The Burning Dead – when the hottest thing about a zombie flick is the original title

A while back I was psyched when a trailer hit the Internet for Volcano Zombies starring Danny Trejo. Couldn’t wait for that piece of trash.

Yesterday I’m in Best Buy and I see a huge pic of Danny Trejo on a DVD in the new release section. The movie is called The Burning Dead. Then I notice the volcano and the zombies beneath him. NO WAY.

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Fuck you Night of the Living Dead for setting a standard for every zombie movie after you to be titled “Blah Blah Blah Blah DEAD.”

Look. I know Lavalantula was announced and you probably feared it was going to steal your title’s thunder (lava?), but if you’re going to make a shitty movie about zombies shooting out of a volcano, call it fucking Volcano Zombies. Jeez.

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Okay. Next. If I were any of the stars of this film, I would be pissed that Danny Trejo is the only Un-undead pictured on the DVD cover. Danny Trejo is in the movie for about 5 minutes tops. Removing his scenes would not change the movie at all. Why? Because Danny is sitting at a campfire telling stories of the evil mountain to some children. Fine. He introduces the movie. And okay. His final scene that closes the film is awesome. But once we’re in the middle of the movie, it’s ridiculous to joltingly cut back to Danny at the fire revealing the backstory one of the characters in the actual plot is already telling.

And seriously. Why put Danny Trejo in a zombie movie if he isn’t going to mutilate any? Danny was made to hack shit to pieces.

Yeah. I know. I’m avoiding the most obvious issue here. Why the hell I would even watch a movie called Volcano Zombies…I mean, The Burning Dead. Because there are fricking zombies shooting out of a volcano like neon green comets, that’s why. And these are gnarly rotten looking zombies harkening back to the Euro zombies of the late 1970s.

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B-movie cutie Thomas Downey (Sorority Party Massacre, Axe Giant: The Wrath of Paul Bunyan) plays a sheriff trying to evacuate his town because of the impending eruption of the volcano. He ends up having to protect one family—a mother, her father, her daughter, and her daughter’s boyfriend—from the volcano and the zombies.

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Here’s the good and bad all rolled into one:

– Loads of deliciously disgusting gut munching is ruined by absurd SyFy Network action scene music. Yes. I’m saying this movie could have a bit more of an authentic zombie flick feel if it used eerie music instead of an adventurous score during the gore. Not to mention, there’s more gut munching than there are zombies. The movie just needed more volcano zombies.

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– To cater to the lowest level of cheap horror tactics, a chick goes into the mountain to take naked pictures. Her boobs spend plenty of time all up in the camera’s business.

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– 1958’s The Blob flowed more naturally than the CGI lava here.

– You’ll get a good SyFy Network giggle when lava is superimposed over people falling backwards in front of a green screen.

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– The zombies drip scalding hot lava spit. Awesome. Needed more of that.

– The boyfriend is a convention-loving horror geek who calls a volcano zombie a volcano zombie when he sees it. Actually, he calls it a lava zombie (another title better than The Burning Dead). He knows all the zombie rules and insists everyone play by them.

Volcano Zombies (I’m officially dropping the “I mean…The Burning Dead”) challenges us with a big theoretical uh-oh; what would you do if all your knowledge about the zombie rules didn’t apply? Shit.

– When the words, “Grandma had a drinking problem” are finally uttered out loud and melancholy music begins playing, our jaws drop. Then we bark, “Who the fuck cares about character development and storyline? It’s a movie about fricking volcano zombies!”

– The legend of the volcano zombies is tied into Donner Pass and the big cannibal party the Donners hosted back in the day.

– Seriously, it’s been almost 30 years since I heard someone say “Don’t sass me” on film. The last time being when Big Daddy said it to Blanche on an episode of The Golden Girls. It was refreshing.

– When the zombies are vanquished, they burst into glitter bombs and get sucked into the sky like the muses in Xanadu.

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And with that, I think I’ve given you more than enough reasons to watch The Burning Dead while pretending it’s actually called Volcano Zombies. And hey. If you wait a few days, it will probably be a big Saturday premiere night movie on SyFy.

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
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