Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Zombies for Halloween: Land of the Dead

We begin with Day 1 of Zombies for Halloween. Sounds like a protest poster held up by a dead man. This time around we go back to the Godfather of zombies himself, George Romero. Now for those unfamiliar with this name...for crying out loud go on IMDB.com and take a gander. Only been making horror films since 1968, people. Anywho, we follow the story of one of the surviving cities of Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh surrounded on two sides by the rivers and the last entry covered by an electrified fence. The former rich and powerful still live in luxury as the working class still in squalor. This is Land of the Dead.

Digital dead!!!  FLEE!!!!

Also referred as George Romero's Land of the Dead, a small army search for supplies, food and medical as well additional ammo. With a handful of cash, debating and influence the city's headman Paul Kaufman (Dennis Hopper of Easy Rider, Apocalypse Now, Blue Velvet, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Hoosiers, Blood Red, True Romance and Speed) put up the funds to build Dead Reckoning, a heavy armored vehicle loaded with rockets, HMG (Heavy Machine Guns) and a decent missile rack. Armed with fireworks as a distraction for zombies, an armed team with bikes and cars swoop in taking down the nearest dead in the way while the team gets medicine and food. The team led by Riley Denbo (Simon Baker of Ride with the Devil, Red Planet, The Guardian, Smith, The Devil Wears Prada, Not Forgotten and The Mentalist), electronic expert, designer of Dead Reckoning, man of the people and all around decent guy. Denbo notices the zombies exhibiting intelligence and possible memory.

This rug is itchy, man.

This is his last mission as he has enough funds to get a car, fuel and leave Pittsburgh forever...until a low ranking slinger of booze and hookers pimp name of Chihuahua (Phil Fondacaro of Willow, Phantasm II, Ghoulies II, Dollman vs. Demonic Toys, Bordello of Blood, The Creeps and Hercules). Unofficially Chihuahua works for Kaufman as does the rest of the town and those under the luxury condos in Fiddler's Green. Kaufman has more than a few henchmen to take out his "trash". Unfortunately Kaufman has a lackey with delusions of grandeur, Cholo (John Leguizamo of Miami Vice, Die Hard 2, Carlito's Way, Executive Decision, Spawn, Ice Age and Assault on Precinct 13) has aspirations of joining Fiddler's Green given the amount of money he has will afford him not only a place at the Green but to live off the dividends.

Denbo and his buddy sharpshooter Charlie (Robert Joy of Mds, The Lazarus Child, The Hills Have Eyes, Aliens vs Predator: Requiem and CSI: NY) get tossed in jail saving a girl Slack (Asia Argento of XXX, The Keeper, Land of the Dead, Last Days, Marie Antoinette, Mother of Tears, Drifters and Dracula 3D) from pit zombies. All three are in deep kimchi until Cholo convinces the rest of the Dead Reckoning crew to swipe the badass tank and threaten to blow it up until they get cash for it. Say wasn't this a zombie film?

After the last town the crew raided, the remaining zombies led by a zombie/former gas station attendant known as Big Daddy (Eugene Clark of Night Heat, 3 Men and a Baby, TekWar: The Series, Trailer Park Boys: The Movie, Robocop: Prime Directives and The L.A. Complex) and even learn to cross the waters as there was no fear for drowning. Will the Pitt survive the incoming undead onslaught?? Will classes ever get along?? What the f**k is cash good for in the land of the dead??

A few bits of trivia now. Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright make a guest appearance as photo-booth zombies thanks to Shaun of the Dead being the hit that it was. Practical SFX wizard/stuntman/actor/director and producer Tom Savini reprised his biker character from Dawn of the Dead but as a zombie. This was the first "Living Dead" series that had digital effects in it.

Fiddler's Green is actually old maritime folklore for pirates and sailors who have served at least 50 some odd years at sea. An afterlife of legend full of music, dancing and debauchery.   With a $19 million dollar budget pulled in $45 million so not a bad turn of profit. 

Huh, figured there would be more zombies.