Monday, July 14, 2014

Film #31: Hell of the Living Dead (1980)

Plot - This movie has no interest in actually being good. If anything, it desperately wants to be like Dawn of the Dead, but it gets so hung up on being a trashy Italian horror film that it gets all mixed up. Throwing in a bunch of garbage about cannibals and a bunch of random stock footage of Africa makes it feel like it wanted to combine the zombie and cannibal craze as Zombie Holocaust did a year prior, but the loving spoonful of facile sociopolitical commentary is all Romero clone. All the nonsense that unfolds is pretty funny, but it did make me want to turn the film off on more than one occasion.

Form - The film's all over the god damn place. I wouldn't be surprised if five different people directed half the film.

F/X - There are a lot of great gore effects, including heads popping off, eyeballs falling out, and organs being removed.

Acting - I don't know if the actors can be blamed for how terrible their performances are. I mean, Bruno Mattei could have fired them once he noticed how ridiculous half of them were. There seems to be a huge focus on actors with terribly exaggerated mouth movements, which is sort of fun.

Mise en scene - Nothing terribly unique, especially considering the over-the-top "you've never seen anything like this before!" quality the film desperately reaches for.

Quotables - At one point, one of the film's characters suggests that a tall black zombie might be a leprechaun.

Cool stuff - Great effects, idiotic writing, editing, and everything else. My favorite long take: after schooling all the zombies throughout the film and being totally on his A-game killing them all, one character randomly starts  playing with a broom like it's a guitar and singing dumb songs. Out of nowhere, four zombies randomly walk into the frame and start eating him.


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