AUGUST 17, 2008
I wonder if Pendulum had a certain set of criteria when putting together their Decrepit Crypt set. They are all indie productions that Pendulum bought later, but the 4 films I have watched share so much in common, and now the 5th, Burning Dead, is no exception. The films are all shot on consumer video, feature nudity from women of at least 30 years of age (as opposed to the younger girls you usually see nude in crappy horror movies), lots of the same names in the credits, etc.
However, Burning Dead has something going for it that the others didn’t: Hilariously cold/mean spirited dialogue! There are some lines in the movie that are just so strangely matter of fact, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud and love the movie a little bit as a result. Example:
Guy: I was married for about five years, and then everything went bad about a year and a half ago.
Hero: What happened?
Guy: She died.
He says “She died” in the same way one might say “She’s at work,” when asked by a friend where your wife/girlfriend was. Now, for all I know it might just be incredibly bad acting, but I like to think it was intentionally delivered in this strange manner. There are some other lines/conversations in the film that have the same “style”.
It’s also a pretty insane plot. This guy (who looks like Jeff Daniels dressed up as the Nickelback guy) is returning to his hometown, which he left years ago when he apparently burnt the ENTIRE TOWN to the ground, including his parents (another hilarious line – someone asks if his parents lost anything in the fire, and he says “Their lives,” with all the sadness and remorse one might have if revealing that they lost their china or maybe some particularly nice boots). But he didn’t do it to kill everyone; he did it to stop a power hungry wizard. For real. So now he sees these zombie type things all the time, which are supposed to be the ghosts of the burn victims.
I know I usually don’t give any sort of synopsis, but I feel I must for this film, because it has no IMDb entry. I can locate some of the cast and crew, but this one is left off their resumes for whatever reason. In all my years of watching indie horror movies, I’ve never ran into a case where it didn’t even have its own IMDb page; even unreleased films that the director personally sent me a copy of have that much. Google turns up a single other review as well as some merchant links for the set(s) that the film is included on, but nothing else.
The movie also has some incredibly forgiving characters. At one point, the hero is possessed or something, and he tries to cave in the head of his little nephew. The parents stop him in time, and then try to throw him out of the house. Suddenly, a few of the zombie “apparitions” that have been haunting him appear, and the parents see them too. “I’m not crazy!” our hero announces, and they instantly forgive him for the attempted murder of their child. The notion that whether the zombies are real or imaginary doesn’t change the fact that he is apparently prone to mind controlled kiddy-cide is ignored; I guess they don’t really care about semantics at this point.
It’s still pretty bad though. The “actors” aren’t, blocking is confusing, and the plot is far too complicated to pull off in a visual sense with the budget they had. For example, when the wizard guy is supposedly pulled down into hell, we see some guys in bad makeup literally wipe paint on the wizard’s face and sort of knock him over. When you have no money, it’s best to keep your ideas grounded in reality, befriend the subtle scare, and milk the premise for every penny, like Blair Witch, Halloween, and Paranormal Activity. This script, goofy as it may be, would probably make for a pretty fun movie if it had about 10 million or so to pull it off. I mean, the whole thing is built around a fire that somehow destroyed the entire town, you’d think you’d see a pile of rubble or something every now and then.
Still, it’s miles better than the first few DC movies I endured (not as "good" as Dead 7 though), so kudos to director George A. Demick for that much.
What say you?