Posts Tagged ‘Zombies’

  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.

Zombie-Fight-Club-PosterA building riddled with a menagerie of working girls, criminals and loners find the corridors of their apartment block infested with zombies.

Oh my have things have progressed since Junk Shiryōgari (2000) and Versus (2000) (certainly in the effects department), Zombie Fight Club (2014) is better than the influx of recent DTV walking dead movies globally produced, in contrast to most Asian dead movies its light on humour, tonally it’s reminiscent of The Horde (2009), Rammbock/Berlin Dead (2010) mixed with Joe Chien’s own twisted incoherent Zombie 108 (2012).

Chien’s zombie offering is packed with action, actually wall to wall bloodshed, excellent make-up effects and an abundance of practical and CGI blood which puts some American modest budget zombie films to shame. It’s colour palette is dark, accompanied by a pumping soundtrack, it’s undeniably fast paced. Oddly it inexplicably interchanges between English and Mandarin and it’s a film of unorthodox two halves with no third act.

When it does slowdown it has a fistful of creepy moments but these are few and far between as buxom beauty Jenny played by Jessica Cambensy witnesses her boyfriend, his crew of rappers and strippers come toe to toe with growing army of zombies. After a flash forward a year after the outbreak Jenny has gone all zombie killer sporting a new hair cut and an even tighter costume (yes there’s the shameless objectification of women but no more than The Resident Evil franchise tries to gloss over).

What it lacks in plot it makes up for with its kick-ass female and male characters, soldiers and loads of zombie kills, impalement, bullets and action setups. Yes the characters are at times cartoonish and its gratuitous but it’s a solid addition to the Asian live action zombie market, if you’re in to it.

Two great pieces of news.

The Dead Pulse Special Edition Kindle cover.

The Dead Pulse Special Edition Kindle cover.

If you’re a zombie/Dead Pulse fan (and since the novel’s 1st edition has gone out of print) the undead return to life in special Kindle edition of Dead Pulse with a Night of the Living Dead inspired cover. You can relive the blood curdling adventure again.

The Final Version has had a makeover and now the cover also shows more of the original artist excellent painting.

2015/01/img_0894.jpg

The Final Version novel promo

Get you hands on The Final Version or Dead Pulse today.

1119f-deadpulsejulilandkarliemontanaDead Pulse ranked in the top 40 horror eBook chart and went out of print Halloween just past. Those who have been keeping tabs my zombie novel I thank you, especially those who have read it.

With the publishing industry in its roller-coaster evolving state it makes sense for me not to go with a publishing house for the second edition of Dead Pulse. Jumping through the book markets/convention hoops has lost its fun and appeal. Also given the offers so far it would mean the novel’s 2nd edition would not be published until (at the earliest) February 2016. Going independent possibly means a Spring- Summer 2015 release and having the control and perks I have with The Final Version. It avoids the publishing house pitfalls and issues that I’ve encounter with a smaller independent publishers.

Dead Pulse is having a minor re-edit (with the help of a top individual) correcting some issues sadly missed with the 1st edition (it happens to the best) and adding some beats so that the entire book meshes seamlessly. You see, when the first publishing option ended, I realised that I am not the same writer I was ten years ago when I first sat down at my word processor and put my faith in other editors and indie horror publishers for Dead Pulse. After Blood Hunger, The Final Version and my film work I am now a more seasoned author. I’m looking forward to offering Dead Pulse reinvigorated and refined.

In addition, I hope to add new original cover artwork which I’m currently on the hunt for (artists get in touch you may have something great and suitable in a draw). The result hopefully will be a different reading experience.

Dead Pulse will be initially sold at first as an early bird numbered, personalised and signed copy via myself direct. Only 500 copies are being printed at first and each book will be hand numbered in sequential order, personalised with a message of your choice and signed. Once the books are sold out, that is it. If you would like purchase a copy keep following on twitter @amesmonde or follow the blog as I’ll be posting details on how to reserve a copy next year.

That’s all folks

A. M.

The Battery

Posted: September 21, 2014 in FILM REVIEWS/COMMENTS
Tags: , ,

IMG_0701.JPGTwo friends keep on the move through remote locations to avoid zombie hordes.

Director, writer and actor Jeremy Gardner delivers a break out zombie film that isn’t heavily reliant on zombie action set ups but captures character and atmosphere.

Where as many low budget zombie films have poor execution or find it hard to meet expectations, trying to be bigger than they are or come across pretentious The Battery knows it’s limits and is self aware. It’s a finely constructed, mesmerising, humanistic zombie road trip.

You care about the characters and follow them on their journey, it’s not dialogue driven but what there is, is humorous, heartfelt and rings true.

Overall, does what it says on the tin delivering a snap shot of two everyday guys surviving during a zombie apocalypse.

With the release of Day of the Dead Blu-ray (Collector’s Edition) (1985) from Shout! (Scream) Factory. I thought I’d revisit Romero’s zombie Classic (film review below), I loved the Arrow Blu-ray edition, some may like Shout! Factory ‘s new colour, you can find a comparison here and there’s a new documentary ‘World’s End: The Legacy of Day of the Dead’.

That’s said it’s personal preferences I have no idea at all which is more accurate to what Romero indented as both we remastered from an original and the Arrow Ed. was also loaded with extras and Docs.

Here’s the walking dead bad news for many – this new Collector’s Edition is region A locked, so if you have a European player that isn’t multi-region you’re dead out of luck.

P.S more bad news – if you’re interested in the 2014 Day of the Dead Remake and whether or not Lori Cardille will appear, I caught up with Lori and sadly she advised me that no one has got in touch yet not even for a cameo. (There’s still a chance though, I hope.)

Set a reminder! Put a note in your diary of the dead!

The zombie good news is that Dead Pulse is totally free only kindle worldwide this Halloween season (31st Oct-3rd Nov) More info on Dead Pulse below.

DAY OF THE DEAD (1985)

A small group of military officers and scientists reach breaking point in the confines of a bunker as the world above is overrun by zombies.

The first two scenes set precedence that the rest of the film can’t equal. The jumpy dream sequence is followed by and eerie deserted city during the day that soon comes to ‘life’ with the walking dead. The city scene creates tension, the howling wind and echoing voices.

Lori Cardille acting is excellent as Sarah, as too is Terry Alexander, as realist pilot, John. Jarlath Conroy is the alcoholic radioman William McDermott, however, after this strong introduction and the movie looses it lustre and wider audience as it goes into the underground bunker.

From here on in, we’re treated with a great performance from Sherman Howard as the ‘thinking’ zombie Bub and a fantastic monologue from Alexander, this is where the film finds it feet. There are fantastic special effects by Tom Savini, who fine-tunes what he did in Dawn’ and adds some more gore into the mix. Over the years the score by John Harrison has really grown on me and given the film a memorable lost hope feel.

There are other fine moments in Romero’s script, Miguel Salazar’s break down, Sarah’s struggle and some memorable on liners mostly from Richard Liberty’s Logan and Joseph Pilato’s Rhodes. However, what lets this film down slightly is some uneven acting. That said, John Amplas underrated and overlooked subtle performance as Dr.Fisher is a hidden gem and Johns monologue at the ‘Ritz’ is Oscar worthy.

Day of the dead is a tight zombie film, and debatably a classic but even if you disagree it’s worthy enough to enjoy time and time again.

When being dead no longer means the end…

So with a staple on George A. Romero’s dead mythos while paying homage to his ‘rules’ I wrote my second novel Dead Pulse which gives an insight into the zombies pecking order, their thought process and how they actually function. Dead Pulse also explores what it truly means to survive a zombie apocalypse through the harsh seasons on the land, sea and air over an intense 12 months. Of course there’s all the zombie action you’d expect from the genre and more.

  Death does not discriminate…

Dead Pulse is out now from a variety of online books stores, including Amazon US and Amazon UK you can also order it from your local store. Remember the e-book free this Halloween. Also if you get your undead hands on the paperback edition the Kindle comes free too.

Check out Dead Pulse’s “calm before the storm” trailer: