We usually discuss recently released movies or upcoming releases, but every once in a while we get a batch of films that have been out for a few years to talk about. This batch is all about horror and we love horror at this site. First up is Aaah! Zombies!! Right off the bat it gets some credit for originality. The zombie genre gets flooded every year with generic, unoriginal zombie titles so you have to have a twist to separate yourself. What this does, that I don’t think I’ve seen before, is the zombies themselves don’t realize they are zombies. They think the normal people out there have been infected, but in reality they are. Four friends don’t realize they’ve been infected when a toxic goo ends up in their ice cream. They meet up with someone who tells them he is a soldier and that the others are infected and have to fight their way through them. The film is both in color and black & white separating the two points of views. When the normal people see them, they look like zombies and moan. When the POV is of the friends, they look human, speak perfectly, but don’t always hear what others are saying. The film itself is far from great. The dialogue isn’t anything special and the actors won’t be winning any awards, but if you are a zombie junkie like us, you’ll want to watch this to see its new take on the genre. Far from great, but worth the watch for diehard horror fans.
Next we have Harold’s Going Stiff. Another zombie film and another film getting some points for originality. I’m not a huge fan of fake documentary style films, but they never try to pass this off as a real film and use it in proper form. This zombie film has a twist in that men don’t turn into zombies right away, they slowly get stiff and don’t fully turn into the undead. A bad batch of food causes the outbreak and the documentary style shows some of the men as they “progress” into stiffness. Of course there’s some hunter type rednecks who are out to kill all the zombies. Plus there’s a “love story” type angle with a woman trying to get rid of the stiffness. Another film that’s far from great, but genre fans should watch it for its take on the zombie genre. Don’t expect quality acting at all or a high budget production so by keeping your expectations low, it should be a watchable horror piece.
Third we have Vamp U. I had actually heard of this one and wanted to see it for a while. It has some actors in it I’ve actually heard of like the beautiful Julie Gonzalo and the always awesome Gary Cole. This takes your typical vampire story and adds a twist. A vampire named Wayne Gretzky (no relation) can’t keep his teeth hard after accidentally killing the love of his life. He feeds on animal blood and through the years becomes a professor at a university. A new student (Gonzalo) reminds him of his love and he starts “feeling” like his old self. Students start catching on to him and the campus becomes a killing field, but not necessarily by him. I actually wanted to like this a lot more, but I guess my expectations were too high. It’s probably the best film on this list, but I really wanted a funny new horror comedy. It’s not bad, but it had the potential to be a Shaun of the Dead or Tucker & Dale type cult favorite. Gonzalo is super cute, but it never quite gets to a film I’d watch again and tell friends to run out and see.
Fourth we have A Cadaver Christmas. Another potential cult classic that just doesn’t get to where it should. It’s a zombie film shot “grindhouse” style, but the acting is really bad. I think they were going for an intentionally bad look and feel, but that’s not always easy to pull off especially if the talent isn’t there. Christmas horror can be awesome or horrifically bad and this is closer to the horrifically bad. It’s not unwatchable and genre fans might enjoy it, but to me it’s one of the weakest films in this group. And other than the “grindhouse” style, it has no real originality to it. The name might get some people to watch it and diehard horror fans could get a kick out of it, but I wanted more from it.
Last we have The Legend of the Psychotic Forest Ranger. This might be the biggest disappointment of the bunch. I REALLY wanted to like this and it had all the potential of being a campy cult favorite. Unfortunately it’s your standard “kids in the woods with a killer” film and has nothing you want/expect from that type of movie. We’ve seen hundreds of similar movies, but this does nothing to separate itself from others. There’s a couple of good kills, but that’s about it. There’s no nudity, not enough gore or blood to make it cool. It’s intentionally bad, I get that, but if you are going to be bad and have horrific acting, give us what we want, blood and nudity! Seriously, how did this not have a bunch of nudity in it? It has hot girls with guys drinking and getting killed. That’s Horror Filmmaking 101, hot girls plus guys and booze equals at least topless scenes. It wants to be campy and cult-ish, but gave me no reason to ever watch it again. Cool name, major disappointment.
If you don’t like B-movie, intentionally bad, not for the mainstream horror/zombie films, none of these will be up your alley. We here don’t mind watching “so bad they are good” films especially ones that try to be original or add something to the genre. If your idea of horror is a door opening or a blanket coming off a bed because of paranormal activity, these are definitely not for you. That’s not real horror, stop watching those.
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