Monday, October 27, 2014


THE DEAD HATE THE LIVING is probably the best title for a zombie movie ever.  This low budget nod to Italian zombie movies is a fun creative exercise into the genre that also expresses a love for the making of horror movies as well.  I think it is one of the better zombie films ever made and deserves a little more recognition.

Some young twenty-somethings are trying to film a zombie movie in an abandoned hospital.  They discover a strange evil looking Coffin-machine-thingy in the basement complete with a dead body of some guy who looks like he really really loved Rob Zombie.  Figuring that it would make a great prop David the director incorporates the machine into the movie.  They turn the machine on while filming which brings the dead body back to life as well as a few other zombies which go out and seek all the crew members.  The survivors discover that the hospital is in some kind of purgatory with an army of undead surrounding the entire building.  Now those who survived have to figure what is happening, how to survive and make things normal again.

Even though THE DEAD HATE THE LIVING is all about zombies and death the cast is rather lively with memorable likable characters.  Special kudos goes to the characters David the director and Paul the Special Effects artist who regularly talk about horror movie actors like David Warbeck, Bruce Campbell and Dick Miller throughout the film.  In fact there are all kinds of nods and winks if you pay attention.  Did I see the puzzle box thingy from HELLRAISER?  Is that STAB movie poster torn in half because there is a half torn THE HILLS HAVE EYES poster looming in the background in EVIL DEAD?  Are the makers of THE DEAD HATE THE LIVING telling the audience that their film is twice as scary as a film that doesn't exist?  What does that mean?  Was that guy in the convenience store reading Fangoria?  I like references to other horror movies in my horror movies as long as they don't over do it.  The ending itself is a cute little homage to THE BEYOND.

The creative level of this film is extremely high.  The dialogue for the most part is very clever and funny when it wants to be.  The film moves quickly never leaving a dull moment to be bored by which is an amazing feat for a movie like this.  The designs of the main zombies are iconic and leave a lasting impression.  The zombie on the poster shows the higher standard in their design.  Very unique.  They are more like monsters than usual standard of slow moving zombies even though those kinds of undead are present as well.  It is a nice mixture.  When a zombie actor dies and is brought back his look has the visual characteristics of the zombie make up that was applied when they were alive.  If a zombie actor had makeup that made it look like he had an exposed brain then when he becomes a zombie he really has an exposed brain.  I thought that was funny.  There is just more thought put into every aspect of this film and we are given a lot to look at and appreciate.

Being that this is a horror film and on a low budget there is of course some things you are just going to have to forgive.  Thankfully those moments are few and far between.  I think there are some plot holes concerning the overall predicament our renegade filmmakers find themselves in.  At the beginning of the movie we see the Rob Zombie lookalike talking into a camera and he is then killed by a rather large zombie.  When our heroes are in the hospital there are no zombies anywhere.  Where did they go?  Did they put the Rob Zombie guy into the Coffin machine thingy?  There is a great little moment when an actor dressed like a zombie is killed by a real zombie.  At first the real zombie is confused but then he sniffs the actor and can tell he is alive by the way he smells.  Later David and Paul put on zombie makeup to fool a small crowd of zombies without being detected.  Its a cool moment but I couldn't help but wonder why the other zombies can't just smell the two not dead guys like the other zombie.  Also there is a bad CGI fire effect at the film's climax that the camera doesn't even try to shy away from.  The cartoon flames don't ruin the film or anything it is just a small moment that is out of place with the excellent practical effects the movie mostly consists of.

I am not sure why David and Paul think David Warbeck is such a great zombie killer.  I saw THE BEYOND.  Warbeck's character kills like maybe five zombies at the end of that movie.  Those zombies inched at them slowly.  Being that Warbeck is in an Italian zombie movie he is required to waste a few of his limited shots into the torsos of the undead before shooting them in the head even though he knows that shooting them in the head is the only way of killing them.

From the overall atmosphere, to the spirited characters and monster designs THE DEAD HATE THE LIVING gives you a lot to look at.  The dead may hate the living but those who love zombie movies and try to watch every single one should find nothing to hate in this overlooked blood and guts zombie opus.


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