Tuesday, February 2, 2010

In short: Alien Dead (1980)

Somewhere in swamptown USA, a meteorite crashes into a houseboat, as those things are wont to do, presumably killing the inhabitants. In truth, it turns them into bloodsucking zombies.

First, the sweet little shamblers kill off the crocodile population, but of course they soon start to munch on larger prey. The local hick-cliché sheriff (a Buster Crabbe very far from his time as Flash Gordon) ain't no help at all, so it is left to journalist Tom Corman (Ray Roberts), swamp beauty Shawn Michaels (Linda Lewis) and game warden Miller Haze (Mike Bonavia) to take care of the zombie problem. They aren't exactly good at it.

Alien Dead is one of the first films made by Fred Olen Ray, who is still producing crap to this day. Unlike Ray's later movies, this one was shot as part of the peculiar little exploitation machine of Florida, which at least gives it some potentially fine looking swamp for exterior shots. It's too bad that doing anything beyond pointing the camera in the wrong direction seems to be completely out of the film's league.

As is typical of Ray's films, Alien Dead is dominated by boredom and bad jokes. The director's third favorite "b", breasts, isn't on display as plentiful as in many of his later films, but just as pointlessly inserted and unexcitingly filmed this early in his career.

I'm usually open to watching just another zombie film made in Florida (or another part of the USA not Hollywood), but Alien Dead doesn't even seem to be trying to keep its potential viewers awake. Even the film's gutmunching scene, usually the part even the shittiest zombie movie puts a bit of gusto into, is just terribly sedate and polite looking, with zombie actors who seem to be on valium and having a tea party instead of being the walking dead eating the flesh of the living.

Add to this the insulting hick clichés, some atrocious country music and the lack of anything you can call a proper ending, and you have a fine cure for insomnia.


No comments: