So many zombie films on streaming services, and they all get panned. So what better to do than watch them?
THE REVOLTING DEAD (2003)
The title sequence of The Revolting Dead totally got me in the mood for indie zombie fun. It’s a tour through an animated cemetery with opening credits on tombstones, plus perfect instrumental horror music.
This sleazy, morbid comedy is about a family of morticians that robs graves and exhumes coffins to resell. One grieving chick figures out they’ve done just that to her brother’s grave, so she casts a spell to bring the bodies they’ve messed with back for revenge!
A majority of The Revolting Dead focuses on the murderous antics of the mortician family. After all, more dead bodies means more business (and more zombies later). There’s something oddly endearing about this macabre family of weirdos. Plus, there’s lots of sex and boobs to add nothing to the plot. It’s something we sadly just don’t see enough of in horror these days.
Not unlike Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things, it’s not until the last 20 minutes or so of the film that the zombies come on full force. It has such a great old school zombie film vibe, and I wish it had begun a bit earlier and lasted longer. Adding to the hokey retro feel, the witch sister starts tossing zombies through the air with laser finger magic special effects right out of 1983.
If you like low-budget, campy crap, The Revolting Dead is worth a look. The chick who plays the uptight family matriarch is especially perfect with her comic skills and line delivery. Love her.
Of course, I also love b-horror movie cutie Aaron Gaffey (Jackhammer, Joshua, My Demon Within, Doomed). He spends a majority of the film shirtless, showing off his furry chest.
A KILLING STRAIN (2010)
When you’re in the mood for a tried and true zombie plot—a bunch of everyday people trapped in a farmhouse during a zombie outbreak—A Killing Strain is a good way to go. While a majority of the film relies on standard zombie conventions, there are some standout moments.
The entire sequence that leads up to the cute leading man reaching the farmhouse is wickedly thrilling. And it begins in a fricking cornfield. Zombies in a cornfield. Nightmare.
The climax, involving the group running through the woods at night, is also intense. Plus, there’s a well-done scene involving the slow and painful transformation of a human into a zombie.
Amazingly, A Killing Strain never relies on any super gory gut munching, but the zombies are fast and terrifying. In an attempt to give the standard plot of survivors in a farmhouse a twist, the house proves to have a very specific connection to the outbreak. However, this “unique” plot point is too ridiculously coincidental and adds nothing to the film.
POP PUNK ZOMBIES (2011)
It’s the new world order. Zombies are rounded up and put to work…as members of a pop punk band called The Vicious Vegans! Two buddies head to the local club to check them out. But there’s a protest group that’s fighting mad because the zombies get little pay and no healthcare—and are stealing all the jobs from the living! So the protestors come up with a genius plot to set the zombies free on the club goers!
Talk about an indie with loads of spirit. The movie’s low budget may be really obvious (it even has a washed out, almost black and white shot-on-video look), but that’s what gives it its charm.
There’s no CGI, just good old real fake gore. Plus, the cast is totally into it and is exceptionally good at comic timing…something you don’t find often in this kind of film. It’s pretty much a zombedy romp with Scooby Doo sensibilities—and a nonstop pop punk soundtrack—that concludes with loads of delicious melting zombie action.
BATTLE OF THE UNDEAD (aka: Cannon Fodder) (2013)
Love the title Cannon Fodder, but clearly it doesn’t speak to this being a zombie movie, so the streaming title is Battle of the Undead. This zombie flick comes to us from Israel. I must give it credit (for something); the English dubbing is really good.
A military group is sent to Lebanon to capture a terrorist organization that turns out to be an army of zombies. Nothing about this movie grabbed me. For starters, it is super heavy-handed with political messaging. It’s also dragged down by excessive racist dialogue between characters.
Meanwhile, these gun-toting military men are more than equipped to take on the undead, which takes out any sense of fear or concern for the (already unlikable) characters. They also have a very clear mission to accomplish, so I guess you could say the entire plot is well “coordinated.”
The zombies are cool enough, but not even they help make Cannon Fodder any more compelling. The action (it’s all zombie action, not zombie horror) is on par with any zombie film made for the SyFy channel, complete with CGI blood, gore, and explosions. At least we get some graphic scenes of gut munching.
In a bizarre twist, this film that takes itself very seriously ends with an odd talk show spoof segment about zombies and Jews during the closing credits.
With The Walking Dead covering pretty much every aspect of social and personal challenges faced by people during a zombie apocalypse, it’s pretty much pointless for filmmakers to try to cover new ground. Maybe that’s why Plague went for the option of creating a film with absolutely no worthwhile characters. Everyone proves to be a monster in a movie that actually has very few literal monsters. Don’t expect much in the way of zombie thrills here.
When a group of survivors reconvenes after an attack in which one woman’s husband went missing, she is deserted because she’s the only one who wants to wait to see if he’ll return. He finally does return, which is hard to believe, because he has almost less skills than she does at coping with a zombie apocalypse. They fail to take even the most obvious precautions, such as not screaming as means of avoiding alerting zombies outside your shelter, or opening a door blindly without first checking to make sure there’s no zombie outside.
Luckily, another dude comes along and joins them—but he just turns out to be an evil prick. Play a game of eeny, meeny, miny, mo to guess which of the three will make it to the end of the film.
Any upside to Plague? Yeah. It features one of the best visuals ever of a human head being blown away.