Ratings Key

= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Revenge of the Living Zombies (1988)

...aka: Flesh Eater

...aka: Revenge of the Living Dead

...aka: Zombie Nosh

Directed by:

S. William Hinzman

Now you can't fully hate a movie with a zombie in a chicken suit or one where a zombie thrusts his hand inside a girl's stomach and pulls out her heart. REVENGE OF THE LIVING ZOMBIES (originally called FLESH EATER) is the type of movie you need to put your brain in neutral to fully enjoy. It delivers in spades if you like low-budget exploitation horror movies with gore, nudity and cheap laughs. However, if you're looking for competent filmmaking, it's just plain awful. The acting could not possibly be any worse, the dialogue is horrendous, the movie is choppy, badly edited and badly written, with little attention paid to continuity, but I found it entertaining and likeable anyway, so I give it a mild recommendation to all the B movie fans in the house.

It was directed, written and produced by S. Bill Hinzman, the tall graveyard zombie who kills Johnny and chases Barbara around in the beginning of the original NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968). Bill also stars in this masterwork as... you guessed it... a flesh-eating zombie. This time he's some kind of an Satanic zombie or something to that effect, but the script never goes into any detail about it. A farmer out in the middle of the woods moves a few leaves to the side and finds a coffin with a pentagram on it underneath. Inside is Bill, who wastes no time immediately coming to life, jerking the guy into the coffin and biting his neck. When he throws the dead body out, you can easily see a cable attached to the back pulling it.

Some "college kids," who are all hilarious dressed in ugly stone washed jeans/jean jacket outfits, are on a hayride. The driver drops them off in the middle of the woods so they can drink and smoke pot. A girl says "I feel like dancin!" and all the women in the group jump up and start dancing to some generic supermarket music, trying to jerk the guys up while they groan and drink beer. A girl flashes the camera for random boob shot number one (there will be many more of these). Another woman (who looks about 20 years too old to be in college) puts in her gratuitous topless scene in a barn before she and her boyfriend are killed. Two farmers are also killed as well as a few others. Everyone returns as zombies, of course. The survivors make it to a farmhouse and try to barricade themselves in but the living dead attack and kill just about everyone inside except one couple who hide in basement. And this is only the beginning!

All of the dead teens, plus the farmers, plus Bill, then descend on a small town and kill even more people, including several children. We also get random boob shots 3 and 4, plus random gratuitous fully naked girl who will become a fully naked zombie. It's funny because with all the zombie madness going on, Bill's the one who gets to wrestle around with and kill all of the naked girls and he even gets to bite one right on the breast. The best scene takes place at a Halloween keg party. While the zombies feast on the guys, all the girls screech and huddle in the corner for several minutes until it's their turn. One girl in a hula outfit tries to climb up a ladder and a zombie sticks a hook in her leg and jerks her back down. Another guy has his nose bit off. The best gore effect though is when Bill impales a topless girl with his arm, sticking it through her back out her chest.

The gore fx are surprisingly well done for the budget range and there's plenty of guts, an axe to the head, impalements, pitchforkings, heads blown off with shotguns, zombies with eaten off faces and much more. In fact, this is easily one of the gorier zombie movies from the decade. The ending is directly "inspired" by the ending of NOTLD (i.e. ripped off), but at least our desires for the surviving Brad Paisley look-a-like and his girl are finally fulfilled.

The DVD from Media Blasters/Shriek Show (which uses the title FLESH EATER) is an excellent print with some decent extras, including a photo gallery, a Bill Hinzman zombie pizza commercial and a documentary featurette called "Back Into the Woods.


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