Nights of Terror

This movie title could be misleading as it has apparently been released under a number of different titles including Zombi 3, Burial Ground, Nights of Terror, Zombi Horror, The Zombie Dead and its original Italian title Le Notti Del Terrore which seems closest to Nights of Terror.

burial-ground
The Poster
The imagery is pretty classic, shadowing figures menacing the viewer, a stark wasteland and a glowing red moon in the sky. We have the classic hand of the dead bursting through the ground and there staring us down is the face of horror. Bits of flesh still cling to its face, muscle and bone exposed in other places. It’s gleaming skull looking metallic, unbreakable and unstoppable.

Without a closer look it’s a great work of horror art but I wonder why all the figures are simply standing still. Not one of them is making a move to come at us. And for me the moon? is a little too much like the sun, or possibly a very juicy orange. Still, if I were looking for a horror flick to pick up in a 1980’s video store, this would probably get my attention. And after all, that’s what the art was made for, to stand out among the other firms on the shelves of whatever video rental shop you happened to be at.

The Good
The plot revolves around a family in a mansion where a scientist had been working. His research unwittingly unleashed the dead who promptly consumed him and then decided to dine on everyone else.

The villa the movie was shot in has the classic feel of a lot of horror films and games. I’m reminded of the mansion from Resident Evil.

The Bad
There are some seriously terrible transitions and shots in this movie.
Early in the movie the mother of the boy Michael pokes her head into his room to see if he’s ok. He’s covered entirely by blankets except for his head. The mother ducks back out of the room and the camera returns to Michael’s face. His eyes bulge open and suddenly the film cuts to the scantily clad ass of another character doing a sexy dance for her man.

I almost snorted my coffee through my nose when I saw this. The “kid” is actually a twenty-five year old who was cast in order for the film makers to avoid some of the rules regarding the use of children in scenes of violence and sexuality. Fair enough, but that hair cut is ridiculous.

He looks like the guy from the Starburst Berries and Cream ad.

Can hardly tell the difference. Amiright?

maxresdefault michael-from-burial-ground-1

 

 

 

There’s a seriously weird incestuous thing about this kid where he starts feeling up his mother and you have the feeling she’s half into it before finally pushing him away.

The Ugly
Some of the shots of zombies look well enough in certain shots. There are real maggots being used on the creature’s faces. But for the most part they don’t do much to terrify. They seem more like Halloween decorations than anything else.

It’s notable that there are plenty of shots of the dead walking around in broad daylight or in well-lit rooms. Where this helps us see them more clearly it also means we can see the makeup for what it is more clearly as well.

As with many of the Italian zombie flicks, these zombies are not simply dead things running around eating people. They reason, use weapons, even set traps to kill the people in the house.
The movie ends.

That’s it. Everyone gets eaten and the movie is over with no real understanding of why these things were up and about doing their thing and no real message or metaphor. The movie is literally just some mild sex and violence and not much else.

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Holdout

This is a fun little zombie flick I found while tooling around on YouTube. At 17 minutes you can easily watch and enjoy it even on your way to work.

The Good
It’s a lighthearted bit of fun made by some friends and looks like everyone had a good time making it. They were smart about shooting locations and the general look and feel of the movie are consistent and fun.

The Bad
It’s a student film meaning there are a lot of rough edges, not so great acting, cheeseball special effects and a lack of budget meaning details like the neighborhood falling into disrepair would be impossible to do at this level.

The Ugly
The zombies did a pretty good job though the makeup is a bit cheap looking.

All in all it’s probably better than we could have done when we were in school and I personally kind of liked it. So enjoy!

Plane Dead

Usually when I find a cheaply made zombie flick I really enjoy it. I think if I were a bit drunker or with a bunch of friends I would get a bit more out of this one. So that’s how I recommend watching it. Get REALLY drunk with some buddies.

Incidentally this is was also released as Flight of the Living Dead. Catchy title.

Plane Dead
The Poster:
Ok this is really the DVD cover but that’s about as good as it gets. As DVD covers of this magnitude go it’s about what I would expect. You’ve got most of the main characters, the plane and a catchy image of zombies doing their thing plus a quick catch phrase. What else do you want?

The Good: 
If you just want to have some crazy laughs with a cheap B movie, this might be the one for you. Its total lack of anything scary, save a few jump scares, and complete predictability leaves it open to whatever goofy fun you want to have with it.

The Bad: 
It’s FULL of bad movie clichés. The captain on his last flight, the secret in the cargo hold, the psycho on the plane with the police escort, the sports star, the storm that’s closing in, the well meaning but clearly misguided scientists. The list goes ON and ON.

I’ve been on a lot of flights and I’ve never seen one like the ones we see in this movie and others like it. There’s tons of room everywhere on the plane, it’s not particularly packed with people and there’s a nifty spiral staircase leading wherever that thing goes.  Somehow planes in movies become like flying office buildings. Lots of levels and twists and turns that I never seem to find on my flights. And this one has THE biggest bathroom I’ve ever seen on an airplane.

It’s quiet too. I mean i know it’s a movie and you can’t have the sound of the plane going the whole time but somehow my flights are always way way noisier than what I see here. Some of the scares depend on things sneaking up on people and occasionally on noises, bumps and bangs. I doubt anyone would ever really be able to hear those noises. So it came across as unrealistic to me.

Aside from that the list of unbelieveables includes all the bullets, explosions, electrical occurrences and the zombie horde rampaging through the plane without it crashing or having holes punched in its side. It’s a miracle it stayed in flight as long as it did.

And one other thing that sort of bugged me was near the end when the plane finally touches down; it blasts through rock as it crashes, as though the plane were some single, solid object that could smash things around it instead of being ripped to shreds.

The Ugly:
Watching this for the second time in order to write this wasn’t really fun. It just doesn’t have a lot of rewatchability. The further the movie goes on the more it seems like an action movie than a horror movie, then at a bunch of times it’s more like a comedy. Like when one character spears a zombie with an umbrella which then opens on the other side of its head. By the end I wished they had just gone full comedy.

I mean they already have a zombie Joker. He’s just goofy as all hell. He’s the zombie that just . . . keeps. . . going.

plane dead ridiculous

Gore-Met Zombie Chef From Hell

Oh wow have I got a bad one for you this week.

gore met zombie chef from hell
What do you do if you’ve sold your soul in exchange for immortality but need to dine on human flesh a hell of a lot? Open a quaint seafood restaurant of course! I’m sure this is meant to be a horror comedy but it’s so badly done I’m not sure the people making it really understood that at the time.

I haven’t seen this listed on hardly any of the “total lists of zombie movies” out there and with good reason. It’s hard to really call it a zombie movie. It’s yet another example of the undead killer kind of movie that is loosely considered a zombie flick. More like a cursed-to-walk-the-earth kind of thing.

The Good:
This is one of those movies where you can just turn off your brain, pound some cheap beer and laugh your ass off tearing it apart. From the bad dialogue to the shitty music and the ridiculous editing. There is virtually nothing good about this movie except the time you have watching it.

The Bad:
The main killer or “zombie” becomes undead when a group of holier-than-thou religious types decide that killing him would be wrong so they curse him to be the walking dead for the rest of eternity. With the catch that if he eats flesh he’ll be able to maintain his current looks. What a bunch of hypocrites! They can’t kill him but they’ll turn him into a monster with a massive motivation to kill others? That’s actually worse than just killing him! Thanks a lot assholes!

Fast forward 600 years and one amazingly bad straight-to-the-camera monologue and you’re into one of the worst “zombie” movies of all time. But like I said, the fact that it’s bad, is the best thing about it.

The Ugly:
(I should call this the hilarious.)

There’s so much wrong with the dialogue and the acting it’s impossible to get it all down here. But go look for yourself because there are TONS of ridiculous exchanges and gaffs. Like the young guy proposing to his girlfriend “Stella” and the ring not fitting her finger. When she goes missing . . . of course he busts out his best Streetcar Named Desire impression and starts screaming “STELLA!”

It’s amazing how bad the quick quips and exchanges can be too. Watch for this one: 
Girl
:  “You need a groupie? I need a purpose in life.”
Musician: “Fuck off asshole.”

What!? What’s even going on in this movie!?

two thumbs up

alright
As you may have noticed, every monday I post a movie review about a zombie flick. I’ve done a few of the big name movies and have a few more of them to go but I love hitting the old school or obscure movies many of us may have missed. (Check out my review of Shockwaves for an example.)

But here’s my question for you.

What zombie flicks do you give two thumbs up to?

Sound off in the comments.

The Making of Rec 2

Last week I shared a little making of video about how the movie [Rec] was made. It’s one of my favorite zombie flicks and it’s loads of fun to see how it was made. Unfortunately my Spanish isn’t great and I never found a copy of that in English. But I’m back at it this week with this quick video about the making of [Rec]2. (You can read my review by clicking here.)

SO even though my Spanish isn’t up to snuff, this is a short fun look behind the scenes of another great zombie flick.

Adobe Photoshop PDF

If the embed code doesn’t work, (they never do) just click here. 

brain eaters

brain eatersThough most of the movies in the series are pretty bad, Return of the Living Dead is a pretty influential zombie flick from the 80’s. It not only gave us talkers, and fast moving zombies like we had never seen before, it also gave us brain eaters.

As I mentioned in my post of flesh eaters, all zombies eat people and all zombies eat flesh. The zombies in Return of the Living Dead however were the first to specifically go after people for their brains. Keep an eye out though because they don’t just eat brains. They eat flesh just like all other zombies, though they will go after the brain as soon as possible. It was a real shock to hear these previously groany nasties suddenly start talking. And it was all the more horrifying that the one thing they kept saying was how much they want to eat us!

Why the brain should be eaten by zombies is a bit of a mystery though. During the movie one of the creatures says that it eases the pain of being dead, that she can feel herself rot. There is nothing biologically or chemically accurate about the consumption of brains easing pain and seems to be a psychological desire. In Romero’s Day of the Dead it’s pointed out that even though a zombies stomach and guts were removed it still tried to feed. So this need to feed whether on flesh or on brains seems to be purely in the creatures heads. (How appropriate.)

It does seem a bit odd though that the zombies would even be able to get at the brain. It’s harder than it seems though they seem to be really good at biting no matter the state of decay.