Posts Tagged ‘The Dead’

It’s October, the Golden Zombeys have been handed out, and it’s time to start a brand new season of Zombie Movie Night. To kick things off, my brother and I sat down to watch a long-awaiting sequel: Dead Snow 2! Until….some technical difficulties put a stop to that plan. Instead we set up another sequel, though not as long-awaited or exciting.

The Dead 2: India

The Dead 2

The original (and cleverly named) The Dead was part of ZMN Season 3. While it looked kind of cool, overall it was disappointing and did not fair well in the ZMN Standings. So expectations were a bit low for the sequel. This time the action moves from Africa to India. The main story revolves around an American (because who wants to root for some weird foreign hero) traveling across the zombie-ridden landscape to reach his knocked-up Indian girlfriend and live happily ever after. Along the way he picks up a spunky Indian kid to act as his Short Round.

THE GOOD: The Dead 2 is quite an improvement over the original. It kept the things that worked, like cool-looking, super-slow, but ever-present zombies, but picked up the pace and the action, both of which were lacking in the first go-round.

THE BAD: There were still some clunky sub-plots, such as the pregnant girlfriend’s theological debates with her father and the not-at-all-surprising turn of her mother. Another slightly annoying aspect of the film was the hero’s nigh-invulnerability. He gets swarmed by zombies at least 5 times, each time amazingly able to shrug them off completely unscathed, while everyone else gets the shit bitten out of them.

THE ZOMBIES: The zombies are the same here as they were in the first film. Slow, but all over the place.

VERDICT: The Dead 2: India is a definite improvement over the original and worth checking out for any zombie enthusiasts. Grade: B

Current ZMN Rank: #43 out of 152

Golden Zombey WatchPossible acting nods for the hero and his sidekick.

A Virgin Among the Living Dead

Not pictured in this film: any of the things in this poster

Not pictured in this film: any of the things in this poster

Next up was the provocative A Virgin Among the Living Dead, alternately titled Christina, Princess of Eroticism. Neither of those titles are anything close to being an accurate description of this film. I actually found the history of this movie to be more interesting than than the movie itself. Back in the swinging late-70s, Jess Franco made a movie called A Virgin Among the Living Dead, a story about a young woman (presumably a virgin, I guess) who travels to visit a family she’s never met after the death of her estranged father. Apparently she has inherited the mansion and estate of said absent Dad. When she travels into town, some of the locals inform her that the estate is abandoned, which seems odd when she gets to the mansion and meets the family (who are all super-weird). Strange events and much nudity ensue as Christina begins to figure out that her family may or may not actually be among the living.

Distributors of the film decided that Franco’s vision wasn’t properly sexed up, and demanded something more erotic that they could get into theaters. Some of the spookier moments were cut and an orgy scene, which was directed by someone else and included no characters involved in the storyline, was added. The scene itself is almost hilariously unsexy, as 3 couples clumsily roll on top of each other in the grass. Even the actors seem uninterested, as the full frontal males are clearly not aroused. The film was retitled, Christina, Princess of Eroticism and unleashed upon the world. Later, in the early 80s, distributors noticed that zombies were popular, reinstated the Virgin title, cut out the orgy, and added some scenes with generic zombies rising from the grave. These scenes were also directed by someone else and did not include any of the original actors. The lead actress in the scenes dresses like the original Christina, but is always shot from behind or with her hair over her face. The scenes were equally stupid and pointless, but featured less flaccid penises.

Anywho, the DVD that was gifted to me included the original and zombie versions, with the orgy scene as a bonus feature. My brother and I accidentally watched the original version and then had to go back and watch the zombie scenes to make it eligible for ZMN. Was it worth the effort, read on to find ou…….no, no it wasn’t.

THE GOOD: The beginning of the movie is actually enjoyable as it features some bizarre, crazy, hilarious stuff. I believe some of it was intended and some not. The nonsensical family introductions almost led me to think that Virgin might be a surprise favorite. There’s also tons of ridiculous, gratuitous nudity.

THE BAD: Somewhere along the way, the ridiculousness wears thin and the second half of the movie becomes tiresome and unentertaining. A lot of the same stuff happens over and over. Christina is warned so many times to leave the mansion, by both the living and the dead, that you almost want to see her get taken down in the end, just for not listening.

THE ZOMBIES: The zombies are not part of the movie. In this case, they were actually added on as a cash grab. The scenes that feature them are pretty terrible and actually detract from an already mediocre film.

VERDICT: I almost recommend A Virgin Among the Living Dead as a curiosity, but I can’t honestly say that it’s a good movie. Grade: C-

Current ZMN Rank: #113 out of 152

Golden Zombey WatchIt’s going to be hard to knock this one out of Best Nudity competition.

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My brother, Kevin Burke, is the author of The Last Mailman: Neither Rain, Nor Sleet, Nor Zombies, which was recently picked up by Permuted Press and should be available sometime in the near future.

In order to research Permuted, we picked up some of their books and checked them out. It was hardly a chore, as they specialize in zombie and apocalypse tales. All bias aside, they turn out some pretty damn good books. Here are my favorite 3 so far:

3. The Dead by Mark E. Rogers: This one appealed to me automatically when I read that it took place on the Jersey Shore. Having grown up in Jersey, just about every summer of my life has involved a trip “down the shore.” That being said, for some reason Rogers disguised all of the town names, which was puzzling to me. That took away some of my initial excitement. Luckily, The Dead sucked me right back in by being a pretty intense zombie adventure. The zombies in The Dead are more like agents of the apocalypse than traditional zombies. They’re smart and organized, and have a penchant for shoving dirt down people’s throats. Some have criticized the strong religious themes, but as a non-practicing Catholic, I found the debate interesting enough to forgive its heavy-handedness. I thought the ending was a little weak, but overall a great read.

2. Kings of the Dead by Tony Faville: Kings featured something that I’ve found missing in quite a few zombie novels: FUN! It’s told in journal style by a character who’s probably a little too excited and prepared when the zombie apocalypse begins. It’s a wacky ride that features mysterious super powers, giant zombie holding pens, and a goat. Great story and great characters make Kings a consistent page-turner.

1. Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines: Ex-Heroes zombies and super heroes, two of my favorite things of all time. And it’s a perfect, beautiful marriage. I loved, loved, loved this book. The story is well-written and I really liked how Clines played with the timeline in order to give you some back story on almost all of the characters. The heroes are all well-written and I can only dream that someday I might possess a St. George action figure. Clines has said that he basically took characters that he created when he was a kid and stuck them in the middle of the zombie apocalypse. How great is that! I’m sure that anybody who was into super heroes or comics as a kid can relate. We’ve all got heroes locked away in old notebooks and sketchpads. It makes me wonder how Incredibly Strong Man or Possum Man (both ridiculous heroes created by a 13-year-old Zombie Shakespeare) would deal with a zombie plague.

Of course I acknowledge that I’ve only read a small selection of the books that Permuted has to offer. Here are 3 that I’m most looking forward to picking up sometime in the future:

1. Empire by David Dunwoody, 2. The Infection by Craig DiLouie, 3. The Fall of Austin by Bowie Ibarra

All of Permuted’s titles are available at permutedpress.com and amazon.com.