Saturday, May 24, 2008


The second half of the DIARIES OF THE DEAD DVD--gotta love those companies trying to foist knock-offs onto an unsuspecting populace--2003's DEADHUNTER: SEVILLIAN ZOMBIES is a Spanish release from director Julian Lara. Don't let the subtitles fool you, this is just as asinine, unwatchable, and altogether time-wasting as any domestic shot-on-video crap-fest.

Unlike yesterday's putrid DEAD SUMMER, DEADHUNTER at least provides oodles of unintentional comic gold, getting underway with the stripper at a bachelorette party losing a chunk of his throat to an intruding zombie (serves him right--since when did strippers stop dancing to answer the door?). And the laughs keep coming, in this BAD TASTE-inspired romp--the film itself makes a prominent cameo--about a slapdash group of zombie-killers; too bad they all look like the members of a third-rate metal band. Ken Foree would've had these punks for breakfast.

Derisive laughs aside, there's still very little about this film that makes it worth watching. Lara's poor direction saps the life out of the many so-called action scenes, making them even harder to sit through by drowning them in an atrocious death metal soundtrack. The attempted humor is lazy and uninspired, with much of its emphasis on zombie crotch-shots and their reaction. (Note: zombies, though having nards, don't feel it when you hit them there.) Even the obligatory Lloyd Kaufman cameo is dull (though to be honest, seeing Kaufman turning up in low-budget shit-flicks is starting to get as annoying as Stan Lee in Marvel films).

Nor does the paltry budget help, none so painfully as the guns that lack muzzle flashes (and in a movie that prominently features firearms, it just gets more pitiful). Lara does amass an impressive number of extras for a larger-scaled showdown, but mishandles it in so many ways that the sequence is doomed from the start; in addition to the aforementioned lousy direction, there's the awful zombie makeup which makes them look like burn victims rather than the living dead, as well as a climactic mall setting that had me seething with its rampant unoriginality (though, fittingly, the scene takes place in what looks like the Spanish equivalent of a Dollar General, which somehow makes it funnier).

DEADHUNTERS ends on a suitably stupid note, vanquishing the zombie epidemic--with remarkable ease--yet setting up a sequel; I don't know if Lara ever went through with his threat, but he did produce a 20-minute follow-up called ZOMBIE XTREME the following year. (No, I didn't find it, and no, I didn't try very hard.) Lara should concentrate more on becoming a more competent director than trying to pass himself off as "the ultimate Spanish horror filmmaker" (his words, conveniently forgetting the likes of Amando de Ossorio and Jorge Grau), because right now he's more like Spain's answer to Andreas Schnaas.

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