Zombie Month Repost: Fido by Jamie

Originally posted 30th October, 2009.

FidoTitle 2

A newer entry into Halloweek today, the 2006 film about a boy and his zombie, Fido.

Zombie Month: Films to Keep You Awake: The Christmas Tale by Jamie

So this is Christmas and what have you done? If you’re like me then you probably got hammered and are currently nursing a hangover by getting hammered all over again. And why not? What better way is there to celebrate the birth of Jesus “Future Zombie” Christ then with massive amounts of booze. It’s what he would have wanted. Dude was clearly an alcoholic. How else do you explain all that turning water into wine?

Anyway, I’ll tell you one thing, it’s been a bitch trying to find a goddamn Christmas Zombie films. There were a few promising leads such as ‘Silent Night, Zombie Night” but every time I thought I’d found something, it proved impossible to get my hands on. Finally I was guided towards the subject of today’s Christmassy review, ‘The Christmas Tale’ brought to us by one of the directors and writers of Rec and Rec 2, Paco Plaza. It also stars Ivana Baquero a year before she starred in Pan’s Labyrinth so yeah, it’s pretty interesting from a ‘what Spanish people who’s work I’ve enjoyed since did before.’.

So yeah, as you may have guessed from the people behind it, this is a Spanish film. Set in 1985, it tells the story of five friends who discover a woman dressed as Santa trapped in a hole in the woods. They are about to set her free when two of them who have gone to report the incident to the police discover that she is actually a wanted criminal who has stolen a large amount of cash. They decide that the best course of action is to leave her trapped in the hole and black mail her for the money by starving her.

So what about the Zombies, I here you ask? Well, the film opens with a clip of a film-within-a-film called ‘Zombie Invasion.’ It’s basically a parody of old 80s horror films. Two of the kids get the idea that if they perform as Voodoo ritual, the woman will come back as a Zombie that they can control once she’s dead. Unfortunately, things don’t go quite according to plan.

And that’s all I’m really going to say about the film’s plot because once again, I feel it’s one you should search for and watch yourselves. The kids in the film are all pretty damn good actors, though again, it’s difficult to act just how good an actor someone is when they’re speaking in a foreign language but it all seemed pretty convincing to me.

The film is just as much a loving tribute to the films of the 80s as it is a horror film, the msot obvious being ‘Stand By Me’ and ‘The Goonies’. In fact, the kids in this film really come of as kind of a dickish version of The Goonies. Perhaps the film you wouldn’t expect to be referenced is the one that is referenced most blatantly, ‘The Karate Kid’. One of the kids in the movie is obsessed with the film, wears a karate headband and is often spouting phrases or carrying out scenes from it, including a quite noteable crane kick near the end. So yes, for someone like me who grew up with these films, this was really enjoyable. Throw in the Zombie angle as well and, well, it’s like you’ve made a movie just for me.

Basically, that’s all I have to say without ruining anything. This film is phenomenally entertaining and it’s only 71 minutes long so you don’t even have to devote that much time to it. If there’s one complaint I do have, it’s that perhaps the kids become pretty dark and evil pretty damn quickly but I suppose that’s the problem with a film of this running time. Altogether I’ll give it four and a half pints out of five. Laterz.

Oh and here’s a little PSA TeamUnicornFTW to help you have a safe Christmas in case of Zombie attack. Now, if you don’t mind, I have turkey to eat and beer to drink. So much beer. Merry Christmas and all that malarky!

Zombie Month: Big Tits Zombie 3D by Jamie

Well, it’s the day before Christmas eve though this will be posted on the day itself and I’m a little inebriated with… shall we say Christmas cheer? Ok, it’s booze but I have to be because I just watched ‘Big Tits Zombie 3D’ because nothing says Christmas like a Japanese film about Zombies and strippers. Seriously, name one thing that’s close to being as Christmassy as that? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Anyway, due to my current condition and the fact that writing is becoming increasingly more difficult, I’ll make this quick. The basic story is that five strippers working in a Podunk little town in Japan discover a secret room linked to their dressing room which houses the Book of the Dead. One of them uses it to raise the living dead and before you know it, Zombie Apocalypse.

Of course being as this is Japanese, it can’t just be your normal, everyday Zombie Apocalypse. Nope, it’s the kind that includes Zombie Samurai, a tentacle beats and most disturbing of all (and trust me, you know it’s bad when there’s something more disturbing in a Japanese film then a tentacle beast) a zombie women with a hell vagina that shoots flames. Yeah. That’s something I’ve seen now. Thanks Big Tits Zombie…

Oh god, I need to drink more. Bear with me…. Right, where was I? Yeah, this film is pretty fucked up. The special effects are terrible though. CGI blood everywhere and the most hilarious effect ever done for someone being run over that I’ve ever seen (imagine a still photo of a person being flipped on it’s back as the car goes forward). Hell, you can even see the strings on the tentacle beast puppet. Still, there’s the odd bit of nudity… Weird nudity, like a scene where you just get a close up of tits with blood spraying all over them. So yeah, it’s kinda like bukkake with blood instead of cum. Again, thank you movie.

The thing is, this film would actually probably be bad enough to be worth a look if it wasn’t for the 3D. Unfortunately it’s the old style red/blue 3D and you have to take the glasses off and then put them back on for certain scenes. Your eyes just can’t adjust quickly enough to so many changes during such a short film and so it fails. I’ll give Big Tits Zombies 3D two pints out of five. Laterz.

Zombie Month: Dead Snow by Jamie

Still a bit under the weather so bear with me and that.

Recently Britain has been blanketed by that thing that all British people fear the most. No, I’m not talking about foreign types, I’m talking about snow. Seriously, this country just cannot handle snow. If the Nazis had attacked with snow instead of planes during the battle of Britain, we’d all be talking German right now.

Speaking of Nazis, there’s this film out called ‘Dead Snow’ which is about Zombified versions of them. See, Nazis and snow. It all comes together. That’s the film we’re going to be looking at today so it comes even more altogether. What a jolly time is being had by all.

A Norwegian film, Dead Snow was released in 2009 and follows the adventures of a bunch of medical students as they head out into the mountains in order to take a break from their studies during the Easter holiday. To be honest, the characters are pretty shallow. One really likes movies and there’s another one who’s afraid of blood. Oh, and I think one of them is kind of a hippy chick. She’s going out with fear of blood dude. They’re supposed to be meeting another guy’s girlfriend there but it’s shown that she won’t be arriving at the cabin due to Zombies.

A crusty old man shows up at the cabin and invites himself in for some coffee. Then he insults the coffee. That’s about the time that I’d tell he can fuck off but for some reason the students give him a beer instead and he tells them about the history of the area. Seems that the area played host to a bunch of Nazis during World War 2, Nazis who would beat on and torture the local people because… well, they were Nazis. Towards the end of the war, when it was pretty obvious Germany was fucked, the Nazis looted all the valuables from the town. This pissed some of the locals off and they rebelled against them. Those who survived the uprising escaped into the moment where it was assumed they froze to death.

Anyway, the group find a box hidden in the cabin filled with valuables. Soon the Zombie Nazis (or is it Nazi Zombies?) are upon them. The rest of the film kinda plays out as you’d expect. Zombies attack people, Zombies kill people, people kill Zombies. There are a few surprises, in particular a couple of characters who I really didn’t expect to die but for the most part it’s your standard young-people-in-the-woods horror film.

The movie even acknowledges this. As they are heading towards the cabin, the characters lose mobile phone reception and a discussion immediately starts about just how many horror movies start with people going to the woods and losing their mobile phone reception. There are also many, many visual references including ‘Shaun of the Dead’ and most obviously the Evil Dead series which is always fun to see.

One thing I will say for this film is that it is fucking gory. There are entrails and blood splattered all over everything. I generally have a pretty strong stomach when it comes to gore but there was some stuff in here that had me turning my head away from the screen, in particular something involving intestines and a tree. Ugh… Fucking hell…

Overall, it’s a fun enough film. It manages to be quite funny as well as gory, though it never really manages to be scary. It’s a nice little film to just throw on and watch if you don’t wanna think too much… though subtitles do make it a little difficult to just veg out completely. I will say that towards the end, I did find myself losing interest a little bit but when all’s said and done it’s a nice little distraction. Three and a half pints out of five. Laterz

Zombie Month: Doghouse by Jamie

Kind of working with a touch of flu here so yeah, this isn’t my best work. Sue me. Also, slight spoilers ahead.

Any British Zombie comedy film, in fact probably any Zombie comedy film, is going to get compared to ‘Shaun of the Dead’. Hell, I’ve done it throughout several of my reviews already. It is the nature of things. Some of them come of favourably by doing something different or by being influenced by but not copying ‘Shaun…’. Others, well, others don’t come of quite as well against it. Doghouse is one of those films.

The basic plot is a bunch of guys from London decide to go on a lads weekend to the small village of Moodley, where the women are rumoured to outnumber the men 4 to 1, in order to help their mate Vince (Stephen Graham) get over his recent divorce. The guys are a mix of general steretypes. You’ve got Neil (Danny Dyer), the ladies man, Mikey (Noel Clarke), the kind of stupid one, Matt (Lee Ingleby), the geek, Patrick (Keith-Lee Castle), the overstressed one who’s trying to work it out with stress relief podcasts and Graham (Emil Marawa), the gay one. Alright, I suppose they aren’t all exactly stereotypes but still.

Anyway, they get to Moodley and discover that the town seems pretty deserted. The reason? A virus has broken out which infects only the women and turns them into flesh-hungry Zombies. The boys have to do their best to survive, find out the reason behind the outbreak and escape the village.

Now, the first stumbling block you’re going to have with this film, if you’re anything like me, is the inclusion of Danny Dyer. The tiny-headed, half-human half-chipmunk hybrid just pisses me off. It doesn’t help that he’s playing a particularly unlikeable character in this as well. Still, he gets stabbed in the hand pretty early on and he get’s a little bit tortured later on as well, so yeah, thanks movie. I sincerely mean that.

The biggest problem that this film really has is ‘Shaun of the Dead’. Without it, it’d probably be seen as a decent if somewhat lacklustre Zombie comedy with a few chuckles here and there but since ‘Shaun…’ exists, it really just comes of as a bit of a tired retread of territory which has already been covered much better. Sure, it removes the romantic aspect and replaces it with a kind of bromance motidfd throughout but that slight difference isn’t enough to set it apart.

What the film does get right is the gore. There are intestines strewn all over the village, zombies get horribly mangled and burned and victims get axes to their brain areas. Yes, there’s no shortage of the visceral. What it falls down on is the humour. For example, this is an actual joke form the film “What kind of virus only effects women? Bird flu.” Yes. Hilarious. Except of course it isn’t. A lot of the jokes fall flat and while there are moments that you just can’t help but chuckle at, they are few and far between. There’s also a slight misogynist tinge to everything which, I understand, it’s a ‘lads’ film and that kinda things to be expected but the final moral seems to be every now and then a woman just needs a good beating to stop them from trying to domesticate men. I may be reading to much into it but that’s kinda the gist I got…

Still, I will say that the relationship between the guys seems believable enough. As a guy there are definite archetypes that you can recognise in a group of guy friends and, stereotypical as they may be, they are still kinda true so well done for that movie. Overall, two and a half pints out of five.

Zombie Month: Wicked Little Things by Jamie

Spoilers ahead.

Children are terrifying. This is a simple fact. They are here for one purpose and that is to replace us. Hell, maybe if people stopped having children, we’d all suddenly become immortal. But I guess we’ll never know because there are selfish bastards out there who just have to have their sweet little angels running around and making noise in cinemas. Seriously, don’t take your kids to the cinema if they’re not age appropriate for the film. All you’re doing is pissing everyone else off. Get a damn babysitter.

Our ancestors recognised the threat that children presented and did everything in their power to stop them by making them do horrible, horrible jobs that would kill or mutilate them. Things like chimney sweeping or fixing incredibly dangerous factory machinery or, as is the case with this film, make them work in mines. Unfortunately some bleeding hearts passed child labour laws and so children were free to pursue their tireless quest for world domination.

So yes, this film opens with a scene of a bunch of darling little children being forced to do incredibly dangerous work in a mine. One child is forced to set some TNT and before you know it, the whole mine has collapsed, trapping the innocent little moppets and killing them right dead… or are they?

The film cuts to present day and Karen Tunney has just inherited her dead fathers family home up in the mountains and so she moves there with her two daughters Sarah and Emma with views to fix it up and sell it. It isn’t long before weird shit starts to go down. Weird shit like having their door coated in blood by their neighbour, Mr Hanks and Emma being drawn to the site of the old mine by mysterious voices. She claims to have met a new friend there by the name of Mary. Meanwhile the children from the mine emerge and begin to kill people with their pick axes and shovels which is admittedly pretty cool.

Through the course of the film, it is revealed that the children are related to the Tunneys and Mr. Hanks and will not harm their blood relatives unless really riled up. This doesn’t help Karen who, of course, isn’t a blood relative though Mary, who is a Tunney herself, tells Emma that she won’t hurt Karen though she can’t make the same promise for the other children. The fact that they won‘t attack blood relatives is also the reason that Mr. Hanks goes around smearing his own blood on peoples doors. He also sacrifices pigs to them in an effort to sate their terrible undead hunger.

The children are ultimately after William Carlton, the last surviving heir of the Carlton family who once owned the mine that all the children died in. Modern day Carlton is currently doing everything in his power to buy up all the land and kick everyone off of his property which just conveniently enough means that he’s in the area at the time. So the film culminates with Carlton, Hanks and the Tunneys all holed up in a barn together. Hanks and the Tunneys stand by and let the children have Carlton and Emma informs them that the children say that they won’t harm anyone anymore. The Tunneys leave the mountain but they don’t sell the house. It is then revealed that the children are ‘living’ there. Really? They still have to wander the Earth as the living dead? That’s not a particularly happy ending. You’d think they’d finally get to rest or something now there business is finished. Is nothing from ‘Casper’ accurate?

That aside, the film was actually pretty enjoyable. It’s a fairly neat little play on the dead seeking their revenge on the living thing and kids are genuinely quite scary. Hell, that’s what Japanese horror and their American remakes have been relying on for a while. Seeing as the film was released in 2006, I’m sure the whole Japanese kid-based horror thing was some kind of influence on it.

Still, despite being enjoyable, there is a certain sense that it’s something you’ve seen before numerous times. It’s always weird when I come across a film that seems a little original and completely unoriginal at the same time but that’s the best way I can sum up this film. There are also a few moments where it gets really, really slow. Scenes of characters just wandering through the woods for what seems like an entirely too long period of time. I’m sure it’s supposed to add the feeling of people being lost but it gets kinda old, kinda fast, especially when they’re always in the same three or four locations. Anyway, I’ll give it three pints out of five. Laterz.

Zombie Month Repost: REC 2 by Jamie

Originally posted October 14th, 2010.

Sorry about all these reposts but things have been a touch hectic lately. Hopefully this’ll be the last one because… Well, I think I’ve run out of old Zombie movie reviews…

Massive Spoilers Ahead

The original ‘REC’ was one of those rare horror films which managed to creep me out, in particular the end scene with the creepy Zombie girl stumbling around in the dark waving that hammer. There was just something about the way that thing and the way it moved that just put me on edge. It’s probably one of those images that will stick with me for the rest of my life. Fuck, just sitting here thinking about it now is sending a shiver up my spine.

In fact, I still remember the first time that I watched it. For those of you that don’t know I am currently employed as a hotel Night Porter, a position which enables me to watch films whilst I work. I watched REC whilst at work, got proper scared and then had to spend the rest of the night going about performing my workly duties terrified that I was suddenly going to be attacked by some hideous Zombie abomination wielding a hammer. It was a bad night but a great film.

So I was genuinely looking forward to the sequel REC 2. Of course, I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect and sequels generally have a tendency to fail to recapture the feeling that made the first film so great but there are definitely exceptions to that rule. Jaws: The Revenge, for example, is a far superior film to the original… I’m sorry, I threw up a little in my mouth just joking about that. Anyway, the point is would REC 2 live up to my expectations? Let’s find out.

The film takes place pretty much moments after the ending of the first one. A Grupo Especial de Operaciones (GEO) team, which I’m guessing is basically the Spanish equivalent of a SWAT team, are sent into the quarantined building from the first film, each with cameras mounted on their helmets. Joining them is a representative from the Spanish Ministry of Health, Dr Owen. Before long their Zombies are falling from ceilings and the battle begins. Dr. Owen manages to fight off the creatures using rosary beads and mantras and it’s revealed that he’s not actually from the Ministry of Health at all but is actually a priest. I guess this was kept quiet because there are potentially children in that building and well… you know…

I kid, of course. It turns out that the whole infection is actually due to something that the Catholic Church would really like to keep hidden. Basically the deal is thus, a catholic priest was doing experiments in the penthouse of the building on a possessed girl in order to see if some kind of scientific cure for demonic possession could be created, treating the demon as some kind of virus. Unfortunately the experiments led to the demonic infection spreading hence the current situation. Owen needs to find a blood sample from the girl in order to try and finish the priest’s work and find a cure. Unfortunately, due to some demonic blood catching fire related mishaps, the sample is destroyed and they need to get another sample from the original girl.

Whilst all this is going on a fireman, the father of the girl from the first movie (the one who was sick, not the Zombie girl… although she did eventually become a Zombie girl… The one who wasn’t the one at the end with the hammer… There, I think that sorts it out) and three teenagers sneak into the building through the sewer system only to find themselves sealed inside. They also get attacked by Zombies and, after a while and a few deaths, the two groups come across each other as well as Angela, the reporter from the original film. One of the teenagers, Tito, gets bitten and Owen ties him up and forces him to tell them where the original possessed girl is. It seems as though the infectious nature of the possession has created a hive mind where the demon’s consciousness can inhabit anyone of the infected. Tito basically tells them that she’s in the penthouse and the team go up there, though they are somewhat confused as to why they didn’t see her when they were up there before.

Owen asks Angela how she saw the girl before and she explains that it was through the night vision on the camera she had with her. Tito had also mentioned that the light blinded their path and Owen figures out that maybe they can only see the girl in the dark with the aid of night vision. Anyway, they find the girl but Angela shoots her with a shotgun, pissing off Owen because he needed her alive. Angela doesn’t care because all she wants is to get the fuck out of the building, which is really rather understandable to be honest. She starts to beat the shit out of Owen in order to try and get him to authorise their departure and when the one remaining GEO officer tries to get her to stop, she shoots him. Owen then realises that the demon has possessed Angela. She reveals that she can impersonate his voice, kills him, radios the outside and tells them using Owen’s voice that, though he is infected, he is authorising the exit of one female survivor. It is then revealed through a flash back that when the Zombie girl caught Angela during the end of the last film, she didn’t kill her, she just deposited a large, fleshy thing which I’m guessing is the demon into her mouth. Unfortunately this reminded me of ‘Friday The 13Tth IX: Jason Goes To Hell’ which is one of the worst films of that particular franchise and that’s saying something.

Well that was REC 2. So what did I think of it? In all honestly, I was actually pretty disappointed. The film just lacked that certain, indescribable something that the original had. It also left me pretty fucking confused about a number of things. Firstly, just how much influence does the Catholic Church have over the Spanish government? Is it really so much that they can use their resources in order to propagate massive cover-ups regarding mass demonic possession? Seriously, is the way things happen in European countries where their King didn’t break ties with Mother Church because he wanted to get a divorce? It just seemed highly unlikely is all I’m saying.

Secondly, the idea that you couldn’t see the Zombie girl in the light just really pissed me off. She’s still a physical being right? She’s not become a ghost, I mean she can still carry a hammer, so why is she’s invisible in the dark? The explanation that the light blinds them from seeing the path seemed a little lacking, especially because at that point she doesn’t even have the physical demon inside her anymore, Angela does. Surely she’s the one who should be invisible… I dunno. I honestly think that the only reason they did it is because they knew how people reacted to seeing her in the first film purely through the night vision camera and didn’t want to dilute that by showing her in the light.

Thirdly, the teenagers were fucking annoying.

Despite it’s faults, this is still a moderately enjoyable Spanish horror film but that’s the problem. It’s only moderately enjoyable and I’m sure that viewing it back to back with the original would only make it seem worse. I expected so much more from this and just came away feeling disappointed though I did find the idea of a Zombie hive-mind kind of interesting and certainly something I don’t think I’ve seen before although it does beg the question as to if one Zombie spots them why don’t the rest instantly know where they are and head there to attack them. It’s also a pretty interesting take on the possession genre which, let’s be honest, has been pretty much been ‘The Exorcist’ and movies very much like it since the 70s. Oh, and the picture in picture stuff was kinda cool as well. It’s kind of the logical progression of that last scene in the ‘The Blair Witch Project’, enabling you to watch one character go investigate one thing whilst still hearing the audio from the other characters as well.

Oh, and that Zombie girl was still creepy, shambling and waving that hammer about. Overall, REC 2 gets three pints out of five. Laterz

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