Tag Archives: zombies

Return of the Living Dead III, The (1993)

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.

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.

Yes, Ms. Nandi!

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….

Ms. Nandi says DON’T MESS WITH MS. NANDI OR HER PEOPLE!!!

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.)

She played a dead chick in Firefly “Heart Of Gold” too

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 ROTLD III.  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.

The Return of the Living Dead III (1993) – IMDbWikipedia, Rotten Tomatoes, and Zombie.Wikia.com

Survival of the Dead (2009)

Survival of the Dead is garbage – I rate it Red Blood.  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.

My impression is that someone had a stack of admittedly clever zombie gags they wanted to get them in a film, but didn’t otherwise know how to pull it off — which at that they should have just left well enough alone … however, they got their funding and concocted a shoddy story-line that developed upon saying “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!”

Close but … NOPE!

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 who-ever green-lighted this project read my review:  don’t waste your company’s money and don’t waste our time.

This isn’t what it looks like…

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 — one family wants to exterminate the zombies while the other peacefully coexists with their undead relatives hoping for a cure to return their relatives back to their human state.

This turd is directed by George A. Romero.  At least you’ll recognize Kenneth Welsh.

Survival of the Dead (2009) – IMDbWikipedia, but skip those and go directly to Rotten Tomatoes

The Vanguard (2008)

Yellow Puss

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.

The Vanguard (2008) – IMDbWikipedia, and Rotten Tomatoes

Beast Within (AKA Virus Undead) (2008)

Green Ooze – BagpiperDon’s +/- Top 10

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 zombie virus.  Add to the mix Alfred Hitchcock‘s classic “The Birds” — and don’t forget the college slasher 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“.

Beast Within AKA Virus Undead – IMDB and Wikipedia

Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Green Ooze – BagpiperDon’s +/- Top 10

This film is fun — period.

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.

Shaun of the Dead – IMDB

Fido (2006)

Green Ooze – BagpiperDon’s +/- Top 10

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.

Fido at IMDB and Wikipedia

The Girl With All The Gifts (2016)

If you found this movie poster disturbing, it’s supposed to be. Good for you, blue ribbon!

This film immediately starts the viewers on question marks…

A 10 year-old girl – Melanie – wakes in the cell of a seemingly military controlled facility, which you cannot tell if it is possibly underground.  She rises from her bunk, dresses in a set of faded red sweats, then voluntarily sits in a wheelchair.  Moments after two soldiers enter her cell at gunpoint to strap her arms, legs, and head to the chair, followed by rolling her in to a classroom with similarly secure children.

This could have helped me to get through some of my college classes…

As class begins you find that all of these kids are very intelligent … and seemingly happy … but soon you find out why these children are so closely controlled.

In a post-apocalyptic dystopian future, society has broken down after a fungal disease has infected and all but destroyed humankind, turning its victims into flesh-eating “hungries” – fast moving, mindless, and ravenous zombies.  They are capable of running over long distances, and quickly transferring the infection through their bites.

RadioTimes.com said that The Girl With All The Gifts is “The best zombie movie since 28 Days Later” – and I’m inclined to agree!
The bar for zombie films Has Been RAISED.

You know when you hear an album that’s so good you play it twice in a row?  Have you ever had that with a movie?  That was this film for me — I watched it back to back!

This is the most unique and original Z-film I have seen since 28 Days Later and World War ZBRILLIANTLY acted by Glenn Close (yes, six time Academy Award-nominated actress Glenn Close is in a zombie film), Gemma Arterton, Paddy Considine, and introducing and staring as the little girl Sennia Nanua.  What is it about Brits and Z-movies – The Girl With All The Gifts is SPECTACULAR!  And if Sennia keeps acting like this … she’s going to go FAR — what a treat to see such a future talent!

By the way, this was directed by Colm McCarthy, one and the same as Peaky Blinders — unbelievably for £4 million, which is about $5 million.  Filming lasted seven weeks in The West Midlands, taking place in Birmingham city centre, Cannock ChaseDudley and Stoke-on-Trent.   Aerial views of a deserted London were filmed with drones in the abandoned Ukrainian town of Pripyat, which has been uninhabited since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

Is this film in my BagpiperDon’s +/- Top 10 list…?
OH YEAH!

The Girl With All The Gifts – IMDb, Wikipedia, and Rotten Tomatoes

The original science-fiction novel, The Girl With All The Gifts, is by M.R. Carey.  Published in June 2014 by Orbit Books, it based on his 2013 Edgar Award nominated short story “Iphigenia In Aulis“.

28 Days Later – IMDB and Wikipedia

And now, every e-thing you want about Pripyat…

The Return of The Living Dead (1985)

Okay, here’s the crazy thing about The Return of The Living Dead from 1985… I’d rate it as a Yellow Puss film, and while it’s kind of a cruddy film I’d also have to say that as zombie films go it’s kind of an important film of the genre.  Crazy, huh?!?

 

So here’s the gist…

 

Fifteen years ago a medical supply warehouse was contracted by the military to store some specialized barrels containing cadavers preserved in an experimental gas.  While two employees are in the basement — a young buck new hire and an old pro — they accidentally release vapors from one of the barrels which reanimates the corpse into a flesh-eating zombie.  After fighting off the zombie, they illicit help cremating the body at the mortuary across the street.  As smoke and ashes are expelled through the chimney, rain begins to fall outside … onto the cemetery … where a group of punk rockers (friends of the warehouse new-hire) are screwing around and killing some time.

From here the film turns into something not often seen in a zombie film….  MANY zombie films have what I call ‘The Journey’ — the human survivors have to get from Point-A to Point-B for one reason or another.  They can survive in the other location, the cure for the outbreak is at Point-B, whatever the reason they have to travel from one place to another usually failing to work together, occasionally being attacked by zombies to move the story along, and the survivor group loses its numbers through attrition. This doesn’t have The Journey.  In place of that, the punks and the professionals retreat into the warehouse and mortuary to try and stave off the attacking zombies.  Instead of a journey story line this film works in a siege setting, where there is B-film corny-ness and constant action.

Without giving anything more away, I’d like to touch on why this film is important…  Simply, it stands as an icon of the genre.  For a budget of $4M it was actually decently made in that it actually still looks pretty good.  I’ve seen The Return of The Living Dead II (1988) recently, and comparatively it was poorly made.  The original also has two of the biggest icons of the Z-film genre…

WHAT — you didn’t think I was going to post a graphic picture did you?!?! That’s a different website — look through your search history…

The Return of The Living Dead quite frankly has The Most Iconic Zombie Film Boobs … or in this case a completely naked dancing woman — delivered by scream queen Linnea Quigley playing a punk rocker girl named Trash dancing naked at the cemetery and selling loads of tickets at the box-office.  DO NOT WATCH THIS FILM WITH YOUR KIDS … or your parents.

Remember that cadaver in the experimental barrel I mentioned above?  The zombie that comes out of it is known within the zombie genera as “Tar Man” and made a distinct play on the zombie desire in saying “BRAINS!

Okay, now, things I’m not so good with from this film…

The zombies are fast moving — I’m cool with that. The zombies are cognizant, and 90 times out of 10 I’m not cool with that. In this film they can also talk and problem solve …. I’m not just talking about beating their way through doors and windows, I mean they can open doors, apply tools to barricades, it just doesn’t work for me…. But It Could Have…

The ‘How’ part of the zombies being cognizant wasn’t developed. Watching the film, I saw how this could have been done within the story but I’m not going to take the time to propose this about a decades-old film because what’s the point? I have better things to do. Seriously, were I to put that time and thought into this film I’d be no better than the people that claim to be major Star Wars fans and yet spend LOADS of time complaining about how wrong and poorly-done Star Wars is.

The way the film ends it should have created an unstoppable world zombie outbreak. The Part-2 film doesn’t start based off the ending of this film but it does draw from the military chemical barrels — but at least they did bring Tar Man (or another Tar Man) back onto the screen.

The Return of the Living Dead IMDbWikipedia, and Rotten Tomatoes

Warm Bodies (2013)

Green Ooze
(This review is in unfinished note form … deal with it.)

I’ve been aware of a few Z-films out there told from the perspective of a zombie and this was the first I viewed … fortunately it was gentle with me.

The beginning of the film — the opening slacker zombie monologue — had a good/funny commentary on modern life. From the set-up of the film I could see that this flick offered a few new ideas — and I’m pleased when I see that within the zombie-genre.

This is a story of when zombie boy meets, er, doesn’t eat girl. When a teen zombie boy meets a scavenging teen girl his own age and finds himself attracted to her his heart begins to beat again, which starts to bring him back to life.

And these would be boneys

Humans as usual are survivors. There are two generations of zombies — corpses and boneys. Corpses have limited thought & speech capacity, along with all the usual hunger for flesh of the living. Over time corpses degenerate into boneys — absolute thoughtless, hunger-driven creatures comprised of hardly more than bones. If a corpse eats the brains of a human that corpse gains the memories of the person they ate; if they only eat some of their flesh and leave their brains intact that human will become a corpse. Boneys go after anything with a heartbeat. When the main zombie character — a corpse-boy named R — falls in love with a teen human girl, Julie, R’s heart starts to beat again and he starts to return to being human. R’s love begins to cure his zombieness, and this starts a movement with the other corpses. This is a problem as it also makes them a target for the boneys.

This film is fun because it give things everyone can identify with — teen angst & self doubt, judgment & acceptance, the haves & have-nots, overcoming our prejudices, trying new things, and falling in love. Oh, did I mention that this film draws from Romeo and Juliet (note “R & Julie“).

The wall in the film seems to be a symbol, a metaphor — figurative walls between people

I like that in the meeting between this corpse-boy and human girl they build a friendship, familiarity, and in time interest, which suggests the lost romantic practice of courting — in this case because of the distance they must keep, the living/dead barrier between them

The music selection is amusing.  Songs are funny, fitting, and if you’re of the right age group they are nostalgic.

When I turned on this film I had other things to do — I was only going to watch for a few minutes — and while this is not a fantastic big-budget thriller, I found it to be a well-made cute zombie/comedy/action film. As people say “I couldn’t put it down” — I watched it through to the end.

At the end of the film there is a strong statement of social commentary — we need to accept each other, love each other, teach each other, we need to connect with each other.

I am often a non- John Malkovich  fan.  It’s not because of him or his work — I think the problem is that he doesn’t fit in everything he’s in, but the things that he is right for he’s really shown his brilliance.  He’s in Warm Bodies and IMO he’s a good fit in here.  Where I really liked him was RED and RED 2.

Warm Bodies Official Website – and at  IMDbWikipedia, and Rotten Tomatoes

ZA: Zombies Anonymous (2006)

ZA is a budget Z-flick, but I have to say that whoever made this film knew what they were doing with their iMac and the $20 on-sale digital camera they bought at a liquidator store.  I’m impressed with it enough to rate it Green Ooze.

The concept is well presented through the script and the acting delivers … for a B-film, mind you. The back-story states that for no apparent reason people are no-longer dying, they pass away and then get up and walk away — and now, retaining their human characteristics, they reside within civilization among the living.

Right now I’m only 30 minutes into the film and I’m rather impressed — from the looks of it, the film is really about prejudice among humanity … though the recovery support group aspect is also amusing. Would I tell film fans to make sure they see this flick — no — but Z-film fans who would understand & appreciate it, yeah probably.

By the way, this is also supposed to be a comedy; while there were a few slightly humorous elements, I thought it lacked in this area, but enjoyed the couple of laughs it gave … some of the costume elements were pretty funny too. Oh, and here’s one joke most folks might not catch — around 1hr38m a shotgun that fires 8+ times but likely holds less rounds … that’s funny like in one of the Airplane movies when you see a jet but hear a prop plane, just I don’t think this was intentional.

ZA: Zombies Anonymous at IMDB and Wikipedia