While I was eating Thanksgiving dinner, I watched zombies eating brains…and legs…and thighs… So let’s see how this 6-movie marathon turned out for me.
ZOMBIE MASSACRE 2: REICH OF THE DEAD (2015)
Considering the first film, also known as Apocalypse Z, was more like a Resident Evil video game than the actual movie franchise based on the games, with army guys running around shooting up zombies and other mutations, it’s hard to believe this sequel takes itself so seriously. I mean, the first film even ended with a booblicious poolside zombie massacre.
Taking place during World War II, Zombie Massacre 2 might as well be Outpost 4. It pretty much borrows that franchise’s plot anyway.
The difference is, this one is so heavy on the dialogue and war stuff that it doesn’t often feel much like a zombie film. And as intense as the zombies that do bother to show up are, there are so few of them and they are so easily mowed down with heavy artillery that I never quite felt the threat was as terrifying as the lead character made it seem.
He eventually saves a woman who helps him find the hospital from which the zombie outbreak stems. The journey to the conclusion heads into even more cliché territory, especially if you’ve played all the Resident Evil games, proving that sometimes a good zombie film is about more than just a few cool looking zombies.
AFTER THE DAWN (2012)
I’ll be very clear about this one – while there are a couple of high-intensity scenes with fast moving zombies plus quick, shaky, choppy editing, this movie is not here to scratch your zombie itch.
After The Dawn is a moody, stark film about one lone woman after the apocalypse who hopes to find the loved ones she’s been separated from.
She connects with a boy, but spends most of the movie thinking in flashback form to her relationships with her brother and her boyfriend.
As far as the few zombie scenes go, the zombies kind of look like rednecks with a bunch of veins on their faces running to a lynching of the lone black trans atheist in Trump’s America. They also make wildcat sounds. Seriously, they make wildcat sounds.
The film take great care with its long homage monologue to Romero and Night of the Living Dead in a movie theater.
But the sole purpose seems to be to get to the big twist/reveal at the end, which is meant to have a much deeper, thought-provoking impact than the usual zombie movie. Does it? Depends on how many zombies films you’ve seen in your life, I guess.
E-19 VIRUS (2017)
E-19 Virus attempts a sci-fi plot that’s much loftier than its budget and production values—the dialogue and scenes between all the scientists in the film are pretty bad—but I have to admit, what saves it for me are the scene with the kids. Yes, the kids carry this film.
The plot is so fantastical that it’s easy to mock it, but the truth is, if this idea came from Steven Spielberg film and had millions of dollars behind it, it would be a huge success. 3 kids in a town are quickly exposed to the realization that their friends and family have become flesh eating zombies.
A scientist offers them a way to stay alive; he’ll inject them with a serum that will make them immune to the zombie infection, but in exchange they must transport a vaccine to a safe house.
Now here’s where shit gets weird. The stuff they get injected with not only gives them various super abilities, but it also gives them the power to teleport! So they spend the entire movie kicking zombie ASS as they travel to the safe house (why don’t they just teleport there?).
Oddly, the zombies are a blend of cop out “makeup” consisting of people simply smeared with fake blood, and some super gnarly rotting faces.
And the teleporting effects look like old school 1980s state of the art technology. But the three boys really do have a fricking blast playing the heroes as they bash out the brains of endless waves of the undead, and I found that aspect ridiculously entertaining.
The title tells you everything you need to know; it’s a zombie anthology. There’s only one thing I hated about this movie—Tiffany Shepis in the wraparound, in which she plays herself being kidnapped by some dude who forces her to watch zombie films. Not because we only get the horror queen in the wraparound…because we get her at all.
This is the only time I’ve ever despised Shepis in a movie. She screams, curses, and whines shrilly the entire time. It’s one of those moments when a female’s behavior makes me think, “I am so fucking glad I’m gay and don’t have to deal with that shit every day of my life.” Kind of like every time I watch any episode of The Real Housewives.
And speaking of being gay, as a gay guy who runs a gay horror site for gay guys, I can tell you gay guys love Tiffany. I can also tell you Tiffany knows that. So I have to say, it’s beyond my comprehension that most of Tiffany’s dialogue consists of anti-gay slurs. Yes, I know she didn’t write the dialogue, but here’s the thing. Tiffany pretty much has all the power when some indie director wants her to be in his movie to add some horror cred to it. Tiffany is playing herself in this movie. Tiffany can tell the director, “I’m not saying any of this. I’ll use every other expletive in the book, but not this anti-gay shit, because this is supposed to be stuff coming from the actual me, and the gays love me.” Still love you, Tiff, but you need to strap one on – one that includes a realistic set of big balls – when it comes to moments like this in your career.
As for the fucker who wrote all that brilliant dialogue, I’m going to show just how cool a fucking faggot I am by actually being totally objective and pretty much praising the rest of this damn movie despite the anti-gay shit.
1st story – Specifically set in 1970, this looks right out of Leatherface territory, down to a bunch of hippies in a van that breaks down on a deserted road.
They have a sizzling hot orgy as rotten zombies from hell crawl out of a nearby lake…and the screaming and eating begin. The overused grindhouse effects make it feel like you’re watching on old VHS copy of Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things.
A Slinky even plays a prominent part in the story, so warm childhood memories came flooding back. Loved this one.
2nd story – This one has Christmas spirit, humor, gore, and unexpected twists. A dude gets the worst case of athlete’s foot ever in the gym shower, and soon craves raw meat.
When his girlfriend comes home one night to discover him eating the hot bimbo next door, things don’t go as expected. Good tidings of fear.
3rd story –It’s a sleazy, campy, gory sausagefest. Guys having a bachelor party are shocked when a smelly skank whore shows up at their door…but some of the guys are really turned on.
As she begins to take them into a bedroom one after the other, the guys conclude it’s some sort of bizarre kinky zombie fetish act.
Then things start to get really disgusting. One guy even makes a drug-induced confession about the great sex he had with a priest! Loved this one.
You heard right. I fricking loved every story in this piece of indie trash. I need this to hit DVD so I can add it to my collection ASAP.
THE GATEKEEPER (2008)
The Gatekeeper captures the vibe of late 1970s Euro zombie films in all its cheesiness. Its biggest issue is that it takes too long to get going.
There’s basically a 3-way car accident on a desolate road, and the various groups of people take cover in a small building they discover nearby.
One couple goes off to get help, and within minutes some gnarly-assed, rotten as hell, throwback awesome zombies attack.
They also kind of screech like wildcats. What’s with the zombie movies with zom-cheetahs?
Anyway, the group plots several ways to get out of their predicament, which gives us both occasional zombie confrontations and loads of downtime for a majority of the film, although there are some funny parts, some of them intentional, others funny based on sloppy comic timing. Luckily, it totally works in the film’s favor.
Meanwhile, one of the men seems to know all the answers about the zombies. And his story is a doozy about a gatekeeper responsible for giving the zombies the hit they need to keep them dormant in the mines from which they’re coming.
I’d say forget the hokey storyline, but there’s actually a twist to it that I kind of liked. Plus, the climax is an old school zombie party, with dark woods accosted by exaggerated lighting and smoke machines as the cast struggles to fight its way out of the predicament.
THE BOG CREATURES (2003)
The Bog Creatures is the perfect film to pair with The Gatekeeper if you’re looking for a double feature throwback to late 1970s zombie flix.
Basically see all my thoughts on that film above, just change the storyline to college kids sent by their college professor to an old castle to excavate bodies buried in a bog nearby. Legend has it those bodies were treated in a way that would keep them from truly dying…
The kids are cute and likable and there are some funny moments, including one guy eating a pair of panties he was checking out when the girl they belong to catches him in her tent.
But outdoing that is a bi girl who decides she’s going to teach a straight boy how to let go of his societal constraints and open his mind to sex with other guys…by letting him imagine that she’s a guy.
As the 1970s rotten zombie/smoke machine/dramatic lighting kicks in near the end, Debbie Rochon shows up to give us a good dose of scream queen fun.
This one instantly gets added to my DVD collection.