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.


Zombie Movie Review: Zombie Strippers

(Also posted at http://www.revenantmagazine.com/)

Vector Image for movie Zombie Strippers

Vector Image for movie Zombie Strippers

Themes of morality, conformity, alienation, existentialism and political satire are just what I would expect to feature in a film called ‘Zombie Strippers’. Ha ha, Who am I kidding! Strippers turning into zombies is all I was looking for in this beauty, but there was plenty more than that on offer in this wee number, philosophy and all.

Now apparently this film is based loosely on a French play ‘Rhinoceros’ about a town whose population slowly turn into rhino’s, but being the uncultured slob that I am I’ve never heard of it, although it’s a pretty big deal in the world of the Theatre of the Absurd, apparently. It’s certainly an interesting idea on which to base a Zombie horror film, but to be honest I was only watching it for the stripper zombies, so the influences didn’t really matter to me.

As is the often the case these days, the government have been experimenting with chemicals and dead bodies in order to produce a race of super strength soldiers, but completely unexpectedly this goes wrong somewhere down the line and a load of Zombies are produced. A special soldier unit is called in to exterminate the living dead, but one of them gets bitten and runs off, taking refuge in an underground illegal strip club. This is the setting for the whole rest of the film, as the soldier bites star-dancer Jenna Jameson and turns her into an Undead Stripper Zombie, a side effect being an ultra sexy stripper dance and a lusting for human flesh. The Zombies dance for the punters, punters get eaten and turn into neanderthal undead while the female zombies remain intelligent and feisty to the end.

The whole film was a lot less trashy that I was expecting, with some great dialogue as the Strippers quote philosophy and discuss morality, and Robert Englund the strip club owner tries to find a way to profit from this whole debacle, while keeping the whole ‘Murderous Zombie’ aspect a secret from the general punters – although it starts becoming obvious that the dancers are no longer technically ‘Live Nudes’ any more, but rotting-corpse lapdancers. The humour is reasonably decent, the gore is great and often rather gross (which is certainly a good thing) and the nork count is obviously through the roof. Cleverly written, pretty original and totally unexpected considering the genius movie title. Who would have expected Nietzsche-spouting strippers discussing the merits of grotesque body modification? Genius stuff and one I shall certainly be watching again, with (several) beers in hand.

Gore Score B
Norks Score A
Originality Score B+
Overall Score B+