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Thursday, November 26, 2020

Blood Freak (2020)

Before I start the review, I need to point out something to you the reader. The directors of this movie, Daniel Boyd and Tim Gross, are very good friends of mine. I write this because I wouldn’t want anyone out there thinking that I was shilling for them. When I review a movie, any movie, I keep things honest and would never try and put over a friend’s project if I didn’t like it. It would be dishonest, and in my experience, people see thru that bullshit anyway. So now onto the review. 

Herschel is tooling around Pittsburgh on his motorcycle when he runs into a chick, Angel, whose car has broken down. He gives her a ride back home listening to her Jesus talk along the way. By the time they get to her house he is converted. That annoys Angel’s sister, Ann, so she sets out to win him away from Angel. This includes getting him to smoke some primo weed that immediately gets him hooked. The only way he can support his new weed habit is to submit to the experiments from a pair of scientists that work for the sister’s father at his Light of God Turkey Farm and Science Farm. Before you know it, Herschel is transformed into a hideous Turkey headed monster that gobbles up anyone unfortunate enough to cross his path. Heh, see what I did there? 

Just in case you didn’t realize it this is a remake of an early seventies flick also called Blood Freak. It is a legendary, at least among certain bad movie crowds, example of the weirdness that was independent drive-in flicks. It seems like an odd choice to remake, but I totally get it. The original isn’t great so if you are going to remake something then pick a movie you might be able to improve on. Boyd, who also wrote as well as co-directed the movie, does exactly that with one very important choice. He cut out all the nonsense and picked up the pacing of the movie. While the original is only eighty-six minutes long it drags horribly at times. With this remake they have managed to fix that. There isn’t a single scene that lingers too long or is pointless and have trimmed six minutes off the runtime. That is a positive for me as a viewer. 

Despite being an independent movie filled with non-professional actors the performances are pretty good. We do get a few spots where some dialogue falls a bit flat, but for the most part its well-executed. This is especially impressive since Boyd doesn’t pull any punches and fills Blood Freak with some witty back and forth banter between his characters. There are some genuinely funny lines that had me laughing. Comedy is hard and I’ve seen enough independent movies attempt and fail to pull this off, so when I see one work I take notice. On a personal note I never thought that my friend Charlie Fleming was so damn funny, but here as Pops he drops some great lines and is awesome. 

The design of the Turkey head when Herschel transforms is every bit as silly as I would expect it to be. It looks good but also has just enough cheesiness that it feels right. I mean this is a cautionary tale about smoking “the weed” where our main character turns into a turkey monster. I don’t want to be distracted by nor do I expect some incredible effects work. The creature fits the story and helps to complete the vibe that I think Boyd and Gross were going for. 

I was very nervous about watching this movie. As I stated earlier, I’m an honest reviewer and I know that in the past I’ve pissed some people off with my coverage of their movies. Thankfully the guys made a fun and entertaining movie that I can totally get behind and recommend. If you want to check the movie out and support independent filmmaking check out the Blood Freak Facebook page here to find out how to order yourself a copy. 


© Copyright 2020 John Shatzer



Monday, November 23, 2020

House on Haunted Hill (1999)


My series on remakes that I don’t hate continues with this rehashing of the William Castle classic House on Haunted Hill. They were going to be hard pressed to find someone to fill the lead role that was held down by Vincent Price in the original. They did a decent job, and it doesn’t hurt that this one is more of an ensemble cast. But I’m getting ahead of myself here.

The movie opens in the past in a creepy hospital where horrible experiments are being conducted by a crazy doctor played by everyone’s favorite Jeffrey Combs. Some bad things happen, and the patients get loose murdering most of the staff and setting the place on fire. Years later a family purchases the place and tries to make it a fancy home, which of course is a horrible idea. This flashback morphs into a television show hosted by Peter Graves. If you have ever watched Mysterious Monsters, you will know why this is awesome.

After this is established, we then move onto the main cast. Much like the original we have a rich man, named Steven Price in a nice nod to the star of the original Vincent Price, throwing a party for his wife. They don’t like each other, and it is established that she has already tried to kill him a couple of times. The guests are all strangers and are offered a million dollars if they stay the night in the house. If any of them die, then their money will be split up by the survivors. You know that is sort of asking for trouble, right? There is some debate and the owner of the house, Watson Pritchett played by horror icon Chris Kattan (inside joke sorry…) gets stuck in the place when it goes into lockdown. They are trapped until morning with some homicidal ghosts. Not a great party if you ask me.

This is an example of how you should remake a movie. Much of the narrative is brought over from the original including the feuding spouses, the guests being strangers, and the attempted murder for financial gain. But then they add more depth with the fire and the house being a formal asylum. In the original the guests were really strangers chosen to be witnesses for the murder to help the murderess cover her tracks. While the murder plot is still in the story, we find out that the house reached out to invite the descendants of those who survived the fire. Yes, ghosts can use the internet in this movie! Also remember I said that most of the staff died. The house has some unfinished business I suppose. The fact that this is kept secret for a big chunk of the movie and when we get to the end the survivors share a special trait it makes a lot of sense. They took an already fun premise and built on it while keeping what worked. Why is that so hard for other filmmakers?

Rush makes a decent host for our ghost party
We get the requisite jump scares, and the sets are appropriately creepy. The kills are creative and fun but not too gory. There is an electrocution, stabbing, pencils thru the neck, and the evil wifey Evelyn is absorbed by a shadow. There are some post kill scenes that are fun as well with a faceless guy and a lady gameshow host put on display. Much of the gore is practical work and is decent but there is also some CGI that doesn’t hold up great. Overall, I was pleased with the kills, gore, and ghosts.

Let me finish up with the question that is always on people’s mind when a classic starring a legend is remade. Vincent Price chewed some scenery up in the original and was awesome while doing it. How do you replace him? Well first thing is cast an excellent actor like Geoffrey Rush in the role. He does a wonderful job. Then you surround him with a cast of actors that can help him carry the movie. Here we get Taye Diggs, Famke Janssen, Peter Gallagher, Chris Kattan, Ali Larter, and Bridgette Wilson as our cast of victims. Toss in some work from Jeffery Combs and you have a lot of talent onscreen.

What we have here is a movie with some scares and a creepy vibe. The original is still my favorite, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t watch this bad boy every year around October. I recommend that everyone give House on Haunted Hill a chance remake or not.

 

© Copyright 2020 John Shatzer

Friday, November 20, 2020

Dawn of the Dead (2004)


I suppose it was about time for me to get around to covering this one. There should be two things apparent to anyone that has been following Crappy Movie Reviews. One is Romero’s Dawn of the Dead is my favorite movie. Not my favorite zombie movie, or my favorite horror movie. It is my favorite movie period. Two is that I’m not a fan of remakes. Some have been okay but for the most part I’m not a fan. So clearly remaking my favorite movie means I’m going to hate it, right? Well not so much.

Sarah Polley plays Ana, a nurse who we are introduced to at the end of a long shift at the hospital. We do get some clues about a strange illness and somethings happening in the background that let the audience know something is up. Then she goes home and spends some quality time with her husband. They wake up the next morning and the cute little girl rips out the husband’s throat, he reanimates and comes after Ana. She makes her escape and drives thru a nightmare of death and destruction as the world has fallen apart overnight. She crashes her car and is knocked unconscious. How is that for an opening?

Eventually she is awoken by Kenneth, a cop trying to make it a nearby military base. The pair run into more survivors who warn them that is a bad idea as the road is filled with zombies. All of them end up in the mall where more survivors are added to the group. Some internal conflict happens, they make friends with a named Andy who is trapped in a nearby gun store, and eventually the zombies get in. Luckily, they had a plan and make a run thru the city towards a boat one of them has waiting in a nearby marina.

The cast is solid
While I really wish they hadn’t tried to cash in on Romero’s classic and it really annoys me that I have to now say “the original Dawn of the Dead” when speaking about my favorite movie I don’t hate this one. I’m a sucker for zombie movies that show us the initial outbreak, and this might be one of the best ever. The shock of everything going to hell overnight and then the brutality of the violence is amazing. The movie basically punches you in the mouth and lets you know that it is going for the throat. I dig that.

The cast is very good in their roles with Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames, Jake Weber, Mekhi Phifer, Ty Burrell, and Lindy Booth as highlights. But hands down my favorite performance and the one that pulls on the heart strings giving the most emotional impact has to be Matt Frewer as the doomed father. I suppose he is supposed to fill that Roger roll where a character you like is bitten and slowly dies. Though it is over a lot quicker in this movie. Frewer’s performance is excellent and the makeup effects used on him help sell what is happening. We also get cameos from Tom Savini, Scott Reiniger, and Ken Foree. There is also a reference to Galen Ross as well as the helicopter from the original Dawn of the Dead. Damn it I hate having to say that!

The zombies and makeup effects work are a mixed bag. We get a lot of CGI assists which is a bummer. I prefer my zombie movies to be filled with latex practical effects work. Though they do make up for it with some stellar practical effects work bringing the zombies to life. From the little girl with no lips, to the guy with the missing legs the zombies all have a unique look to them with many having the evidence of why/how they died. That is a nice attention to detail, though I wish the death scenes were less digital and more practical. Speaking of kills there is some mayhem. You get a stick thru the head, a poker in the eye, an exploding head, a girl’s torso gets split with a chainsaw, and lots of other mayhem. Oh, and before I forget I need to go back to the zombie design and mention my favorite zombie in the movie. A pregnant lady gets bit and we end up with a baby zombie birth! That was pretty cool.

Zombie baby rules!
A couple more things that I wanted to mention. The movie has an excellent soundtrack that includes some Johnny Cash, Richard Cheese, Jim Carroll Band, Disturbed, and believe it or not Bobby “Don’t Worry be Happy” McFerrin. The music is perfectly placed and adds to the fun of the movie. I was also impressed with how clever the dialogue is written and how upon repeated viewings I pick up more and more jokes that put a smile on my face. Writer James Gunn and director Zack Snyder did a wonderful job making a zombie movie. I really just wished they named it something different.

While it isn’t anywhere near as good as the original, I can still recommend the Dawn of the Dead remake to anyone looking for a good zombie romp. Good zombies, funny dialogue, passable gore, and decent creature design makes for a good time. Though if you haven’t seen the original shame on you and watch that first.


© Copyright 2020 John Shatzer

 

Monday, November 16, 2020

Outpost III: Rise of the Spetsnaz (2013)



I saw this sitting on a shelf at one of my local discount stores and thought I’d give it a chance. I’ve never seen the first two movies, but this was cheap. I took it home and popped it in the old player to see what I had. First thoughts… not too bad. 

The movie takes place on the Eastern Front as WWII is winding down. The Spetsnaz are Russian special forces that have been terrorizing the German army. We see one unit setting up an ambush of a German column and after they successfully kill the enemy, they themselves are ambushed. We end up with a couple survivors deep underground in a German facility. The Nazis are experimenting with zombies and decide that the Russian commandos are a perfect way to test out the effectiveness of their latest batch. From here on out it is all violence and mayhem.

This is a perfect example of not trying to overthink your movie. The movie establishes the characters quickly, tosses the good guys into the shit, gives us some bad guy Nazis, and then lets the craziness roll. Seriously this movie is packed with all sorts of action as zombies get beat down, but not before they tear into the living. The plot is a bit thin, but they more than makeup for that with the action. Sometimes lots of well-choreographed fights are a fine substitute for plot. That said the whole idea of trained zombies as weapons is cool and the one we get to see the most is chained and used like a hunting dog. I just dig the whole thing. 

I realize that I’m maybe selling the story a bit short. Let me be very clear that the movie does make an effort to explain what is going on. We even have a Nazi Scientist that loves to chatter on to our characters what is being done to them. I believe that this is all supposed to connect into the earlier movies in the franchise, but I can’t speak to that. I can say that not having seen the first two Outpost movies took nothing away from my enjoyment of this one. 

The zombies look decent. These are less the mindless undead you are used to and more homicidal former soldiers who are twisted up and enjoy killing their victims. While we do get some munching on the humans don’t expect a big feasting scene as that aren’t what these undead are all about. Ignoring some very well staged battle scene at the beginning we get a respectable ten kills in Outpost III. Necks are slashed, guts munched, heads are bashed, another explodes, we get an axe to the noggin’, brains are blown out, and eyes are gouged. Most of these are in your face and done with practical effects work. I appreciated that. 

This is weird because while I enjoyed this movie, I don’t have any desire to track down the prior entries. Still I have nothing bad to say about Outpost III and can recommend it to anyone looking for a good violent zombie flick. It can be found easily and cheaply all over the place. 


© Copyright 2020 John Shatzer



Thursday, November 12, 2020

Disaster L.A. The Last Zombie Apocalypse Begins Here (2014)


Well I just can’t stop watching questionable low budget zombie movies. Sometimes they are awesome but most of the time they aren’t. Disaster L.A. is one of the bad ones. I guess that is a spoiler of sorts. But then again it isn’t going to take much for you to realize that. Hell, my plot synopsis should tell you all you need to know.

So, there is this party in L.A. with some friends hanging out. They are celebrating one year in the big city. The news starts to talk about some asteroids headed for Earth, but not to worry they are going to miss us. Given what I had to sit thru I really wish they would have. The asteroids are made up of water and when they hit L.A. they give off this noxious smoke. It kills some of the people who breathe it, while others are okay. Why? I have no clue. Those who die from breathing it become zombies who want to eat people. Being L.A. our survivors decide to go to the beach. That is about it.

This movie is the audience watching the cast run around empty parking garages, apartments, and hallways for most of eighty minutes. When they do venture out, we get to see cars driving leisurely in the background and the cast talks about the power being off while walking thru a shopping area that has lights blazing everywhere. Disaster L.A. is guilty of two of my biggest complaints about independent movies. One they tried to shoot a script that they didn’t have the resources for. You set your movie in a big city like Los Angeles and then have no way to have the lights off for you to shoot or to close a street? I get this is guerilla filmmaking and you were likely stealing shots without permits and I appreciate that. But this isn’t the kind of movie that you can do that with.

The Zombies are lame
The other big no no is the script or lack of one. Having the cast run from one spot to another without making any attempt to develop the characters or provide some goal doesn’t work. Their whole plan is to get to the beach and head north. Along the way the movie keeps having a character stop and sacrifice themselves because it is “the only way”. I get that movies like this use that plot mechanic quite a bit, but this movie does it not once, not twice, but three damn times! They clearly had no concept as to the story they wanted to tell. A good zombie movie needs characters to root for or at least some sort of plot arc for those characters to interest the audience. We get nothing near that in Disaster L.A. and it annoyed the hell out of me.

Terrible CGI gore
Time to talk zombie makeup and gore. The zombies are generic without a single memorable corpse among them. The kills are tame with most everything happening off screen. What we do get to see are a couple mediocre neck nibbles that wouldn’t have killed the characters, a guy getting shot and spitting up a mouthful of fake blood, and a bad digital cut of a guy getting hit by a car. We also get to see a guy missing part of his skull, but it is a painfully bad CGI effect. There is nothing here to be excited about.

I could keep going and mention the random footage shot from a car window of a pre-disaster city that is used to pad the runtime at the beginning, or the painfully bad dialogue delivered by the wooden cast of actors but do I need to? This is a bad movie and I’d recommend skipping it. I spent three bucks for the DVD out of the clearance bin and I feel cheated.

 

© Copyright 2020 John Shatzer

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue (1974)



This is one of those wonderful movies from Europe that had several different names. I’ve watched it under The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue moniker, but it has also been released as Let Sleeping Corpses Lie and the oddly nonsensical Don’t Open the Window. Under any title this is a great movie, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

The movie kicks off with us watching a man named George shutting down his shop and packing a few items up in a leather satchel. There is a creepy painting that a mysterious face appears in. Not sure why that is other than it is spooky. This is the face of the main zombie we will meet later. George hops on is motorbike and heads off for his holiday. Along the way he meets Edna who backs over his bike. He insists that she give him a ride to where he was headed to make up for it, which she does. They have to stop for directions and here is where things get tricky.

The farm where they stop is using an experimental new sonic radiation machine to kill off pests without using chemicals. They insist that the process can only affect the simple nervous systems of insects and other pests. Of course, we find out that when you die, at least according to this movie, your nervous system still functions rudimentarily. This means that the bodies get up and are filled with a homicidal rage. There is another funny bit with newborn babies also being bloodthirsty that they briefly touch on. The inspector doesn’t believe any of this nonsense and instead concludes that George and Edna are Satanists out to murder people because that somehow makes more sense to him. There is a big finale at the hospital where bad stuff happens… really bad stuff before it ends on a great “gotcha” ending.

Some great early gore
I’ve always enjoyed The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue. The movie has a solid story that while is a bit vague about the rules when and why the dead rise mostly makes sense. This is one of those movies that creates a great atmosphere right away and maintains it until the end. We get a lot of wonderful set pieces including a spooking old farm, a morgue, and a great sequence in a cemetery. The characters are interesting though not fleshed out much. This is especially so for the George character that hates cops and the Inspector who thinks the worst of him because he is a degenerate with long hair. In fact, the Inspector doesn’t have a name and is just referred by his rank. That is odd, though sort of makes sense since he represents authority and isn’t so much of a character than a symbol.

This movie has a real anti-establishment vibe to it. George is rebelling against being told what to do because he just doesn’t like it. But as we see the rush to judgement and the way that the system works you can’t disagree with him. Between the Inspector and the government men that keep towing the party line about how the machine had to be tested before it was given to them, we see that those in the system are wearing blinders or at least not thinking for themselves. I find that kind of political message interesting and it is blended so well here that it doesn’t interfere with the kick ass zombie action.

Guts will be munched!
Speaking of that we get a very respectable eight kills onscreen. There are a few people getting choked to death, but we also get a nifty axe to the noggin’ someone gets shot, a copper gets his guts ripped out and munched on, but the best is the hospital operator. The zombies get her and tear her torso apart onscreen in one of the coolest early bits of gore you will see from the zombie genre. Did we see better later? Of course, but this was more explicit than anything that I can remember preceding it. It raised the bar and for that the movie should be praised. Toss in a couple fun post kill bits with a severed hand and a morgue attendant that has gone to pieces and there is enough of the red stuff to keep gore hounds happy.

I put The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue right up there with Romero’s original trilogy and Fulci’s zombie outings. If you know how much I love those movies (cheap plug… check out my reviews) then it shouldn’t be any surprise that I’m going to highly recommend this one. It is a must watch for anyone who considers themselves to be a fan of the zombie genre.

 

Ó Copyright 2020 John Shatzer

Friday, November 6, 2020

#Alive (2020)

 


I was directed to this movie by my good friend and fellow podcaster Kyle. He mentioned it while we were recording a show and said it was great. I’ve had mixed results listening to his advice, but he was right with this one.

The movie kicks off with a slacker type waking up late hitting the fridge and then logging into his favorite game. While chatting with the other players they start talking about the news. An emergency broadcast is up and is warning everyone to stay in their homes. The slacker, Joon, opens the window and outside the world is in chaos. People are being killed and reanimated while he watches in horror. Joon then hears a noise at the door and a strange man who claims to be his neighbor bursts in. He is agitated and gives some background before they reveal he is infected. He goes full zombie and after tossing him off the balcony we get some talking heads on the television to fill in the blanks. Joon is in the middle of a full-blown zombie apocalypse.

The rest of the story is our lead character dealing with days of isolation, running out of food and water, and eventually giving into despair. The audience watches as he gives up and hangs himself, only to see a laser pointer flashing on his shirt. He gets himself loose and looks across the apartment complex to see a pretty young girl across the way. The pair have to be careful not to draw attention to themselves, so it is slow going at first. But eventually they get radios and are able to communicate. The conversations lead them to decision that they can’t wait around anymore and must make a break for it. The rest of the story is them trying to make their escape.

This is an interesting movie. It is a rare entry into the genre that focuses more on the human characters and their isolation as they must hide from the threat outside. We do get some zombies but next to no gore. Instead #Alive builds tension and more than a little bit of despair. There were several times that I was bummed out as the story goes to some dark places. I’ve already mentioned Joon attempted suicide, but there is also a bit with a lady police officer, and another with a grieving husband that are disturbing. The worst though is when a daughter “zombies” out on her mom… that was a kick in the butt. I mean this in a good way as I was so invested in the characters and their struggle to survive that I cared what happened. I only mention this in case you are looking for a silly fun gorefest of a zombie flick. This isn’t that.

I should backtrack a bit. As I’ve mentioned above this isn’t a gory movie at all. I don’t think we get a single nasty kill on screen. Even the police officer is killed after being drug down a tunnel out of sight. We only know she died when they show you her zombie later on. What the movie lacks in explicit gore it makes up for in creature design. They pay a lot of attention to making at least the featured zombies unique looking. In most cases you can see how they were killed with visible wounds. This movie also went the Train to Busan route with the zombies turning with joint cracking contortions followed up with a lot of gooey drool and blood. While I’m not a huge fan of fast zombies I’ll admit that these are scary.

A few random bits before I give my final recommendation. #Alive has some creative scenes where Joon uses technology like a drone to solve their problems. I also enjoyed that this gamer kid doesn’t become a combat god and start tearing everything up, but instead spends most of the movie running away. That is realistic and a nice touch. I was also very impressed with the creative use of the small setting, television, and social media to give a lot more scale to the outbreak than I would have expected from a lower budget movie. This shows a lot of creativity which is lacking in so many movies I sit thru in the zombie genre.

I really liked #Alive and am going to recommend everyone check it out. This is currently streaming on Netflix, so it is easy to find. Again, I must warn you if you are looking for a gorefest this isn’t the right movie. 


© Copyright 2020 John Shatzer

 

 

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Ninja Zombie (1992)



This one showed up online and the title grabbed my attention. It was shot in the early nineties but never found distribution until recently. That should be a red flag, but I like Ninja movies and of course I enjoy a good zombie movie, so I just had to give this one a chance. I’m glad that I did. 

Orlan Sands works at a museum and while waiting for the bus he is attacked by a couple of muggers. A ninja comes along and saves him, but he isn’t a good ninja. He works for the Red Spiders who want the Urn of Prometheus. Sands knows where the excavation site is, and they blackmail him for the information. This causes Sands to find his friend Jack and ask him for help. When we meet Jack, he has just gotten engaged to his girl Maggie. Immediately some ninjas show up to beat on Sands and Jack goes to his aid getting himself killed for his efforts. Crazy the hero dies already!

Well you did catch the title, didn’t you? Sands still needs help and goes to Brother Banjo a voodoo witchdoctor who is also a tennis enthusiast. They raise Jack from the dead and since he was apparently a ninja before he died, he now becomes a Ninja Zombie. The rest of the movie is Sands trying to keep the urn from the bad guys as Jack learns how to be a super badass karate guy again, which of course leads to a training montage! Eventually the Red Spiders kidnap Maggie and it takes both Sands and Jack’s efforts to save the day… sort of. Actually, now that I think about it I don’t think anyone was actually saved. 

This is a weird but great little flick. First thing I noticed is that it was shot on 8 mm film which gives it a unique look. Given the timeframe I had assumed VHS or Super VHS, but this was a welcome surprise. There is a grainy look that makes it feel like a much older movie. The pacing is okay as the movie knows where its money shots are and keeps the dialogue and character development to a bare minimum. The movie clocks in at a tight eighty-seven minutes and doesn’t overstay it’s welcome. 

Some other things to point out are the bad acting. The cast struggle with the dialogue and certainly don’t do the emotion “thing” very well. It is obvious with the love story between Jack and Maggie that neither of them had the skills to pull convincing emotion off. Luckily, we get a lot of ninjas so that isn’t a deal breaker! The fight choreography isn’t very good, but it is goofy enough that I found it enjoyable. Yeah maybe it is obvious when zombie Jack is surrounded that the extras are awkwardly waiting their turn to get kicked in the face but what are you going to do? This has a cheesy vibe that I dig. 

Ninja Zombie disarmed his foe... HA!

The gore is okay. We don’t get any zombie mayhem as no one is eaten or even bitten. But there are some stabbings, a throat cutting, throwing stars thru hands, and an arm gets ripped off and used as a weapon. The makeup on zombie Jack looks way better than I would have expected. Given what had to be a very small budget they do a great job. And while this isn’t traditionally the sort of makeup effects that I would mention there are some amazingly quaffed mullets in this bad boy. 

I’ve saved the best for last. So many independent zombie movies like to toss in someone watching Night of the Living Dead in their movie. I always complain about that because inevitably your movie isn’t nearly as good as Romero’s classic. Here the filmmakers decided to shoot a sort of parody of one of the famous scenes and it is hilarious. It’s very creative and in my opinion if you must do it this is the way you reference a movie like Night of the Living Dead.

Ninja Zombie isn’t a great movie, but I think it is a fun one. This is a perfect choice if you are looking to kick back and have a few laughs while not thinking too hard. I was entertained and that is all you need sometimes. I recommend Ninja Zombie. 


© Copyright 2020 John Shatzer


Monday, November 2, 2020

Yummy (2019)

 



I was browsing around on Shudder and found this Dutch made zombie flick. It takes place at a clinic that does plastic surgery, which is a new setting for some gut munching action. That alone made me want to check this one out.  

Alison is on her way to the clinic with her mother, Sylvia, to get some work done. Mom wants a tummy tuck and other age defying procedures while Sylvia wants a breast reduction. This means they have very different reasons for some elective surgery. Driving them is Alison’s boyfriend Michael. They arrive at the clinic, which isn’t as nice as the brochure made it look, and it becomes clear that things are a bit sketchy. Michael knows this because he was premed before finding out he hated the sight of blood. This won’t be important later will it?

Being uncomfortable Michael is taken on a tour of the facility by a junkie orderly and along the way accidentally releases a woman who just so happens to be a zombie. I think we all know what happens next. Get bitten, turn, and spread the love. Things go bad fast and we are eventually left with a small cast of characters trying to escape the hospital that is now filled with the undead. Characters are lost along the way until our cast is whittled down to just a couple. How does it end? Well I’m not going to spoil anything with my review, so I won’t answer that question. Though I might as well point out that I was disappointed and rather annoyed by the ending. It didn’t feel like it fit with the rest of the movie. Again, I can’t say anymore without spoilers. This is the last bad thing that I have to say about Yummy because this is a great movie!

The story wastes little time getting to some gore as we have a morgue attendant stick his head where it shouldn’t go with predictable results. We also get an early bit of gore with what I hope was a zombie dog getting run over… God Damn it movie why did you have to go there? After a bit of character development the proverbial shit hits the fan and the movie gets bonkers. We get several characters that end up separated at first before the survivors come together at the end. They shift between the different plotlines expertly keeping the action rolling and never letting things slow down too much. This is the kind of flick where you will want to be watching everything that is happening. Pay close attention as there are some funny gags going on in the background of many scenes.

Some of our cast
In addition to a great bit of writing the movie also has tons of gore. The zombies look great with most of them having identifiable wounds so you can see how they died and sometimes why they were at the hospital to begin with.  Normally when I say the zombies look great, I’m exclusively talking about the makeup but uh there is more than that here. This is a cosmetic clinic so many of the patients are attractive young ladies. God damn there are some cute zombies in this movie! I sort of feel creepy talking about it, but it’s true. If you like your zombies attractive Yummy is the movie for you.

Beyond the creature makeup we get some excellent kills and other gory gags. There are a lot of bites with flesh being pulled off, great latex work, as well as an axe to the noggin. You have a zombie trapped by his own intestines being wrapped around the furniture in a room, a chemical skin peel that is left unattended, a liposuction treatment that goes horribly wrong with explosive results, and puking. How is it that most zombie movies don’t have puking? Think about the smells… I’d puke for sure. There are three gags that stick out for me. One can best be described as Dr. Zombie gynecologist… yeah, they go there. That one isn’t explicit, thank goodness, and is played for laughs. In what I think is an equitable move we also get an extended bit of wang violence where an unfortunate member is set on fire and then flash frozen. This one is also funny. The final gag had me squirming and is horrifying. Mashed fingers and amputation with eyeglass lenses!

Zombies look cool
Now to be fair to the movies that I complain about there is a quite a lot of CGI in Yummy. Some of the gags lean heavily into some mediocre digital effects work. We even get the dreaded blood hitting the lens of the camera bit that I hate. But there is so much other gore happening that it didn’t bug me. Each time one of these “sins” showed up on screen it was followed up with some practical effect that had me smiling again. I almost wonder if they did it for fans of that sort of thing. Regardless it’s not a big deal.

There is a lot more stuff on my list, but I think I’ve said enough. If you don’t want to check out Yummy, then you probably don’t like zombie movies. In that case why the heck are you here reading my review of a zombie flick? I highly recommend this one.

 

© Copyright 2020 John Shatzer