Saturday, March 22, 2008


So, the dead hate the living, do they? I suppose it's only fair, since I hated this sniveling, look-at-us-we-like-obscure-horror-flicks-and-that-makes-us-cool waste of time. Released in 2000 by Full Moon Pictures--yet doesn't feature miniature puppets, toys, or Tim Thomerson--Dave Parker's zombie flick should've been a rancid love letter to fans of Italian horror, but instead sucks all the fun from itself with its insufferable cast and boneheaded story.

THE DEAD HATE THE LIVING gets off on the wrong foot by revealing its prologue to be a segment of the film-within-a-film. (Can somebody please declare a moratorium on this practice, please? This is the same kind of unfair misdirection as someone having a bad dream or hallucination, and it's never done right.) A group of indie filmmakers have broken into an abandoned hospital to shoot a Fulci-lovin' zombie film and, after finding a weird coffin-liked mechanism within the bowels of the building, accidentally unleash a gaggle of zombies and their master into our world.

All would be well if this wasn't the single most annoying bunch of fucks ever let loose in a movie. From the bitchy sister of the eager yet self-absorbed director to the stoner DP, I was rooting for the undead to disembowel these losers from the very first frame. (Let's not forget the director's other sister, who I frequently mistook for his girlfriend, given their oh-so-tender moments together, or the pimpslap-worthy FX guy, who acts like Shaggy from SCOOBY-DOO crossed with a flighty drama queen.) These guys name-drop David Warbeck and Tom Savini as though it makes them smart and hip, though they're no different than the socially-retarded mouthbreathers standing in line behind you at Horrorfind weekend. (I hated these assholes, can you tell?)

Nor does it help that it takes nearly half the movie to get the zombies in gear, after endless scenes of pointless bickering, and when the action finally starts it's marred by rubbery zombie masks, unconvincing gore, and plodding execution. The crew behind the camera has more zombies among them, judging from the uniformly subpar writing, direction, and camerawork; now and then Parker will display an imaginative use of lighting or atmosphere, but for the most part his work is flat and uninspired.

After cribbing several shots from THE BEYOND (a move we're supposed to applaud, I'm sure, but it does nothing but reveal the film's dearth of imagination) Parker pulls an all-out steal of that movie's conclusion for his own ending. Are we supposed to high-five each other at this point? Yeah, we all loved Fulci's film, so if we wanted to see it again we'd pop it in the DVD player. Sadly, these moments rank as the movie's best.

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