Of course I never really overdose on zombie movies, which is why there are always at least a dozen in my streaming watch lists. So there are definitely more to come, but here’s how things turned out with these five.
THE NEIGHBOR ZOMBIE (aka: Resident Zombie) (2010)
Here’s something a little different. It’s an Asian zombie anthology film. These six well-made stories move at a quick pace, and each has a different tone, so there’s something to satisfy everyone’s zombie tastes.
1st story – This quirky story features a guy in his room, not realizing he’s turning into a zombie as he experiences a series of clumsy—and gory—mishaps while attempting to interact with his surroundings.
2nd story – A woman keeping her zombie husband in hiding becomes infected herself, so it’s up to him to help her adapt to her changing body.
3rd story – A woman feeds her zom mom—by hacking off parts of her own body! This is one of my favorite stories in the bunch.
4th story – This is the most action-oriented segment, involving survivors fighting over a vaccine.
5th story – A young man who has gone through zombie rehab and been reintroduced into society faces discrimination while suffering from flashbacks of his time as a zombie. Interestingly, the great British zombie series In the Flesh, which came after this movie, features a similar premise.
6th story – The man writing the screenplay for this very film is trying to meet his deadline. The words he types appear on screen with flashy effects and are interspersed with scenes from the movie while the writer starts to transform into a zombie. A bit self-indulgent perhaps, but a clever way to entertain us during closing credits.
DEAD BITE (2011)
When an Asian rap group heads out on a boat to do a photo shoot with a bunch of bikini babes, they end up on a seemingly deserted island. At first, they’re having fun in the sun, but all of sudden it starts to rain and all hell breaks loose! Not only do zombies come out of the water, but island natives burst from the bushes and start attacking the rap party!
Dead Bite quickly became one of my new favorite zombedies. Things gets zany fast, with some pretty monstrous looking zombies emerging from the water every time it rains, and our cast of rappers bringing on some great comic moments.
Of particular note are one guy who loses his leg during a zombie attack, another guy who loses use of both of his arms due to poisonous darts, and the big rapper in the group—he turns into a zombie, so the other guys rig a trap to keep him contained.
The comedy is fresh, the action and gore are a blast, the plot is unique, and the final battle seems to pay homage to the chaotic style of 28 Weeks Later.
The only bad news is—the film doesn’t seem to be available on DVD here in the U.S.!
Glenn Ciano, the director of Inkubus, brings us a film that patterns itself after the simplicity of Night of the Living Dead—a bunch of people trapped in a house in the middle of nowhere by zombies—but manages to become a confusing mess.
The film starts with Michael Madsen narrating about the origins of the outbreak to black and white footage of zombies roaming the woods (cool), cuts to horror hunk Tom DeNucci welding in a barn while shirtless and bearded (hot), and then shifts to Madsen and his family in a house being attack by zombies, including a shirted, beardless Tom DeNucci (confusing).
Apparently those were non-sequential flashes ahead, because we then meet the same family, and their biggest problem is that grandma is hella sick. Uh-oh.
This movie is so disjointed and all over the place I stopped trying to figure out what was going on and just waited for the glimmers of zombie excitement. There’s way too much uninteresting talk between the family members, set to the guitar twang of a country music soundtrack, as well as oddly out of place moments, like an awkward guy hooking up with a prostitute in the woods. Another segment about a guy beginning to turn into a zombie while out with his young daughter is creepy, tragic, and could have been a short film in itself because it works much better than the movie as a whole.
Eventually, sick grandma disappears from her bedroom, so everyone goes out looking for her. This makes for some effective dark woods zombie scenes, but there’s very little in the way of cohesion as characters run amok (we never really have a major protagonist to keep the plot focused).
This leads us back to the zombie invasion of the house that was teased at the beginning. The family tries to escape the threat, but then the movie joltingly concludes, with Madsen narrating again, summing up life after the zombie outbreak as we return to the scene of bearded, shirtless Tom DeNucci welding.
THE NIGHT SEEKERS (2014)
This low budget film is plagued by jarring edits (that seem to leave out blocks of detail necessary for a fluid narrative) as well as irritating color filters that change constantly during scenes and also wash out the footage, making much of what’s going on impossible to make out.
However, the general premise was intriguing, and the melting pot of guys—white, black, Asian, Latino—was cute, so I stuck with it.
4 couples head to a small town for a vacation at a B&B, and immediately things don’t look good. They have an unpleasant encounter with a weird “bell boy” with a messed up face. The weird lady who runs the B&B tells them to stay away from a certain area of town that is actually marked with a warning sign.
When a tour guide takes them out sightseeing the next morning, she insists they go into the area with the warning sign.
The group ends up staying the night in an empty house in the off limits area. They also suddenly decide there are creatures out in the woods that only come out at night, so they all cower in hopes of hiding until morning. Creatures—which are all African-American male zombies—simply break into the house and start devouring anyone they can get their hands on.
The plot and characters meander aimlessly, and what could be scary turns funny as illogical decisions are made, and bad dialogue is delivered (for instance, a girl spots two zombies eating her boyfriend and yells “Aah! They’re coming!” then runs back into the house—which is what actually causes the zombies to come).
Dream sequences confuse matters more, and everyone keeps asking “How many of them are out there?” They even have a discussion about what to call the creatures, and someone suggests “The Night Seekers.”
Eventually, the group hides out under a tunnel. Huh? They wake up to find the girl who was acting weird hanging upside down like a bat (maybe the flesh eaters are vampires?), so her boyfriend starts whacking her with a stick, which called for a guffaw from me. Then he starts acting weird. Everyone starts acting weird. I had no idea what the fuck was going on.
I do know that in the end, only the black couple seems to be left unharmed by the black zombies, which probably means something, but then they get into a van to drive away and both scream before the cut to credits. No idea why.
BOMBSHELL BLOODBATH (2014)
I’m going to keep this one short. This movie rox if you grew up on the gritty Euro grindhouse style zombie films of the 1970s. Director Brett Mullen absolutely nails it: the look and feel, the synth score, the desolate locations, the acid trip performances, the bizarro plot, and of course, the scabby nasty zombies.
Basically, a crazy scientist trying to reanimate the dead wife he dug out of her grave creates a horde of rotten zombies in the process of experimenting. After an unexpected clash with a zombie, the scientist begins wearing a duckbill mask and robe and kidnaps a stripper.
Meanwhile, his own daughter gets infected with the serum he created, but she mysteriously does not go full zombie. However, she does crave the fun of killing, so she teams up with her sister to do I have no fucking idea what, but it involves guns and a shootout with law enforcement.
Zombies run amok and deliver some unbelievable gut-munching, as well as pay homage to classic zombie films by ripping a guy in half with their bare hands.
There’s also a devilish little twist involving the dead wife, as well as a bunch of zombie hunting hillbillies. This one’s getting added to my collection for sure.