Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Plague of the Zombies

The Plague of the Zombies
From 1966, this is a rare zombie offering from Hammer Studios.  Animated by voodoo, the dead are used as slave labor in a Cornish tin mine.  Andre Morell gives a strong performance as the indomitable doctor who matches wits with sinister zombie master John Carson.  The film is atmospheric but the zombies are slightly boring, except for one memorable sequence in which undead hands begin to sprout from the grave like pale flowers.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Dead Snow: My First Nazi Zombie Movie

Dead Snow
Somehow I've managed to avoid the strange sub-genre of Nazi zombie movies until now.  I'd heard of a few, like Jesus Franco's 1982 Oasis of the Zombies, but I thought they were a thing of the past.  Apparently they never die.

Dead Snow is a 2009 Norwegian horror comedy (or at least, it has some humor), with the standard plot of a group of young people spending time at an isolated cabin with no cell phone reception (in this case, it's in the scenic, snowy mountains).  The male characters are cardboard (self-sufficient outdoorsman, film geek, horny guy, medical student afraid of blood), and the female characters are hardly distinguishable from each other (the one with dreadlocks, the blond one, the other one).  They joke knowingly about the traditional horror film setting they're in, which would have been nice if the script had then eschewed the tropes for something unexpected. 

Instead, after the traditional cryptic warning from a random grizzled guy, Nazi zombies erupt from the snow and attack.  The film is visually appealing, the special effects are good (realistic entrails are liberally used), and there are a few humorous and unexpected touches, but overall there's not much novel here and the end result is mediocre.