MONSTERZERO NJ’S 12 RETAIL HORROR FLICKS FOR HALLOWEEN!

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S 12 RETAIL HORROR FLICKS FOR HALLOWEEN!

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Shop smart, shop S Mart in Army of Darkness!

Anyone who works in retail knows it can be a nightmare even without horror elements. Some horror films have acknowledged this and have used a retail setting to portray it’s tales of terror, or feature memorable scenes set in a retail environment. So, to celebrate the horrors of retail, here are 12 retail themed horror flicks for Halloween ūüéÉ!

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babysitter blog

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Kiana Madeira and Gillian Jacobs in the shopping mall set climax of Fear Street Part 3: 1666!

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(To get to the reviews of the titles listed that were covered here at the Movie Madhouse, just type the title in the search engine to find the corresponding critique!)

-MonsterZero NJ

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S 31 HORROR FLICKS FOR THE 31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN 2021!

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While I watch dozens of horror films during the month of October…these are a mix of classic favorites and recent horrors that I feel are especially perfect to watch during the Halloween season!

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(Click on the titles below the movie poster gallery to get to our reviews!)

 

halloween-pumpkins

haunt 06Harper (Katie Stevens) and friends visit the wrong Halloween haunt on Halloween night!

-MonsterZero NJ

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S 31 HORROR FLICKS FOR THE 31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN!

MZNJ_new_views

While I watch dozens of horror films during the month of October…these are a mix of classic favorites and recent horrors that I feel are especially perfect to watch during the Halloween season!

halloween-pumpkins

(Click on the titles below the movie poster gallery to get to our reviews!)

 

Click on the titles here to go to the review page for the corresponding movie!

  1. HALLOWEEN
  2. TRICK ‘r’ TREAT
  3. PHANTASM
  4. NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD
  5. THE FOG
  6. ANY (OR ALL) OF THE UNIVERSAL CLASSIC B/W HORRORS!
  7. PUMPKINHEAD
  8. EVIL DEAD
  9. A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET
  10. THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE
  11. ZOMBIE
  12. THE THING
  13. THE HOWLING
  14. THE FLY
  15. HORROR HOTEL
  16. DAWN OF THE DEAD
  17. DAY OF THE DEAD
  18. FRIDAY THE 13th
  19. THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT
  20. HALLOWEEN II
  21. HALLOWEEN III
  22. THE VIY
  23. WRONG TURN
  24. THE OLD DARK HOUSE
  25. THE DESCENT
  26. HELLIONS
  27. TALES OF HALLOWEEN
  28. THE HOUSES OCTOBER BUILT
  29. HOUSE OF THE DEVIL
  30. HOUSE OF 1,000 CORPSES
  31. THE HILLS RUN RED

-MonsterZero NJ

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DAWN OF THE DEAD and ZOMBIE: A COMPARISON IN HORROR!

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DAWN OF THE DEAD and ZOMBIE: A COMPARISON IN HORROR!

MAJOR SPOILER WARNING! In order to properly compare these two films, I have to give DETAILED SPOILERS. If you haven’t seen Dawn Of The Dead¬†or Zombie,¬†there are MASSIVE SPOILERS BELOW¬†for each film. You have been warned!

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Previously,¬†I’ve compared David Robert Mitchell’s It Follows¬†and John Carpenter’s¬†Halloween (link here), the Arnold Schwarzenegger classic Predator¬†with the B-movie sci-fi/horror¬†Without Warning¬†(link here)and finally¬†the classic Evil Dead and it’s 2013 remake (link here). Now I’d like to compare two classics that are related in an interesting way. In 1978, George A. Romero’s Dawn Of The Dead was unleashed upon the world and was called Zombi in Italy. It was a hit and in 1979, Italian filmmaker Lucio Fulci made his own zombie epic, one that was sold as a sequel entitled Zombi 2.¬†But Zombie, as it was titled here in the U.S. when released in 1980, is it’s own movie and a classic horror in it’s own right. Now decades¬†later, let’s take a look at Romero’s horror classic and Fulci’s unofficial Italian “sequel” and see just how different‚Ķor alike…they actually are…

(Click on the highlighted movie titles to go to the full length reviews and on the photos to enlarge them!)

THE STORY

Romero’s film focuses on four characters¬†(Ken Foree, David Emge, Gaylen Ross¬†and¬†Scott Reiniger) and their¬†efforts to survive during a zombie outbreak in progress. Dawn is never clear whether this is a new outbreak, or if the outbreak started in the original Night Of The Living Dead has been ongoing for the last ten years and is starting to spiral out of control. Actually, we’re never sure the two films are even related as Dawn¬†never references¬†Night.¬†Ken¬†Foree’s Peter at one point announces¬†that his voodoo practicing grandfather once said “When there is no more room in Hell, the dead with walk the Earth!”, but the cause of the zombie outbreak in the original film was radiation from a fallen satellite. Dawn¬†never clarifies the actual cause¬†as our characters barricade themselves inside a giant shopping mall. Romero’s tone is a bit satirical in this installment and there are moments of humor and satire throughout the film.

Zombie opens with the harbor police in NYC boarding a seemingly deserted craft. One of them is savaged by a zombie onboard who is subsequently shot and falls off the boat. The daughter (Tisa Farrow)¬†of the boat’s owner, teams up with a reporter (Ian McCulloch) to find out what happened to her father. This leads¬†the duo and another couple (Al Cliver and Auretta Gay) to the small Caribbean island of Matul, where they soon find, to their horror, that the dead are rising to eat the living. In Zombie, or Zombi 2, the cause of the outbreak is clearly voodoo as the drums beat continuously and characters warn that the¬†local witch doctor has something to do with it. Aside from the dead rising, the villagers¬†are all taking ill and dying, too‚Ķonly to rise again with a hunger for flesh. Fulci makes no social commentary here and his tone is bleak and nightmarish with an¬†absence¬†of any humor to speak of.

Except for both films being about flesh eating zombies whose bite spreads the infection, the stories are vastly different.

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THE ZOMBIES

Dawn Of The Dead‘s zombies give the¬†impression that we are dealing with the recent dead. Possibly due to budget limitations or artistic choices, the walking dead here are simply bluish with sunken eyes and a few show signs of being partially eaten or scarred themselves. They eat the living and there are hundreds of them wandering through the mall and it’s parking lot and they can only be stopped by decapitation or simply shooting them in the head. They seem to be mostly acting on instinct, showing only the most basic thinking, if it can be called that at all.

Fulci’s zombies are far more frightening looking, resembling decomposing¬†corpses far¬†more than Romero’s, with rotting flesh, hollow eye sockets and some covered in maggots. A stop at an ancient graveyard during the film proves even those long dead are rising and they too are ravenously hungry. There are¬†somewhat¬†fewer than in Dawn, but their appearances in fog shrouded deserted villages and their ghoulish make-up, makes them even more intimidating. They too can only be killed by decapitation, bullets to the brain and being burned completely.

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MAIN CHARACTERS

Both film’s focus on four main characters, though Zombie¬†has some supporting characters as well, such as Dr.¬†David Menard (Richard Johnson), and his wife (Olga Karlatos).

Dawn‘s¬†four main characters are newswoman Fran (Gaylen Ross), and her boyfriend and helicopter pilot Stephen (David Emge), who are traveling with two S.W.A.T. team members, Roger (Scott Reiniger) and Peter (Ken Foree). They are taking the helicopter and running, which brings them to find safe haven in a massive shopping mall deserted all but for the dead. While Fran and Stephen have little or no training with firearms, Peter and Roger are well armed and expertly trained, which gives the four an edge.

Zombie‘s four have no such edge. Peter (Ian McCulloch) is a newsman given the story of the deserted boat and dead cop. Anne (Tisa Farrow) is the daughter of the boat’s owner, a doctor last seen on a small tropical island called Matul. They hitch a ride to the island with vacationing couple Brian (Al Cliver) and his pretty wife Susan (Auretta Gay). Neither couple has any idea what they are getting into, as opposed to¬†Dawn‘s¬†four, who are fully aware and prepared for what they may face.

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THE SETTINGS

The settings for these two film’s couldn’t be more different…

Dawn Of The Dead takes place in¬†rural Pennsylvania, mostly at it’s massive Monroeville shopping mall which is near Pittsburg, where Romero went to college and made many of his earlier films. Here Romero uses his setting to make social commentary about class and consumerism.

Zombie‘s setting is the total opposite. While it opens and closes in New York City, the film takes place mostly in the Caribbean, on a small tropical¬†island called Matul. Here, the only place our four have to hide is in an old church turned infirmary and that doesn’t provide them sanctuary for very long when the dead follow them there.

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THE OPENING SCENES

The opening scenes for both movies are effective in their own way but vastly different.

Dawn¬†starts the tension by showing us Fran’s news station slowly coming apart as the situation¬†outside spirals out of control. Rescue stations are closing and people are running from their desks scared. Panic is setting in as news to report becomes scarce¬†and what news they are getting is too horrible to believe. The dead are returning to life to eat the living! This creates an atmosphere of dread long before we see the first zombies.

Zombie‘s¬†opening sequence goes for the jugular‚Ķliterally. It opens with a gun being fired at someone, or something, rising from under a sheet, drums beating in the distance. We then cut to¬†an apparently deserted sailboat entering New York harbor. Once boarded by the harbor patrol, one officer is savagely bitten on the throat by what appears to be a walking corpse. Fulci gets us tense and grossed out right away with a graphic and savage attack in the first few minutes. We also get some early glimpses of what’s happening on Matul at Dr. Menard’s infirmary, so we know what is waiting for the two ill-fated couples before they arrive.

Both openings work in¬†setting us up¬†for what is to come, starting us off with an atmosphere of fear¬†and foreboding. One film does it by showing it’s blood¬†and gore¬†right away, while the other, by¬†showing us the mounting chaos before we are thrust into the S.W.A.T. team assault scene where we see our first zombies in action.

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THE ENDINGS

Both¬†films end with¬†down or ominous endings…

After a pitched battle with a motorcycle gang¬†that¬†invades their mall sanctuary and lets the zombies back in, a¬†surviving Fran and Peter fly off in the chopper¬†knowing they have very little gas and nowhere really to go. There fate is left uncertain, but things aren’t looking good for the pregnant Fran and¬†the demoralized Peter.¬†Dawn Of The Dead¬†leaves their fate to our imaginations, but with the dead¬†slowly gaining the upper hand, we don’t imagine much of a happily ever after for our two survivors. The film closes on a shot of the mall parking lot filled with the undead implying all may soon be lost.

As with it’s opening,¬†Zombie‘s climax¬†leaves nothing to our imaginations. After a bloody battle with the living dead in the old church, survivors Anne and Peter find their way back¬†to the boat with a bitten Brian in tow. Once back in New York harbor, they are treated to a radio broadcast proclaiming the zombies are everywhere, just as the newly risen Brian starts banging on the¬†cabin¬†door. The film closes with a haunting scene of zombies crossing the Brooklyn Bridge into the Big Apple while things are left fairly grim for Peter and Anne. Apocalyptic and still chills decades later.

Here the films have stark similarities as both endings are bleak and present little chance or hope of our survivors finding an escape!

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IN CONCLUSION

Interesting as how one of these films was made as an unofficial sequel to the other, yet both are vastly different and both are considered classics.¬†Dawn Of The Dead‘s¬†success in Italy under the title Zombi gave Lucio Fulci the opportunity to direct¬†Dardano Sacchetti’s script and have it be a sequel in name only, released as Zombi 2. He made his own movie, his way and it is considered one of the greatest zombie films of all time right next to Dawn. Despite Italian audiences, at the time, being led to believe they are related, they are completely different films with different stories and different tones. There are similarities, too. Both are famous for their abundant gore¬†set pieces, such as¬†Zombie‘s splinter in eyeball¬†and Dawn‘s exploding head‚Ķnot to mention both films’ zombie dining scenes.¬†They are also both known for¬†their haunting soundtracks, Dawn‘s¬†by Italian rock band Goblin and Zombie‘s creepy score by Fabio Frizzi. And who could forget Zombie‘s shark vs zombie sequence or Dawn‘s zombies vs biker gang finale. Regardless of how Romero’s zombie classic may have given birth to Fulci’s in a way, horror fans got two unique masterpieces¬†from two legendary filmmakers.

-MonsterZero NJ

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S DIRECTORS WHOM IT WOULDN’T BE HALLOWEEN WITHOUT!

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Everyone has their own favorite filmmakers whose works they watch during this spooky time of year. For me, it just wouldn’t be Halloween without the films of these legendary directors…

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02/13/2013 - Sam Raimi - "OZ The Great And Powerful" Los Angeles Premiere - Arrivals - El Capitan Theatre - Hollywood, CA, USA - Keywords: Orientation: Portrait Face Count: 1 - False - Photo Credit: Glenn Harris / PR Photos - Contact (1-866-551-7827) - Portrait Face Count: 1

GEORGE ROMERO

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02/13/2013 - Sam Raimi - "OZ The Great And Powerful" Los Angeles Premiere - Arrivals - El Capitan Theatre - Hollywood, CA, USA - Keywords: Orientation: Portrait Face Count: 1 - False - Photo Credit: Glenn Harris / PR Photos - Contact (1-866-551-7827) - Portrait Face Count: 1

WES CRAVEN

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02/13/2013 - Sam Raimi - "OZ The Great And Powerful" Los Angeles Premiere - Arrivals - El Capitan Theatre - Hollywood, CA, USA - Keywords: Orientation: Portrait Face Count: 1 - False - Photo Credit: Glenn Harris / PR Photos - Contact (1-866-551-7827) - Portrait Face Count: 1

TOBE HOOPER

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02/13/2013 - Sam Raimi - "OZ The Great And Powerful" Los Angeles Premiere - Arrivals - El Capitan Theatre - Hollywood, CA, USA - Keywords: Orientation: Portrait Face Count: 1 - False - Photo Credit: Glenn Harris / PR Photos - Contact (1-866-551-7827) - Portrait Face Count: 1

JOHN CARPENTER

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02/13/2013 - Sam Raimi - "OZ The Great And Powerful" Los Angeles Premiere - Arrivals - El Capitan Theatre - Hollywood, CA, USA - Keywords: Orientation: Portrait Face Count: 1 - False - Photo Credit: Glenn Harris / PR Photos - Contact (1-866-551-7827) - Portrait Face Count: 1

SAM  RAIMI

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02/13/2013 - Sam Raimi - "OZ The Great And Powerful" Los Angeles Premiere - Arrivals - El Capitan Theatre - Hollywood, CA, USA - Keywords: Orientation: Portrait Face Count: 1 - False - Photo Credit: Glenn Harris / PR Photos - Contact (1-866-551-7827) - Portrait Face Count: 1

DON COSCARELLI

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-MonsterZero NJ

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S 15 HORROR REMAKES THAT ARE WORTH WATCHING AT HALLOWEEN!

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Most of us hardcore horror fans cringe at the word “remake”, but there are some that are certainly¬†worth a look¬†and even¬†a few that actually surpass the original. So, with the spooky season in full swing, here are 15 remakes¬†to watch during the Halloween season!

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(Click on the titles below the movie poster gallery to get to our reviews!)

 

Click on the titles here to go to the review page for the corresponding movie!

  1. THE THING 1982
  2. THE FLY 1986
  3. EVIL DEAD 2013
  4. MANIAC 2013
  5. THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2003
  6. THE HILLS HAVE EYES 2006
  7. PIRANHA 3D 2010
  8. HALLOWEEN 2007
  9. FRIDAY THE 13TH 2009
  10. MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D 2009
  11. DAWN OF THE DEAD 2004
  12. THE RING 2002
  13. NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD 1990
  14. INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS 1978
  15. THE BLOB 1988

Honorable Mention: THE AMITYVILLE  HORROR 2005

-MonsterZero NJ

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S 31 HORROR FLICKS FOR THE 31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN!

MZNJ_new_views

While I watch dozens of horror films during the month of October…these are a mix of classic favorites and recent horrors that I feel are especially perfect to watch during the Halloween season!

halloween-pumpkins

(Click on the titles below the movie poster gallery to get to our reviews!)

 

Click on the titles here to go to the review page for the corresponding movie!

  1. HALLOWEEN
  2. TRICK ‘r’ TREAT
  3. PHANTASM
  4. NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD
  5. THE FOG
  6. ANY (OR ALL) OF THE UNIVERSAL CLASSIC B/W HORRORS!
  7. PUMPKINHEAD
  8. EVIL DEAD
  9. A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET
  10. THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE
  11. ZOMBIE
  12. THE THING
  13. THE HOWLING
  14. THE FLY
  15. HORROR HOTEL
  16. DAWN OF THE DEAD
  17. DAY OF THE DEAD
  18. FRIDAY THE 13th
  19. THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT
  20. HALLOWEEN II
  21. HALLOWEEN III
  22. THE VIY
  23. WRONG TURN
  24. THE OLD DARK HOUSE
  25. THE DESCENT
  26. HELLIONS
  27. TALES OF HALLOWEEN
  28. THE HOUSES OCTOBER BUILT
  29. HOUSE OF THE DEVIL
  30. HOUSE OF 1,000 CORPSES
  31. THE HILLS RUN RED

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S 25 ZOMBIE FLICKS TO WATCH DURING THE HALLOWEEN SEASON!

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Can’t have¬†Halloween without zombies, so, whether they are fast or slow moving, eat brains or ‚Ķwell, all of you…here are 25 zombie¬†flicks that you might want to sink your teeth into‚Ķor will sink their teeth into you…during the Halloween season! (Also, remember some of these are part of a series and a few have decent remakes which can be part of a theme film-fest along with your favorite beverages!)

(Click on the titles below the movie poster gallery to get to our reviews of the titles covered here at the Movie Madhouse!)

 

Click on the highlighted titles here to go to the review page for the corresponding movie!

1.¬†Night Of The Living Dead¬†(The 1990 remake directed by Tom Savini isn’t bad either!)

2.¬†Dawn Of The Dead¬†(Zack Snyder’s 2004 remake is pretty good, too!)

3. Day Of The Dead

4. Zombie

5. The Gates Of Hell

6. The Beyond

7. The Return Of The Living Dead

8. Return Of The Living Dead 3

9. [REC] (Also parts 2, 3 and 4 are good in varying degrees!)

10. The Dead

11. White Zombie

12. Shock Waves

13. Dead Alive

14. 28 Days Later (Sequel, 28 Months Later is actually very good!)

15. Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (aka The Living Dead At The Manchester Morgue)

16.¬†Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things

17. Tombs Of The Blind Dead (also part of a creepy four film series)

18. The Horde

19. Wyrmwood

20. Dead Snow

21. The Outpost

22. Junk

23. Open Grave

24. Pontypool

25. Maggie

-MonsterZero NJ

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HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: WYRMWOOD (2014)

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WYRMWOOD (2014)

(Clicking the highlighted links brings you to corresponding reviews and articles here at The Movie Madhouse!)

“The name of the star is called Wormwood; and a third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the waters, because they were made bitter.”- Revelations 8:11

Leave it to the Australians to give life back to the stale zombie genre with this delightful mash-up of Evil Dead and The Road Warrior. This fun and sometimes intense and gruesome flick, tells the story of brother and sister, Barry (Jay Gallagher) and Brooke (Bianca Bradey) during a mysterious zombie outbreak. Not much is given to us about the cause except for an abundance of shooting stars on the night it begins and a biblical reference to Wyrmwood, a star which falls to earth during Revelations and brings a plague¬†of death. Barry is with his family and Brooke doing a photo shoot in the town of Bulla Bulla. Barry looses both his wife and daughter to the mysterious condition which, for some reason, spares those with A- blood. He eventually teams up Aborigine camper Benny (Leon Burchill) who lost both his brothers. Together they run into some locals and discover that while this ‘situation’ has rendered gas and fossil fuels inert, the zombies’ blood is quite flammable and the methane-like gas they exhale works as a fuel substitute. So, they go out armed and¬†armored to gather ‘fuel’ and rescue Barry’s sister. Brooke, on the other hand, has been kidnaped by a sinister military group who keeps her restrained and gagged in a lab where there are performing experiments on zombie and human alike. Experiments, unbeknownst to her captors, that render Brooke with the ability to telekinetically control the living dead. Obviously the two siblings and their stories will come together…and then the bloody fun begins.

As directed by Kiah Roache-Turner from a script he co-wrote with his brother Tristan Roache-Turner, this flick is a blast of fun and a breath of bloody fresh air for the¬†zombie sub-genre. A sub-genre¬†made stale by an over-saturation of¬†movies and weekly zombie TV shows. They make even the silliest aspects of the story work, and work very well.¬†They take their story very seriously‚Ķthough it is laden with that off-beat Australian sense of humor, which seems to fit in perfectly with the more gruesome aspects of this deviously twisted tale. The film has a really cool visual style and is obviously made by those who love these kind of movies and who also know what makes them work. This energetic mash-up is filled with subtle references to films like Dawn Of The Dead,¬†Evil Dead, the Mad Max films and even a playful nod to The Walking Dead involving a Samurai sword. Roache-Turner, however, creates his own flick from all the hat-tipping, despite borrowing concepts from George Romero and George Miller and makes his homage to the movies he loves in his own style. One of the things I loved most about it was that the combination of eclectic elements is mixed so well and works far better than it sounds like it should‚Ķcause it’s mixed in the right amounts and given the respect it deserves. The film is action packed but, never at the sacrifice of it’s off-kilter story, or characters, and can be very intense at times. There is also a lot of gory violence, which appears to be mostly‚Ķand thankfully‚Ķ well-rendered live effects, too. Abundance of action and bloodshed aside, though,¬†what makes it really work so completely¬†is a charming group of main characters and some¬†delightfully¬†eccentric supporting characters, such as a sinister scientist who prefers to listen to K.C. and the Sunshine Band while he¬†conducts his gruesome experiments. There really is little to not like about this film, made by film geeks for the film geek¬†in all of us.¬†Roache-Turner is certainly a filmmaker to watch.

As for the cast, they are all engaging. Gallagher is a charming and solid hero as Barry. Despite his loses and what is happening, he is valiantly going to find his sibling, as she is all he has left. Burchill is delightful as the oddball Benny. The character is given a lot of charm by the actor and is extremely likable. He has some of the best lines and is a perfect side-kick for Barry. As Brooke, Bianca Bradey is strong and sexy and her tattooed heroine becomes quite the powerhouse once she learns to use the side-effects of the experiments against those who hold her captive. The actress spends about 75% of the movie tied up with a fetishistic gag in her mouth and has to express her emotions and thoughts in her eyes and body language and Bradey does a great job. Long before she gets free, we like her immensely and are rooting for her. The supporting characters are also an eccentric lot and help add an offbeat atmosphere to the story and film. They seem both over-the-top and yet, somehow believably human, at the same time.

What little faults the film has are minor and not really worth bringing up when the filmmakers get so much, so right. They somehow mash-up quite a few different genres worth of ideas to fuel their homage and, as such, make sure to give nods to the types of film’s that inspired them. It reminded me of Neil Marshall’s Doomsday in that the entire film existed to pay homage to others yet, somehow, is it’s own movie. Energetic, delightfully gory and with a fast and furious pace, Wyrmwood is a real blast of George Romero meets Sam Raimi meets George Miller and yet remains very Kiah Roache-Turner. One of the year’s best horrors, so far, in my book and by a filmmaking talent to keep a close watch on!

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 3 and 1/2 (out of 4) Road Warrior-esque zombie fighters!

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