Category Archives: Zombies

Z is for Zombie, that’s good enough for me!

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WORLD WAR Z (2013)

Director: Marc Forster

Starring: Brad Pitt, Marielle Enos, Daniella Kertesz, James Badge Dale, Fana Mokoena

Plot: In your head, In your head, Zombie! Zombie!

Rating: PG-13 for violent zombie rampages that aren’t gory enough to warrant an R rating.

 A zombie apocalypse? No thank you. Count me out compadre. No siree-bob.

Why? They’re noisy, frightening, and disgusting and nothing good ever comes from them. Basically  a zombie apocalypse is like the Coachella Music Festival minus the hippies.

But when a global pandemic turns everyone into bloodthirsty zombies, you’ll be glad Brad Pitt is on your side and not me.

Trust me. I don’t do well under pressure. I burst into tears when Starbucks is out of Cranberry Orange Scones.

On a beautiful morning in Philadelphia, retired United Nations investigator Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) is having breakfast with his beautiful wife and daughters, who are also by some amazing coincidence beautiful too!  Their perfect TV commercial family world is blown to heck when a mysterious viral outbreak rumbles through Philadelphia, turning normal citizens into violent bloodthirsty maniacs with a taste for human flesh. And no, I’m not talking about Phillies fans, I’m talking Zombies!

And these aren’t the usual shuffle along at one mile an hour zombies you see in the movies – these are the stampede at you full speed and climb up buildings to get to you zombies which is totally unfair for a guy like me who can barely break the 20 minute mile on the treadmill.  So I guess slowpokes like me are zombie food before the opening credits are over. Great, a zombie and I’m in Philadelphia. Not sure which is worse.

Anyhoo, Gerry and his family manage to escape Philly and head for the safety of Newark New Jersey, where the zombie outbreak has also taken place, but very few people notice. Luckily, Gerry puts a call to his best buddy, UN Deputy Secretary Umutoni (Fana Mokoena) who picks up the Lane family in a chopper and takes them to a Navy ship in the ocean where the remnants of the United Stated government are trying to figure out how to stop the zombies while voting on who is the next secretary of transportation.

And so Gerry begins a one man journey to find out where the zombie virus originated and how to stop it before the entire world is destroyed. He heads to South Korea, where there are zombies and some clues to the origin of the outbreak, then to Jerusalem where there are more zombies and more clues, then finally to a remote World Health Organization lab in Cardiff where he figures out a cure, but the ingredients to the cure are in a sealed off section of the compound which are surrounded by – wait for it – zombies!

World War Z moves along at a pretty urgent pace as Brad Pitt tries to stay one step ahead of the zombie hoards that are engulfing the planet. The movie hints of a possible sequel, but since this movie didn’t make a ton of money I’d say this is a one shot zombie apocalypse.

 I’ll say one thing about World War Z:  With the entire world in flames and society as we know it collapsing it’s good to know that the airplanes are still running frequent flights around the globe. Of course, you and I aren’t superstars like Brad Pitt, so if we had to fly across country to stop a zombie apocalypse there’s a really good chance we’d have to change planes in Denver and have at least a two hour layover in Atlanta.

Why is it always a layover in Atlanta?

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This Movie was in my Netflix Instant Queue: Zombie Hunter!

This month DVD Critics Corner takes a look at a few of the movies that have been collecting dust in the Netflix Queue. These “direct to DVD” gems never made it to your local cinema for some reason. Do we really need to know why? Of course we do.

This review contains lots of SPOLIERS, but let’s be honest, you are never going to watch this movie. Ever.

BD-2D-Zombie-Hunter

Title: ZOMBIE HUNTER (2013)

Director: K. King

Cast: Danny Trejo, Martin Copping, Claire Neiderpreum, Terry Guthrie, Jade Reiger, Jason K. Wixom, Jake Suazo

GENRES: Action and Adventure, Horror, Action Thriller, B-Horror, Campy, Zombie Horror

This Movie is (According to Netflix) Violent and Campy

Rating: Not rated, but probably R.

Netflix Synopsis: When a street drug turns junkies into an army of zombies, Hunter finds himself with nothing but a beat-up car and a trunk full of guns and booze. Eventually, he stumbles across a small band of survivors.

The Dealy:

A TV newscast is running a story about the latest designer drug that is sweeping the country – NATAS: more addictive than marijuana, cocaine, crystal meth, and caramel mocha latte combined. We see a pair of teens in a flop house shoot up the pepto bismol colored drug, then turn into zombies and eat each other.

This is your brain. This is your brain on NATAS being eaten by a zombie. Any questions?

The movie cuts to a year later, and like every zombie movie the United States is now a barren wasteland. Pockets of survivors run and hide from the zombie hoards now roaming the countryside. It is here we meet the star of Zombie Hunter, a rugged loner who travels the highways killing zombies one at a time and living each day one at a time. He is:

Not Danny Trejo!

This friggin guy!

Sorry fans of veteran bad ass character actor Danny Trejo, but”El Machete” isn’t really the star of this movie, even though his face is on the poster and his name is above the title.

Truth be told, he’s in the movie for about twenty minutes.

I know. I feel violated too.  But since the budget of Zombie Hunter was about the size of a Junior High School production of Annie, I guess they thought having a B-List action star Danny Trejo in the film for a few minutes is better than nothing, right?

Dear Lord, why must they fill my house with LIES!!!

The lead in Zombie Hunter is a known only known by one name: Hunter. A zombie killing drifter, Hunter (Martin Copping) is man who’s made up of so many different movie characters it’s a wonder he’s able to walk straight:

Like Mad Max, he drives a black muscle car, wields a double barreled shotgun, and wears black leather biker duds.

He speaks (and narrates the film) in a low growl like a spaghetti western era Clint Eastwood or Christian Bale when he’s in Batman mode.

Like the Ents in the Lord of the Rings movies, he is tall, stiff, and about as expressive as a tree.

While cruising through the wastelands of New Mexizona or wherever Zombie Hunters was filmed, Hunter hooks up with a small band of survivors hiding out from the zombie herds. They are an eclectic group of intellectuals you wouldn’t want to be on line with at Starbucks much less fighting for survival in a post zombie apocalyptic wasteland. Let’s do a roll call!

Alison (Claire Neiderpreum) – A pretty girl who cooks for the group and tries to keep morale high. Her turn ons include guns, trucks, and lunk-headed loners who dress like post apocalyptic Australian cops.

Father Jesus (Danny Trejo) – A priest who carries a bible in one hand and an axe in the other. Me thinks Jesus was a bit of a hellraiser before the zombies came calling, but I’m not going to question a man who can slice and dice a dozen zombies and still have time for Sunday service.

“Fast Lane” Debbie (Jade Reiger) – The zombie apocalypse was especially hard on Debbie. Most of the men in America are dead so it’s really difficult for a whore like her to find a drunken redneck with low standards to hook up with. Lucky for her the survival fortress they live in has a stripper pole for her to practice her job skills!

Jerry (Terry Guthrie) – A mechanic who can’t seem to get a car started when needed, Jerry says “I’m getting to old for this shit” so many times Danny Glover gets a cut of his salary.

Ricky (Jason Wixom) – Alison’s younger brother. He’s either 11 or 20, it’s hard to tell. Good thing his sister has his back or else Father Jesus is using him as a shield during the next zombie attack.

Lyle (Jake Suazo) – He’s a fat, slovenly, selfish douche nozzle. You will be glad when he dies.

Hunter learns the survivors want to travel to a nearby air base where they hope to find a plane to fly them to an island in the pacific with minimal zombies and no income tax laws. But before Hunter and his new pals can put their plans into action, the zombies attack again because this group of hardened survivors forgot rule #1 of surviving a zombie attack: Lock the front gate!

Oh, and to make things even more difficult for Hunter and crew, for reasons not explained some zombies have mutated into 9 foot tall monster zombies with giant claws and cloven hooves for feet. Look, they paid some computer guys a lot of money for CG blood splatter and decapitations, they might as well throw in a few Resident Evil style mutants! For as the late great Alfred Hitchcock famously said “Who needs plot exposition and character development when you’ve got cloven hooved mutants!” *

Zombie Hunters has everything you’d expect from a low budget direct to Netflix zombie apocalypse adventure, and for that you have my deepest condolences.  The problem is the movie rips off so many other zombie flicks and mainstream action movies it neglected to focus on the two things that would have made Zombie Hunter a totally awesome direct to DVD horror fest:

visual_zombiehunter

Danny Trejo and a big axe.

Dump the Mad Max wannabe who mumbles his dialogue, get rid of the 5 people from different backgrounds trying to live together in harmony during an apocalypse, just give me 90 minutes of Danny Trejo slicing and dicing  zombie hoards.

That’s all I want. Is it too much to ask?

 

* – Alfred Hitchcock did not say that. It might have been David Lean.

DVD Critics Corner Presents: The 2013 Summer Movie Wrap-up Thing!

RIPD

Hello blog readers. It’s Tom, your DVD Critics Corner pal. I hope you are well. How about that sports team that played that game the other day? Quite exciting, huh?

Anyhoo, in the part of the United States I live in, Fall has arrived. The kids are back at school, the wheat has been harvested, and the stores are decorated for Christmas.

The summer of 2013 was truly a magical time at the movies. There were Supermen, Lone Rangers, Wolverines, and whatever Matt Damon was in Elysium. We laughed, we cired, we grew to hate Jaden Smith. Let’s take a look back on the summer movie season that was!

Oh, despite what you may have heard about me being a dashing shut-in who only watches movies in DVD form, I managed to make it over to the multiplex to check out a few of the big summer blockbusters. I got my own box of Raisinets too!

Back to taking a look at the summer movie season that was!

AFTER EARTH

Synopsis: Father and son space explorers crash land on earth thousands of years after humanity gets kicked out for not paying rent or something.

What Everyone Said: STOP MAKING US LIKE YOUR CHILDREN, WILL SMITH!!!

What Tom Says: I didn’t see it, and apparently neither did the rest of the world.

IRON MAN 3

Synopsis: HE. IS. IRON MAN. AGAIN!!!

What Everyone Said: Where are the rest of The Avengers?

What Tom Says: This movie kicked so much ass! We’re talking like a million asses! I counted! I had lots of free time this summer.

WORLD WAR Z

Synopsis: Dead men walking. And running.

What Everyone Said: Yay zombies!

What Tom Says: Didn’t see it, but I hear it was nothing like the book. Yes, I read the book. Tom read good!

STAR TREK: INTO DARKNESS

Synopsis: The crew of the Enterprise meet a guy who does a horrible Ricardo Montalban impression.

What Everyone Said:  Four years is too long to wait for a sequel.

What Tom Says: Four years is not too long to wait for a sequel if the movie is outstanding, you ungrateful fanboy losers!

What Tom Is Trying To Say: Into Darkness was awesome.

THE LONE RANGER

Synopsis: Hi Ho Silver! Hello? Is anyone watching this?

What Everyone Said: Who’s The Lone Ranger?

What Tom Says:  I hear if you mention this movie while in a Walt Disney theme park or resort, a goon squad appears out of nowhere and beats you senseless with socks full of quarters. Consider yourself warned. Oh, and I didn’t see this one.

MAN OF STEEL

Synopsis: Superman returns, this time in a good movie!

What Everyone Said: Wow, Superman really likes breaking stuff.

What Tom Says: Finally! A Lois Lane who can see through Clark Kent’s foolproof disguise – a pair of eyeglasses!

R.I.P.D. 

Synopsis: Ryan Reynolds continues to destroy his career in another special effects laden mess.

What Everyone Said: Comments unavailable since nobody saw this movie.

What Tom Says: I didn’t see this movie. Oh wait yes I did, when it was called Men In Black! 

DESPICABLE ME 2

Synopsis: Reformed supervillain Gru and his minions return for another adventure!

What Everyone Said: So, are the minions humans, clones, or horribly deformed mutants?  All three? That’s messed up.

What Tom Says: Okay, I only saw this dumb kiddie movie because my 10 year old niece dragged me to see it. I lied. I dragged her to see it because I loved the first movie! Gru rules! I cannot wait for another sequel. In fact, I sent Steve Carell a 3,000 page treatment containing my ideas for six more Despicable Me movies!  I framed the restraining order his lawyers sent me.

AND THE REST

THE WOLVERINE – Didn’t see it.

ELYSIUM -Maaaatt Daaaamon.  Didn’t see it.

PACIFIC RIM – Didn’t see it.

FAST & FURIOUS 6 – Holy %$#!, there’s six of them?

WE’RE THE MILLERS – HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! No seriously, we’re done now.

This was in My Netflix Instant Queue: Nazis at the Center of the Earth!

NAZIS AT THE CENTER OF THE EARTH (2012) Director: Joseph L. Lawson Starring: Jake Busey, Dominique Swain, Josh Allen, Christopher Karl Johnson Rating: NR, but there’s brief nudity, bad language, some gore, and Nazi guys doing that “Heil Hitler” thing. 

If you’re a regular reader of DVD Critics Corner (and you have my deepest sympathies), you have probably figured out by now it takes a certain kind of movie to make it to the pages of this blog. Believe it or not, every movie I consider for review must meet a particular set of criteria to be deemed what I call “blog worthy.”

Here are some of the things I look for:

– Does the film have gratuitous amounts of violence which includes any or all of the following: gun play, sword play, close quarter hand to hand combat, kung fu fighting, and of course an inordinate amount of kicking?

– Will this movie feature space aliens, other worldly monsters, scary zombies, cool robots, or at the very least Ron Perlman?

– Are there plenty of explosions which destroy property and/or motor vehicles?

– Is there a complete lack of Katherine Heigl?

– Does the film have anything truly unique to offer, besides some nudity by a hot supporting character?

I am happy to report the direct-to-DVD spectacular Nazis at the Center of the Earth has many of the things on my meticulously crafted list and more. Much, much more. How much more? I’ll get back to you on that. 

On the continent of Antarctica, a team of young attractive scientists are busy doing important genetic research that can only be done in a lab at the coldest place on the planet. When a couple of their people go missing while collecting genes out in the snow, the other scientists head out to rescue them and stumble upon a lost continent hidden deep beneath the ice that for some reason is warm enough for the female cast members to strip down to their tank tops.

Before the scientists can marvel at their amazing discovery and remove more clothing, they are captured by an army of Nazi soldiers who have been hiding in the center of the earth since the end of World War II, practicing their goosestepping and prepping a massive invasion of the modern world!

Unfortunately the Nazis were so busy building an underground city and a giant nazi spaceship (seriously) with laser weapons, they forgot to bring women with them to the center of the earth to keep repopulating their army. Now the ancient soldiers are starting to fall apart and turn into mad flesh eating zombies because that’s what people do when they get old.

The scientists are forced by the mad Nazi Doctor Josef Mengele (Christopher Karl Johnson) to help keep his army alive and kicking for the grand invasion, and to help him revive an “old friend” who has been waiting a long time for his big comeback.

And it is when Dr. Mengele reveals the culmination of his decades of experiments that Nazis at the Center of the Earth gave me the “more” I was looking for. Boys and girls, I give you:

ROBOT HITLER!

Yes, Robot Hitler.

If there is only one thing you remember from watching Nazis at the Center of the Earth – aside from how much Jake Busey looks like his batshit crazy Dad – it’s Robot Hitler.

Will the Reich rise again? Can the sniveling scientists thwart the Nazi’s invasion plans?

It doesn’t really matter. Why? Robot Hitler.

Nazis at the Center of the Earth was produced by The Asylum, a studio famous for their low budget direct-to-DVD films that rip off popular movies, and like every other Asylum flick, the acting is bad, the script is terrible, and the special effects are awful.

But their robot was Hitler!

Blog worthy.

This was in my Netflix Instant DVD Queue: 2012 – Zombie Apocalypse

2012: Zombie Apocalypse (2011) Director: Nick Lyon Starring: Ving Rhames,  Taryn Manning, Gary Weeks Rating: NR, but has some gory zombie makeup and brain eating fun and games.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years – which is something I do not recommend, believe you me – Zombies are all the rage right now.  Everywhere you turn there are TV shows, comic books, toys, clothing, video games and household novelties devoted to these undead brain eaters.

I haven’t seen this kind of feverish devotion to ugly, horrifying creatures since the Cabbage Patch Kids phenomenon in the eighties!

Of course, zombies are still very popular in the cinema, with movie studios cranking out saga after gory saga about desperate humans fighting to stay alive in a world full of walking corpses. Zombie Apocalypse is one of these movies I watched recently, mostly because it stars super-cool badass Ving Rhames, who at this point in his career has more zombie movies on his resume then George A. Romero.

Zombie Apocalypse opens with a brief prologue describing how the apocalypse went down: a mysterious virus begins mutating the worlds population into murderous zombies. The governments of the world fight back by releasing an electromagnetic pulse which shuts down every electronic device in the world, because everyone knows how useless zombies are without their smartphones, computers, and cars.

The film follows a small band of survivors who are making their way cross country to Los Angeles to catch a boat to Catalina Island where survivors are trying to rebuild civilization and hopefully do some sailing and sport fishing, weather permitting of course.

The group is a motley collection of characters who’ve learned to survive in the zombie wasteland. Let’s do a role call!

Mack (Gary Weeks) – The sort of leader. He’s handsome, rugged, and handsome. He’s got a square jaw and he’s not afraid to use it. He kills zombies with an aluminum baseball bat, which is also handsome.

Cassie (Lesley-Ann Brandt) – The tough hot girl. She slashes away at the undead with a sword and looks gorgeous while doing it. She hopes her husband is still alive, but hasn’t heard from him since the darn apocalypse started.

Julien (Johnny Pacar) – The wiry wisecracker. Every team needs a guy to make sarcastic comments between zombie battles, and Julien fills that position perfectly. He keeps a journal and quotes poetry, so nobody will miss him if he’s eaten by zombies.

Ramona (Taryn Manning) – The whiny new girl.  Ramona was rescued by the others at the start of the movie, so she’s not a seasoned fighter like the others. But she does make up for her shortcomings by being a jittery mess when the zombies come. Major high maintenance.

Henry (Ving Rhames) – Hell to the yeah!  Henry’s weapon if choice is a sledgehammer, which he uses to crush zombie skulls. If Ving used a sledgehammer on his 2005 Kojak series, that short lived show would still be on the air today, and would win the emmy for best show ever every year!

Despite having Ving Rhames wielding a sledgehammer (best thing ever!) Zombie Apocalypse is  loaded with the standard zombie movie cliches: The heroes fight and run from zombies, who are slow and lumbering, yet manage to sneak up on on everyone with ninja like stealth. At least once, the heroes get split up. One group gets trapped by zombies and rescued by the other group at the very last second. One guy gets scratched by a zombie but doesn’t tell anyone until he turns into a zombie. And my all time favorite; the heroes use those magic movie handguns which fire hundreds of times without ever running out of bullets.

2012: Zombie Apocalypse was made by the infamous film production company The Asylum, which makes low budget direct to DVD monster and horror movies that make Ed Wood’s filmography look like AFI’s top 10, so don’t say I didn’t warn you. But if you like your films amateurish and cliched and your Ving Rhameses armed with a sledge hammer, (and I know you do) then sit back and relax as 2012: Zombie Apocalypse eats your brain.

You weren’t using it that much anyway.