Zombie Movie Review: The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living And Became Mixed-Up Zombies

The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies Poster

Well, we’re going to be needing copy-and-paste quite a bit for this review, ‘The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies‘ isn’t the sort of title you want to be typing over-and-over again. In fact there is a lot about this film that doesn’t really warrant repetition; re-watching being a primary case-in-point.

So with repetition apparently being the order of the day this is a good opportunity to discuss the main feature of this film: Dancing ladies. No, not the exciting of the zombie stripper variety, but the 1960’s burlesque style shenanigans. Sometimes these dancers are individual ladies, sometimes it’s a chorus line, and occasionally it’s the drunken ballroom dancing variety. So, why is a film with such a unique title so obsessed with numerous long dance numbers? Well, who knows.

The movie is predominantly set in a carnival following a pair of ‘youngsters’ and a lady-friend who, having ridden the big dipper for quite a while decide to visit a warty Elizabeth Taylor lookalike mystic (and her hairy, beak-faced mutant companion) to be told their future. Following a nonsense reading for one of them then head over to the burlesque show. The young lady decides this isn’t for her and leaves her boyfriend behind, who seems to have become transfixed with a mysterious gypsy dancer promoting the show and takes it upon himself to head on in for a quick perv over this woman, not caring about his lady companion.

Well, this dance show then proceeds to take up the bulk of this movie, so you better enjoy your slow and dreary dance / musical numbers if you want to get much out of this film. And don’t think that the brief hint of burlesque makes this any more exciting; it’s very tame and infrequent in the grand scale of the whole show.

So where are these ‘mixed-up zombies’ referred to in the title? Well, there aren’t any. There was one chap at the beginning of the film who gets acid poured over his face by Elizabeth Taylor, and he has some pals who have also been given this special beauty treatment, but they are neither ‘strange creatures’ nor do they ‘stop living’ either – but this is pre-Romero here so zombies were a lot more broad in their description. Their appearance is rather limited to a brief 5 minute rampage towards the end of the film, long after you will have given up any interest in the paper-thin plot.

This is the sort of film that would work best showing on a TV in the background inside some trendy bar where you don’t have to bother about listening to the dialog, following the plot or bothering about the dodgy audio-transfer from this 45 year old movie. In fact it would actually work really well there. You could sit back with some friends and some beers, occasionally glance up at whatever dance scene is currently going down and make up your own plot. Hey, it would probably make some sense.

Well, what do you know, there was no need for the Ctrl-C after all; the movie title was only actually mentioned once in this review anyway. Oh well, The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies gets the following ratings:

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

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: 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: Walking The Dead

Walking The Dead Poster

Well, now that season two of The Walking Dead has started why not review a film that shares the same title (albeit slightly re-arranged) but is a completely different beast altogether?

Even trying to research this film is difficult because Google ‘helpfully’ rearranges your search term because it think you’ve spelt ‘The Walking Dead’ incorrectly. No, ‘Walking the Dead’ is what we wanted to search for, thank-you very much. As lovely as an Andrew Lincoln biography is he’s not what we’re looking for. So, if it’s ‘Walking the Dead‘ that you’re after to find out about, here is your opportunity.

Walking the Dead is an unusual premise for a zombie movie, and quite old-school it is too. And this is old-school meaning the early style voodoo zombies, and not the shuffling Romero-esque versions. (The fact that old-school zombies could be interpreted as the slow walkers is rather a depressing thought).

Set in China, a washed-up alcoholic journalist who is apparently on a ‘sabbatical’ receives a distressing tip that a young girl has gone missing out in a mysterious Chinese village, and has received permission from his editor to investigate this case as a way back into real life. He ends up in a desolate town (well, aside from all the mostly-dead zombie-like creatures) and bumps into possibly the only live human; a young lass who wants to help him with his quest. And, oh yes, there’s a blind psycho with an axe hunting them both down.

What is an interesting premise, set in a beautiful location with superb cinematography turns out to be a rather dull and incredibly slow movie where nothing really happens for the majority of the running time. It really should have been good though. There are some genuinely creepy characters, some great suspense (blind killers do tend to excel in the chills factor) but it’s just pointless and totally uninteresting. Rather like the old Playstation game ‘Forbidden Siren’; the premise is interesting and spooky but when you sit down to actually try to get involved in it you’re utterly bored. Walking around in empty villages in the fog doesn’t make for enjoyment.

Gore score C-
Norks Score F
Originality Score B
Overall Score D

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: Carriers

Movie Poster for Zombie Movie Carriers

Movie Poster for Zombie Movie Carriers

Just what we need on a June evening; a zombie movie almost as depressing as pouring your last glass of wine over the carpet. Yes, CARRIERS is a film that almost gives ‘I Zombie: A Chronicle Of Pain’ a run for its money in the pure misery stakes, yet still manages to be surprisingly enjoyable.

Cue throaty voiceover man:

“In a post-apocalyptic world where death is rife, yet the dead aren’t actually dead, they’re just sitting around… a bit infected looking…. kind of gross really…. um, yes”

So perhaps voiceovers aren’t really a strongpoint, but anyway it gets the point across. This movie follows a pair of brothers and their respective girlfriends as they drive across America using up whatever fuel is still left in whatever vehicle they can get their hands on.

They are travelling to a beach somewhere.

En route they meet various people; some of whom they are… shall we say ‘unpleasant’ to, while others are unpleasant to them. How they deal with these last remaining stragglers of the human race is what this film is all about. There are people who have something they want, and there are others who want what this group themselves have. Perhaps those things are fuel, perhaps transport or possibly it’s a bitchin’ country house with a massive golf course to mess around on.

When the whole world has gone to pot it’s only understandable that the last few people go a little bit mental themselves, and whether a film about a group of people who can just about tolerate each-other while being thoroughly unpleasant in general is something worth watching is probably a subjective question, but for those interested in the more important aspects of the movie: there are no norks, and the gore is pretty sparse (albeit pretty effective and gross when it does arrive).

Gore Score C
Norks Score F
Originality Score C
Overall Score C+

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-