Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Double Feature Movies From Hell With Steve and Nick

When we can get together, me and co-editor sit around and watch some of the bottom of the barrel horror films of past years. Mostly just for fun, but also to help warn our fellow Horrorheads away from them---unless said Horrorheads happen to be gluttons for punishment.
This month, Steve tackled of one of the late 80s worst zombie movies ever made. 1987's THE VIDEO DEAD (1987)

Director: Robert Scott
Cast: Michael St. Michaels, Thaddeus Golas, Douglas Bell and Al Millan

This month’s shit pick of the month is a film that some would view as a cult classic, others may view as just a silly attempt at a zombie film. I actually fall in the latter category. I was recommended the movie by a friend who knew I was a zombie aficionado. I really do enjoy horror films from the 80’s especially those of the undead kind. Naturally I made it a point to sit through The Video Dead.

Well I can admit that I was entertained through the entire film. Now was I entertained for the right reasons is another question. In the film we have a teenage boy who moves into a home with his family. His parents are out of town for the weekend leaving him and his older sister home alone. Unbeknownst to the teenagers is the previous tenant left a supernatural TV in the basement of the house. Well this TV is actually a gateway to the dead as zombies start coming through the TV. Yeah it sounds stupid and it really is. This part of the film is not the most laugh provoking part. The zombies themselves are a bunch of goofballs that basically kill people, play pranks on each other and with humans, and don’t attack humans when the humans don’t show fear. O yeah they are also afraid of viewing themselves in mirrors.

Pretty much anything you have previously known about zombies is thrown out the window for this stinker. One scene shows two zombies putting a lady in a washing mashing head first then turning the machine to the rinse cycle causing the lady’s legs to twirl around. The two zombies then look at each other and start laughing. I’m not too sure if the director intended on making a funny or serious horror film. Most of the humor seems unintentional which leads me to believe it was more towards the serious side. The acting was nonexistent and the movies score was a rip from Carpenters Halloween theme.

On the plus side the zombie effects were decent for the time period. There also were some acceptable gore effects. The Video Dead is a good time waster if you have no other decent film to watch and want to waste some time.

--Steven M. Duarte

Dr. Butcher M.D. (1980) (aka Zombie Holocaust; aka Zombie 3)

Director: Marino Girolami
Cast: Ian McCulloch, Alexandra Delli Colli and Sherry Buchanan

And since I hate to be outdone when it comes to bad horror cinema, I decided that if I was going to beat Steve-O out of his rather bad viewing choice this time around, I'd have to be willing to really slide down into the mud of horror movies. I think I did alright, though. I went with Marino Girolami's 1980 mixed up zombie/cannnibal epic, "Dr. Butcher M.D." (which stands for Medical Deviante, by the way), also known in other countries as "Zombie Holocuast".

Towards the end of the 70s and beginning of the 80s, small Italian studios were scrambling to make their ripoff flicks stand out from the dozens and dozens of others that were still at that time making the drive-in circuit. With Girolami's "Dr. Butcher M.D." it took a mad genuis to come up with the idea of putting the two goriest of horror sub genres together- zombies and cannibals- and come up with something so 'out there' within the confines of the horror genre that no other movie has come close to melding the two as "Dr. Butcher M.D.". That being said, the movie is still pretty uninspired in terms of what bang we get for our buck. What we do get, however, is lots of over-the-top gore, plenty of T and A, and some rather inventive kill scenes--one in particular using a motorboat engine which is sure to stick with you for some time.

Starring Ian McCulloch, perhaps best known as Peter West "Man of Adventure" in Lucio Fulci's Italian zombie classic, "Zombie" (1979), is actually playing almost the same character in this film. In fact, there's quite a number of similarities between the two movies. Both have undead, shambling around similiar islands, being created or hidden by similiar mad scientists. Only in "Dr. Butcher M.D.", our mad scientist has also surrounded himself with flesh eating cannibal natives, to boot.

When he lures a beautiful young research scientist (herself a secret cannibal goddess living in New York City) and her entourage to his island lair, all hell breaks lose when the cannibals attack, leaving the survivors to fight their way through dozens and dozens of....well, would you believe a half a dozen zombies with oatmeal makeup?

For all its cheapjack production values, the gore still works because the people involved want it to work for the viewer.

--Nickolas Cook