Dead Season

Dead Season

USA, 2012
AKA: The Running Dead
Director: Adam Deyoe
Writer: Adam Deyoe, Joshua Klausner, Loren Semmens
Cast: Scott Peat, Marissa Merrill, James C. Burns, Corsica Wilson, Marc L. Fusco, Todd Pritchett, Grant Beijon, Kevin O. Matta, Anna Vawser, Greg Weisman, Leishla M. Perez Figeroa, Sean McDonald, Dave Wilhoit, Barbara Kerford, Carmen Gloria, Matt Aidan, Sue Braden, Jeanette Caldera, Randall Carver, Tom Caster, Louis Chalif, Phil Connery, Amy Coughlin, Scott Deckert, Erica Delgado, Adam Deyoe, Douglas J. Eboch, Mia Eden, David Eshelman, Nancye Ferguson, Dawn Ferris, Randy Francis, Mariella Fredo, Daisy Galvis, Daniel Gavin, Jordan Graham, Woodrow Wilson Hancock III, Benny Harris, Jostel Hason, Jeb Heil, Alexis Hernandez, Dan Hicks, Jessica Houghton, Ben Idom. Stefan Ionesco, Derek Jacobsen, Danny J. Lee, Joel Michaely, Christian Mooney, Teresa R. Parker, Ava Peat, Matt Peat, Tonya Peat, Sara Raftery, Jeyson L. Robles, Natalie Smyka, Mr. Snake, Rachel Tamayo, Evelyn Vaccaro, Evelyn Osorio Vaccaro, Amanda Wigley, Collin Wigley, James Zimbardi

Prior to the zombie apocalypse Elvis was working as an EMT in Pittsburgh. Now, a year later, he has buried his family and walked from Pittsburgh to Florida, where he is trying his best to survive anyway he can. At night he talks to Tweeter on the radio. He has never met her but he tells her of his plan to get away from the zombie infested main lands. A guy he used to work with is living at a marina in Miami and is helping people get away by supplying boats and travel plans for them. One night Tweeter and a kid she met two months ago turns up at Elvis’ place. They’re actually there to try to steal food from him, but as they don’t get away with it instead they form sort of an alliance and follows him towards the coast.

When they arrive at the marina, Leach (Dan Hicks of Evil Dead II and Darkman fame) first reacts in a funny way when he see Tweeter and the kid. They trade Elvis’ food supplies for a boat and directions to this supposedly zombie free island. He warns them that the fish isn’t edible due to radiation from earlier nuclear testing on the island. The only way from Leach’s place to the boat is through a warehouse full of zombies. By the look on Leach’s face when they leave, and by his reaction when he saw Tweeter and the kid, I got he impression that he knew what was awaiting them on the island, or didn’t believe they would make it to the boat alive. Either way he didn’t care to much as it was business as usual to him. And behold – Leach turns up again later in found footage on a certain island.

The kid doesn’t make it, but Elvis and Tweeter has to abandon the boat when it runs out of fuel not far from the beaches of the island. They swim ashore and set out to explore it. It doesn’t take long before they run into both zombies and a group of people living in a gated community. Elvis is more than welcome since their previous doctor is dead, but Tweeter isn’t so sure about the group. She stumbles upon some home movies, and among them there are tapes of medical experiments on humans infected by zombie bites but not yet dead. By keeping them alive and shutting of blood flow body parts can be amputated and meat “harvested” before they turn into zombies. Why let good meat go to waste?

My first impression of Dead Season was that it was yet another generic zombie film. It felt like a rip off of The Walking Dead, and they even referred to the zombies as “walkers”, but according to the filmmakers the script for Dead Season predates TWD and filming was mostly done when TWD premiered. Since The Walking Dead is based on comic books, those could still be an inspiration. I first found the film average. Not really bad, but not really good either. But then it somehow got to me and the story sucked me in. It’s obvious the filmmakers are zombi enthusiasts as there are a number of references to other films and zombie lore. First of all the zombie apocalypse starts in Pittsburgh, which of course, as everybody knows, is the zombie capitol of the world ever since Romero’s Night of the Living Dead and it’s sequels. We have human experiments and zombies on islands in both Romero’s Day of the Dead and in Fulci’s Zombi 2 and Zombi 3. There is also a zombie stowaway on a boat in Zombi 2. At the compound they are speaking width someone on a military base just outside London on the radio, and he tells them England is practically taken over by the dead and that they are now running. This is probably a reference to the 28 Days Later franchise.

The title for the British DVD release is The Running Dead. I’ve never been a fan of running zombies and I figure this is why it took me so long to get around to watch Dead Season. Ironically there are no running zombies in it until the last part of the film, and then we get an explanation to why these running zombies don’t behave like they used to do. I’ve read several reviews where people apparently missed this explanation and are confused to why some zombies are fast while the rest is not, but to me it was like “WOW, so that’s why!”. To me this explanation makes Dead Season build a bridge between two separate zombie lines and actually changing the rulebook. An speaking of rulebooks, the book Leach is reading when Elvis knocks on his door is The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks, author of World War Z.

All those references made me reconsider and Dead Season went from average to above average. It was even better when re-watched.

My verdict: 6 out of 10.

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Strippers vs. Werewolves

Black & Blue Films, UK, 2012
Director: Jonathan Glendening
Writer: Pat Higgins, Phillip Barron
Cast: Adele Silva, Martin Compston, Billy Murray, Ali Bastian, Barbara Nedeljakova, Sarah Douglas, Simon Phillips, Martin Kemp, Alan Ford, Charlie Bond, Nick Nevern, Rita Ramnani, Steven Berkoff, Robert Englund, Lysette Anthony, Marc Baylis, Joe Egan, Jude Poyer, Dean Williams, Gloria Savage, Lucy Pinder, Sabine Jemeljanova, Nick Onsloe, Coralie Rose, Racula Petrescu, Dominic Burns, Hannah Greeno, Billy Chainsaw, David Hayles, Andy Biddle, Martin Kray, Monique Brown, Jazz Lintott, Martin Alexander, Les Allen, Peter Barrett, Ben Ross, Andy Taylor, Alex Esmail, Kieran Cox, Patricia Rybarczyk, Lee Asquith-Coe, Nick Gordon, Dean Higgins, Mo Idriss, Lewis James, Shaun Lucas, Darren Luckin, Scott Matthews, Damien McPhillips, Keith Milner, Jeremy Oliver, Atul Sharma, Antti Siegmann, James Singer, Colin Burt Vidler, Chris Knight, Johnny Lynch

Justice is a stripper and while doing a private show for a customer he gets extremely arousted and jumps her. She accidently kills him by stabbing him with a silver pen. The strippers and staff sneaks the body out of the club to dispose of it. It turns out the dead guy was part of the mob, and his gang is soon out for revenge. To make things worse they are no ordinary mobsters but werewolves.

Apart from having killed a werewolf, Justice has some problems in her personal life. Her boyfriend doesn’t know she’s a stripper and he has asked her to marry him. While having sex she bites his shoulder and ever since she’s feeling nauceus and sick now and then. She’s not the only one keeping secrets, though. She never told him she is a stripper and he, on the other hand, never told her he is a mobster and a werewolf. One of the other girls at the club, who is a Goth, has some problems with her boyfriend too. He is a paranormal investigator which just might come in handy when the werewolves are out for You. Jeanette, the owner of the club, has had werewolf problems in the past and she knows the wolves are going to attack as soon as they have tracked the killer down.

Strippers vs. Werewolves is more of a comedy than a horrorfilm. To be honest it’s rather silly, but I absolutely love it. Somehow I knew as soon as it started and nothing changed my mind.

The film is full of oneliners, filmbuff jokes and references to other films in general and werewolf films in particular. There’s for instance the H. M. Chaney Prison, one of the werewolves shouts “Little pig, little pig, let me in..” before he breaks down the door to an appartment. And then theres the “Little Red Riding Hood dance” at the stripclub when the wolves arrives.

Strippers vs. Werewolves only took in 38 pounds at the UK box-office when it was released, and it’s got a mere 3/10 at IMDb. I think that’s a shame and I honestly think it deserves to be a future cult classic.

My verdict: 6 out of 10.

100 Bloody Acres

Cyan Films, Major International Pictures, Australia, 2012
AKA: One Hundred Bloody Acres
Director: Cameron Cairnes, Colin Cairnes
Writer: Cameron Cairnes, Colin Cairnes
Cast: Damon Herriman, Angus Sampson, Anna McGahan, Oliver Ackland, Jamie Kristian, John Jarratt, Chrissie Page, Paul Blackwell, Ward Everaardt, Iain Herridge, Shane Darcy

Three kids, Sophie, James and Wes, on their way to a music festival gets stranded when their car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. Luckily they get a ride from Reg Morgan who is driving the company truck of Morgan Brother’s “Blood and Bone” organic fertilizer. Luckily?

The Morgan brothers manufacture and sell organic fertilizer, and their product is getting so popular they are running out of stock. The reason their fertilizer is so popular is because of their secret ingredience – grinded roadkill. When they are low on roadkill victims of trafficaccidents will do to. In fact those are even better than dead animals. It seems like the fresher the bodies the more powerful the fertilizer.

Reg gets the hots for Sophie and takes her and the two boys to the Morgan farm. This pisses his bossy big brother Lindsey off and when the boys find a dead body in the back of the company truck Lindsey decides to mix them in the fertilizer. Reg on the other hand tries to find a way to save Sophie.

There are blood and gore and maiming and torture but also lots of really weird humor. It may not be for everyone but I found it very funny.

My verdict: 8 out of 10.