fter finding a dead body stuffed inside a strange-looking
coffin in the basement of the condemned building they're using to film their
horror movie, our group of intrepid low-budget filmmakers decides to use the
body as part of their film. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that is the sort
of "smarts" that runs through every single frame of The Dead
Hate the Living. Which is to say watching any Zombie Flick with your brain
turned on is asking for trouble. You can't approach low-budget fare like The
Dead Hate the Living with the mentality of a college professor, or even an
educated person. In fact, it would help quite a bit if you came into this
viewing having indulged in too much alcohol or perhaps some other, er, mind
Dave Parker's The Dead Hate the Living opens with
that biggest cliché of movie clichés, the "filming of a horror movie
scene within the horror movie." Once it's established that we're dealing
with a group of 20-somethings attempting to make their own horror opus, we
discover that our horror enthuses are filming inside a condemned building.
crack film crew is led by David Poe, who has somehow roped his two bickering
sisters, Shelly and Nina, into starring in his first ever feature length horror
film. David is aided by his childhood buddy and fellow horror fanboy Eric, the
special effects expert. It isn't long before the group discovers that the
building they're shooting in was the scene of a zombie experiment just days ago.
Before you can say, "Groovy!" our filmmakers stumble upon a corpse, an
ancient looking coffin, and other assorted things like bottled body parts and
The Dead Hate the Living is a low-budget film. Let's
get that out of the way first, shall we? The movie's auteur, Dave Parker, has
filled his spectacle with winks to his favorite writers, directors, and actors
in the horror genre, most notably the subcategory of Zombie Flicks. At one point
in the movie, a character being stalked by zombies wonders out loud, "What
would Bruce Campbell do?" Anyone familiar with Zombie Flicks will know
Bruce Campbell, the actor who plays Ash, the star of pre-mainstream Sam Raimi's Evil
Dead trilogy. (In fanboy world, Campbell is a superstar.)
On more than one
occasion, boom mikes make involuntary appearances and other amateurish incidents
take place, as if to remind us that this film is being shot with the smallest of
budgets. The movie has only one real location, the condemned building, and its
various floors and back rooms. There is another location, the interior of a
store, but I suspect the "store" was actually a renovated room within
the condemned building. Despite all that, you have to give director Parker
credit for crafting a pretty entertaining film. The man knows his genre and
gives us everything we want in our Zombie Flicks: stupid dialogue, gallons of
blood, disgusting "zombie" appearances, torn limbs and lest I forget,
Ash-like chainsaw action!
Movies in this genre is never known for their acting, and The
Dead Hate the Living is no exception. The acting in the film's first 20
minutes is excruciatingly bad, although it does get much better as the film
moves on. At the risk of assuming too much, I would guess that the film was shot
in the order it was written on the script, and the scenes that you see first are
indeed the first scenes shot in the overall film, thus the actors are still too stiff and haven't yet
"gotten into the groove." At least that's my guess.
The acting does get much better as the film
progresses, though. Of note is Kimberly Pullis (Nina Poe), who was given the
role of "hell bitch" and decided to overstay her welcome about 10
seconds after her appearance. (True to all horror films, the "dick"
character is the first one to go. See ya, Nina!) Wendy Speake (Shelly) fares
better as David's under appreciated sister. As the movie's main driving forces,
Eric Clawson (David) and Benjamin Morris (Eric) does okay. Of the two, Clawson
has a better handle on his character and shows more range. Morris' acting is
average at best, with moments of weakness.
The rest of the cast includes a
pot-smoking cameraman, a vain actor who needs a demo reel, and a Rob Zombie-like
mad scientist type who plays the film's heavy. (Rob Zombie as head of the
zombies, get it?) Another actor of note is Jamie Donahue (Topaz), who despite a
bad first scene, eventually warms to the movie and shows her acting chops. It
doesn't hurt that she's easy on the eyes, another good Zombie Flick
Movies like The Dead Hate the Living rely on its
zombie creations more than anything else. The zombies in this movie are an
assorted bunch, from a freaky giant to a wrestler-type fellow to ordinary folks
turned dead. The end result is that they aren't very scary, don't act very
scary, and sometimes forgets that they're zombies and races around like they're,
well, not living dead people. (The wrestler-type fellow comes to mind.)
Re: they are not scary at all. And yet, I didn't mind. Zombie Flicks can
have goofy zombies if the goofiness is established early and followed through.
That's the case with this movie.
The Dead Hate the Living is a gore fest, so
all of you gore fans will be happy. Once the killings start, they don't stop. At
one point, a zombie punches a hole through a character's gut, rips out his
intestines, and then drags the dead man up a hallway by his intestines!
Now that's what I call a good kill. So check your brain at the door and step in for a good
time. Forget the wandering boom mike in the morgue scene or the bad
"personal" scenes, and you'll have a ball.