented (and friendly) Luca Boni and Marco Ristori have delivered in the past. Here they hang up their directing hats and don producer roles (along with Uwe Boll who incidentally has very little involvement, House of the Dead – this is not).

Picone takes up the reins and delivers similar aesthetics to Boni and Ristori. Jokes aside I tip my hat to Boll and company who appear to be single handily reviving the Italian zombie scene with another sub-genre addition. However, Picone’s film is more refined, it’s void of comedy, the make up is more realistic and the script along with the acting are better.

The blood, bite wounds, severed limbs are effective. After the strong opening it then jumps four months after the outbreak with a road trip storyline that includes a pregnant woman Alice played memorably by Roberta Sparta. It has emotion and some tension between her and Peter as they are chased down by the sound attracted fast moving infected. The characters have to make hard choices along the way. Both Désirée Giorgetti as the Prisoner and Aaron Stielstra as Rooker are notable, their story thread is hard hitting at times with a nasty female abuse subplot reminiscent of Joe Chien’s Zombie 108’s (2012). However, when the story follows Alice and Peter and the zombies are in the forefront it works much better.

The acting, make up effects and camera work is solid enough, and even though all the players appear to be named after characters or actors synonymous with the zombie genre it’s not a Syfy channel production. Also refreshing its not set in the USA, the locations are quite interesting and to Picone’s credit it benefits from a nihilistic down beat ending.

Anger of the Dead (A.K.A Age of the Dead) is worth viewing especially if you liked the aforementioned films, that said Picone’s offering is appreciatively far more serious and debatably superior due to it’s darker tone.

 

 A Midwest father ensures he spends time with his a teenage girl who has contracted a disease which will eventually turn her into a zombie. 

Arnie disposes of a zombie within the first ten minutes then another two before the half hour mark. But this isn’t the frantic pace of many of the contemporary outbreak flicks, it’s pace is the opposite. Here Arnold Schwarzenegger doesn’t play Arnold the action hero, he plays a 6 foot odd dad whose daughter has weeks to live and with his neighbours expiring around him the locals want his daughter quarantined. To Schwarzenegger credit it’s a refreshing change of pace and even though he’s done the dishevelled look before, here he gives one of his most deep performances. 

The Midwest looks ominous thanks to cinematography from Lukas Ettlin. It’s a slow pace character driven piece wonderfully filmed by director Henry Hobson with a muted pallet accompanied by an effective eerie score from David Wingo . As the decay takes hold there’s some effective Icky makeup effects including, cloudy eyes, sores, a severed finger and garbage sink disposal scene. 

While John Scott III screenplay doesn’t offer the sub genre any great shakes it’s well written and subtle. Grim, touching in places with some creepy dream like images, notably a little dead girl that will give chills, don’t expect Romero or WWZ for a big budget film it captures an elegant indiefilm feel reminiscent of The Battery or Autumn. With a subtext of death, terminal illness, suicide and euthanasia, from the simple things to a kiss on a forehead to flowers in a garden, it’s like watching a film about the Titanic with the inevitable lurking in the shadows.

Worth viewing if a change of momentum floats your boat.

  *** This review may contain weapon wielding spoilers ***

Visitors to a mansion are attacked by the disturbed dead and undead monks of the area.

Here we have Burial Ground, Le Notti del terrore, also known as Nights of Terror and The Zombie Dead. Take the sleaziness of The Blind Dead series, put in the trappings of Fulci’s dubbed Zombi 2 and add the set up of the Night of the Living Dead and you’re pretty close to your expectations of Burial Ground.

To this shameless perverse horror’s credit it has atmosphere and a nihilistic ending. Set in and around the grounds of a European mansion it’s surreal day and nights on location shoot gives it some weight as a group of visitors get killed off one by one. Directed by the elusive Andrea Bianchi who has a long list of films to his name and aliases, the gore and makeup are effective for the most part and what you’d expect from an 80’s Italian splatter film. The film heats up when the zombie’s start tearing, eating flesh, boob biting and ingeniously using a range of weapons including disc cutters and axes as they lay siege on a rural dwellings.

Gino De Rossi provides the special effects on a debatable less budget than Lucio Fulci’s Zombi, there’s a few similar moments to Fulci’s classic including a woman face being pulled close to a shards of glass, worms and maggots falling from the rising dead. The zombies are Romero slow but are reminiscent of the wielding weapon dead in Amando de  Ossorio’s The Blind Dead.

The score is a little intrusive at times synonymous with the Italian films, there’s gratuitous groping, kissing and overblown crying and hysterics at times. The infamous uncomfortable incest segment between actress Mariangela Giordano and Peter Bark, where the son makes advances to his mother is unnecessarily thrown in for bad taste sake. Possibly simply to out do Romero’s classic basement setup where the daughter kills the mother. There’s a notable decapitation scene of a maid where her hand is nailed to a window and her head loped off by a scythe. Actress Antonella Antinori is memorable along with Raimondo Barbieri who gets limited screen time as the Professor.

As far as zombie films go this takes its self seriously with plenty of eerie bloody moments and while not as good as the aforementioned films of the same genre it’s still a video nasty worth checking out.

After a zombie virus takes hold a group of people try to find a cure and stay alive.

Bombshell Bloodbath is the perfect quintessential homage to the late 70s and early 80s countless churned out VHS horrors and banned video nasties. Brett Mullen and writer Sky Tilley cleverly offer a mash-up of horror ideas borrowing from the best of the worst and best of the best including Dawn of the Dead, The Beyond, The Evil Dead to name a few. 

Bombshell Bloodbath is purposely all over the place with its tone harking back to the good old days of horror and grind house cinema. Moody voice overs, dramatic mad scientist, experiments with rats, tape recordings, seedy strip clubs, cabins in the wood and zombies tearing flesh and more. 

The flesh eaters mostly bookend the film with the actors emulating the days of Neon Maniacs, Nightmare City and the countless horror performances alike. Samantha Mills it great as the mysterious blonde bombshell, Cara is wonderfully played by Alex Elliott in amongst the great practical effects and archetype camera angles of Italian exploitation films, like the Barbarians, Rats and Hell of the Living Dead. The music is the icing on the cake for nostalgia hounds and new fans of the old sub-genre horror with composer Matt Hill channelling the likes of Fabio Frizzi and Goblin. 

Bombshell Bloodbath does what House of the Devil recreated for old school horrors, this revisits the atmosphere and execution of horror exploitation films.

If there ever was an indie love letter written to Fulci, Romero, Argento and Lenzi, it would look something like this.