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Netflix Review: The Dead Undead Vampires vs. Zombies

Rating: 1 Brain

1brain

Directed by: Edward Conna
Starring: Luke Goss, Cameron Goodman, Johnny Pacar

Synopsis: Some teenagers go off for a sex romp at a motel in a remote town, and end up attacked by zombies. Some friendly neighborhood vampires show up to help. Yes, you read that right.

dead undead movie poster

The design work on this poster cost more than all the actors combined.

I found The Dead Undead on Netflix while cruising for zombie flicks. This is definitely an attention grabbing title; its comedic redundancy makes me hopeful that it will be a self-aware B-movie, kind of like a lower budget, lower class Evil Dead 2.

What I’m going to do is watch it, and write this article while watching it, to share my insights in real time. Or something close to that. There’s a storm brewing outside, so I’m really looking forward to an afternoon of horror in a thunderstorm. Such a great atmosphere (or atmosFEAR bwaha)!

I did a quick IMDB search of the stars for an idea of what I’m in for here. Luke Goss played Steve Fox in the Tekken movie (in other news: there’s a Tekken movie). Cameron Goodman has Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure listed among her top credits, a Disney straight-to-DVD flick that seems to be about a ditzy blonde and a dog (somehow I missed that one), and Johnny Pacar is mostly a dude who does small roles on TV shows and in low budget movies – so he’s just kinda doing that again here. The actors are all small time players, but what got me strangely excited was director Edward Conna. On IMDB he has 5 directing credits (2 unreleased thus far, and one is this). He does have a whopping 122 credits as a stuntman though. I’m very interested to see what kind of movie a stuntman comes up with, so this should be fun!

Okay. Vampires vs. zombies. Let’s begin.

The opening credit sequence is all dudes with guns stalking through the woods with generic hard rock guitar music playing. So far, exactly what I’d expect from a stuntman.

idiot characters in dead undead

Dear Zombies: Please kill all these kids. kthnxbai.

After that we see our main characters. Five idiot teenagers pour out of a truck. Looks like one of those dumb teenagers-on-a-roadtrip movies. The female characters let us know immediately that they don’t like being called “chicks” and prefer “bitches.” This isn’t one of those groups with several morons and a couple of smart types who will become our heroes later. Everyone in this group immediately proves to be an irredeemable fucktard. Those zombies can’t come fast enough.

The first time one of the girls is alone, a little kid pops up and drools blood on the napping girl, who fights it off and it runs away. She spends the next 10 minutes of the film flipping out about getting blood on her.

Things escalate pretty quickly. Within about 10 more minutes, one of the girls is turning into a zombie, one of the guys has been bitten, and the other has had his throat ripped out. This pleases me; these people are horrible. When everything has gone to hell, what appears to be the local redneck militia comes rolling up, armed to the teeth with assault rifles and shotguns, to start blowing the zombies away. That same generic hard rock from the opening starts playing – I think one of the dudes must have a boombox or something, as it seems this music is going to play whenever these guys show up. As a fun note, when they open fire, the gunfire looks a little strange; I paused it to examine it, and it looks like the gunfire has been added via computer in editing, and kinda looks like the explosions from movies with bigger budgets photoshopped into each frame at the tip of each gun. The sound effects for the gunfire don’t sync up right, and the CG fire doesn’t look right either. This really screams “low budget,” because even in the crappiest movies, I am not used to seeing bad gunfire.

gunfire in dead undead

With so much focus on the guns in this movie, you’d think they would at least get this much right.

The shots are framed all wrong. There is a scene where one of the militia people fights a zombie with her fists (with a big blade strapped to her back the whole time), and it takes way too long…she punches it, it shambles back, she hits it with a bat, it shambles back. It’s a sign of a bad director when they don’t know when to cut. Scenes go on too long, we’re shown shots we don’t need to see.

The zombies in this movie, and the peoples’ reaction to them, brings up an old question about zombie outbreaks. This clearly takes place in the early days of this epidemic, as only this small band of soldier guys knows what’s going on. The confusion about current events and response aside, it’s strange that the soldier guys refer to this as “some kind of infection” and yet they have already resorted to headshots as the cure. Would this happen in real life? I would think the first few victims of the zombie virus would have gone to hospitals, and science would be baffled, but looking for some kind of cure. So how long after the outbreak is the decision made that these are ghouls who must be stopped by bullets and cannot be helped? This stage is usually disregarded in zombie movies, and at best glossed over (“doctors tried to contain it, but it spread too fast”). It’s still all wrong in this movie though, because we’ve gotten to the point where a local militia knows that these monsters can only be killed in certain ways, that it’s an infection, and they even have terminology for them…and yet no one has gotten to a hospital about it, and there has been no news about it? Clearly the civilians in the film have not heard of this.

Oh, okay. They’re ZV’s. Zombie vampires. The zombies can only be killed by sunlight and decapitation. This is really going downhill now. I thought we’d get real vampires. Not this garbage.

Okay, I’m sorry. Hold on. One of the soldier guys came in contact with some zombie blood and might be infected…and they have this explosive belt to make him wear in case he turns. How are they that prepared for this? Why are they fighting with swords now when its been established that exposure to blood can cause infection?

I just looked it up by the way – all the main soldier boys characters are played by stunt men.

So, the one who got infected tells the girl one not to be sad that he’s dying, because he’s going to “the halls of Valhalla.” Which sounded pretty lame. But then when they blow him up, we are treated to like a 5 minute viking battle sequence. It’s actually pretty cool, and as stupid as it seems, possibly the only redeeming moment in this film. Seriously, this thing goes on so long that it’s like…what the hell? And yet…in the middle of a shitty zombie movie, suddenly we’re in…oh, I see. The soldier guys were vampires the whole time. Now we’re seeing when they were made into vampires on some ancient battle field. It’s not as awesome as the random trip to Valhalla I thought we were taking, but still better than the action porn we were just watching where they let loose half the movie’s budget in artillery on a horde of zeds.

It turns out that the hordes of zombies are actually vampires who have contracted Mad Cow disease because they feed on cow blood. It would appear that they had a whole village of vampires, and now most of them are zombies. Salem’s Lot has had a zombie outbreak.

Most of the vampires and humans die in stupid ways. The surviving blonde human – I’ve forgotten her name already – escapes in a van with Jack, the main vampire guy. They crash, he’s hurt, she offers up some blood to turn him into a super bad ass again (like the scene toward the end of the first Blade movie). There is mention of an “ancient prophecy” about some place where a vampire can be reborn, which is of course super lame. He cuts a bunch of zombies down, then another platoon of vampires shows up and mows down the zombies with some machine guns. The main vampire from this backup squad confirms that the ancient prophecy is true. And we’re suddenly in a very different movie.

…and then we’re not. That’s the end of it.

You know, I get when a big budget movie leaves the ending open for the possibility of a sequel. But did the producers of The Dead Undead really expect that they’d have a second film greenlit? Based on the strength of the first? And a quick Google search reveals no details regarding a sequel, and given that the movie is now 4 years old, it’s clearly not going to happen.

Summary

dead undead is a bad movie

The guy in the back is the focus of this shot.

The Dead Undead is one of the worst movies I have ever seen. And that includes Charles Angels 2 and The Incredible Hulk. It apparently had a budget of 1.1 million bucks, and from the look of it, about 1 million went to fake guns and effects, and the remaining .1 went into actors, crew, script, lighting equipment, and non-gun related effects. It’s a lot like this flash game Endless Zombie Rampage. That game is basically Act 2 of this film…just an endless flood of zombies, and a machine gun cutting them down. And while it’s an awesome game, I wouldn’t consider optioning it for a film.

Very little planning went into this movie. Every element is bad, from the dialogue and acting, to the lighting and sound, and right down to the blocking and framing of the shots. It looks like what a bunch of high school kids would come up with if they were given $1.1 million to make a movie. That lack of planning is evident in the story, too. It’s a zombie movie. No wait, it’s a movie about a fallen vampire village. No wait, it’s about an ancient prophecy and a vampire’s quest to fulfill it. It’s like the first draft of a 9th grade creative writing project, that never got workshopped, graded, or even proofread.

I discussed before how bad direction is evident in the overly lengthy scenes. There is also unnecessary dialogue. That happens, though…just look at the Lord of the Rings extended cuts, with their 60,000 extra words of dialogue across the 75 scenes that got cut from each film. The difference, though, is that those scenes got cut. The Dead Undead decided to keep them all. What’s even worse is that there are entire characters that the film could have done without. This guy Curtis (played by Joshua Alba, who is, strangely enough, Jessica Alba’s brother), randomly wanders up in one scene and joins the soldier guys and the remaining idiot teenager. His presence affects nothing, only contributing a few bullets to some of the gun porn scenes, and then he wanders off in the woods and gets killed. There was no reason for that character, or any of his scenes, to be in this movie.

When you’re directing and editing a movie, you take crap like that and you cut it out. You look at Fellowship of the Ring and the whole sequence with Tom Bombadil in the book, and you say “you know what, we’d have a tighter script if this guy wasn’t in it.” Hell, it might have been even better if he hadn’t opened with all these other teenagers. The vampire soldiers are clearly the main characters – why not start with them, show a little bit of this group of kids getting attacked, and they come across it? Rather than showing up like the damn A-Team in the middle of someone else’s movie?

I enjoy a B-movie as much as the next guy – maybe even more so – and if this movie was “fun bad” then I’d recommend it. It is not. It is just bad bad. If you enjoy watching crappy movies to pick them apart like I have, then you might enjoy this. But if you like watching movies that are so bad they’re funny, this isn’t that sort of movie. The dialogue is cringeworthy, the plot is very thin, and much of it is entirely unnecessary. See it if you like, but promise me you won’t buy the DVD or anything. Please don’t reward these peoples’ “effort” by spending money on it.

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Simon Pegg & Nick Frost on Shaun of the Dead 2

shaun of the deadIs there any chance that we’ll see a sequel to everyone’s favorite zombie comedy Shaun of the Dead?

Sadly, this is unlikely, as the film did end with half the Pegg/Frost duo as a zombie. The story is fairly complete, as it is given a resolution (albeit the humorous notion of living in peace with the zombies).

However, in this recent interview with TotalFilm.com, they do shed a little glimmer of hope on the idea of a sequel to Hot Fuzz. Check it out:

Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes to Produce Zombies vs. Robots Movie

zombies vs. robotsYou might not be familiar with IDW’s Zombies vs. Robots comic, but if not you should give it a look. It’s a brilliant and fun piece of work about a young girl – the last human on earth – who is protected from zombies by highly advanced robots designed specifically for the task of protecting her.

And now it seems Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes production company is keen to adapt it into a film. From what I’ve read, it’s working title is Inherit the Earth, but we should see it called by its original title, because while Inherit the Earth  is a great name, Zombies vs. Robots is a real attention-grabber. The rumor about this has been floating around for a while, and just because it’s on IMDB doesn’t necessarily make it true. But I’ve seen it on ScreenRant now, which tends to mean that there’s some truth to it.

J.T. Petty is attached as the writer. He wrote the screenplay for a few Splitner Cell games, so it’s okay if you’ve never heard of him. He has written the spec script for the film, and should be to work on the real thing by now.

While it’s hard for me to feel excited about a Michael Bay film, what we can at least surmise from this is that there’s a big budget zombie movie coming up that’s based on a great comic title some time in the not-too-distant future. We will probably see some big names attached to the cast soon and this project should become a big deal by next summer.

Why George Romero Isn’t Making Movies or the Walking Dead

george a romeroGeorge A. Romero is the father of the zombie film, and an unquestioned genius of the genre. His last two movies fell a little flat, but are still better than 90% of the horror garbage out there today. But he’s not working on anything right now, and he’s got a fairly decent reason for it.

In an interview with Big Issue recently, he was asked about the subject, and had this to say:

Once they bleed out of pop culture I’ll be able to go back and do them again. I don’t want to touch them now. Gosh, they are all over the place. The Walking Dead is the number one television series in the States, World War Z, games, commercials… Ugh! It’s too much!

He was asked to direct a few episodes of The Walking Dead, but explains in the interview why he refused:

They asked me to do a couple of episodes of The Walking Dead but I didn’t want to be a part of it. Basically it’s just a soap opera with a zombie occasionally. I always used the zombie as a character for satire or a political criticism and I find that missing in what’s happening now.

So because pop culture is over saturated with zombies at the moment, he will go back to work on zombie movies when the fervor has calmed down. For now, he doesn’t want to be just another face in the crowd, which I can respect.

If you’ve got a Romero jones though – which I basically always do – he’s writing a 5 part comic book miniseries for Marvel called Empire of the Dead. I’ll definitely be picking up each issue as they start coming out in January.

Dead Rising Movie

dead rising

You may have heard the rumor that there’s a Dead Rising movie in the works. Well, it’s true. It’s being created by Legendary Digital Media, the first project of the new digital division of Legendary Pictures (the folk who made Godzilla).

The movie is going to be released initially on Sony’s Crackle. It’s still in very early development, and with no word yet on cast or crew, we probably won’t see it until next year.

I hate to come off pessimistic, but it’s hard to get excited about news like this. Dead Rising is a sweet game series, don’t get me wrong. I’m excited about the prospect of the third game coming out in just a couple weeks. But come on. No matter how bad we want them to be great, video game movies suck. It’s a bit of a paradox; they suck because they’re not made by the gamers who love the games they are based on, but those gamers probably couldn’t make an awesome movie. So unfortunately, it just seems like they can’t make a great one.

final fantasy 7 advent children

Pictured: The best part of Advent Children.

When those movies are CGI, they tend to be even worse. Have you seen Resident Evil: Degeneration? Even Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children was disappointing. And I really wanted that one to be good, because hard as I may wish, I’ll never see Cloud, Tifa, and all my buddies in a game again.

The notion of CGI game movies becomes even sillier the better game graphics become. How much better will this movie be than the cut scenes in Dead Rising 3? Probably not much. So what have we got then? Essentially a game that you don’t play. Lame.

When it comes out, you might want to check it out. Never know; it might be the first non-suck game movie in history. But I’m not holding my breath.

5 Scariest Zombie Movie Moments

Warning: Not for the faint of heart! Some of these scenes are completely inappropriate for children.

Too many zombie flicks these days rely on gore, or the action fantasy or endless shot-to-head action. Where’s the real terror? When Roger Ebert initially reviewed Night of the Living Dead in 1969, his review was mostly about how terrified the audience was. Other than some cheap jump startles and nasty special effects, there’s not much to scare audiences in a lot of zombie flicks. But check these out!

5. [Rec]

This is known as the “finding the keys” scene. You can feel the panic as she ransacks the place looking for the damn things, and the moment when she gets out to the stairs again is the reason they probably handed out changes of pants at the door in the theater.

4. Dawn of the Dead (2004)

In the remake of Dawn of the Dead, a movie that grows on me with every subsequent viewing, one of the characters is pregnant. She ends up bitten, and in this scene, we see what she gives birth to.

3. Zombi 2 (1979)

Zombi was the Italian title for Dawn of the Dead, and this movie was titled entirely as a way to cash in on the success of what is still Romero’s most successful film. Despite somewhat shady origins, it’s actually a hell of a film, considered not only one of the best zombie movies ever, but one of the best horror movies period. This is an iconic scene that will really mess with your head. Watch how slowly it happens, building tension, making you wonder how far they’ll actually go! Spoiler: It’s an Italian horror movie, so pretty damn far.

2. Return of the Living Dead

One of my personal favorites, this scene is creepy for so many reasons. Return of the Living Dead did something few films have – gave zombies the power of speech. Their voices, in the few instances in the film when they speak, is suitably creepy, and the dialogue in this scene is especially unsettling.

1. Night of the Living Dead

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know by now that I hold Romero’s classic Night of the Living Dead in the highest regard. So you shouldn’t be surprised to see it showing up at number 1. And of all the great scenes in that iconic film, by far the scariest is the basement scene with Karen Cooper and her mom. I’ve mentioned before how much I love Karen – played by Kyra Schon. She’s my Instagram profile picture. She’s the most unsettling zombie in the picture, and ultimately the one who does the most damage. And this is the penultimate scene with her. When Roger Ebert complained that this film was too scary, he was no doubt thinking about this scene.

And that’s it for my little list! What’s your favorite zombie movie moment? One of these, or a different one? Talk to me in the comments section!

Why Zombies Eat Brains

I’ve always thought this was a particularly creepy zombie scene. I remember it was being one of the spookiest. It’s a combination of factors, I think; the fact that the half-zombie is speaking, what she’s saying, the nice creepy music, and the fact that the characters in the scene clearly recognize just how creepy it is.

While this explanation may not explain it for all zombie media – particularly considering that we’ve moved largely away from brain eating zombies and toward more of a flesh-eating, cannibalistic sort of zombie who will eat any human flesh – it’s definitely a great scene in this series.

“The pain…of being dead!”

What do you think? Do you like this explanation, or does another movie explain it better for you?

The 5 Hottest Ladies of Zombie Flicks

There are some nice looking ladies in horror films. Though they may be covered in blood and sinew at times, this does not diminish their beauty in the eyes of the horror fan! Here are, in my opinion, the 5 sexiest babes from zombie movies.

5. Teresa Palmer – Warm Bodies

teresa palmer warm bodies

Also known as “not Kristin Stewart.” Because seriously, with the popularity of Twilight at the time Warm Bodies was released, could there possibly be a coincidence that she looks like a blonde Kristin Stewart, and her love interest in some pale dead dude? Either way, this Aussie sweetheart is cute in her own right, and not half bad as an actress. Though the plot falls a bit flat when trying to convince us of the interest she develops in this zombie guy, she does her damndest to make the most with the script she’s given.

4. Kathleen Munroe – Survival of the Dead

kathleen munroe survival of the dead

Munroe plays both Janet and Jane O’Flynn, so named because their parents were apparently lazy, came up with one name, and just tossed a T on it when a twin popped out. As the living half of the sibling duo, she’s easy on the eyes; but there’s something about the dead stare, and those cloudy blue eyes of the horse riding zombie half that’s just captivating.

3. Asia Argento – Land of the Dead

asia argento land of the dead

Asia Argento – daughter of horror god Dario Argento – plays the female lead in Romero’s 4th zombie movie Land of the Dead. The’s a bad ass chick in a lot of fishnet, and, well, she’s Asia Argento. You don’t need much more than that to be smokin’ hot, and yet she sees fit to bring it just a little harder. Kudos to her!

2. Lauren Cohan – The Walking Dead

lauren cohan walking dead

Hello farmer’s daughter! Cohan plays Maggie Green in The Walking Dead, as if you didn’t know that. She’s one of the hottest actresses on TV right now – and not just in terms of physical attractiveness. Not only does she bring teh sexy in the show, she’s also one of the best actors/actresses on the cast. Maggie seems like a very challenging role to play…a very dynamic character. Making us believe it and feel it takes a lot of talent, and she does not disappoint.

1. Melinda Clark – Return of the Living Dead 3

melinda clark return of the living dead 3

Melinda Clark in Return of the Living Dead 3 is one of the nastiest, most vicious entries on the ist, but also one of the hottest. She’s so crazy smokin’ sexy in this flick. I love zombies, but I’m not zombie fetishist. It takes a lot for a zombie babe to be hot in my eyes. But this movie seems to largely revolve around just how silly hot Melinda is as a zombie in this thing. If you haven’t seen it, it’s kinda a messed up movie, but it’s worth it to see her in it.

Runner Up: Kyra Schon – Night of the Living Dead

Kyra Schon night of the living dead

Kyra Schon plays Karen Cooper, the girl in the basement in George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. She has to be only a runner up because she was only 11 when this picture was taken, but she deserves mention because I had no idea that this picture was of that same little girl from the basement. The close up, black and white photo of her is far more iconic an image than any movie poster produced for the film, and is used as box art for many editions of the home release. Because she was 11, I don’t feel right saying she was “hot” in this picture, but we’ll say she was definitely…photogenic.

Got any other super hot hotties from zombies flicks that deserve mention? Leave a comment below!

Maggie

maggie filmThe newest zombie film star might be about the last person you’d expect to fill those shoes. At the Toronto International FIlm Festival (TIFF) in September, a new independent zombie movie titled Maggie will premier starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Abigail Breslin. While many of us still aren’t fully over the Mr. Freeze debaucle, what the man did for the robot genre can’t be denied. So I for one welcome an opportunity to see him in a new geek subgenre.

Written in 2011 by John Scott III, the plot follows a man named Wade (Schwarzenegger) who stays with his daughter (Breslin) after she is bitten by a zombie, and while she slowly turns into one herself. The script made the Hollywood Black List of Best Unproduced Screenplays, and as you probably know, “unproduced screenplays” is an even bigger field to compete with than produced ones.

The film is to be directed by Henry Hobson, a title sequence designer whose best work is probably the opener for Sherlock. While that may be unrelated to the zombie genre, you’ve got to admit it’s a damn fine intro, so you might be safe expecting good things from Hobson. He definitely seems like he’s going somewhere, and a high profile zombie indie drama is no doubt an excellent jumping off point.

It’s quite a cool thing to see Arnold hanging around an indie flick like this, particularly considering that the intimate tone of the drama seems to indicate that he won’t really be smashing any zombie heads. There are zombie movies popping up all the time, and always have been. But lending his name to this one raises the profile up quite a lot, and gives a much needed boost to this sort of independent zombie film. It’s not action or horror by the sound of it, and not the sort of high stakes epic we’ve seen recently in World War Z or The Walking Dead. There are still 22 days until the festival, so the verdict won’t be in for 3 weeks. But we will be keeping an ear to the ground once it starts to see how well it’s received.