PRIME TIME: three kinds of monster hunters

Zombie-killing stoners, vampire slayers, and a ghost terrorizing a masked psycho. Three very different films…so which was my fave?

BONG OF THE LIVING DEAD (2017)

I’ve never been stoned, but if this stoner zomcom is any indication of how mellow and boring it makes you, I’m glad.

I can never understand how movies that seem to have all the potential in the world get made and no one along the way admits that it just isn’t working.

The plot is simple. A group of stoners, friends since childhood, hangs out in a house and occasionally fights zombies.

There’s promise at first. We meet them, they work at a video store, there’s some sex. Then they start with the excessive meta talk about zombies and it begins falling apart.

You would think an hour of mostly talk would help build their characters, but not even interspersed clips of them playing together as children creates the nostalgia this seems to be going for. Everything that could have played a part in the fun of the movie feels underplayed and irrelevant, from the video store to the pot. Although, I’m all about irrelevant man ass, which I freeze-framed for me…uh…you.

With only twenty minutes left, there’s finally zombie action. It actually feels jarring because I simply wasn’t prepared for a sudden burst of energy complete with raucous metal music and a weapon preparation montage.

On the bright side, we get to stare at cutie Dan Nye of The Legend of Wasco and Harvest Lake for most of the movie.

RED SPRING (2017)

The Director of Red Spring also stars in it, and I’ll give him props for a valiant effort. The film is competently made with plenty of character development, varying locations, and car chase scenes.

The real issue here is that there simply isn’t anything new. Whether the plague is vampires or zombies, these films about a group of survivors existing in the aftermath are all exactly the same. For instance, this one is like The Walking Dead meets I Am Legend.

The survivors have a camp. There are certain times when they can go scavenge for supplies. They welcome a new survivor into the fold. One of the characters is injured and becomes incapacitated for the remainder of the film. The camp is infiltrated. They must battle the baddies and find an escape route. They inevitably hope to get to a boat. The group is slowly whittled down to just a few main characters.

The only thing that can make these films stand out is the monster design…and unfortunately they are not the critters shown in the artwork. The vamps are simply people in white foundation with black raccoon circles around the eyes.

COLD MOON (2016)

I became a fan of Griff Furst from the moment I saw him as the lead in Dead Men Walking, one of my favorite zombie prison films. He has clearly been paying attention while working in the industry over the years, because Cold Moon is such a tightly crafted, mixed subgenre film. Furst also wrote the film, which is based on a novel by the writer of Beetlejuice and The Nightmare Before Christmas.

The small town tone, the characters, the masked killer aspects, and the otherworldly creeps that terrorize one of the characters all bring to mind the video game Deadly Premonition.

Cold Moon takes place in 1989, but in this small town, it feels like the 1950s. A killer in a black mask is on the loose, and when bodies start turning up , leading the sheriff into an investigation. But be warned…the killer is mostly no secret to the audience.

This is a film about a ghost girl and other supernatural creeps terrorizing the killer, including one that I swear is a nod to Beetlejuice.

Movies with the bad guy being tormented are usually a turnoff for me, but the bike-less, cycling ghost girl that floats around town is all this movie needed, because it’s freaky as hell.

As a bonus, the cast is great, including plenty of horror alum, like Christopher Lloyd, Josh Stewart (The Collector movies), Candy Clark – a horror queen since the 80s, and Robbie Kay of Blood Fest.

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at www.facebook.com/BoysBearsandScares.
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