Halloween 2012 Movie Special Day 4: Fun With Zombies

We want your brains…attention
After a rather strange mix of different genres with the overall topic of possession in the broadest terms, why not go for something old-school? You can’t get any more old-school than the brain-munching Zombies… or can you?

Brainless fun or not
With so many zombie flicks to choose from, it’s quite hard to pick the best… or worst. What makes a zombie movie fall or rise again? The make-up, the gore effects, the tension… or just the general idea of sheer terror that your loved or hated ones come back from the dead?

So close your doors, don’t let the apocalypse get in and be ready for some brain-damaging entertainment.

Zombie Night
(USA 2003, director: David J. Francis)

A nuclear holocaust spawning zombies and a group of survivors fight for their lives against the undead plague.

Whoever thought Troll 2 was one of the worst movies, better think again: this one has terrible acting (zombies are almost better because they don’t open their mouths) with lines delivered as if one watches a school play. Music is awful, camera work non-existent, story and dialogues unbelievably bad… and still in a way it’s also quite entertaining… or could be a warning for future filmmakers not to put everything on camera and sell it.

The German BD also has sound and picture in VHS-quality, and it’s a cut version. Gore effects aren’t that bad (shooting off a leg is still in the cut version, which is quite weird), so this would have been one redeeming feature of one hell of a craptastic zombie flick.

Rating: 3/10

imdb

Buy the BD on
Amazon Germany (1+2 Pack)

Buy the DVD on
Amazon Germany (1+2 Pack)
Amazon USA

Zombie Night II
(USA 2006, director: David J. Francis, original title: Awakening)

For the first time just a quote from IMDB which is already too funny to be bettered: “A new deadly virus is transmitted to humans via mosquito bites and then learns to control their corpses. A bunch of survivors let their guard down once they find shelter and sex in each other.”

Another low budget zombie flick which is only randomly related to the original, it at least tries to tell a story and introduce memorable characters. But like the first one, it fails miserably with very bad acting, camera work and weak pacing.

Interestingly enough there’s still some fun to be had with a rather cool alternative rock/metal soundtrack, even if it doesn’t always fit. It’s obvious what the director tried to achieve: doing his own thing with cheap effects, no talented actors/actresses. A bit of atmosphere is also somewhere there, the only problem is that there are just so many other and better alternatives in the genre.

It’s also funny that apparently the sequel is only available in Germany (cut) on BD or DVD, both with horrible picture quality.

Rating: 4/10

imdb

Buy the BD on
Amazon Germany (1+2 Pack)

Buy the DVD on
Amazon Germany (1+2 Pack)

Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies
(USA 2012, director: Richard Schenkman)

The president with the big hat (and a bigger scythe) goes out against an army of Undead Confederates during the Civil War.

I haven’t seen the big budget Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, so I can’t make any comparisons. Of course it’s Asylum’s way of making some money from the name, of course the effects and setting are all very low budget…but still this is a surprisingly entertaining zombie flick. Who would have expected some good acting in the form of Bill Oberst Jr. (whoever that is) doing his imitation of Abe Lincoln. The other characters are a bit hit-or-miss, but he nails it with his performance.

Same with the splatter effects, and there are A LOT. Sure in some scenes not everything is shown and the blood is CGI, but unlike a lot of other low budget zombie movies (see the ones already discussed), the action scenes are pretty cool and there’s not a lot of downtime.

Too bad the story and characters aren’t that interesting at some points. But again what Asylum did this time is a fun zombie movie which delivers with plenty of blood and guts (the German 18+ certificate is justified, even if the cover artwork is horrible, so better get the UK version ;)).

Rating: 7/10

imdb

Buy the BD on
Amazon Germany
Amazon UK
Amazon USA
Buy the DVD on
Amazon Germany
Amazon UK
Amazon USA

Tokyo Zombie
(Japan 2005, director: Sakichi Satô, original title: Tôkyô zonbi)

After Tokyo’s inhabitants get ride of all their useless junk (and people) on a big pile of rubbish (which becomes a mountain), the undead come back to life, and society gets a bit mad and out of control.

From the director who later did the weirder-than-weird Half Virgin and Zero Man which was shown at the Nippon Connection 2012, this one is not easy to rate. On the one hand it has quite some unique ideas and fun moments, on the other hand, just like his later movie, the director often seems to struggle with the story and characters and only wants to be as weird as possible.

Something which can work in movies like the standout Symbol, but in a zombie movie which has some pretty bad make-up and doesn’t have the best effects, it drags on a bit. Humor is hit-or-miss too: especially at the end there are some scenes which are just unnecessarily bad taste.

All in all not what the boxart wants you to believe (“Japanese Shaun of the Dead”), but still an entertaining zombie comedy which wins because of its weirdness factor, original ideas and memorable scenes (even if not all of them are that great).

There also seems to be a comic book which is rather different from the movie. Might be worth checking out as well.

Rating: 7/10

imdb

Buy the DVD on
Amazon Germany
Amazon UK
Amazon USA

Buy the comic book on
Amazon Germany
Amazon UK
Amazon USA

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About nufafitc

Being an avid gamer, cinemaniac, and bookworm in addition to other things the internet and new media present, I'm also very much into DIY music, rock and pop in particular. Writing short or longer pieces about anything that interests me has always made me happy. As both an editor for German website "Adventure-Treff" and UK website "Future Sack", I like to write reviews and news about recent developments in the movies, games and book industry.
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