The living dead emerging from The Dead Pit (1989)
Balladeer’s Blog’s month-long celebration of Halloween continues! If you’re like me you’re bored with zombies and pseudo-zombies. The 21st Century is as mired in tiresome, cookie-cutter zombie flicks as the 1980s were in tiresome, cookie-cutter slasher flicks.
Here is a look at seven films which, while technically classified as zombie movies at least adopt unique perspectives and don’t follow established formulas.
THE DEAD PIT (1989) – This horror film was the directorial debut of the very prolific director Brett Leonard. While not a four-star movie The Dead Pit is enjoyable enough for the Halloween Season and should certainly appeal to anyone into 1980s horror flicks. This movie’s hybrid of zombie elements and slasher elements is both its charm AND the reason behind its love-it-or-hate-it status.
Don’t expect non-stop Resident Evil-level action but DO expect to see some in-your-face gore very early in the flick for lovers of guts and decomposition. A physician (Dr Swan) at a mental hospital discovers the secret sub-basement where a rival MD (Dr Ramzi) is subjecting hopeless patients to horrific experiments involving a combination of science and the supernatural. Continue reading
Halloween Month continues here at Balladeer’s Blog! It’s hard to believe there are still 1970s Marvel Comics characters who have NOT been adapted for the big or small screen yet. Simon Garth, former plantation owner cursed to return from the grave as a zombie is one. Here is the cover to one of his battles with the vile Mister Six.
FOR MY FULL-LENGTH REVIEW OF THIS SERIES CLICK HERE
Balladeer’s Blog’s Eighth Annual Christmas Carol-A-Thon continues! Since we’re not even into December yet this is the ideal time to look at this dark-humored version of A Christmas Carol that was done in the style of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
I AM SCROOGE – A ZOMBIE STORY FOR CHRISTMAS (2009) – Written by Adam Roberts. This book was a gift from a friend a few years ago and it’s pretty entertaining. Think of The Dead Next Door set at Christmas.
Roberts plays with various aspects of the narrative, even joking about superogatory “o’s” in Marley’s moan of “Scrooooge.” He peppers in a lot of similar jokes all the way through the book. The schtick is exactly what you would expect – the title is a joking reference to I Am Legend followed by Dickens’ qualification of A Christmas Carol as “A Ghost Story For Christmas.” Continue reading
By reader request here’s my semi-regular Halloween Season blog post Zombies of Monticello, my mock movie review. I first ran this in 2013, but it may not seem as irreverent this year in the wake of the large-scale criticism of Thomas Jefferson.
ZOMBIES OF MONTICELLO (2013) – Halloween month continues at Balladeer’s Blog with this review of cult director Eddie Wozniak’s blood-soaked combination of horror and commentary.
Learn the REAL cause of Thomas Jefferson’s death on July 4th, 1826! On the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence the zombified corpses of all of Jefferson’s dead slaves rise from their graves and besiege him and his extended family in the Jefferson mansion at Monticello!
The pompous hypocrite who penned noble words about freedom and equality while OWNING other human beings tries everything to wipe out the undead legions pressing in on all sides. Continue reading
THE SHIP OF SILENT MEN (1920) – Written by Philip M Fisher. The crew of a ship called the Lanoa set out from Hawaii. A few days later an abnormally powerful electrical storm strikes, leaving the area unusually cold in its wake.
The men on board the Lanoa don’t have much time to ponder that before they begin receiving distress signals from a ship identified as the Karnak. Even though the message indicates that the death of the entire crew seems imminent, the Lanoa receives the message again later, after assuming the Karnak met with disaster. Continue reading
THE SPECTRE LEAGUERS – In 1792 the Gloucester Leaguers returned from the dead to plague Massachusetts 100 years after their horrors had first been unleashed.
During King Philip’s War in 1692 a league of French and Native Americans who were fighting against the New Englanders were slain to the last man. Supernatural tales abounded about the appearance on the face of the moon of a Native American bow as well as a scalp dripping with blood. Superstitious souls said this strange phenomenon meant that the Gloucester Leaguers were not through with their depradations.
In 1792 the dead bodies of the Franco-Indian force raised themselves from the dead, fully armed and clothed in the tattered remains of their clothing. The next two weeks were witness to nocturnal horrors which most people would have believed to be impossible in any world ruled “by a just God or the laws of reason.” Continue reading
Balladeer’s Blog’s month-long celebration of Halloween continues! If you’re like me you’re bored with all of the zombie and pseudo-zombie films and tv shows that seem to come out every few months. Pontypool is at least a zombie film that defies the formula.
PONTYPOOL (2008) – Pontypool is based on the novel by Tony Burgess and is set in a small town in Ontario. The best way to describe this original and thought-provoking movie would be by saying “If PBS decided to do a zombie film I think it would go something like this …”
The movie stars Stephen McHattie who portrays Grant Mazzy, a former shock jock from America. He’s currently languishing on a small station in the backwoods of Canada after his provocative antics got him fired one too many times from radio stations in the States.
He tries to liven up his boring gig on local radio by suggesting some unorthodox public behavior to his listeners and is as surprised as his female producer Sydney Briar (Lisa Houle) when people around the area begin taking him up on the suggestion. As reports continue to come into the tiny radio station it soon becomes apparent that the population isn’t just extremely receptive to suggestion, many of them have become living zombies with a desire to kill anyone not similarly stricken. Continue reading