Fright Pack: Walking Dead
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Let's put this puppy to bed, now Bums. Today is the final wrap up, and overall score of Anchor Bay's Fright Pack: Walking Dead edition. What movies are included in this box set? Are you telling me that you did not read all the individual movie reviews? Shame on you! Well, becuase I am full of love, I have included them below. Enjoy, and I'll be back.
Hell of the Living Dead (Virus)
There are many bad zombie movies in the world. I could name many, but they are not on trial here. You see, this resurgance of zombie movies is nothing new. For every Dawn of the Dead by Romero, were ten Oasis of the Dead. Oops, I said I wouldn't mention the bad ones.
Many countries churned out movies of the undead. Many, in fact, are classics of teh genre. Hell of the Living Dead (aka Virus), if you have not caught on to where I am headed, is not a classic by any means.
The story opens somewhere, we are later believed to be New Guinea, with a scientific lab popping a leak in a chemical chamber. Gas turns workers into zombies. Nothing new.
We then flash over somewhere, and are introduced to a rag tag group of special forces, in a hostage situation. They are sitting around waiting for the call, talking about heading to New Guinea to see all the fine women. They get the call and bust in discretely (sarcasm) shooting everything in sight. After killing the head of the terrorists, he states that they are all doomed and will die a horrible death by one another. Does he know something that they do not?
Magically we are wisked to New Guinea where the same special forces are sitting in a jeep. It seems that there are no hot women there, and they have a job to do. It is never explained what said job is.
They head into a village where they run into a camera man, and a female reporter. It turns out that there are zombies here in New Guinea. They take the two with them, and drive around. While driving they run into a tribal village. It just so happens that the reporter had lived with this tribe for some time, so she will go and find out some information from them. She tears her shirt open, puts on some war paint, and walks in front of the jeep. Ok, I can go no further.....
This movie was simply awful. Throughout all of "New Guinea" we are show clips from National Geographic or another documentary. What looks to be a state park, magically becomes New Guinea by showing random clips of monkeys jumping tree to tree, or even a tribe dancing, or rowing down a river. Mind you these are all the same clips. If someone talks about a tribe, it is the same clip of the tribe dancing. It is painful to watch.
A funny part consisted of a soldier looking into binoculars. The "New Guinea" clip had the outline of binoculars, but repeated itself same frame. I would love to have a pair of binoculars that had a replay function.
Now I am known to love bad horror movies. (I'm a sucker for a horribly bad movies.) This however was painful to watch. The plot was so poor, that I have no clue what it was, the editing was so choppy that I could not tell what the hell was going on, and the worst part of this all was it was boring. Yes fellow Bums, boring. A movie can be bad. Sometimes, that is where the fun is. Here, it was so boring and nonsensicle that I prayed for it to end. For a while there I cursed at God for not making the pain go away. Soon he heard my cries, and the credits rolled.
I give this movie one can. Why one? Well, for starteres we do not have a zero. This earns the movie an instant 1/2 can. The other half is for the hilarious scene of the reporter ripping her shirt open to talk to the villagers. Watch the scene, and skip the rest.
I love buddy-cop comedies. The odd combination of two cops with differetn styles, always leaves me laughing. To this day one of my favorite movies is Running Scared with Billy Crystal, and the late Grgory Hines. (May he tap away in heaven)
While some would say that these movies get old, they keep coming out. The formula is there, so run with it.
As a fan of buddy-cop comedies, I thought I have seen them all. I was wrong. Luckily Anchor Bay has added Dead Heat to this six pack.
Joe Piscapo (SNL and Sidekicks) and Treat Williams (the underrated Deep Rising) star in a different mix of the old formula. The basics are here, so let's start there.
- 2 cops. One by the books, and the second is the renegade comedy relief.
- There is the always screaming captain, that is fed up with their antics.
That's really where the basics end, and the spin begins.
A jewelry heaist is taking place, and all cops are on the scene. Doug Bigelow (Joe Piscapo) and Roger Mortis (Treat WIlliams) show up right when the robbers come busting out for the getaway. Gun fire commences, but these guys just won't go down. Only with the help of a grenade for one, and a Buick into the torso of the other do these crooks go down.
Obviously this brings up some questions.
Some minor police work leads them to a pharmaceutical firm. Well, they hit the jackpot and Roger is killed in the fight. With the help of the firm's "resurrection machine", Roger is brought back to life. Someone is using zombies to do their crimes, and the quickly decomposing Roger Mortis and partner Doug Bigelow must solve the crime.
This movie delivered all the 80s fun that a late night cable action movie can deliver. Gunfire, one liners, zombies, great FX, bad cloths...It's all here. The butcher shop scene alone is worth a viewing of this movie. If only movies were made with this much fun in mind.
My one complaint is with the drastic change that the movie takes in tone, halway through. The one-liners die down (no pun intended), and lean towards the darker side. Small complaint however, with all that is crammed into this movie.
While the movie is not a classic by any means, it is a fun movie that delivers on many fronts. It has it's issues, but they are small. Sit back and enjoy! Thanks to Anchor Bay for letting fellow Bums like myself not miss out on this gem.
3 1/2 Cans
City of the Living Dead (Gates of Hell)
I have to come clean with all you dark and twisted Bums out there. Your fellow horror loving Rufus finds Lucio Fulci boring. That's right. I said it. While his films can be quite atmospheric and tension filled, I find movies like The Beyond to be set ups for long drawn out gore scenes. I'm all for gore when needed, but come on! Does anyone need to watch a spider tear a person's tongue out for ten minutes? Sickos! Heere we have City of the Living Dead, and it's pretty much like the above.
A priest hangs himself. What drives him to this? A 10 year old boy perhaps? We never know. What a psychic (Fulci regular Catriona MacColl) knows is that this has opened up the Gates of Hell. She has a vision of this, and dies.
A reporter (Cigar chomping Christopher George) begins investigating her strange death. While visiting her grave he finds that she is not dead after all . Doesn't anyone know how to check a pulse? Together they travel to the town of Dunwich to close the Gates of Hell before the Day of the Dead arrises, and all the dead will walk for eternity.
The atmosphere is here and, like all Fulci films, the extreme amounts of gore. Eyeballs bleed, intestines are vomited up, scalps are torn, etc. I want more though. Is that so wrong?
I want a plot that makes sense, and moves briskly. I want characters to tie together if they are shown. I want an ending that makes sense. I want gore scenes to tie into the story somehow for God's sake.
Example: A man's head is put into a drill. The drill goes right through. Pretty impressive scene really, but what was the point. After that scene, the character is obviously dead, but the person that put his head in there is also never to be seen. Why? Tie it all together or something.
Another thing that really got me angry was the ending. What the hell?!? Did I miss something. I watched it 3 times, and came to the same conclusion. Did I say conclusion? I meant confusion.
Overall I do have to admit that the atmosphere and tension is very high in this movie. The gore is great, when it doesn't drag the movie to a crawl, and the film locations are naturally gothic. While I do have to give this movie props for all that, I want more. While this movie is a classic in the eyes of many the horror fan, I will only give it a 2 1/2. Gore does not equal a good movie. Remember that kiddies.
Nightmare City is not really a zombie movie. The individuals that are tearing people up, are not really dead. Sure some are, but not all. What they are is contaminated by radiation. What happens is that with the radiation they are losing blood cells. How does one replenish lost blood cells, you ask? Why, by drinking a living persons blood of course. Duh. Now these also are not your slow moving killers either. They are smart, fast, and out for a good kill. Psychos if you will.
We start out with a reporter showing up to interview a famous doctor. While waiting with his camera man, a mysterious plane is starting to ascend. No one is answering the radio, so cops and security show up to find out who is landing this unauthorized plane. With an eye on a possible story, the reporter and cameraman head over to the landing strip to check it out. After many threats the plane's door opens, only to have the doctor walk out. Oh, it is the man for the interview. Moments later the doctor, and the other plane's passengers began killing everyone in sight. Madness! Madness I tell you. The reporter gets the hell out of there, after filming some footage of course, and heads to the station. He interrupts what seems to be the worst show on television (just see for yourself) to air his footage. Nope. The military will have none of that. They yank him off the air, and he quits. What seemed at the start to be a isolated incident, becomes a full blown out epidemic, that even the military cannot control. Who will survive?
This movie is not bad at all. While not great by any means, it actually was action packed. The director Umberto Lenzi does a great job of pacing the film. Since the "zombies" are infected individuals, and not the slow moving cadavers in other films, they added to the action. This movie reminded me of a part in the classic film Westworld. When the robots went on a rampage, and tourists in Rometown, or whatever, were getting stabbed, strangled, and killed left and right. Make that scene 92 minutes, and you have Nightmare City. Not a bad thing at all.
Of course we also have plenty of gore. Breats being cut off, eyeballs being torn out, and plenty of gunfights. Yes, these zombies carry weapons, including guns.
My only complaint, other than the acting, is the ending. What the hell? I will not ruin the ending, but if you are a fan of the TV show Dallas, then you've seen it before. What a cop-out. With the pacing, and action, I give this 3 1/2 Cans.
The House By The Cemetary
Lucio Fulci. What can I say? Here is another one of his films. While better than Gates of Hell, his normal failings are present in this haunted house movie.
The film opens to a topless woman (a plus) calling out for her man. Of course she gets killed, in the normal Fulci way, and we move on. We cut to a family in New York. A little albino child is talking to a picture. It turns out that the child is moving to THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETARY (cue scary music) with his family, and is being warned not to go by a little girl in the photo. Is he seeing things? Is he really an albino?
Lucy (Gates of Hell's Katherine MacColl) and Dr. Norman Boyle, take their ugly son Bob and move to THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETARY!! The place is quaint enough. Lucy and Bob are there for a nice vacation, and Dr. Boyle has some research to do. His colleague was the man at the beginning of the film. What drove him to kill himself, and his woman? Dr. Boyle wants to know. Why does he want to know?
Bob has fun playing with the dead girl in the photo, and Lucy starts to go a little crazy. The fact that Bob's babysitter, is weird as hell, doesn't help Lucy's psyche either. The cellar is boarded up, but why? Well, it turns out that there is a dead guy in there, that comes up to kill every now and again.
Are you lost? Thank you. For a second I thought it was just me. This movie tried to throw every thing that it could into it. We have a zombie in the cellar, a strange mystery surrounding the house, two dead ghosts, Ann the babysitter who is weird for no damn reason, and a mystery surrounding Dr. Boyle on whether he had ever been to the house before or not. I'm sure that I left five more little mysteries out, but you get the point. The sad thing is practically all the questions that arrise, are never answered. That was my one complaint with Gates of Hell, and I have the same here. Loose ends were everywhere, and some things made no damn sense.
Sure the gore is here, but that is not enough to make a movie any good. I will give this movie some major points on the atmosphere. Again, Fulci does a great job at making a creepy movie. Sadly though, it is a incoherent creepy movie. Add insult to injury, we have Bob. Simply put, every time this kid opened his mouth, I died a little inside. This has got to be the most annoying child actor I have ever seen. With his albino features, and horribly dubbed voice, Bob caused me much pain.
While some would say this is a classic, I still just do not get it. We do get a couple of effective scenes, nice gore, a creepy atmosphere, and a superb score by Walter Rizzati. Unfortunately, by not making sense, I can only give this movie a 2 1/2.
Let Sleeping Corpses Lie
This is a movie that elluded me. I've always heard perople talk about it, but I just never got around to seeing it. Now I had the chance. After watching the movie, I can honestly say, that I am damn glad Anchor Bay added this to the box set.
George is an art dealer, heading to the countryside for some business, and relaxation. He jumps on his cycle and takes off. While stopping at a gas station, Edna backs her car into his motorcycle. The attendant tells him that it will be a day or two to fix, so now he needs to get a ride. He drives Edna's car, because it's her fault that he is in this situation in the first place, with her in the passenger seat. When they hit a fork in the road, Edna begs George to stop by her sister's. Her sister is in some trouble, and that is where Edna was heading before the accident. Relunctant, George agrees. They get lost, and George goes to ask for directions.
While he is away he runs into some workers and begins discussing a machine that they are using. The machine sends sound waves into the ground, turning insects against each other. At this rate, crops will all be safe. The insects will eat each other, instead of crops.
Edna also has a run in, but this is with a zombie. When George gets back he doesn't believe her, and they proceed to Edna's sisters. When they get there however they find that her sister's husband had been killed, and her sister in hysterics. The police come, and begin investigating. George, Edna and her sister are suspects. While George and Edna try to prove their innocense, they find out that the sound wave machine is bringing the dead back to life. This is what killed Edna's sister's husband. The police detective does not believe this, and believes them to all be satanists. Can George and Edna stop the dead from returning, while also clearing their names?
This movie was great. I really did enjoy this one. The movie is more atmospheric than anything else, and I liked the police angle. Not only are people getting killed by the undead, but these two are being blamed for it.
There is no denying, however, that this movie can be compared to Night of The Living Dead. While it is different in story slightly, many scenes are close to identical. I look this to be a homage, as opposed to a ripoff personally. Director Jorge Grau uses the gorgeous film location to it's advantage. The country side is beautiful, and the colors contrast the horror. While most zombies movies have attacks at night, here one of the main attacks finds our victims in a lush green, gothic graveyard in broad daylight. I personally enjoyed that over the night time kills.
George and Edna are impressively acted by Cristina Galbo, and Ray Lovelock. These were not annoying characters, that you wished would die. They carried the movie enough, to make me care all the way till the end. An what an end it was. While not a twist, per se, I did not see it coming.
Overall I would rank this up there with Night of the Living Dead. While not overly gory, the atmosphere, and acting put a huge horror smile on my face. The pacing was slower than some zombie movies, but never boring. If you claim to be a true zombie fan, than add this one to your collection. 4 Cans
Ok, where was I? Oh yes. The question that all of you are asking; IS THIS WORTH IT? Well, the simple answer is yes. Anchor Bay has gone to great lengths to give fans of the undead a good collection, and also in crisp quality. Each movie is in the best shape that I have seen. I can happily throw some of my VHS' out now.
Each DVD has a nice collection of extras, ranging from interviews, radio spots, and trailers (natch). While some of the movies in the box can be left alone (Hell of the Living Dead anyone?) but the bad really bring out the good.
Who would have guessed that Dead Heat would have gotten the care that it deserved? Some of these movies are obscure to many, making the low price tag a plus. Thank you Anchor Bay from bringing these movies to the masses.
The bottom line is at around 30 dollars this is a no brainer. Look at the packaging alone; A SIX PACK OF BEER. Brilliant! Anchor Bay knows how to grab the horror fan, and alchoholic in me.
There are some real winners (Dead Heat, Let Sleeping Corpses Lie) and some shat (Hell of the Living Dead), but again at this price, and packaging, I would have bought the Ashley Olsen Collection. I easily give this collection 4 cans!
Added: Friday, September 30, 2005
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