Sunday, March 04, 2007

Capsule reviews

  • Hot Wax Zombies on Wheels: There is a level of camp that goes beyond groans and eyerolling straight into actual physical pain, and this movie finds that level and then descends further. A new waxing parlor menaces a small town and turns good townspeople into "ravenous, hairless, horndog zombies." No people eating or rotting undead in this one, but there are plenty of farm animal sound effects and shrieking scenery chewing.

  • The Grapes of Death: A lovely young woman runs screaming through gorgeous, misty French countryside for most of the film. Experimental pesticides have infected local wine production, and anyone drinking the tainted alcohol (and in France, that's everyone) zombifies violently. It's a slow movie, with atypical and occasionally conflicting zombie behavior. The plot, though, is among my favorites (besides zombies, another of my passionate hobbies is wine appreciation).

  • Feeding the Masses: This is a bad, bad movie. I'm going to tell you some things it does well, but please don't forget that it's fundamentally a painful film. Now, when communication majors make a zombie movie, it's natural that they'll be curious about how an undead epidemic affects the news media. Some of the exploration here is interesting-- if being in the right place at the right time could launch Diane Swayer and Ted Koppel, then ambitious young newscasters will quite understandably risk their lives to report from the center of the zombie outbreak. There's also a creepy little strip club scene in which a young soldier conflates his lust for a girl with lust for killing-- it's not a well done scene, but the concept is sound.

  • Raiders of the Living Dead: There was a kid who made a death laser. There were some cars and an island. It hurt. It hurt so bad.

  • Zombiez: Billed as an urban zombie film, I felt cheated by how much of it took place in the woods. Sometimes there was a factory, though. I don't know how the zombies were made, or why they attacked people with sickles and butcher knives, or why the lead character thought she'd find her husband in the forest when he'd been abducted from their city apartment, or who that big bad guy was she tussled with at the end. I do know that if asked to recommend a zombie movie that (more or less) thoughtfully evokes likely issues of zombie infection in America's inner cities, I'm going to name Hood of the Living Dead.

  • Shadow: Dead Riot: It's always a pleasure to see Tony Todd do his thing. He plays Shadow, a sort of necromancer whose execution in prison was merely the prelude to his zombie-based invasion decades later, when a tough girl with a mysterious connection to Shadow is sentenced to the same prison. Did I mention it's a women's prison now? Yep: Tony Todd, zombies, women's prison, even a zombie baby. You already know if you're gonna like this or not.