Character actor Michael Shannon has been nominated for his second Oscar for his role in the 2016 thriller Nocturnal Animals. "No Small Parts" takes a look at some of the other characters he's played in the past.
A woodsman is up to no good foraging through the grounds of his backyard forest. He shows up at the local hospital with an axe casually stuck in his head, and his face not looking too good either. He is placed under the care of handsome Dr. Dox and homely Nurse Patsy. The woodsman expresses his attraction to Patsy by biting her on the arm, inciting a slowly-spreading zombie contagion in the hospital. In true horror film fashion, Patsy's human to monster transformation comes with a symbolic side effect. Once a perennial black sheep among the cliquish nurses and invisible to the Casanova Dr. Dox, Patsy's makeover includes a severe attitude change that turns her into the hospital sexpot. Written by
A woodsman is taken to a hospital with an axe in the back of his head, and nurse Pasty looks after him. Also on her plate is that she still has feelings for her ex-boyfriend Dr. Dox, but he's engaged to Nurse Goodie. Who makes her life at the hospital a living hell, as she constantly teases her. Looking in on the very pale and peeling woodsman, he expresses his love for Pasty and bites her on the arm. Not too long she's has the same symptoms, but also she has grown confident and sexually appealing to the male staff. But to stop her skin from falling off and hands and legs from stiffing up, she'll give into the craving of flesh to keep this make-up. However Nurse Goodie goes out of her way to prove there's something wrong with Pasty.
There's something lovable about zombie films, and this particular shoestring b/w Canadian independent entry to the field was actually a breath of fresh air. Due to the effort put into making "Graveyard Alive: A Zombie Nurse In Love", and finally getting it out to the public. You can call it a labour of love, because their heart was definitely in it and the final product shows. What we got here can be called somewhat a unconventional droll parody on soapies (those mainly based in a hospital) with a smart zombie splash to it and a familiar throwback style to the cheap, static and moody genre films of 40s and 50s. There's a light-headed mixture of elements there (even use of chapter headings cutting between the story's structure reminded me of the golden silent age of cinema), which actually gel quite well.
Director Elza Kephart makes light of the clichés, to set-up a real quirky, kinky and sombre feel. Her pacing can get a little stiff, but the way she goes about it is stylishly low-scale, and from this plenty of effectively haunting and also amusing images are drummed up. Pitching in are some slight, and inventive camera angles and shadowy lighting, which these old-fashion traits lent to the seductive mood. The film does looks ace! The editing is also professionally catered for. The schlock make-up effects are very minimal, but still kinda pay off. However those looking for an influx of splatter and violence will be largely disappointed.
Patricia Gomez and Elza Kephart's flavoured pulp material (which reinvents certain details on zombie folklore) keeps it all pretty dry and constantly has fun with itself, but it doesn't play out like you would think. While it never does go overboard in the humour stakes, but maybe it could've gone out to shock a little more, then for most part hiding behind the mockery. One thing did get on my nerves from time to time was that twitchy, one-note music score. The performances are mostly dramatically campy and that seems on purpose. A savvy Anne Day-Jones excels in the deadpan lead role Nurse Pasty, as she brings out the right sort of temperament and expressions to convey her startling transformation. Samantha Slan's ham-fisted comic turn as Nurse Goodie is reasonably fun.
Quite unique in patches and something fairly different from the zombie norm. Flawed, but not a bad little charmer. Get the doggy bag ready.
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