Monday, 23 April 2012

Survival of the Dead - Zombie Horror Film Review

George Romero will always be known as the Grandaddy of zombie films with his awesome original trilogy but lately his films have been less good.  Land of the Dead was utter over produced trash, Diary of the Dead was a bit better, and now his latest one Survival of the Dead. I was a tad tipsy when I saw this film, so my mind is not that strong on this one to be honest.

The film starts a week after zombie apocalypse on Plum Island (off the coast of America) where two rival Irish families are having opposing ideas on how to treat the undead. The head of the O'Flynn's (Kenneth Welsh) thinks all the zombies on the island should be killed, while the head of the Muldoon's (Richard Fitzpatrick) believes they should instead be restrained for in case a cure is ever discovered. Their differences leads to O'Flynn and his men being banished from the island. On the mainland to get revenge they direct survivors to the island, knowing that Muldoon hates strangers. A band of AWOL soldiers led by Sarge (Alan Van Sprang) hear the broadcast and head to the island with O'Flynn where they find out that things have turned sour...

What is cool about this film is that Sarge and his soldiers have a small part in Diary of the Dead, that scene is re shown here, it is a nice nod to that film and gives some continuity. Whether it was the Vodka, or my mind frame I really quite enjoyed this film even though it has a load of faults.  First of all, yet again it is not a patch on the original trilogy, played far too much for laughs in places, the most glaring fault though is the over reliance on shoddy CGI which really rips you out the experience with computer generated violence.  An early scene features a load of still living zombie heads on stakes, utterly terrible looking, the old way of doing effects looked so much better.  Some of the deaths are questionable; a zombie whose head bursts on fire after being shot with a flare, a zombie whose foot rips off after getting pegged to the ground with a rake, and a zombie killed with a fork (may have been a small knife) all look terrible.

The story is quite simple, and kinda interesting if Romero had not done the 'power corrupts' story hook so many times before, with the break down of society comes the inevitable break down of rules and order as always.  None of the characters are that good.  Sarge and his team are all generic templates, while the teenage boy travelling with the group is just plain odd looking. I guess O'Flynn is the most fun of the characters, showing different sides to his personality.

Lots of violence, just a shame most of it is CGI, head shots don't have the same impact when they look so clean.  The zombies are ok but they just invoke no fear, even when dragging people to the ground they are just bland, scary zombies equals a better film, it is not hard to make zombies scary. The bad guys don't come across as that bad and there is no one to really root for.

Compared to Land of the Dead this is a classic, but it is still just another slight tarnish on Romero's legacy, still, maybe his next film will be a return to form.


Sunday, 15 April 2012

Attack of the Zombie Horde (2011) - Zombie Videogame Review (X-Box Indie)

Been over a week since my last post again, due in a large part to some bad goings on in the real world. Attack of the Zombie Horde is yet another arena based twin stick zombie survival shooter on the crowded X-Box Indie games channel.

The game starts with a comic book intro that sees a commando team dispatched to investigate a body out in Alaska. The group stay behind while their 'copter flies the dead body away. The body promptly reanimates causing the helicopter to crash and leaving the commandos stranded out in the wastes of icy Alaska fighting off waves of flesh eating creeps.

The game is well made for an 80 Microsoft points game but sadly it is the exact same format as a million other games so soon looses its appeal despite the inclusion of a story mode. You are in a snowy clearing with trees all around that the hordes run, crawl and shamble out of. When killed they spill plenty of dark claret, and the zombies are shady enough to look realistic rather than overly cartoony.

Killing zombies nets you cash which can be used to purchase different guns that can easily be switched between and all have infinite ammo. Some also drop pick ups such as grenades.  Another four player game also.

All in all, Attack of the Zombie Horde is yet another twin stick shooter which while competent has a million other versions available and does nothing special to recommend it over them.


Friday, 6 April 2012

Resident Evil (2002) - Zombie Horror Film Review

It seems strange that one of my favourite horror films of all time I have yet to review on my beloved blog. Saying that my other favourite horrors (Halloween, Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, The Evil Dead, even Battle Royale) also have not been reviewed (when this was first written). Resident Evil is directed by Paul W.S Anderson and stars Milla Jovovich (The Fifth Element) as Alice; a woman in a red dress with no memory.

The film starts with an unknown person releasing a deadly virus into the labs of the Umbrella Corporation. The security computer (known as the 'Red Queen') reacts by sealing the labs and killing all the workers stationed there in a variety of fun and gruesome ways. Later on in a mansion a woman (Jovovich) wakes up naked in a shower with no memory of who she is. Wandering around the mansion she encounters first, a strange man snooping around, and then a commando team who literally burst into the place throwing smoke grenades and flash bangs everywhere in a display of over the top bravado.  The team leader; One reveals his team have been dispatched to the mansion as it is a secret entrance to the underground labs where everyone was killed at the films start. His team are to investigate what caused the A.I to go crazy and kill everyone. Soon (well over 40 minutes into the film) it is revealed the virus released was a zombie virus that has turned all the staff of the facility into brain dead flesh eating zombies. The team, and the hangers-on must now work together to escape the facility.

I love this film, really love it.  It has a awesome NIN sounding soundtrack by Marilyn Manson, plenty of action, and cool effects. Many people say the best part of the film is its iconic laser corridor of death in which most the films characters are killed off in violent slicings. This scene was later actually incorporated into the video game Resident Evil 4.  The film is very badly directed but this leads to its innate charm. Characters float from location to location, often travelling in between scenes, or a little map screen effect that charts their movement, so one second they can be in labs, then next scene a sewer etc.

The acting is fairly terrible but again this is a good thing, especially seeing the reference material the film was based on. Michelle Rodriquez is her usually bad girl self, full of angry scowls, and token grimaces, Jovovich is good as the action star, her abilities growing as her memory returns. A cool sequence where she takes on zombie dogs is always fun to watch. The scene where her memory comes back is always great, and the fantastic twist ending is by far the very best part of the film and worth the trip to get to.

The zombies are not that great, they sort of act as a collective so are always bunched together, no real threat.  The licker is a fun end of film boss even if it does look a bit naff with its low budget CG effects. This works as a Resident Evil film with many nods to it, whether it be musical cues, or game type effects.

I love Resident Evil, it is very entertaining, and well watchable, its flaws adding to the experience rather than detracting. The directors commentary is also very funny with Anderson, Jovovich, and Rodriquez making fun of the film as they comment on it. The best film of the series so far, and the only one which could be considered canon to the games.


UPDATE: 29/03/2020:

I have recently rewatched this one again and it still stands up as a very enjoyable film. It is big dumb fun, and is really idiotic and stupid, but that is what makes it so damn good. The soundtrack is still fantastic, and that final shot of the!

Thursday, 5 April 2012

General Update - Zombie Car Sticker

My first post in a long, long time, been off doing real life things. My blog is being copied so if there isn't the Rotting Zombie banner at the top of this page then your most likely looking at a spam site! I am in the process of getting the site banned so hopefully the scummy stealer's wont be stealing my work for much longer.

For my new post I thought I would do something simple.  So here is the back of my car (with my rotting cadaver reflected in the window).  A cool warning sticker I got last Birthday for my emergency vehicle to make it more official.

I have been sent a load of books to read for various people, so if your one of those patiently waiting for a review I will get around to it eventually. So all in all a bit of a general update, going old school.  Now I have joined the modern world and have a phone with a camera expect more pictures than you have so far been treated to.