Thursday, August 27, 2015

Land of the Dead (2005)

Starring: Simon Baker, John Leguizamo, Dennis Hopper

Run time: 1:36

Rant: 20 years have passed since Day of the Dead. I guess it's time for another zombie movie directed by the master himself. This time the effects are done by Greg Nicotero who is pretty damn incredible. Not only has he done The Walking Dead, From Dusk Till Dawn, Scream and plenty of other scary movies but he's done a ton of non-horror as well like Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill Vol. 1 and 2, Unbreakable, Boogie Nights and many many more. And of course he's from Pittsburgh. Why wouldn't he be?

This movie has such an interesting cast. Simon Baker (The Mentalist), John Leguizamo (Casualties of War, Carlito's Way, Spawn), Asia Argento (xXx, daughter of legendary director Dario Argento) and Dennis Hopper. There's some cameos too from Tom Savini, Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright. Phil Fondacaro even makes an appearance. For the most part everyone does a good job.

There's a lot going on in this one. Most of the survivors are hauled up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, surrounded by the rivers. Dennis Hopper plays a characters named Kaufman who is pretty much in charge of the city. He's hides in a high rise called Fiddler's Green. Leguizamo's character Cholo wants to movie into Fiddler's Green but Kaufman won't let him. So Cholo and his crew steal this giant tank called Dead Reckoning and escape. Kaufman hires the main protagonist Riley, played by Simon Baker, to find Cholo and retrieve Dead Reckoning. While all this shit is going on there's an intelligent zombie named Big Daddy who is leading a bunch of other zombies into the city.

The gore is excellent as you'd expect and the characters are fine. Obviously he's gonna try to throw his point of view in there but the evil rich guy vs. the nice poor fellow is just cliche as fuck at this point. Also the music is pretty boring.

I'm being pretty harsh but this movie isn't that bad at all. I'd consider it good. There's a lot of interesting ideas in there it's just compared to the first three movies in the series Land of the Dead falls short. For anyone else this is a good awful horror movie. For George Romero this is a mediocre awful horror movie.

Fun Fact: As I said before Tom Savini makes a cameo as a zombie dressed very similarly to his biker character in Dawn of the Dead.

Total Kill Count: 
Mike (14:47) Shoots himself in the mouth.
Chihuahua (29:39) Shot in the head.
Soldier (39:55) Eaten by zombies.
Manolete (54:13) Shot in the head after being bitten.
Mouse (58:57) Eaten by zombies.
Kissing Woman (1:02:59) Taken by zombies.
Kissing Woman (1:02:59) Taken by zombies.
Soldier (1:05:53) Head ripped off by a zombie.
Soldier (1:06:23) Shot by zombies.
Soldier (1:06:35) Hand cut off and blown up by grenade.
Motown (1:08:20) Shot in the head.
Sutherland (1:09:04) Shot by Kaufman.
Random guy (1:11:12) Cut in half by Tom Savini
Random guy (1:13:49) Throat eaten by zombie.
Random guy (1:14:01) Face ripped off by zombie.
Random guy (1:14:04) Entrails ripped out by zombies.
Random guy (1:14:31) Set on fire and shot by Big Daddy.
Random guy (1:17:49) Eaten by zombie.
Random lady (1:17:57) Eaten by zombie.

Kaufman and Zombie Cholo (1:27:44) Blown up by Big Daddy.

             Horror Film: 7
             Entertainment: 6
             Gore: 9
             Overall: 7.2

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Day of the Dead (1985)

Director: George A. Romero

Starring: Lori Cardille, Terry Alexander, Joseph Pilato

Run time: 1:40

Rant: The year is 1985. We've gone from a shitty little house to a shopping mall to an underground bunker. The setting is different, the characters are different, the decade is different but zombies still walk the earth and George Romero and Tom Savini still don't give a fuck. Savini tears it up in this motherfucker. It could be his best work. I think he watched the Italian zombie movies and tried to show them who the real badass special effects artist was. Either that or he just reached his prime. Either way, Day of the Dead in a serious artistic achievement.

So a bunch of soldiers are hauled up in a bunker with a scientist and some other people. The scientist is studying the zombies and trying to train them like dogs. Richard Liberty plays Logan or "Doctor Frankenstein" to the soldiers, and he does a fantastic job. All the performances are great. As always there's the hateable fuck you want to die. This time it's a military Captain named Rhodes played by Joe Pilato. What a bastard. I'd say the shining performance is Sherman Howard as Bub. Bub is a zombie who the doctor has been working with. Who would have thought.

Just like in Dawn of the Dead the action sequences are incredible. I would love to see a movie like The Terminator or Robocop directed by Romero. The music is excellent as well. It's done by John Harrison who also did the music for Creepshow (1982) and Effects (1980) which is another Tom Savini movie. It reminds me of a John Carpenter score.

I think it's pretty much the consensus that Dawn of the Dead is George Romero's best zombie movie. With that being said I think Day of the Dead is just as good, if not better. All it's missing is an element of fun. This is an incredibly serious movie that even plays into that whole 80s/Reagan/soldiers are evil/Platoon/Casualties of War bullshit. Day of the Dead is a masterpiece of an awful horror movie.

Fun Fact: Greg Nicotero plays the soldier named Johnson who's shot and killed in the movie. He was Tom Savini's protege and did the effects for The Walking Dead. Tom Savini has stated The Walking Dead has the best zombies he's ever seen.

Total Kill Count:
Miller (58:26) Neck bit open by a zombie.
Johnson (58:27) Shot with a machine gun.
Logan (1:12:12) Shot to death by Rhodes.
Fisher (1:14:44) Shot in the head by Rhodes.
Miguel (1:23:37) Eaten alive by a horde of zombies.
Torrez (1:27:04) Head ripped off by zombies.
Rickles (1:28:05) Face ripped off by zombies.
Steel (1:30:28) Shoots himself.

Rhodes (1:34:13) Shot by Bub and ripped in half by zombies.

             Horror Film: 8
             Entertainment: 9
             Gore: 9.5
             Overall: 8.6