I didn’t think I’d hit SEVEN films today, but a couple of them clocked in at the 90 minute run time; I didn’t hit a single film that hit two hours, so that helped. I still managed to get some things done here, including a couple hours of breaks for kitchen and dog walking. I even managed to get a bit of the house rearranged (partly while looking for a box of DVDs, but that’s neither here not there.) I didn’t even GET to the DVDs today. Maybe this week is going to continue with zombie movies; I still have CEMETERY MAN and DAWN OF THE DEAD on DVD, and I’d intended to include them today, but there’s only so much time.
CRONOS (Netflix) – An alchemist creates a ‘device’ that brings a sort of immortality on the man who possesses it. Not imbuing an immunity to building collapse, the device changes hands. When will people learn not to play with antique artifacts? It doesn’t matter ir they look nice, appear to be a puzzle box, or wind up – they will be the end of you. Antiques dealer Jesus develops a taste for blood after he toys with the clockwork insect he finds. Torture, death and resurrection, this Guillermo del Toro film is a nice start to Easter Zomb-a-thon; much higher quality of film than I was expecting to watch today. There’s even a late-night scene by the light of the refrigerator with a shot of a raw plate of meat; this isn’t where he understands what he’s hungering for – that comes later.
DIARY OF THE DEAD (Netflix) – How better to save money when filming your own low budget horror film than to run across a very real zombie apocalypse? Save money all over the place on, though now you’re making a documentary. So, there’s a bit of meta discussion about the rules of horror films to start off with. There are some funny scenes here, but mostly the film is empty. The Sarah Conner style monologue delivered by Debra seems tacked on as an afterthought that doesn’t really add to the film – BLADERUNNER style.
I thought I recognized the actress playing Debra (Michelle Morgan), but I think it’s just that she looks a bit like Eliza Dushku with her hair like that, only maybe with better acting skills.
There are, of course, a handful of funny deaths here. The bit with the clown was a nice touch. The final act is interesting in how it parallels the opening scenes on the film set. Maybe not the best zombie film I’ve seen, but it’s alright. Uncredited (but in the Special Thanks credits) are Wes Craven, Guillermo Del Toro, Stephen King, Simon Pegg, Tom Savini, and Quentin Tarantino, all who did have their voices or images in the film.
THE RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD (Netflix) – Playing both sides of the John Russo / George A. Romero zombie canon, I needed to re-watch the super-kitschy first film in the LIVING DEAD series. I love that this film directly refers to NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD by name in the first five minutes as the medical warehouse guy is screwing with the newbie’s head.
“These things don’t leak, do they?”
“Leak? Hell no! These were made by the US Army Corps of Engineers!”
The group of punks is funny on so many fronts – not least of all is how they’re presented as having no genitalia during Trash’s grave-top dance routine in Resurrection Cemetery.
It’s a horrible film, but it is amusing to see how much of a different direction Russo went in than Romero.
HIDE AND CREEP (Netflix) – Opens with one side of a phone conversation / monologue by a video store trying to help a customer find a good American zombie film. “EVIL DEAD’s not a zombie movie. No, it’s not. It’s Candarian Demons that possess the living…” This is a seriously low budget feature from Alabama, and they appear to have had barely enough money to get any makeup at all. I think one of the zombies may have had his eyes blacked out with a felt-tipped pen. The script is good, and the acting is okay; much better than RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD in many ways.
They poke a bit of fun at culture in the American South; a father reminds his daughter about head shots before borrowing her night-vision goggles, and many people take a matter-of-fact approach to the zombie problem; “Sure, there’s zombies out there, but The Game is supposed to be on…” There’s a couple references to the county this takes place in as being a dry county – I’m a bit surprised that there’s such a distinction anymore, but there’s a whole lot of them in Alabama.
“Apparently the parking lot is currently clear of zombies. If anyone would like to make a run for your vehicles, one of our associates would be happy to escort you. Please, though, no tipping, for assisting you is our pleasure.”
DOGHOUSE (Netflix) – I’m on a roll today – this time it’s a guy in a comic shop yelling at a kid “How many times do I have to tell you? THEY ARE NOT ZOMBIES!” over an EVIL DEAD comic … I mean GRAPHIC NOVEL.
Six guys head out for a weekend of drunkenness, against the explicit wishes of their significant otheres. They’re headed to a village in the middle of nowhere to help convince one of them that all women are NOT out to get him in light of a particularly bad divorce. Instead of a nice, relaxing local pub to get pissed in, they find a town full of very aggressive women who have a very different idea of a good time. These are tool-using slow zombies, with many using the tools of their trade; hairdresser with scissors, lollipop lady with sign, dentist with drill, bride with a huge axe. That’s during Phase One, at least – things get more interesting in the third act.
There are a couple spots where it feels a bit like SHAUN OF THE DEAD, like in the back garden, flinging things at the approaching zombies, but I think that’s more due to the English cast and crew than any obvious intent. There’s humor here, but it’s not a parody or tribute to the genre; it’s an actual zombie film. I wonder how it does on the Bechdel Movie Test – most of the women in the film that do meet each other aren’t speaking any language, per se, though they do seem to be communicating with each other.
ZOMBIE DIARIES (Netflix) – Another English zombie film, this one is another of those films that go with a documentary style filming of zombie invasion. This is a film composed of three independent stories taking place around the zombie infection. The news crew in the first piece start by calmly interviewing people about the virus and whether or not the government is doing enough to help. They head out of London to interview a farmer on how the government is helping him out with the virus. After they’re out of town, they learn that London has been quarantined… the film eventually brings in two other main groups with cameras, and they all end up interconnecting.
I’m not a fan of the camera man running through the woods in the dead of night with only the on-camera light. It’s a bit BLAIR WITCH for my tastes, and they do it at least a couple times.
FLIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (Netflix) – “The Government” is shipping a super secret scary box of zombie in a commercial jet. The escort for the shipment is in a HAZMAT suit in the cargo hold… but basically anyone else on the plane is unprotected if anything were to happen. Also, how is it that “The Government” can work all these amazing Scientific Miracles but can’t manage to create a decent shipping container? Pro tip: styrofoam and rubber seals. When you’re writing a script of producing a film that takes place on an airplane, try talking to a pilot or an attendant. I’m a bit surprised that the flight deck doesn’t have the pilot holding a steering wheel. Some of the set dressing is just insane. There’s a regular two-position coffee hot-plate in the galley that would be more at home in a diner; you’d never see the glass globe coffee pots on an airplane, so why would you have a warmer for them?.
I don’t think anyone involved in the script or much of the set dressing has been on or even near an airplane.
Based on conversations in the film, this seems to be a flight departing from LA en route to Paris. For some reason, a center in the Yukon is trying to contact them? I can’t see any reason that they’d be in airspace that the Yukon would be talking to them; they wouldn’t even likely have staff levels to deal with this when any larger center in Canada nearer to the likely flight path between these two cities. Why would they be flying northwest? Somehow, the plane ends its trip just outside Las Vegas, so that’s all a bit confusing. Did these film makers not have access to google or maybe a pilot at some point? The film obviously had budget, did they blow it all on the opening credits and the rendered plane in the storm, and couldn’t spend anything on consultants? There seem to be a LOT of HUGE crawl spaces on this plane, as well as bottles of compressed propane, large cans of aerosol hairspray, and a surprising amount of ammunition.
Okay, I’ve heard of birdstrike – zombiestrike is a new one.
I enjoyed this film well enough, but they tried so hard on so much of it, and then just ignored the little things.