Tag Archives: Zombie

#169 – House at the End of the Street of the Dead, The

(1980, It, 86 min) Dir Sergio Patrino. Cast Sal Lion, John Morghen, Annie Belle, Pat Bellows.

A curious conflation of the post-Fulci zombie film and the post-Last House on the Left revenge fest. Carl and Manny (Lion and Morghen) are a pair of New York street punks out for thrills who decide to indulge in their favourite pastime – breaking into people’s houses so that they can rape and torture its occupants. The first house they happen upon is Annie Belle’s swish, modern digs and they have their gruesome fun there. The next house – as they have apparently not sated their bloodlusts – is further down the street and, as they find out, is populated with the recently revived dead. Meanwhile victim house #1 are on the blower to the fuzz and within no time our punks are the filling in a sadist sandwich between a slice of the law and a slice of the undead. It’s a cheap flick to be sure and not as hardcore as it makes out it is which will be a relief to some and will dismay others. On the plus side it betrays an invention that is pure Patrino, who couldn’t stop himself even when he was onto the nastier type of no-budget schlock.

www.imaginaryfilmguide.com

Twitter: @MadeUpFilms

#104 – Night of One Thousand Bastards, The

(2011, HK, 100 min) Dir Jackie Woo. Cast Nicolas Cage, Regina Ho, Mo Yun-Fang.

I know he’s had a long and a varied career but still, it’s hard to reconcile the disreputable Jackie Woo of old with the disreputable Jackie Woo who is now deemed worthy of invitation to Cannes but I guess that says a lot about the post-Grindhouse world we live in. His inaugural fest film was Bloody Dolls, an uncharacteristic convent-set revenge flick that spent the guts of it’s runtime following the actresses gazing wistfully out over the mist-shrouded countryside and not, you know, disembowelling someone. He was back to his old form with this, his third film of 2011, and not only that but he snagged Nicolas Cage too! Okay, late-period low-budget in-hock-to-the-tax man Cage but still, it’s something. So Cage is a US government hitman in mainland China, there to kill a party functionary (Yun-Fang, looking tired) holidaying in some backwater town when the titular bastards arrive – a horde of freshly dead zombies hungry for blood. The tables now turned, Cage and Yun-Fang must team up to survive. The luminous Regina Ho plays Yun-Fang’s daughter and Cage’s inappropriately young love interest who spends the whole film under a table screaming. Don’t let the chorus of boos that trailed the film from Cannes fool you – this is a fun bit of trash that doesn’t attain Woo’s manic heights of the past but will keep you going the four months until he makes another.

www.imaginaryfilmguide.com

Twitter: @MadeUpFilms

#86 – Ed, Fred and Life Among the Undead

(2008, US, 98 min) Dir Jay White. Cast Justin Long, Tyler Labine.

A product of the post-Shaun of the Dead zombie comedy boom that brought us the likes of Zombieland and Life After Beth. Ed and Fred are a pair of housemates in Everywhereville, USA. Their lives were going nowhere prior to the zombie apocalypse and now that it’s happened, it looks like their chances of escaping this cycle are gone for good. So far, so Shaun. The difference here is that, like Dawn of the Dead and their zombies flocking to the mall, these zombies also retain some of their prior brain functions. But what does this mean for Ed and Fred? It means that the zombified relatives of both their families, as the film progresses, accumulate around their house since, presumably, they are the last surviving members of both. So Ed and Fred become progressively more and more unhinged, a situation probably not helped by the massive stash of ‘Tibetan Grass’ that they have managed to rescue from the collapse of society. At some point they’re going to have to kick the weed and do something about their situation… It’s a cheap movie but more because of the story it’s telling – which is essentially a one set play – than because they’ve constrained themselves and the invention on display in how it’s shot more than makes up for those constraints. The title also belies the fact that the film is more emotional than you would presume, dealing as it does with growing up, leaving cycles of dependency and saying goodbye to people you love though still, it has to be said, getting in enough adolescent stoner humour and dick jokes to sweeten the pill.

www.imaginaryfilmguide.com

Twitter: @MadeUpFilms

#42 – Sex Lives of the Living Dead, The

(1973, Fr, 84 min) Dir Jesus Franco. Cast Montserrat Prous, Anne Libert, Francisco Acosta, Howard Vernon.

AKA Passion of the Zombies AKA Lust of the Dead AKA Erotiknomicon AKA one of about a million films that the legendarily prolific Jess Franco is credited with the same year. Jack and his pals have travelled to an off-season resort for some manly times together fishing, getting drunk and shooting passing snakes to bits whilst laughing at nothing much. Thankfully night falls and from the woods around them comes the sound of eerie song followed by a trio of beautiful half-naked women. That’s right – to the relief of some and the consternation of sickos the living dead of the title aren’t as decomposey as might have been feared. No, they’re just spooky forest dwelling nudists and of course Jack and his pals don’t seem to think that there’s anything weird about this either, they just take it in their stride that buck-naked ladies are in the habit of such behaviour. Local man Danny (Vernon) turns up though and he finds the whole set-up a touch out of the ordinary. On top of that thinks that he might have seen these ladies before… Yes it’s slow and yes it’s riddled with all kinds of inconsistencies of tone and behavior but hey, it was probably shot in a weekend. On the plus side is Bruno Nicolai’s soundtrack and some choice badly dubbed awful dialogue such as “Hey asshole, is that a lake?” and “You don’t mean that I just had sex with -gulp- a zombie?” With films like this it’s best to just sit back and enjoy the ham.

www.imaginaryfilmguide.com

Twitter: @MadeUpFilms

#24 – Extase de l’obscurité (Dark Ecstasy)

(1975, Fr, 85 mins) Dir Jean Rollin. Cast Christina von Blanc, Maria Rohm, Joëlle Coeur, Britt Nichols, Alice Arno.

Lesbian vampire nuns. If the preceding sentence has left you cold then there’s not much here for you as Dark Ecstasy hasn’t much to offer beyond the allure of those three words. Young novice Caterina (von Blanc) has been sent to the mountaintop convent of Marie-des-Monts by the shifty Sister Elizabeth who lived there herself years ago and now rocks back and forth while cackling incessantly. It seems that Caterina’s purity is just right for the perverted denizens of Marie-des-Monts, as led by the icy and statuesque Maria Rohm, to exploit. And exploit it they do, for the full of the film’s running time, with Caterina of course proving victorious in the end, burning the convent down and sacrificing herself in the process. Slow but fun for fans of lesbians, vampires and nuns. Originally the film ran for a trim 72 minutes but the relaxing of certification laws in later years saw Rollin return (possibly under duress, depending on whose version of events you believe) to insert a lengthy dream sequence that included hardcore sex scenes and, because they were popular at the time, zombies. This hardcore zombie version was released under the imagination-free title Nonnes lesbiennes de Vampire in 1981.

www.imaginaryfilmguide.com

Twitter: @MadeUpFilms

#6 – Vendetta di zombie (Revenge of the Living Dead)

(1980, It, 86 min) Dir Paolo Andreotti. Cast Tisa Farrow, Fabrizio Jovine, Olga Karlatos, Michele Soavi.

Poor Tisa Farrow – she’s just back from tussling with the gross undead of the Caribbean in Zombie Flesh Eaters (and yes, the film suggests that she plays the same character here even though it makes no sense) and now, on holiday in “the Greek island”, the surprisingly perky corpses of the local fishermen are walking in with the evening tide, their flesh pale and bloated and gross. Somehow Andreotti manages to surpass the nastiness of the Fulci flick he’s imitating here, perhaps absorbing the Greek island vibe of Nico Mastorakis’ Island of Death with multiple disembowelments and, in one legendary scene, the pulling off of an unfortunate Olga Karlatos’ face. The ending is even more nihilistic too – following an unsuccessful last stand on the island’s hilltop chapel the whole of our resourceful gang are horribly slaughtered and eaten. The final moments of the film capture the setting sun as it silhouettes the shambling dead, who roam the island in wait of further unwary guests. Released in the UK and US as Revenge of the Living Dead it is thankfully unrelated to the 1970 stinker that shares that name. A belated sequel is also available should the first not suffice – 1986’s Vendetta di Zombie 2.

www.imaginaryfilmguide.com

Twitter: @MadeUpFilms

#5 – Revenge of the Living Dead

(1970, US, 71 min, b/w) Dir Jon Salman. Cast Jane Dickens, Peter Grayson, Roberto DeMeo, Dominique Harrison.

You might think that a concept such as revenge would be beyond the abilities of the average brain dead zombie and you’d be right, vengeance is indeed absent from this hastily assembled love letter to/rip off of Romero’s original. The title seems merely to have been chosen because the film is presented as a sequel so I suppose we should be glad they didn’t call it Son of the Living Dead… The problems extend beyond the title too – the plot is a virtual retread of Night albeit with a mere one zombie barricading the cast in the farmhouse and a bizarre squeamishness that relegates the all-important gore off-screen. Not only that, but the protagonists actually engage their zombie in conversation towards the end! Lest my description tempt you I should warn you that there is no camp or ironic value to be had from the film either – its badness is too dull and sluggish for even that. Thankfully hard to find, it should be avoided should the opportunity present itself. Consider yourself warned!

www.imaginaryfilmguide.com

Twitter: @MadeUpFilms