From the start Return in Red is clearly a B-film Z-film taking place in somewhere rural-America. While the graphic quality looks B and the actors seem like unknowns, it also seems that everyone knows what they’re doing. It’s as though you’re watching a reality period piece from the late-1980s, but shot with the same technology of the time … maybe early 90s.
Why isn’t there anything decent to eat in my kitchen? … Oh yeah, because I need to go to the grocery store. My point is there are impressive aspects to this film, but it didn’t adequately hold my attention. I rate it Yellow Puss.
The Return of the Living Dead III was neither a terrible or great Zombie movie, so I rate it Yellow Puss. But first, what happened…
A teen uses an Army chemical to revive his dead girlfriend after a motorcycle accident.
Okay, it was a little more complex than that. Government scientists are trying to use the 2-4-5 Trioxin substance from previous films to re-animate the dead for military use. Curt, the teenage son of the program director, comes to learn of the process. Later he and his girlfriend, Julie, get into an accident while riding his motorcycle — during which she dies. Grief-stricken, Curt uses some Trioxin to bring Julie back to life. He then helps Julie deal with her new existence as military agents and local gang members try to track them down — and Julie becomes … Hungry for BRAINS.
Trust us, we’re from the government.
ROTLD3 bears little resemblance to its predecessors — both good and bad. It drops the comedy in the previous films, replacing it with horror, science fiction, and romance. The Trioxin substance is carried over, but with different effects than in the previous films. These zombies infect their victims by biting them whereas in the previous films only exposure to Trioxin (as a gas or in exposed water) could turn a corpse into a zombie.
Remember at the beginning of this post where I wrote that I viewed this as neither a terrible or great Zombie movie? It was campy, it was made for around $2M and flopped at the US box office making only $54,207, and much of the delivery could have been better timed.
To its credit however…. the film offered a few a few new things to me from zombie films.
If you have read my other posts you know that I generally dislike when Z-films make cognizant zombies. In ROTLD III the film presents a reasonable way that a zombie could have though, could have awareness, and could speak.
One of the main characters — Julie, played by Mindy Clarke or better known as Melinda Clarke — becomes the zombie, and the story follows her experience. Instead of an anonymous mass of zombies being a looming threatening presence that occasionally comes around to move the story along, this zombie is always present and is not exactly the ‘evil’ in the mix of the story. There are other zombie films I am aware of that follow a main-character zombie, however I have not yet seen one of these.
The zombie is female and remains (well, more or less) attractive. She has awareness of her past and present emotions, and that she has started having problems with sensing any sensation when she touches something. In her confusion she begins to modify her body with first small and then large piercings (which was all the rage yet around that time) which ultimately she can use as weapons.
Also if you have read my other posts you know that I make commentary on gratuitous displays of women’s’ breasts. Let’s be clear on something here …. it’s not that I mind or dislike women’s breasts — being a heterosexual male, I prefer them. Gratuitous display of women’s breasts are common in zombie films BECAUSE IT TENDS TO HELP SELL TICKETS in a genre that is often low-budget and not as attractive to ticket-buying audience members. Seeing a lot of these films, I’ve seen a lot of these breasts, and it just gets old — okay?!? That said….
In ROTLD III you see Julie/Melinda Clarke’s 24 year-old human and zombie breasts. Rare, if ever, have I seen female zombie breasts. As zombies go, they weren’t disgusting. As humans go …. uh, yeah, better still. (And if you REALLY need to see Julie/Melinda Clarke’s zombie breasts, FINE, here ya go … ya wanker.)
Now that that’s over with…
Now, you might be asking yourself “Who is Melinda Clarke?” and/or “Why is BagpiperDon drawing so much attention to this chick?!?” The answer to that is simple — she may be the only person from this film who made it ANYWHERE in the TV/film industry. Quite frankly, I didn’t recognize her in this ROTLD3. I know her from a number of things — I’ve seen her, recognized her, but I’ve never known who she is. I know Melinda Clarke from the 2002/03 Firefly TV series as Nandi “Heart of Gold”. I’ve seen her as Lady Heather in CSI. Any time I’ve seen her she’s played stable-footed woman who is a palpable presence.
I found “Severed: Forest of the Dead” to be Green Ooze most of the way through turning to Yellow Puss around the end.
…Summary… In a remote forest a genetic experiment has gone wrong. Loggers and protesters are forced to band together after tree sap incident turns the locals into bloodthirsty zombies.
What follows is a review I wrote while watching the film….
It appears that Severed: Forest of the Dead has sufficient money behind it, and not stars but instead budding actors who I have previously seen laying the ground-work for their careers. From what I have read and can tell so far, in this film once again something that people have been doing scientifically had an unforeseen accidental consequence that upon a 1 in 100 chance occurred and started causing people to turn into zombies. The film seems to have good visual quality and works suspense and horror — at the moment I’m only 20 minutes in but it looks to be a good one.
– UPDATE –
I am now around the last fifth of Severed and it is somewhat dragging. The story-line goes into ideas that do not get completed … as though the editor started to loose their attention to detail or cut out part of a scene that could have been mostly or completely cut.
….Okay…. and I just finished the film — maybe I missed something since I was working on a small project while watching, but the film ended on a bit of a nothing note. Still, it’s considerably better than a lot of the zombie films I have seen to date. I would say watch it so long as you know the piece stumbles at the end and has an incomplete wrap.
Severed: Forest of the Dead is a Canadian zombie horror film directed by Carl Bessai. If you have seen enough other material made in Maplewood you will probably recognize…
What’s worse than that is that it clearly had a chunk of money behind it — not loads, but more money than many zombie films — which in my mind was money that could have been split to make at least 2 other cleverly-made lower budget better films.
The Core Problem — No Story
My impression of Survival of the Dead is that someone — maybe their name was George — had a stack of admittedly clever zombie gags written down and sitting in a pile. This person wanted to use these in a film, but didn’t otherwise know how to pull it off — which frankly is what they should have done and just left well enough alone. However, they got together with their buddies — possibly there were a few beers in the room, possibly a few too many — and they had a brainstorming session that amounted to… “Okay, we’ll use the military ’cause that always flies in zombie films — oh, and to help it sell, everything Irish is popular right now, so let’s throw that in too!” Having concocted a shoddy story-line they got their funding and started rolling.
My guess is that’s how Survival Of The Dead got its start. But what, no gratuitous possibly-future-famous Z-film breasts to further sell this potboiler?!? I like bad film, but in this case I would prefer that whoever green-lighted this project read my review: don’t waste your company’s money and don’t waste the audience’s time.
The Story — Lacking Though It May Be
Zombies have taken over the world. A ragtag band of soldiers roams the countryside to scavenging to survive. The unit is intrigued when they hear of a safe haven on an island off the coast of North America. Expecting to find a paradise, they instead find the island is torn apart by a wannabe Hatfield–McCoy family feud. One family wants to exterminate the zombies while the other thinks everyone can peacefully coexists with their undead relatives hoping for a cure to return their relatives back to their human state.
So far as I’m aware, The Quick And The Undead is one of two movies that combine the themes of zombies and cowboys — the other one being Undead or Alive (2007), which is a much better film. As for this one…
A viral outbreak has turned three quarters of the world population into the walking dead. In the old west, bounty hunters are humanity’s only salvation.
So I’m watching The Quick And The Undead while writing this review. I’ll be finished in about an hour, and I predict I’m going to say two things:
1) It’s impressive what a person can do with their friends as “actors”, a $20 digital video camera from a liquidator store, a used Macintosh, and a few spare weekends. But who knows, maybe there’s someone in this before they got famous. Heck, Marisa Tomei had a no-nothing part in The Toxic Avenger — it wasn’t seen until the release of the director’s cut was released 20-odd years later, but look where she got.
. . . AND . . .
2) I’m glad I watched The Quick And The Undead before Undead or Alive. The Quick And the Undead would probably be a bigger roach to watch following Undead or Alive.
So how did this gem come to be?
Written, directed, and acted by people you’ve never heard of with a movie poster that looks like an angry cowboy monkey. The main character is based on (read “ripped-off”) Clint Eastwood and the characters he played in westerns. Yep, it’s a turd — I rate “The Quick and the Undead” Red Blood and it made my List Of Zombie Films To AVOID.
When a soldier on the run from the Union Army (James Denton) and a cowboy with a broken heart (Chris Kattan) rob the corrupt sheriff of an old west town, they have no idea that a plague of zombies is sweeping the country, or that Geronimo‘s sexy niece (Navi Rawat) may be their only hope of survival.
This film was fun — not necessarily a good film but it was decently made and fun to watch. A comedic zombie film that takes place in the old west … yeah, that sounds different!
So now that I’ve seen it following Quick & the Dead, what do I have to say…?
1) I was right, Undead or Alive is considerably better than Quick & the Dead and I’m extraordinarily glad I saw Q&tDead prior to Undead or Alive.
. . . AND . . .
2)Navi Rawat somewhat scantily clad in buckskins acting as a vindictive Native American woman — what more needs to be said abut watching this film?!? I’m not a male chauvinist, I’m just a healthy heterosexual man and I know what I like. Navi, if you’re reading this, if you feel as so motivated please click on my Contact page.
(PSST! By the way, Navi Rawat is East Indian and German in descent, not Native American — chalk this casting up to the brilliance of HolloWood. Oh, and in writing this review I learned that “chauvinism” doesn’t mean what we’ve come to associate it as meaning — it actually more or less means “patriotic” — you might benefit from studying up on it yourself.)
Remember, in the old west “Guns don’t kill people. Zombies kill people.” …. or at least that was the film’s tagline.
I’m not sure if this is a Z-film. Mashing together a few online summations of this film (mostly from IMDB) consists of …
The year is 2015. Overpopulation and famine have plunged our planet into chaos. One desperate survivor — an enigmatic man — journeys through this apocalyptic world hunted and pursued by hordes of rage-crazed zombies.
Frankly, that sounds like a pretty cool film — not to mention that we’ve seemed to survive that 2015 issue — but my perception was …. different.
In some respects The Vanguard seems to be a psychological abstract art-house film with black comedy bits — not to mention the presence of humans who have been medicated by some controlling corporation which turns them into mindless wondering killers, which strikes me as a possible different approach to ZOMBIES.
Mind you, the zombies are on the peripheral to the story and they look like they were created using left-over make-up from either of the Evil Dead films. And what the heck the story of the film has to do with its cool name …. I haven’t a clue!
Frankly, this looks like another DIY flick. Looking at IMDB …. it’s written and directed by Matthew Hope, it’s classified as a low budget film … it appears to have been acted using friends and volunteers, and possibly assembled on a used iMac — but this was well done. I liked it and I’m happy having seen it only once.
This film should be watched at very least because it’s directed by two people with the names Wolf Wolff and Ohmuthi.
From what I can tell it’s a German Z-film made for American audiences. It looks & feels a bit like 28 Days Later where an alternate version of the avian flu transmits a zombievirus. Add to the mix Alfred Hitchcock‘s classic “The Birds” — and don’t forget the collegeslasher film element, which of course means we also see Z-film breasts — but I gotta hand it to Wolf Wolff and Ohmuthi, what is displayed isn’t gratuitous as with most Z-films. The display of gratuitous Z-film breasts is tastefully done, but don’t watch this with your kids or your parents … or my parents.
Oh, and how about this — NO JOURNEY — even though the main charactres are at the epicenter, they feel that where they’re at is the best place to be. Also, I gotta like the zombie cop who still eats doughnuts even though he’s undead, and I dig the recording of the grandfather’s voice that reminds me of The Evil Dead I & II. The birds in “The Birds” were better than the digital birds appeared often enough in this film … which is saying something because I’ve never seen all of “The Birds“.
You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and at the end of the film you might be encouraged to be a better person. It’s amusing to think that this could be another occurrence that’s part of the 28 Days Later outbreak, although they say in the film that it isn’t.
If you enjoy this film, be sure to also catch Hot Fuzz (also with Nick Frost) and probably Run Fat Boy Run too — but I’d skip Big Nothing if you’ve seen Fat Boy and think that something else with Simon Pegg and David Schwimmer is guaranteed to be good.
I would have enjoyed this film had I not enjoyed it simply because Billy Connolly played the leading zombie.
Oh yeah, zombies in the fifties with a cute fun story line where zombies are controlled and function as servants for humans and the main charactres have reckonings in their lives about love and happiness — good fun.
I watched it the second time with my parents — how often do I say that about these films, huh? It might be okay for kids too with parental supervision.