16) House of the Dead
Oooh, girl, there is bad and then there is BAD. House of the Dead has the distinction of being just as bad as you've heard. Adapted from a video game and scored with outtakes from a Prodigy album, this is a (ahem) style over substance zombie movie that is just... not good.
A bunch of random teens get a grizzled sea captain to take them to a daytime rave on a deserted, wooded island where they find out a zombie attack is in mid outbreak. With cut-ins from the game, "blood dripping" transitions, and awful acting... well, it's almost a hoot. Actually, it probably is a good "drinkin' with buddies" kinda movie... but I'm too old to drink that much.
The gore splashes freely, and there's boobs a-poppin', which is good for any party-horror movie. When two characters make penis-size entendres over rifles and other weapons hidden in a crate of smuggled cubans, you'll be amazed to realize it's the apex of the dialogue in this flick. The stylistic height of the flick is a big zombie shoot 'em up with lots of bits from the game cut in, several exploding heads, and a total abuse of the "bullet time" shot made so popular in The Matrix. However, it's accomplished by just swinging the camera around an actor as they stand there then slowing it down a bit. Also of note is when there's a weird super-fast montage recap of just about everything that's gone before that one character has in the middle of the shoot 'em up. I think it could induce seizures.
You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll hurl... and be amazed that evidently even co-eds in star-spangled body suits are tip-top Ninjas as long as they're Asian. They all seem to be in some Greek system that teaches swordfighting and weapons training along with bad partying. The much maligned Uwe Boll throws everything at the wall in this one and nothing sticks... a lot of it slides down in a gooey, chunky mess though, and that's fun too.
Jurgen Prochnow and Clint Howard are here so their mortgages must've been due. Ellie Cornell shows none of the promise she had in the eighties, though she does have a lovely death scene, dripping blood as pink as that in a 70s Hammer horror. The rest of the actors are mostly known for their chests and makeup jobs... and the zombie makeup is definitely lifted from Fulci.
About all I can recommend is the way I watched House of the Dead - listening to The Cadaver Lab's Cadavertrax for it. The guys are fun, they stay in sync, and it definitely felt like sitting in the living room with my friends. Highly recomended. (The boing-boing-boing at the end made my night, guys.) If you haven't checked out their podcast or visited their site, please do.
So, yeah, bad flick, but actually rather enjoyable - overdone in the way a film like Burial Ground: The Nights of Terror is. Young people and Zombies. Lots of exploding heads. Candy-colored art direction (very reminiscent to me of The Dead Hate The Living in places (now THAT'S a fun flick!)) and pink, runny blood everywhere. Totally nonsensical 90% of the time. No redeeming values, and a 2 outta 10 rating on imdb.com, so what's NOT to love?
(okay, the icky, slobbery zombie facelick isn't that loveable... but what can you do?)
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