3 user 8 critic

Livelihood (2005)

An 80's rock star, a corporate lackey, and an evil mother-in-law all die bizarre deaths. But when the dead suddenly start coming back to life, these three zombies find that picking up where they left off isn't as easy as they'd hoped.




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Cast overview, first billed only:
Steve Thomas ...
Billy Jump (as Stephen B. Thomas)
Michelle Trout ...
Scott Graham ...
Alexander Keaton (as Scott P. Graham)
Amy Smith ...
Mike Bennett ...
Beat Ovin
Lisa Lunt ...
Cheating Zombie
Lewis Smith ...
Kara Webb ...
Zoey Endicott
Ryan Stachurski ...
Original Drummer
Bradley Burgess-Donaleski ...
Stevie Sierra (as Bradley Burgess)
Kelly Clendenon ...
Zack Low
Nikc Miller ...
Jimmy 'Buckets' McGee
John Bennett ...
Kris Kashgrab
Paul Lindeman ...
Wired Record Exec
Steve Kolbe ...
Cynical Record Exec


A comedy/drama/horror film. Billy Jump is an 80's rock star. Alexander Keaton is a corporate lackey with a cheating fiancée. Vida is an evil mother in-law who torments Jean, her daughter in-law, incessantly. But Billy Jump is electrocuted by his guitar. Alexander has his head chopped off by a samurai. And Vida is mysteriously poisoned by tapioca pudding. Then the dead randomly start coming back to life. They don't eat brains, but they do want their old lives back. We follow the trials and tribulations of these three as they try to pick up where they left off, to mixed results. Billy Jump is trying to get his band back together for a big comeback, only to find that his old band members aren't quite the same people they used to be. Alexander wants his job back, but has been replaced by a computer, and his fiancée has taken his house and is shacking up with another woman. Exhausted, he is taken in by a goth girl who has a thing for dead guys, and a vendetta against her father, Alex's ... Written by Ryan Graham

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


They're dead, but they're not taking it lying down.


Comedy | Horror

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Release Date:

12 October 2005 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

Amateur Horror Comedy That Surpasses the Professionals
5 April 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

An 80's rock star (Billy Jump, played by Steve Thomas), a corporate lackey (Alexander Keaton, played by Scott Graham), and an evil mother-in-law (Vida, played by Michelle Trout) all die bizarre deaths. But when the dead suddenly start coming back to life, these three zombies find that picking up where they left off isn't as easy as they'd hoped. (Summary modified from IMDb) After reading the summary about an undead rock star, my initial reaction was, "Is this going to be a take on the themes addressed in 'Rock and Roll Frankenstein'?" And that might not have been so bad, but I have better news to report: the two films have almost absolutely nothing in common. This one is more in line with "Spinal Tap" (which gets a direct reference at one point). So, yes Virginia, there is room for more than one film in the undead rock star subgenre of horror. But, let's move on.

There is very little criticism I can give this film. I must say it exceeded my expectations in many ways. The film quality, first of all, is "independent" quality -- but not what you're thinking. In fact, the visuals are comparable to those in "Evil Ed" or other foreign films. I felt less like I was watching amateurs and more like I was watching some underground import. Yes, the acting was that good -- professionally good across the board. The comedic timing was perfect, the characters were three-dimensional and believable. I had been purposely scrutinizing every detail, and still found no flaws. While all actors were good, however, let me give a very special nod to the actress who played Zooey Endicott -- Kara Webb. She had the appeal of a young Ally Sheedy, and seeing more of her would be a blessing for anyone who loves cinema.

The two best aspects of the film were the writing and the music. The writer or writers know comedy. Oh boy, do they know comedy! Let me be perfectly clear: this is the hardest I laughed in a long time. (Particularly during the scene where Billy Jump is given completely ridiculous subtitles.) The one-liners were sharp. The constant references (Scott Baio, for example) were witty, and weaved nonsense into a quilt of laughter (if that makes sense). And where the script really shines is in the parodies. The "Dead and the Breathless"? The spot-on impersonation of Matthew Lesko (the free money guy)? I wish freezombiecash.com was real.

The writing, above all else, was just absurd. A samurai assassin in an urban American office (although this is explained somewhat later on). A return of zombies where no one freaks out and most people are pretty accepting of their risen relatives. As the newscasters say, they are free of the "cannibalism normally associated with zombies". Oh, and there's a limb-beating scene. If I learned one thing growing up a horror fan, it's that limb-beating in the threshold you must cross to get from goodness to greatness.

As for the music, it was crucial to the plot (especially the rock star scenes) and the cast and crew pulled it off. Both the rock songs ("Raise the Dead") and the incidental music blend in smoothly. Most notably I have to finger "Leave the US to the Living". This country song parody could have been from any of the Top 40 country stations in America today. The people behind this film also sent me a compact disc they made (called "Die Humpin"), which really drives home yet again the musical talent and humor of this gang of idiots. Thanking "nachos" and "Thor the God of Thunder" (which are two of my three favorite things -- the third being ninjas) and with songs like "Don't Let Jesus Ruin Your Day", I knew we had a winner. Pick up this disc, too! (Unfortunately, "Leave the US to the Living" is not on here... though I heard rumor you can catch it at live shows.) My one complaint: there is a kungfu showdown of epic proportions at one point later in the film. This fight scene is too short and ends too abruptly. While it's too late to go back and change it now, I wish we had another few minutes of this action. I barely had time to get worked up before it was over. Talk about frustration! I've heard talk that the creators have branched out into other media, particularly comic books. I couldn't be happier. "Livelihood" is not so much one story as a glimpse into three parallel tales of how the living adjust to the dead. If the ideas remain fresh (at least fresher than some of these reanimated corpses) I see no problem with an endless amount of spin-offs and sequels. The film ties up the stories presented, but says nothing of the (presumably) millions of other zombie stories that ought to be told. It's a rare event for me to get excited about a low-budget film, but let me say "Livelihood" is everything it promises and more. Any fan of horror comedies is going to get their fair share of laughs from this one.

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