A sealed drum falls from the back of an army lorry transporting
it to a secure location. It is discovered by three boys near
their new housing estate. Whilst the smaller boy runs away,
the other two open the drum to discover an emaciated corpse.
A choking green gas escapes and drifts across the graveyard
where two men are stealing skulls from the mausoleum. Suddenly
all hell breaks loose as all the bodies rise from their graves
and go in search of brains. The little boy and his older sister
team-up with the two men, another woman, a doctor and the
cable TV repair man. When the town becomes overrun they attempt
to escape its boundaries, but the army have roadblocks set
up and aren't about to let anyone through...
the more recent zombie spoof Shaun of the Dead concentrated
on the humans and their situations for the laughs, this film
from 1987 takes the opposite approach, lampooning classic
zombie flicks such as Night of the Living Dead by squeezing
every chuckle it can from the undead. I've got to say, this
is a fun popcorn movie. Right from the outset the format works,
generally playing the other characters straight. When the
zombies emerge from the ground we have one straightening its
tie before lurching on, a female one putting on her glasses,
a hand and then a head being stepped on by other zombies,
and one of them falling into the hole another has crawled
is a small amount of zaniness which could probably have been
toned-down, but I suppose it does fit in with the structure
of the film. The doctor acts foolish most of the time, and
the essentially sound idea of the grave-robber fearing the
zombies are divine retribution for his sins is a little overdone
when he keeps harking on about it. There is also a scene where
the group of survivors are panicking and shouting at each
other until you just want to slap them all.
Don't let any of that turn you off from what is an excellent
load of nonsense, if you get my meaning! The make-up and effects
are very well-handled, and the overall product reminds me
of the George Romero and Stephen King collaboration Creepshow,
which is no bad thing. Think Michael Jackson's Thriller
video and you'll have the right idea. In fact, there's a great
tribute to that very video at the end of the film.
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