I LOVE horror films, even horror spoofs....but when a film like The Dead Hate The Living doesn't offer any real scares or genuine laughs, I feel that the $7.99 I paid for the DVD was even too much.
I was originally looking forward to seeing this film. It even got a few "hip" critics and a vague, partial quote from Tom Savini to praise it (although just quoting Savini saying "Unique!..." on the cover doesn't really say much, it could be it's uniquely bland). Problem is, you get a few critics from Deep Red or Eon magazines praising it, some viewers will automatically say they like the film lest they feel they're not cool if they say they don't like it.
Name dropping....everyone keeps praising how this film is full of names like Lucio Fulci and Bruce Campbell and references oodles of other films. So what. That doesn't make it any more clever. While I'm not impressed by "teen" thrillers, at least Scream worked in its references because it was cleverly written. Another film that worked well in the name-dropping sense is Free Enterprise. It's as if by constantly mentioning Lucio Fulci and others, The Dead Hate The Living is basically distracting horror buffs so they'll go "OHHHHHHH, I know that one! Kewl!" and just maybe will keep them from realizing there's not much else going on. Even a film like The Return Of The Living Dead tried to cover its lack of genuine scares by throwing in an extra dose of disenchanted youth and full frontal nudity. Not much of that in this film really, but they did manage to throw in the F-word enough to, um, I guess give it an edge?
In the DVD's audio commentary, it was said that they were concerned mentioning Marilyn Manson would date the film. Oh, and like making Dr. Eibon an exact replica of Rob Zombie DOESN'T date it? And the constant use of the word "dude" doesn't help much either. Still trying to figure out exactly which era Eibon is supposed to be from, since he looks straight out of the 1700s in some scenes and then seems to know a lot about technology. The obvious glued-on beard didn't help much either.
The dialogue,,,,oh geez. Things like the stoner cameraman taking a deep drag on a joint and saying "Rock and roll!" just made me groan instead of laugh. The lead actor seems to remind you of a more MTV groomed version of Tim Daly (of TV's "Wings") and his best pal gets the weakest lines throughout the story--that whole bit about what's outside..."DEATH........" is rather weak. I know director Dave Parker was working on a very very low budget, but those makeup effects and face wounds were so unconvincing. In the audio commentary they constantly pat themselves on the back about how GREAT it all looks. In one scene where the few surviving characters were confronted by zombies on a cemetery set and a fight ensues--yes a fight rather than a struggle--wide shots reveal that there aren't as many people there as you thought and not as much action is happening either.
I have plenty of punk and thrash music in my collection, but those songs by Penis Flytrap ("friends of mine," says director Parker) were embarrassing. That title song, whether it was meant as being silly or serious, comes off as contrived cookie-cutter stuff in its music and lyrics ("The dead hate the living they wanna hate the living tonight....." EEEEK!) Anyone seriously wanting to mosh to that needs to take a closer look at themselves. For some reason being cool these days means liking bands with "you-can-come-up-with-a-better-name-than-that" names (Saliva, Korn, Limp Biskit....yawn) and talking about Japanese anime as if it were a revelation. Kids, MTV doesn't really have all the answers...learn the meaning of the word INDIVIDUALISM.
One of the "positive" critical quotes on the cover was how the movie was an nightmare on the level of Argento... Well, it was Argento-like basically in the lighting scheme, but to say it resembles the work of Dario Argento is going way too far. Yes, the film has interesting lighting and some energy, but when everything else comes off as cheese it left me disheartened by how the film kept going and getting less and less interesting.
I was SO looking forward to this film, and was left disappointed and annoyed. The Dead Hate The Living was obviously pandering to a crowd that is easily riled up by that moment's music trend, pot references and "Dude!!!!!" I wasn't scared by its intended scares, and didn't laugh at the jokes. Killer Klowns From Outer Space managed to pull off thrills and giggles well, and was CLEVER. That's an example of how to do a not-so-serious horror film right.
The only thing the guys behind this film seemed the proudest of is that they found an actual dead cat to use in one scene. Awesome. Not.
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