Day of the Dead: The Need to Feed.

Hot off the heels of the popular “Dawn of the Dead” remake, someone set out to remake “Day of the Dead”.  Steve Miner, the film’s director, is no rookie to the horror genre, with some impressive titles on his resume, most notably, a Lovelock and Starkwell favourite, 1986’s “House”.  They certainly aren’t shy to name drop Romero all over the box, even though he had nothing to do with the film other than make a good movie twenty-five years ago.  The fact that this 2008 version went straight to video is already not a very good sign.  Did I mention that it stars Nick Cannon?  Let’s see what happens.


[Teenager coughs up snot, resumes making out with girl.]

Lovelock: I think her standards are a little low.

Starkwell: Much like the casting director’s…


[Mena Suvari character introduction.]

Starkwell: So that’s why she started turning down those "American Pie" movies, to pursue a more serious acting career…

Lovelock: Harsh.


They developed the characters a little more, but who really cares?  All Lovelock and Starkwell were able to do was make fun of Nick Cannon’s crusty little moustache, his ‘crustache’ if you will.  At one point Lovelock begged the question “Seriously, how old is he supposed to be?  He looks twelve”, to which Starkwell responded “Mena Suvari’s haircut makes her look like a ‘tween.”  Afterwards Lovelock made fun of Starkwell for discussing haircuts and using the word ‘tween.  And they missed a whole chunk of movie.  They didn’t miss much, and they are yet to see anyone that they really want to root for.  But then, as if by magic, people started turning into zombies and instantaneously decaying and running and eating people, so Lovelock and Starkwell decided to pay more attention.


[Fast zombies leap tall buildings in a single bound and throw grown men around like footballs.]

Lovelock: So when they say remake, they mean it more like… ?

Starkwell: Not a remake.


Starkwell got up and started wondering how anyone could actually get away with just a bite wound when the zombies seem to “tear through people like the Tasmanian Devil on speed”.  Also, why did the virus suddenly kick in at the same time for every infected person in town?  Why does it work faster on some than on others?  Why do some peoples’ faces immediately decompose when others do not?  Lovelock shushed him, but then was like, “Seriously though, what the fuck?”  So many questions.


[People running in front of radio station.]

Starkwell: They used the same shot three times now of those three people running.

Lovelock: I thought you said that a good movie should have consistency?

Starkwell: I don’t think you’re following me here…


[Suvari is being attacked.]

Starkwell: So the zombies have super powers unless they are going after the main character?

Lovelock: Well duh, otherwise she’d die right away.


[Main character runs over her Mom without blinking.]

Starkwell: Wait, so she doesn’t want to kill the other soldier yet, in case there's a cure or something... but she felt it was ok to explode her mom into a bajillion pieces with her Hummer?  Right in front of her little brother?

Lovelock: UNIT. CORE. GOD. COUNTRY.  Somewhere after all of that, MOM.


[They find out the truth about Project Wildfire.]

Lovelock: Why is it whenever a character in a movie wants to kill some sleazeball, someone else says “no it’s not worth it.”

Starkwell: I wish someone had said that to us that before we put the DVD in.


[The outbreak has been thwarted… or has it?]

Starkwell: ...

Lovelock: ...

Starkwell: So... what?


Military types, horny teenagers, the sleazy guy, the edgy radio host, one-liners, slow-motion deaths, whizzy bullets and ‘splosions.  This was basically a cookie cutter zombie/action/shit film, which just makes the use of the title even more offensive, since Romero’s 1985 epic was anything but.  Miner did a decent job directing, but when you’re handed a terrible screenplay, there’s only so much you can do.  Well, he could have just said NO.  He should have said no.  Both Lovelock and Starkwell agree that they would hate the movie slightly less if it didn’t call itself “Day of the Dead”, but they would still, nonetheless, hate it.


The Serpent and the Rainbow.

Best known for inventing Freddy Krueger, horror titan Wes Craven took a stab at old school zombie folklore in his “based on true events” / “based on a dude’s book” film venture “The Serpent and the Rainbow.”  This one stars Bill Pullman, who you might know as the president from Independence Day or that guy I always confuse with Jeff Daniels.  Starkwell and Lovelock are intrigued by the possibility that any of what they are about to watch actually happened, and eagerly wait for me to press play.


[Haiti, 1970s.]

Starkwell: Haiti doesn’t look all that happy.  People steal dead bodies.

Lovelock: I don’t know, that guy in the top hat looks pretty happy.

Starkwell: Yeah, he’s waving a gun, I don’t think we’re supposed to like him.


[Professor Pullman takes magic potion.  Wakes up being chased by a panther and some scary dead people.]

Lovelock: That’s why I never take strange potions from witch doctors.

Starkwell: I think he’s a shaman, and yeah, that’s why.

Lovelock: I think if I had a spirit animal, I’d want it to be a monkey.  No, a giraffe… actually, let me think about it some more.


[Pharmaceutical company sends him on a mission.]

Starkwell: It’s always the pharmaceutical companies.

Lovelock: Well, yeah… They’re called BIOCORP.  You can’t trust that shit.


[Professor Pullman meets a zombie.]

Lovelock: Wait, that’s a zombie?

Starkwell: I think that this movie is more grounded in reality than you’re used to.

Lovelock: Reality blows.  Bring on the flesh eaters.  If I wanted reality I’d be at work right now.


Starkwell watched the story unfold with great enthusiasm.  Lovelock was less enthused, but every time he wanted to make a comment like “where’s the action?” or “where’s the beef?” Starkwell would shush him like a librarian on crack.  Is there any other kind?  However, they both make fun of Professor Pullman’s philosophical narration every chance that they get.


Starkwell: This movie already has had at least two too many of those “thank goodness, it was only a dream” moments.

Lovelock: Can you really ever have too many of those?

Starkwell: Yes.  Yes you can.  This movie does.


[Really long sex scene.]

Starkwell: Apparently waterfalls and a large crowd put Professor Pullman in the mood.

Lovelock: She certainly seems to be enjoying it.  In slow motion.

Starkwell: Who has sex in a cave?

Lovelock: Probably cavemen.


[Professor Pullman cons the con man.]

Starkwell: He’s a doctor and a magician?  No wonder she couldn’t resist boning him in a dirty cave.

Lovelock: Plus, his hair is phenomenal.


I was unable to follow their conversation for a little while, because I passed out when the crazy police drove a huge nail through Professor Pullman’s scrotum.  I think I faintly heard Lovelock saying “good luck doing it cave style now” before I blacked out.  When I woke up, they were repeating the line “hey, it just went through the scrotum, right?” over and over again, since, as it turns out, Professor Pullman is a pretty hard dude.


[Another dream sequence followed by dramatic wakeup shot.]

Starkwell: That’s the sweatiest wakeup yet.

Lovelock: Hey, I mean, it just went through the scrotum, right?

[Finds severed head next to him.]

Starkwell: I think I would prefer the nightmare…

Lovelock: Hey, I mean, it just went through the scrotum, right?


[Back in Boston, Professor Pullman is attacked at a dinner party by the hostess.]

Lovelock: Voodoo or not, I think that’s how I would react to that boring ass conversation as well.

Starkwell: Wow, he just bails on the party?  She’s still seizing and screaming.  What a dick.  Considering this is all his fault, the least he could do is stick around and see if she’s ok.

Lovelock: They put a wallet in her mouth, she’ll be fine.


[Zombie powder blown in face.  Pullman is pronounced dead.  Eventually, he comes back.]

Lovelock: Man, they stole that shit from “In Like Flint”.

Starkwell: It’s not really the same thing.

Lovelock: Purple alert!


The ending of the movie was pretty spectacular, full of historical facts, supernatural terrors, and nail in scrotum payback.  But Starkwell and Lovelock didn’t really react at all.  They said they were waiting to see if there would be another shot of him waking up, all sweaty, thinking “thank goodness, it was only a dream.”  It never came.  Good news for Haiti, but bad news for his scrotum.


Masters of Horror: Homecoming.

Masters of Horror” was a relatively short lived television series that produced a mixed bag of shorter horror features helmed by titans of the genre.  In the first season, Joe Dante provided the show with the politically charged anti-war zombie effort entitled “Homecoming”.


[Ann Coulter type of woman talks on TV show, after having shown that later, she will be killed.]

Starkwell: So Dante isn’t exactly going to be subtle about this.

Lovelock: At least we know that the fictional Ann Coulter is going to get capped in the head.

Starkwell: Yeah, dare to dream.


Somewhere amidst George W. Bush impersonations on the television, dead soldiers rising from their coffins, and witty dialogue aplenty, I’m pretty sure I heard both Starkwell and Lovelock let out cries of joy.


Lovelock: Wait why aren’t the zombies eating people?

Starkwell: I think you’re missing the point.

Lovelock: Is the point to make me wish that they would kill more of these assholes?

Starkwell: That is most definitely not the point.


[Undead soldiers simply want to vote, presumably against the president.]

Lovelock: I am suddenly totally cool with the whole not killing people thing.

Starkwell: The Super Christian Church guy’s flip-flop about the undead soldiers was a nice touch.


[Flashback to main character shooting his brother.]

Starkwell: Wow, he even found a way to comment on gun control too.

Lovelock: I hope he makes fun of Creationism next.


As the film wrapped itself up, both Starkwell and Lovelock stood up in applause.  In its short run time, this film accomplished more than most do in twice the time.  Bravo, Joe Dante, and thank you.


King of the Zombies.

It seems that a lot of older zombie films involve people ending up on a weird island full of spooky ghouls and zombies and crazy people.  Apparently 1941’s “King of the Zombies” is no different.  Lovelock wants to meet the actual King of the Zombies and thank him for the awesome movies based on his peoples.  Starkwell tried to tell him that there was no actual King of the Zombies, but Lovelock interrupted him mid sentence with a well placed armpit fart.  This is another one of those Million-Movies-on-One-Disc type of deals, so I’ve already warned them that the quality of the picture will be less than ideal.


[Intro credits.]

Lovelock: Am I the only one who feels like we’re about to watch a “Looney Tunes” cartoon?

Starkwell: Yes... okay, no.


[CLEARLY a Model Airplane landing in CLEARLY a Model Forest.]

Lovelock: I miss playing with toys.

Starkwell: It's only a model.


[Jefferson Jackson cracks wise!]

Lovelock: I can’t tell if I find Mantan Moreland’s performance offensive or hilarious.

Starkwell: How about both?

Lovelock: Maybe it’s best if we don’t think about it too much.  

Starkwell: Or talk about it.

Lovelock: Nice hat!

Starkwell: Should we be talking about this?


[They find a mansion on the otherwise uninhabited island.]

Lovelock: I can see where “Lost” got all of its ideas.

Starkwell: Dude, you’ve used that one before.

Lovelock: “Gilligan’s Island”?

Starkwell: Whatever.


[The Black servants are zombies.  Jackson sees them.  The White lame people don’t believe him.]

Starkwell: Pretty edgy social commentary for 1941…

Lovelock: Do you think they knew what they were implying when they filmed it?

Starkwell: I sincerely hope so.


[Tuxedo Pants introduces the guys to some kind of rich white girl zombie.]

Starkwell: Wait, that’s his wife?  They’re commenting on both racial AND gender inequality in the 1940s?  Insane!

Lovelock: Rich white men are sucking the life out of women and ethnic groups and controlling them like mindless meat puppets to do their dirty work.

Starkwell: I’m proud of you.

Lovelock: Not to mention, it’s becoming quite clear that the two wooden white guys, parading around in Hugh Hefner gowns, are just there for show, and Jackson is the real hero of the picture.

Starkwell: I’m really impressed… you’re really getting into this!

Lovelock: Actually, I’m bored as shit.  When are the Black servants going to start eating people?

Starkwell: It was nice while it lasted.


The movie crawled forward like molasses on an uneven kitchen floor, but still managed to hold Starkwell’s interest.  Lovelock, on the other hand, said “snoozers” out loud at one point, after which Starkwell punched him in the nuts.  Eventually there were some awkwardly offensive “Voodoo” things happening on screen, and then, an eventual zombie uprising.  The dialogue confused everyone and really just left a lot of unanswered questions.  One thing is for sure, Mantan Moreland steals the show here.  After the insanely abrupt ending, the credits rolled, and Starkwell got up slowly, nodded his head and said “Powerful stuff.”  Then Lovelock got up slowly, nodded his head, and said “Also, dull as balls.”  Different strokes for different folks.


Lovelock: “Temple of Doom”.  “Temple of Doom” totally got its story from this.


Evil Dead II.

Before doing shitty super hero sequels (Spiderman!) and forgettable horror movies with no real story (Drag Me to Hell!), Sam Raimi was changing the face of horror comedy forever with his “Evil Dead” series.  As anticipation fills the room, I press play for the Widescreen Version.


[Introduction about Necronomicon.]

Starkwell: I feel like I’m watching one of those old National Film Board of Canada documentaries.

Lovelock: What like that lumberjack cartoon?

Starkwell: I think they were loggers... but no, not exactly.


[Ash play tape recorder, evil spirit take Linda.]

Lovelock: That’s why I never break into abandoned cabins, leaf through creepy books, and press play on old fashioned tape recorders.

Starkwell: Yeah, all of that.  That’s why.

Lovelock: Those are some pretty solid reasons.

Starkwell: You know, he didn’t give Linda much time to explain herself before lobbing her head off with a shovel.

Lovelock: Trouble in paradise.


The movie is so fast paced, the effects are so good, and Bruce Campbell kicks so much ass, that it was hard to keep up with what Starkwell and Lovelock were saying.  Most of it just sounded like two school girls giggling, as if they had just found out that the boy they liked liked them too, while the movie races forward at the pace of a “Looney Tunes” cartoon and never seems to let up.


[Headless Linda the zombie dances ballet.]

Starkwell: Stop motion animation, when done well, will always look scarier and creepier than even the best CGI.

Lovelock: Old school effects for the win.

Starkwell: It also helps that Campbell sells every single scene as hard as he does.


[Enter redneck characters.]

Starkwell: We may have just found the movie’s first flaw.

Lovelock: Yeah, I hate redneck characters too.

[Ash fights himself with his own hand.]

Starkwell: Oh, "Evil Dead 2", I can’t stay mad at you.

Lovelock: I think I want to make "Evil Dead 2" wallpaper for my house.

Starkwell: I want to make sheets, so that "Evil Dead 2" can keep me warm at night.  Forever.


[Cabin comes to life.  Ash laughs-to-scream.]

Starkwell: I know I always champion Vincent Price’s laugh-to-cry in “Last Man on Earth”, but that was pretty sensational.


Starkwell and Lovelock were speechless for a while, due to gruesome and unforgiving horror perfection.


[Redneck dies in cellar.]

Starkwell: So much blood, and yet, none got on her.

Lovelock: At this point, can you please just suspend your disbelief a little.


[Montage of Ash arming himself.]

Starkwell: Ladies and gentlemen, a legend is born.


Then Ash said “GROOVY” and they both stood up and cheered.  When he said “Swallow this”, I swear I think I saw a single tear going down Lovelock’s face.


[Final gory fight sequence.]

Starkwell: …

Lovelock: … [nervous fart]


Nearly twenty-five years old, and it still looks as good, scares as much and provides as much fun as the day it was first released.  I would tell you Starkwell and Lovelock’s reaction to the ending, but they’ve already run out into the streets going door to door to spread the good word.



Australian twin brothers Michael and Peter Spierig recently wrote and directed a pretty sweet vampire movie (an accomplishment in this modern age of sparkly vampires) called “Daybreakers”, and are currently working on a remake of the “Dark Crystal”.  But before all of that, they made a zombie movie, 2003’s "Undead".  To follow an Australian zombie film with a big budget Hollywood vampire movie starring Ethan Hawke and Willem Dafoe, means that they must have done at least a few things right.   And so, without any further ado, IT’S GO TIME!!!!1111


[Character introductions.  Main character is female lead Rene.]

Starkwell: They are certainly establishing a lot of different characters.

Lovelock: Great casting on the sleazy agent guy.  I already hate him.

Starkwell: I actually already care about Rene.


They’ve very quickly established characters, and waste no time to get to the action.  Starkwell is amazed by how much he already cares about the female lead Rene, and that it “says a lot about the directing and the quality of the writing”.  Lovelock won’t shut up about how good the musical score is.  After we see the first zombie and the color of the film goes from bright and sunny to dark and gloomy, both Lovelock and Starkwell sat quietly, heavily immersed and already deeply invested in the story.


[Zombie Child punches through an old woman’s head.]

Lovelock: I told you that zombie children could be cool!

Starkwell: Way to go, Australia!


[Zombie action in farmhouse.]

Starkwell: Normally I hate when directors try and John Woo-ify their characters, but somehow this time it worked.

Lovelock: Zombie kid worked, guy in overalls holding guns sideways worked… What’s going on here?  I feel like we are in the "Twilight Zone".

Starkwell: Let’s move to Australia.


[Further mayhem.]

Starkwell: How could anyone take cops seriously if they wear hats like that?  She looks like she is going on a picnic.

Lovelock: This ain’t no picnic.

Starkwell: Nice. 


[Overalls Man does a back flip, hooks his spurs into the wall above the door, hangs upside down, and shoots zombies in all directions.]

Starkwell: Okay, that one was a bit much.

Lovelock: Yeah, even in Australia, that was wicked lame.


As the movie sashayed forward stylishly, Lovelock and Starkwell sat quietly, only occasionally imitating the Australian accent, poorly.  Starkwell was a little disappointed that Overalls actually referred to the zombies as zombies.  Call him a purist, but as he said “The first rule of ‘Fight Club’ is don’t talk about ‘Fight Club’”, or something to that effect.


[They kill an Alien.]

Starkwell: They can put up enormous fences around a town and make it rain, but one bullet kills them?

Lovelock: Just because we’ve invented the iPhone and Pac-Man video games doesn’t mean a spear through the gut won’t fuck us up.


[Holy shit, twist ending.  Picnic Hat’s not dead! Yet!]

Lovelock: I knew it!

Starkwell: No, no you didn’t.

Lovelock:  No, no I didn’t.


[On the extraterrestrial virus being spread around by the meteor fragments that fell.]

Lovelock: That’s why I never touch things that fall from the sky.

Starkwell: Yeah, that’s why.

Lovelock: Wait no, better… That’s why I’ll never go to Australia.

Starkwell: Yeah, that’s why.


When you see a film like this, as Lovelock says, it “makes you realize just how bad some zombie movies actually are.”  Story, characters, action and dialogue were all well above par.  Starkwell talked about how it makes sense that Hollywood would take notice of the Brothers Spierig after this.  Sure, some of it is a little too silly, and some of the CGI effects aren’t exactly awe inspiring, but Lovelock and Starkwell give it one million thumbs up, and highly recommend it for fans of maximum awesomeness.


All Souls Day.

Another in a string of “made for Sci-Fi” channel movies, this one is supposed to be the cream of the crop.  That is, of course, if the cream is the worst part, and the crop is actually a bag of shit.  The DVD opens with a trailer for “Near Dark” which looks awesome and stars Bill Paxton.  But we’re not about to watch that.  We’re about to watch something whose claim to fame is that Danny Trejo is in it.  Starkwell and Lovelock are less than excited for this 2005 romp in Mexico penned by the guy who wrote Uwe Boll’s “House of the Dead”.  So yeah.


[Anytown Mexico.]

Starkwell: For a random Mexican village, there is an awful lot of English being spoken.

Lovelock: They did the same thing in “Hunt for Red October”, except with Russian.

Starkwell: And why are all of the villagers white?

Lovelock: What did you expect them to do, go and grab a truck full of day laborers?

Starkwell: Dude...

Lovelock: You know what? They probably would give a more convincing performance.


[White family in the 50s is murdered by village of Mexican Zombies, cuts to present day.  Lame white people run into village.]

Starkwell: Why did they need to show the flashback?  How did that girl write that whole explanation in the sand with a stick?  Why aren’t they panicking more?  Why are we watching this?

Lovelock: The answer to all of those is, because this film is a turd.


[Lame white guy invites his friends to join them, and then makes sex all over his girlfriend.]

Starkwell: Why would they invite people after finding a girl with her tongue cut out?  How could they be horny under these circumstances?  Who puts their bra back on immediately after boning like that?

Lovelock: Once again, because this film is a turd.


Altman throws in movie references, but rather than being subtle about it, the characters always find a way to explain what movie they were referencing immediately after referencing it, making it THOROUGHLY LAME.


[Zombie mayhem continues.]

Starkwell: If he wants to go get more bullets, why is she wasting them by shooting bullets in the air? Why is tongueless a zombie already?  How is she screaming? Why didn’t they kill the Sheriff? If the Sheriff is the kid from the flashback, why isn’t seventy years old?  Why is it only the Mexican girl that sees the weird apparitions?  Why are they making jokes?  Why are they making out?!?!?!  Why does the cheerleader have super powers?!?!?  Why am I still sitting here?

Lovelock: Turd! Remember? … Starkwell?  Starkwell?


Starkwell left.  Lovelock stayed.  As usual, here are some bits from Lovelock’s conversation with himself.


[Trejo shoots his son in the head, accidentally.]

Lovelock: How could he have possibly missed his mark by that much?  Why do we need to see Trejo masturbating? Why is she puking black stuff? Why would they have killed the other people in the first place if they only wanted to get the Vargas guy? Why is she magic, but not magic enough to stop this shit from happening in the first place? What the fuck?


Once Lovelock remembered the answer to all of these questions, he got quiet.  Real quiet.



Since “Stacy” is the only Japanese zombie extravaganza that I have exposed Lovelock and Starkwell to, I felt I owed the country of Japan an explanation.  Hopefully the turn of the century’s more traditional zombie fare, “Junk” will give Starkwell and Lovelock a better view of the Japanese zombie film.  If this one doesn’t work there’s always “Wild Zero”.  Lovelock’s mad that he will have to read again.


[Jewelry store heist.]

Lovelock: Why is everyone wearing sunglasses?

Starkwell: Because “The Matrix” had just come out.

Lovelock: That explains the soundtrack.

Starkwell: And the outfits.

Lovelock: Oh shit, a SEGA building!

Starkwell: For a movie that has the evil American military scientists creating zombies, they borrow an awful lot from American films.

Lovelock: Maybe the zombies are a good thing in this one…

Starkwell: Are we supposed to be rooting for these thieves?  Because they just shot a lady.

Lovelock: She was asking for it.

Starkwell: …


The movie kicked forward, developing characters, pushing the EVIL AMERICAN MILITARY agenda a little more, and leading up to the exchange between the jewel thieves and local Yakuza.  Obviously they plan on meeting in the secret warehouse where the EVIL AMERICAN MILITARY have been conducting their zombie experiments.  As much as most of the characters are incredibly hateable, the one female lead seems to be a decent person.  Before they had time to discuss this any further, a zombie ran a steel rod through a guy’s neck, and both Starkwell and Lovelock applauded.  The movie was very quick to show us that it would not be light in gore and headshots.


[Jewel for Money exchange.]

Starkwell: He asked to see the money first, they show him a briefcase, and he says “OK.”?

Lovelock: Yeah, kind of dumb.

Starkwell: “Well, he has a briefcase, so it must be full of money.”  I’m glad he’s dead.

Lovelock: ZOMBIE!


As the bullets flew, and more and more dead people came back to life, Starkwell and Lovelock stayed pretty quiet, thoroughly entertained.  A lot of comments were made about the American Military Mustache Man and the fact that only the main characters’ guns seem to ever run out of bullets.  Apparently the Yakuza have INFINTY BULLETS guns.


[Naked Female Zombie has computer science skills.]

Starkwell: How would she know how to stop the self destruct sequence?

Lovelock: For the same reason that the Americans have military bases all over Japan.


[Japanese Scientist mows down some zombies with a machine gun.]

Starkwell: Where would he have learned to shoot like that?

Lovelock: The same place the zombie learned Computer Science.

Starkwell: Well played.


[Naked computer whiz zombie kills American Soldier.]

Starkwell: After all of this time, why would naked zombie suddenly decide to put on a leather outfit, in slow motion?

Lovelock: You already answered your own question earlier.  It is because the director had just watched “The Matrix”.


[Leather Dress Super Zombie hops around throwing Japanese Scientist around the room.]

Starkwell: Where the Hell is all of that wind coming from?

Lovelock: Long answer, the same place all of that fog is coming from.

Starkwell: What’s the short answer?

Lovelock: “The Matrix”.

Starkwell: Really?

Lovelock: Well, either that or John Woo.


[Super Zombie comes back, even after a bullet in the head.  With blond hair.]

Starkwell: Why would her hair turn blond?

Lovelock: So that the male stunt double could wear a blond wig.


As the credits rolled Starkwell and Lovelock agreed that while the film featured a hefty amount of action, and a good amount of old fashioned gore, overall it lacked character.  In fact, what it lacked most were characters that we would actually give a shit about.  I mean, the film ends with them stealing a car.  Well that and that Super Zombie is still alive.  Fun movie, but really fucking stupid.  Also, why is it called "Junk"?


Oasis of the Zombies.

After their experience with Rollin’s (or was it J.A. Laser???) “Zombie Lake”, the thought of another Aquatic Based Nazi Zombie film has Starkwell and Lovelock a little terrified.  Not to mention the fact that this one is from seasoned pornographer and cinetrash maker extraordinaire Jess Franco.  What is about to ooze into their eyes and ears is his notoriously abysmal “Oasis of the Zombies”.  I don’t think they’re truly ready.  Can you ever be truly ready for Franco?  The quality of the print is atrocious.  That can’t possibly be helping this.  Also, no matter what the original language was, this is being shown to us in PISS POOR ENGLISH.


[Girls in hot pants get eaten.  Opening credits play with some kind of flute music.]

Starkwell: Why would two girls in short shorts and tank tops be driving around the deert in Africa?

Lovelock: To his credit, the girls kept their tiny clothes on.


After this, not much was going on.  There appears to be some sort of Nazi gold thing happening, and there are some pretty sweet moustaches.  The story is surprisingly cohesive, although not very fast moving.  I think something is being lost in translation, since, as Starkwell said, “did he tell her to hold on to her camel?” and Lovelock’s question “so the girls at the beginning were lesbians, right?”.


[Flashback to when the Nazis were ambushed at the Oasis.]

Starkwell: That’s a lot of grenade being tossed around.

Lovelock: Woah!  First Person Shooter angle!  Jess Franco invented video games!

Starkwell: That’s a bit of a stretch.

Lovelock: Wait.  Are we still in the flashback now?  I’m confused.


[Eurotrash college students skip their exam to go after supposedly cursed Nazi gold, somewhere in Africa.]

Starkwell: Little do they know that the guy who killed the one student’s father is also out on a journey for the very same gold that they are going after.

Lovelock:  I’m not even sure that I knew that.  But thanks for clarifying.

Starkwell: He sure likes to focus on that swastika.

Lovelock: It’s so that we know that the zombies are Nazis.

Starkwell: Yeah, otherwise they just look like dudes with oatmeal on their faces.

Lovelock: Expensive oatmeal.  And maggots.


Lovelock and Starkwell sat quietly, watching the surprisingly freaky looking zombies eat people.  Starkwell noted “of course, they took her pants off first” to which Lovelock replied “how else would they be able to eat her?”  At one point, they simultaneously exclaimed “LONGEST DEATH EVER!


[College kids dig for gold.]

Starkwell: How would they know where to dig?

Lovelock: Instinct?

Starkwell: Considering half of them have already been attacked by zombies and are still sticking around, I’d say that their instinct is piss poor.

Lovelock: And somehow, they’re still horny enough to make the sex.

Starkwell: Is it just me or do the zombies make noises like the raptors in “Jurassic Park”?

Lovelock: Wow.  Normally I would bring in the oddly placed references.  I’m proud of you.  Anyways, you’re wrong.  They sound like a jug band member playing a washboard.


After the fifth shot of a hand coming out of the sand, they were starting to lose their patience a little.  But then finally the carnage started and they ate tons of popcorn and cheered.


[College kids fight back.]

Lovelock: Did that guy say "let’s make Molotov Cocktails like in school?”  Where the Hell do they go to school?

Starkwell: Am I the only one that thinks that Franco focuses on the zombie faces for absurdly long amounts of time forever?

Lovelock: How come that one zombie disappeared into thin air?

Starkwell: Let’s not ask questions that we know don’t have answers to.

Lovelock: You do that all of the time.


Judging by the final lines of dialogue in the film, the main character was just there to “find himself”.  Fucking college kids…  Always trying to explore themselves by traveling.  Anyways, maybe it was just because “Zombie Lake” drove their expectations for Nazi zombie films down to an undetectably low level, but they seemed to feel that this was a perfectly adequate and fun romp in the desert, full of burning Nazis and ‘splosions.


FILM FEST: The Unwatchables - Poor DVD Choices.

This second round of Unwatchables is coming at you thanks some very poor DVD buying decisions that I have made.  I am noticing a pattern too.  The only movies that seem to make it to the dreaded unwatchable status were made after the turn of the millennium.  Often people will talk about movies and how we don’t make them like we used to.  Apparently, we even don’t make trashy micro-budget ones like we used.  Starkwell and Lovelock didn’t make it through any of these films from start to finish, but here was a little of what they had to say about each before they set the DVD player on fire.  Seriously, I went through six DVD players.


[Necropolis Awakened (2002)]

Starkwell: The box said “Pulp Fiction” meets “Day of the Dead”.  I’m not really getting that.

Lovelock: It’s more like a porno based on “Pulp Fiction” meets a high school film festival entry based on “Day of the Dead”.  But without any sex in it, and they’d finish last at the festival.

Starkwell: Why would anyone make their voice do that?

Lovelock: Probably so he could play more than one character.


[Exhumed (2003)]

[First story, samurai short with zombies.]

Starkwell: This kind of feels like a white person version of what he thinks a samurai movie would be…. Oh wait.

[Second story, film noir, with zombies.]

Lovelock: Holy shit! That is the most annoying voice I have ever heard.  Where did they find her?

Starkwell: It sounds like someone imitating someone who’s imitating someone who’s imitating a person from that era.

[Third story, they never watched.]


[Invasion (2005)]

Starkwell: The first person view from the squad car is interesting.  Nice concept.

[10 minutes later.]

Starkwell: Wow... sticking to the squad car angle... bold.

[10 minutes later.]

Starkwell: Wait are they just driving in circles in a field and filming it?

[30 minutes later.]

Starkwell: Zzzzzzzzzzzz…

[Lovelock was asleep the whole time.]


[Automaton Transfusion (2006)]

Starkwell: Do you think they made this movie just to see that girl’s boobies?

Lovelock: It would explain why the rest of the movie seems like they were making it up as they went along.

Starkwell: I think I would respect this movie more if it were made twenty years ago.

Lovelock: It’s original “Degrassi” meets “Children of the Living Dead”.

Starkwell: Spot on.


[Night of the Living Dead 3D (2006)]

Starkwell: Do you think they decided to have the soft-core barnyard sex scene before or after they made it 3D?

Lovelock: I don’t know, but I don’t think my glasses are working very well.  But I do see well enough to know that Sid Haig really needs money.

Starkwell: Yeah, he must have been fresh off of shooting “House of the Dead 2”.

Lovelock: I sort of wish my glasses was a blindfold.

Starkwell: And that it had earplugs attached.


[Trailer Park of Terror (2008)]

Starkwell: So… characters that I hate being killed by other characters that I hate?

Lovelock: Plus it’s gross!


On the bright side, at least we have six new coasters for the coffee table.  Some of these had some good ideas, but all eventually spiralled dreadfully out of control and ended up in Unwatchable Town.  I think Sid Haig might be the mayor there.  I’m going to go bake some brownies, and hopefully Lovelock and Starkwell will begin talking to me again.


The Dead Next Door.

Apparently this movie took years to complete.  That’s what happens when you have no budget and try to tackle a story as grand as the one put forward in JR Bookwalter’s “Dead Next Door”.  Shot in Ohio through the majority of the ‘80s, this one saw its completion and release in ’89, and may or may not have lived up to everyone’s hopes.  Let’s at least find out what Starkwell and Lovelock think of it.  Apparently Bookwalter followed this with a movie called “Robot Ninja” where a scientist helps a comic-book artist to become the superhero he has created in order to battle a vicious gang of rapists.  So yeah.


[Zombie tried to rent "Dawn of the Dead"]

Lovelock: Sweet VHS boxes.

Starkwell: I think this is going to be one nutty ride.


[Zombie apocalypse montage.]

Starkwell: Why would they bother showing a zombie using the telephone for that long?

Lovelock: The same reason that they mostly cast people with mullets.


We get introduced to some Zombie Squad members, some pretty sweet gore and some of the worst acting in the history of people.  But, as Lovelock noted, “somehow it works.


[Binocular shot.]

Starkwell: If you’re going to use construction paper to create that effect, you could at least make smooth cuts.

Lovelock: You ever try to cut perfect circles with scissors?  It’s impossible.


Lovelock: I think I’ve seen this movie before.  It was called “Ghostbusters.”

Starkwell: Are you basing that entirely on the Squad Car?

Lovelock: Maybe.


The overdubbing is funny.  Starkwell mentioned that it gives it that “campy Bruno Mattei feel.”  In order to save the world, they have to find some guy’s research lab in Akron, Ohio, the scientific center of the world, apparently.


[Reverend Sunglasses and his Church of Bad Haircuts keep zombies in a pen, and feed them humans.]

Lovelock: There’s something weird about this Reverend…

Starkwell: He runs a cult, sacrifices people, and feeds them to the zombies.

Lovelock: That’s not it.

Starkwell: It’s not?

Lovelock: No, I know!  It’s his fashion sense.  Who wears a khaki shirt and khaki pants?  What is he, a zookeeper?  And why is he always wearing those old lady Terminator sunglasses?


Not much was happening after this.  Starkwell and Lovelock made a half dozen comments about Commander Mullet and his braid.  There was a random hippy guy talking about “'Nam flashbacks” right before a grenade blew him up.  Trust me, it sounds better than it is.  Then the Zombie Squad guy grenaded a tree so he could drive through it and Starkwell walked out.  The rest is just stuff that Lovelock muttered to himself.


Lovelock: Worst graffiti ever.  “The Master Dude!”  What does that even mean?


Lovelock: Reverend Sunglasses looks like Gilbert Godfrey, but sounds like an asshole.




Lovelock: You’re going down Doctor Trucker Hat.


Lovelock: Why would you open that door? Oh snap, zombie hands!  Guitar solo!


Lovelock: I think that cage is made of paper.


I don’t think Lovelock appreciated the twist ending, since he just stood up and said “Dumb.”  He liked the gore effects overall, but Bookwalter definitely bit off more than he could chew, and the result is a patchy film that lacks cohesion.  Impressive nonetheless.  Lovelock gives him credit for trying.  Starkwell was glad he bailed when he did.  The songs that play during the ending credits are totally insane.  And I thought only Burt Reynolds movies had awesome theme songs.


Dead & Buried.

Sometimes it’s good to throw a different one into the mix.  Supposedly a little more along the lines of “Les Raisins de la Mort” or Romero’s “The Crazies”, 1981’s “Dead & Buried” is that age old tale of a town gone insane.  Directed by some dude named Gary Sherman, this one is perhaps more known for being partially written by legendary screenwriter Dan O’Bannon.  Yeah, the dude that wrote Alien!  This is another beautiful Blue Underground print.


[Soft piano intro, black and white stills, and a photographer strolling on the beach.]

Lovelock: Did we put the right DVD in?  This looks like it could be the intro for “Terms of Endearment”…

Starkwell: Does everything have to start with ‘splosions and bloody murder with you?

Lovelock: I take it back… the sax just kicked in, and he’s photographing a foxy blond.  Who’s taking her shirt off…?  Maybe it’s a porno DVD.

Starkwell: Not sure why we would have a porno mixed in with the horror DVDs.  Or “Terms of Endearment” for that matter…



For the next ten minutes or so, both Starkwell and Lovelock kept repeating “Welcome to Potters Bluff.”  It was almost as creepy as the opening scene.


[The Mortician drives an Ambulance SLASH Coroner vehicle.]

Starkwell: I would think that being both the paramedic and the mortician would be a conflict of interests…

Lovelock: When life gives him lemons, he makes lemonades.

Starkwell: What does that even mean?

Lovelock: Dead people are lemons.


[Nurse Betty finishes Freddie off.]

Starkwell: Was it really necessary to put the needle into his eyeball?

Lovelock: Are you for real?  That's like asking if boobies are necessary.  I think that when life shows you lemonades, you call it lemons.

Starkwell: What?

Lovelock: Eyeball gags are definitely lemonades.


[Freddie is alive, kills them city folk.]

Lovelock: That’s why I never stop and ask for directions.

Starkwell: Yeah, that’s why.

Lovelock: That’s also why I don’t go wandering into the dark basement of a creepy abandoned house in the middle of the night in a small creepy town.

Starkwell: Should anyone really need a reason not to do that?



As the madness progressed forward, the Sheriff continued to investigate the murders, and the insane reality started unearthing itself, Starkwell said that this only reaffirms O’Bannon’s greatness.  Lovelock said “Welcome to Potters Bluff” at least six or seven more times, often at random.


[Doc gets acid shot up his nose and his face melts from the inside.]

Lovelock: Alright, so deaths will now be rated from one to “acid up the nose”.

Starkwell: Forever?

Lovelock: No, just for the duration of this movie.  Afterwards, we will resume our rating system that goes from one to “face eaten by tarantulas”.


[The truth is revealed, and I think the Sheriff’s brain full exploded.]

Lovelock: So it’s kind of like “The Truman Show”.

Starkwell: How so?

Lovelock: Is it sort of like “The Matrix”?

Starkwell: Try again.

Lovelock: “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure”? 

Starkwell: Are you just saying titles at random?

Lovelock: Welcome, to Potters Bluff?

Starkwell: Don’t you dare…


As the Sheriff tries to locate and bury his dead wife, and the Mortician makes himself up like a cheap whore and embalms himself, Starkwell and Lovelock just sat quietly watching the film wrap itself up neatly, blissfully mesmerized by the unique brand of incredible blazing into their wide open eyeballs at seventy-five miles per amazing.  Welcome, to Potters Bluff.


Teenage Zombies.

In the late 1950s, a man, a writer and director named Jerry Warren, set out to make his own statement about communism and whatnot, in his 1959 motion picture “Teenage Zombies.”  Well, I read off the internet that it’s about communism.  Lovelock hopes it’s about zombies.  Starkwell hopes it isn’t too long.  This film is packaged with three others on this disc.  This means that it probably isn’t very long, or very good.  As I hit play, both Starkwell and Lovelock are astonished at how bad the print looks.


[Out for a routine waterskiing session, teenagers find an island.]

Lovelock: The music certainly makes me think something crazy is about to happen.

Starkwell: Wait, they were out waterskiing in those outfits?


[Teenagers see hobbling people.]

Starkwell: How could their first guess be that they are walking dead?

Lovelock: He said doped or dead… I mean, his first suspicion was still wacky tabacky.


Considering the film’s short runtime, Starkwell was surprised how much screen time is eaten up with footage of them walking on the beach looking for their boat.  But the long trek did end with a pretty sweet looking zombie.


[They hear girls screaming.]

Starkwell: The zombie kind of looks like Super Mario.

Lovelock: It’s just Mario.  Super is more like a general way to describe him.  You know like, “man, that’s one super Mario.”

Starkwell: If you say so.


[Soda shop owner takes Dufus and Dotty to look for Water Ski Gang.]

Starkwell: Why would the soda shop guy take such an interest in their lives?

Lovelock: It was a different time, back then.

Starkwell: So the cops couldn’t find the island, but Dufus and Dotty steal Walt’s boat and find it immediately?

Lovelock: They didn’t steal it.  They just borrowed it, I’m sure Walt won’t mind.  Anyways, you need to be a teenager to think like a teenager…  After all, like Dufus said, “They just went water skiing, no special direction!”

Starkwell: This movie has no special direction.


The two seemed bored.  Nothing was happening.  They had a little excitement when the MILL CREEK ENTERTAINMENT logo randomly appeared in the bottom right corner for a couple of minutes.  But, I’m pretty sure that wasn’t part of the original film.


Lovelock: J.J. Abrams totally ripped this off when he created “Lost”.

Starkwell: Are you for real?


[Mad Scientist in evening gown gasses a guy in a gorilla suit.]

Starkwell: …

Lovelock: …


Starkwell: What kind of army colonel has curtains like that in his office?

Lovelock: Ones that are filmed in the director’s house.


[Guys break out then try to get the girls’ cell open.]

Starkwell: The main character was wearing a t-shirt before, now he is in a long-sleeve…

Lovelock: He has his sleeves rolled up.  Close enough.

[The guys leave the girls behind.]

Starkwell: Wow.  It really was a different time.

Lovelock: Whatever.  Those dames were just going to hold them back.  You can’t trust a skirt to make a clean getaway.

Starkwell: Hey, it’s a t-shirt again!


The main guys make a plan to build a raft, while skipping stones at the beach.  I think they really hate the girls, as they pretty much tell them to shut up and get some sleep.  Starkwell and Lovleock had mostly run out of things to say.  Unless you count “are we there yet?


[The detective is in on it.]

Lovelock: Well, that explains everything.

Starkwell: No, no it doesn’t.  I think that just makes it more confusing.


Well, after teenagers turning into zombies and then back to normal again, they get away thanks to a zombie gorilla.  The teenagers saved America, apparently, and everything is back to normal.  Except the guy’s t-shirt which is long sleeve again.  Dufus suggests that they go horse back riding, and for some reason they all chase him out of the police station kicking him in the ass.  Then, the movie ends.  The real tragedy in all of this is that Starkwell and Lovelock can’t get their seventy-five minutes back.