Zombie Movie Review: Bong of the Dead

Bong of the dead poster

Stoner comedies; one genre that – up until now – had mostly managed to steer clear of the Undead. (Well sure, Idle Hands was a close one but that’s not really a zombie movie per-se. However that may well be reviewed here at some point in the future if deemed zombie-worthy). Bong of the Dead most certainly is a zombie stoner movie, and as such your enjoyment of this film may depend on your tolerance for such high-art comedy.

Two dudes (stoners, obviously) have by pure luck managed to survive a full-blown zombie apocalypse and are spending their lives as some of the last of the living smoking what remains of their precious weed stash. In an attempt to prolong their hoard they experiment with some scientific cultivation methodologies: a.k.a. liquidizing zombie-brains and using it to water their pot. Somehow this proves spectacularly effective and produces some mind-blowing hash, but the plucky dudes unsurprisingly smoke their way through the lot of it and realise they need to find some more zombie brains in order to regrow their batch and continue their life of luxury.

We follow these stoners as they set off into the ‘Danger Zone’ trying to track down some zombie brains, and get to meet just some of the people – living and dead – that they bump into on their travels. It turns out that outside of their hotboxed abode life goes on, it’s just a life that’s not exactly the same as it used to be. But still, plenty of fun japes to be had, plus numerous near-death experiences thrown in for good measure. And also a zombie-powered shower for added cleanliness.

Bong of the Dead is a surprisingly good fun zombie comedy. reminiscent of Last of the Living it finds a welcome niche in the zombie canon. The gore is impressive, there are some great comedy set-pieces and – despite the dubious acting in places – the performances are generally enjoyable. Even the lack of norkage in the shower scene can be forgiven – but that’s probably just because some topless zombie ladies rock up later on.

Gore Score C+
Norks Score C-
Originality score C+
Overall Score C

DVD is available now from Left Films

Zombie Movie Review: Big Tits Zombie 3D

Big tits zombie 3D poster
Wow, naming a movie Big Tits Zombie 3D is about as subtle as crowbar to the eyeball. Even without knowing a single thing about this film you already know whether it’s one you’ll enjoy or one to avoid. Well this review is for those people who expect to enjoy this flick. (Or for those who have never heard of the film but have stumbled over here because they’ve been looking for some particularly ‘specialist’ material in their web searches).

So, does this movie deliver on that title? Well three-quarters of it does, yes.  It has Zombies. It has Tits. And it’s in 3D (although this reviewer decided to experience it in 2D due to the belief that red & green glasses just obscure the ‘quality’). However, if you’re looking for zombies with massive norks then you’ll be sadly disappointed. As will you be if you were expecting big norks on any of the characters. However surely you’re not shallow enough to dismiss a film called Big Tits Zombie 3D just because the norks aren’t as big as the title suggest, are you?

However, moving away from the mammaries (sadly) and onto the actual movie. BTZ3D (actually a more catchy title, especially if you pronounce the ‘Z’ in the American – and therefore incorrect – fashion) follows some slightly exotic dancers who discover a hidden passage in their stripper changing room that leads to a huge scary dungeon filled with occult memorabilia that they accidentally use to summon a legion of the undead that (predictably) go on the rampage.

This rampage is filled with reasonably interesting looking zombies, the occasional short-lived topless wrestle between some of the ladies, and plenty of terrible, terrible CGI gore. Honestly, it’s probably better to watch it in red-green 3D than the standard version as it might obscure some of the dreadful blood-spray effects.

Yes, it’s one for the ever growing zombie sub-genre that is the ‘strippers-and-zombies’ movie. While certainly not matching the heights of the genre highlight ‘Zombie Strippers‘ it certainly beats ‘zombies! zombies! zombies!‘ for enjoyment, although sadly the most fun comes from the ridiculous introduction on the DVD from the movie director – a massive perv that has somehow managed to convince a studio to give him some money and a cast that don’t mind briefly getting their norks out and being covered with blood in order to make a low-budget zombie-stripper movie. Still, that’s probably every mans dream, to be fair.

Gore Score C+
Norks Score C- (sadly)
Originality Score C
Overall Score C

Zombie Movie Review: Cowboys and Zombies

AKA: The Dead & the Damned

cowboys and zombies movie poster

The search for a great cowboy-zombie-western continues. Following the abject failure of The Quick and the Undead and Undead or Alive comes Cowboys and Zombies (also know as The Dead & The Damned); possibly an even cheaper entry into the genre.

Cowboys and Zombies starts off with a big shoot-out in a traditional Western town (complete with the first of many uses of dodgy-CGI blood-splatters) where we find an effeminate-sounding-Tom-Cruise-look-a-like-cowboy-bounty-hunter as he cleans up the town before heading off to collect his spoils. Although already the owner of a tasty-sized cash pile he’s still on the look-out for more, and is directed to a nearby village where a local woman has allegedly been kidnapped by a nasty Indian. Off trots ‘Cruise’ to try to re-capture the lady and claim his reward. However, unbeknownst to him this village also happens to be the location of a pair of redneck yokels that are celebrating their latest find – a mysterious glowing rock in a wheelbarrow. Hmm, what could this mean?

As is the way of things it turns out this rock is actually a magical zombie-egg of sorts that causes anyone who comes into contact with it becomes a member of undead hungry for human flesh! Will Tom Cruise manage to rescue the girl before falling foul of the zombies? Is the story of the kidnapped girl all it was made out to be? Is the Indian in question spectacularly stereo-typed complete with leather waistcoat, long-hair and tomahawk? Well who’s to say.

Featuring some of the best scenes of gratuitous norkage we’ve had the pleasure of witnessing for some time, Cowboys and Zombies is a mixed bag of a movie. The acting for the most part is atrocious (although to-be-honest it’s debatable whether this actually harms or possibly improves the movie) but the zombies creatures are superb (in particular a blind and skinless revenant who stalks her prey by sound alone). The plot is mostly garbage too, and the direction isn’t much better – although if you’re a fan of watching a guy sat in a tree doing nothing for 10 minutes, or wandering through the trees doing nothing for similar periods of time then you’re in luck. However overall there is enough nonsense going on that gives C&Z a certain charm. For example one thing we learnt from this film is that the wild west must have had some great laundrettes; these chaps were spotless all the way from start to finish, regardless of the amount of blood, dirt and zombie vomit they encounter.

Cowboys and Zombies is one of those films you’re most likely to watch with your mates in the ‘you’ll never believe the amount of norkage in this dodgy zombie-movie I saw the other day’ type category. It’s not a great movie – in fact it’s not even a good one – but if you’re a fan of women in corsets stripping off in the woods for no reason whatsoever then you’ll get some enjoyment out of this.

Gore Score C
Norks Score A
Originality Score D
Overall Score C-

Cowboys and Zombies is available now from Left Films

Zombie Movie Review: Stag Night of the Dead

Stag Night Of The Dead PosterUsually the policy here at Devouring the Zombie Films of the Living is to only review movies that are either available to buy / watch right now or at least in the very near future, but in the case of SNotD this has been a challenging policy to uphold. Your reviewer here was invited to the premiere of this movie back in August 2009, and 28 months later (hmm, 28 months later; there’s an idea for a film in there somewhere) we can now put pen-to-paper as this movie is finally getting released on DVD – 9th January 2012 to be precise!

Following a group of stags on a rather ill-conceived (in more ways than one) bachelor party, SNotD ticks all the boxes required of a low-budget zombie movie. Norks, gore and comedy; what more do you need? Well if it’s your sort of thing there is a bit of a story going on here too. In-fact it could be said that there’s almost too much story that it gets in the way of these important priorities.

The characters involved are your standard bloke-y horror fare: There’s the sensitive hero chap, the Neanderthal ‘Alpha-male’ in charge of everything, their stoner mates, the well-meaning if rather boring hanger-on and a wise older dude. Not forgetting the stripper in a red PVC one-piece of course. This group of mates head off to play some traditional stag-do paintball out in the middle of nowhere, although this isn’t traditional paintball; it’s Stags vs. Zombies! Each of the chaps is equipped with a bizarre lightening-firing electric rifle that needs regular charging and they’re sent out on their way to battle the undead, in a controlled and supervised manner of course – well, until the inevitable zombie escape when everything goes to pot.

It’s not a bad little zombie movie overall. In particular it’s actually quite original, something that’s hard to say about most zombie movies these days. The characters are also likeable and interesting enough that you want to find out what happens to each of them, and it’s a pleasant change to find a zombie film with some real villains and not just the zombies themselves. On top of this the makeup effects of the undead creatures themselves is pleasingly gruesome. Sadly, the choice to equip the heroes with electric cattle-prod type weapons means there’s very little in the way of proper gore. No bullets to the head, no gushing flesh-wounds, just a flash of lightning, some shaking and a collapsed zombie on the floor. There are a few real guns involved later in the film but not nearly enough get the blood really flowing.

However the main criticism here is that there really isn’t enough of a film to span out into the full 85 minutes. As a short 45 minute episode it would really pack a decent punch, but as it is it’s spread out over far too long a running time for the material available. This is a slight shame as the premise is a nice idea, and some of the effects are really well done (the zombie-fist-through-the-mouth in particular got a satisfying whoop of applause from here!) it’s just that there were too many slow conversation scenes and not really enough grunt. Still, it’s an admirable film that’s trying to do something different with the genre, and that’s always going to be welcome, plus it has some great set-pieces and when the comedy hits the right notes you find yourself really getting into the spirit of this Zomball experience.

Gore Score C
Norks Score C
Originality Score B
Overall Score C+

Stag Night of the Dead is available on DVD from Amazon and from iTunes from 9th January 2012 from Left Films.

Feature: Rob Zombie’s Favourite Zombie Movies, Reviewed

Rob Zombie Movie

Back in October 2010, Rob Zombie – Director of Halloween, House of 1000 Corpses and the stunningly brilliant The Devils Rejects (not forgetting his work in the band White Zombie where he wrote the lyrics and fronted the group) picked out his favourite Zombie Movies for the website The Daily Beast. Well, we at Devouring the Zombie Films of the Living don’t like to be one-upped by celebrities, so have decided to see which of the 10 living-dead films chosen by Mr Zombie have already been reviewed here.

Surprisingly two of the list have yet to be featured here, something that we will look to remedy in the near future. However for those interested here is the list, along with our own brief summary and links to the actual reviews here on DtZFotL.

  • Dawn of the Dead (1978) Certainly a classic, and one that brought make-up master Tom Savini into the big time. However, we’d rate this as #3 in the list of Romero zombie movies, behind Day of the Dead and Night of the Living Dead. (Flyboy is just such a damn idiot). It may be sacrilege to admit, but the Remake is actually more enjoyable to watch. (Send your hate mail to the usual address…)
  • White Zombie (1932) – This is the film that we can never get around to reviewing. It’s always “we’ll review this one next time” but then end up watching some trash like Mulva: Zombie Ass Kicker instead and utterly regretting the decision minutes into it. We’ll review White Zombie next time, that’s a promise!
  • Night of the Living Dead (1968) - What can be said that hasn’t been written before? Seriously, if this hasn’t been watched then you’ve no business reading this website! Go on, get out of here, watch the damn movie and then come back and apologise! It’s OK to hate Barbra, she’s possibly the worst example of a cliche horror movie female. However don’t laugh (as I did) when she gets punched in the face, that’s probably a bit much. (As a side note, the Tom Savini directed remake is actually pretty good. It got hit pretty hard by the censors so much of the gore didn’t make it in there, but the film itself is well worth a watch. As remakes go it’s one of the better ones by quite a long way).
  • Zombie (1979) – OK, I can forgive Rob Zombie for calling it by the inferior name. Zombie Flesh Eaters is such a better title, surely? Anyway, regardless of the name this is hands-down the greatest zombie movie ever made. Take a look in the side-panel of this blog -> Which film is ranked at Number 1 is the list? Not only at the time of writing is it this masterpiece, but can you imagine anything taking its place in the future. Reading this post in the year 2045? Yup, Zombie Flesh Eaters will still be number one. A zombie fights a SHARK for goodness-sake! We wrote a post about this movies greatness over at our friends Blog of the Living Dead about how great this movie is.
  • Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things (1973) – Quite a strange choice by Mr Zombie. This movie must be an influence on the Evil Dead, as well as the 80’s comedy Weekend at Bernie’s. That’s a strange combination of films but it gets the idea across. Hanging out with a dead dude in a cabin in the woods. It’s all fun and games until some ‘bad stuff’ happens and the dead return to wreak some havoc.
  • 28 Days Later… (2002) – It actually came as quite a surprise that we haven’t featured this movie here. Yes, we’ve covered the sequel 28 Weeks Later, which is arguably an even better movie. 28 Days Later gave us the return of the Running Zombie (although this phenomenon isn’t really that new. the ones in Return of the Living Dead had a fair bit of pace in them back in the 1980’s). The atmosphere of ’28 days…’ it what sets it apart from the usual zombie-fare. Total zombie apocalypse, deserted streets, abandoned buildings. Urban horror has never been so well made. It does suffer in the second half where the whole tone switches and it becomes a tribute to Day of the Dead, but that can be forgiven as it’s done really rather well.
  • City of the Living Dead (1980) – Another Fulci movie makes the list, and quite a bizarre zombie movie it is. Teleporting ‘ghost’ zombies, vomited entrails and lots of spectacular gore! Part of the loose ‘Gates of Hell’ trilogy, it is probably our favourite of the series (although The Beyond may just edge it depending on how we’re feeling that day). It’s worth checking out purely for the Drill scene alone.
  • Re-Animator (1985) - Proving that the music from Psycho works perfectly in comedy horror movies too, Re-animator is a work of genius. The greatest Mad Scientist movie ever made, which means it is to blame for spawning the multitude of awful zombie experiment movies too (Serum, i’m talking to you.) Its a near perfect film, and we may even get around to discussing the two sequels here at some point in the future too.
  • Zombie Lake (1981) – A surprise choice by Rob here, but by no means a mistake. Just as Zombie Flesh Eaters sits at the top of our Overall Top 3 list, Zombie Lake is top of the Norks chart too. Any zombie movie with an underwater nude volleyball scene involving a bus load of ladies and a lake full of zombies will take some beating. We very much approve of the choice by Mr Zombie. If you only ever watch one Nazi Zombie movie then it should be this one. Hilarious for all the wrong reasons (makeup, continuity, script and effects) Zombie Lake is a masterpiece of exploitation trash. In fact having thought about it this will probably get a re watch this afternoon, what better way to spend a sunny Sunday?

So there you have it. Do you agree with Mr Zombie’s choices? Barring 28 Days Later all these movies are pre 1985, reinforcing our opinion that the greatest zombie movie era was the late ’70’s. All we need now is for Mr Zombie to stop just writing lyrics about the undead and actually make a whole movie!

Zombie Movie Review: Return Of The Living Dead Part 3

This film is showing on Netflix Instant US. Visit Blog of the Living Dead for details.

Return of the Living Dead 3 Poster

Return of the Living Dead 3 Poster

Sex and death. Pleasure and pain. We’ve seen all this before, most famously in the dreadfully boring horror series Hellraiser. Damn, is that an awful series of movies! Take for instance: Hellraiser 1. How can a film so obviously about S&M not have any nudity in it? Clive Barker is an arsehole.

If you want to watch a film that covers the whole ‘pain is the only true pleasure’ idea then Return of the Living Dead 3 does that infinitely better than the eight Hellraiser movies combined. Not even one of those movies is worth watching. Sure, some of the later ones (number seven in particular) may have some norkage, but you have to sit through some daft nonsense just to get there.

What exactly does solving a small wooden puzzle box have to do with ultimate pleasure? Especially considering most people who come into contact with this box have no idea what it’s actually about and only ever ‘solve’ the puzzle by accident. (It can’t be that much of a puzzle. Has anyone accidentally solved a Rubiks Cube by accident? That’s highly doubtful). Sure, there are some people who must have figured out the puzzle as we see them occasionally pop up in the weird Hell dimension, but even these dedicated pleasure-seakers are desperate to escape. Well all except that dumbass Pinhead who – despite looking pretty cool – only every seems to arrive just to spout something cryptic and annoying and never displays any aura of enjoyment at being in this Pleasure/Pain/Hell dimension.

Thankfully Pinhead and his idiotic cenobite mates don’t actually have anything to do with Return of the Living Dead 3. This is all about some red-headed chick who is in love with this nerdy dude (probably because he rides a motorbike). He can’t believe his luck, so much so that after they are involved in a midnight bike crash he resuscitates her back from death at his fathers military lab just to stay with her. unfortunately, coming back from the dead isn’t as simple as you’d expect and this lass has to keep causing herself pain (via constant body piercing and various body mutilations) so that she can continue to feel alive. However, no amount of pain is enough and the lust for brains tends to take over.

So there you have it. Hellraiser is daft, Pinhead is just plain annoying and Pleasure / Pain has never been done better than in Return of the Living Dead 3. It has barely anything to do with any of the other films in the series, but has some cracking gore, a top class lead actress who isn’t adverse to some nork scenes (taking after the great Linnea Quigley) and is probably the only film other than the original that is actually worth watching. (Obviously I mean the ROTLD series, not the godawful Hellraiser stinkers).

Gore Score B
Norks Score C
Originality Score C+
Overall Score B-

Zombie Movie Review – Days Of Darkness

This film is showing on Netflix Instant US. Visit Blog of the Living Dead for details.

Days of Darkness Movie Poster

Days of Darkness Movie Poster

We’re back from our exotic trip to deepest-darkest Orlando so what better way to settle back into life back at Trioxin Towers than to watch a thrilling movie. Sadly, the movie that was chosen was the recent remake of Clash of the Titans. Strewth, Hollywood really knows how to screw up a great story. What a waste of everyone’s time that was! Surely if a massive budget, huge sets, giant monsters, exciting (on paper at least) plot and real trained actors can’t produce a decent movie then what can be done with complete opposite resources? Well Days of Darkness is such a movie, and much more enjoyable it was too.

A bunch of arguing people conveniently end up barricaded in an old abandoned military-radio-tower-type building during the zombie apocalypse and spend the rest of the movie moaning at each other, fighting, quoting the Bible and talking about how much of a slag certain members of the party are. The basic idea being they’re stuck in here without really expecting to be rescued while wondering if this mostly safe environment that lacks food and water is a better alternative than venturing out into the wild zombie world to look for food, supplies and safety.

Fine, if you’re looking for originality then it’s best to skip at least the first 45 minutes of this movie: All the characters are straight out of the zombie-by-numbers textbook, as too is the ‘a group of idiots stuck in a building arguing with each other while zombies roam around inevitably breaking in every 10 minutes or so’ plot. However, stick with it and you’re treated to a bizarre and (dare I say) mildly original movie. It certainly doesn’t pan out as expected; with aliens, meteors, virgin births and a bizarre fascination with zombie testicles. Hey, what more could you want?

As far as the important aspects go; this film has some reasonably decent (if slightly sparse) gore, a bit of norkage and some not-bad zombie effects too. Considering this was initially pretty low on the expectation front before starting it actually turned out to be a decent OMGWTF! zombie movie. Don’t spend much more on it than you would for a pint or 2 of Guinness, get past the cliche characters and plot and you’ll be pretty happy with the result.

Gore Score C
Norks Score C-
Originality Score C
Overall Score C+