Friday, February 26, 2010
The Dead Next Door (1989)
The Netflix sleeve boasts that this is the most expensive 8MM zombie film ever shot on camera. I'm guessing they are referring to the effects and copious amounts of Karo syrup that at times rivals the epic-ness of Dead Alive. Certainly, there is enough gore here to keep the hounds happy. But its the never ending strings of self-referencing that really wears on you and drives you completely batty about midway through. And the films running time is only an hour and twenty minutes.
We begin our film with a requisite zombie horde sweeping through an east coast town. They attack people left and right and even head to the local video store to do some research. This concept alone made me laugh out loud and I thought it was hysterical and brilliant. Zombies. Stopping at a mom and pop video store. To do research. On how to be zombies? Hi-larry-ous!
A group of exterminators called the Zombie Squad arrive into town and start going house to house. Its here where our initially amusing self-referential names of famous horror types is welcomed (Officer Raimi, Commander Carpenter, etc.). They take care of one person's pest control problem and learn about a doctor in town who's experimenting with different types of serums that will hopefully cure the infected.
Talking to the doctor (who's name is Savini), they learn that there is another doctor in Ohio who has been working on another serum, purported to be much stronger and more effective than his. So the Zombie Squad head out in their zomobile (which has a painted cardboard emblem adorning the side) to Ohio. After getting into town and talking to the doctor, they find out from a kid who's begun hanging around them that the local pastor has a special place in his heart for zombies. Only he's not really a pastor but a leader of a cult who believes that zombies are special avengers sent to carry out God's will!
So as the zom squad hold off the pastor and his captive zombies (he keeps them and sacrifices people to 'appease' them), the doctor finishes his revolutionary serum. And just before he announces the 'secret' for how to properly inject the infected to the doc back on the east coast via phone, he succumbs to a hungry horde of the living dead.
Some great practical effects on display here and as mentioned, a lot of splatterific-ness to make the goriest of gore hounds happy. But the dialogue gets really old and grating with the continual self-referencing. And after about an hour, you begin to look at your watch. For a film thats not even an hour and a half, thats not a good thing.
Cortez the Killer