Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Halloween Havoc: ZOMBIE: THE RESURRECTION (1998)

Welcome to our fourth annual Halloween Havoc blowout.  Believe it or not, this is the longest running theme on our blog, thanks mostly to it looseness in rules.  Throughout the entire month of October we’ll set our sights on the spooky and the splatter with an emphasis on obscurity.  What the world doesn’t need is another review of HALLOWEEN (1978) or FRIDAY THE 13TH (1980); what it does need are reviews of films so incomprehensible that they make you question all of your life choices. So I’m kicking the entries off in style with something I boldly proclaim will easily be the worst thing reviewed this month.  That is, unless, Tom decides he suddenly needs to watch an Eli Roth movie.

At one point in the early 1990s, Germany seemed like it was going to be the future of horror.  Jörg Buttgereit was wowing fans with NEKROMANTIK; Andreas Schnaas was earning a reputation for his shot-on-video VIOLENT SHIT series; and Olaf Ittenbach was showing off his FX wares in stuff like BLACK PAST and THE BURNING MOON. Unfortunately, this revolution encouraged every German with access to a video camera and a gallon of fake blood to throw their Tyrolean into the ring.  The end results were something like ZOMBIE: THE RESURRECTION, a shot-on-video movie so bad that I completely blocked it from my memory.  That bad news?  Since I couldn’t remember it, I decided to watch it again. Damn you, Herr Alzheimer!

The “film” opens with text over a destroyed city talking about how war broke out in 2015.  A big ass bomb called “Final Destroy” was used and it somehow resurrected the dead. Nice job not living up to your name, Mr. Bomb.  We open with a guy in a green biohazard suit telling a couple to run for their lives in the woods (yes, the green trees are a flourishin’ despite nuclear war).  The biohazard guy is then bitten by a black zombie that looks like Grace Jones on a bender.  The undead eater chomps on him for a few minutes in a scene that goes on and on and on before he shoots the damn thing. We then cut to a group of folks (led by writer/producer/co-director Holger Breiner) also in bio-suits who are running around a dilapidated house looking for survivors.  They find two women and rescue them.  Naturally, someone has to get bit and a few guys go down in the ensuing chaos.  This means more scenes of screaming and blood spurting that goes on and on and on.

More onscreen text informs us that the year is now 2017 and some survivors have made it to safety in the woods.  We then meet Jill (Tanja Reiter), who is swimming nude in the lake.  I guess she was one of the rescued ladies (connecting dots isn’t the filmmakers strong suit) and we see a zombie in white boxer shorts creeping up to her.  Oh, by the way, this is when the title of the film finally comes up.  Yes, the film’s title appears at roughly the 18 and a half minute mark…in a film that runs 55 minutes.  Anyway, she apparently survives (we never see what happens to that zombie approaching her) as she is shacked up in a bunker with Steve (Oliver van Balen), Joe and Anne.  Steve, looking like a bloated Rutger Hauer, decides to head out to a nearby Air Force radio tower to see if he can contact other survivors.  We then get a scene where some random dude is attacked by five zombies and killed.  Yeah, we’ll be getting lots of RDs (random dudes) and random zombies in this one. Back at the bunker, Joe and Anne have sex. Back in the woods, two more RDs get attacked by zombies.  Back at the bunker, Joe gets a survivalist-style shower while Jill complains of their soup which contains snakes and rats. Back in the woods, Steve reaches the communications tower, but we never know what happens as we don’t see him go into it.  Back at the bunker, zombies attack and Joe is killed. Jill and Anne run off and then Anne gets killed.  Some more RDs get killed as well.  Jill gets cornered by some zombies, but is saved by Steve in the nick of zeit.  They walk off hand-in-hand but get confronted by a…wait for it…random zombie. We freeze on their shocked faces. The end!


Knowing that I own this video will give you a peek into just how bad my video habit was at one time.  Yes, there was a point in my life when I saw a listing for a SOV German zombie film that runs less than an hour with no subtitles and I immediately thought, “Gee, I should really check this out.” To add insult to injury, I purchased this from Video Search of Miami back in the day when I paid to be a member to have the “privilege” to order a VHS dupe for $25.  Now to add salt and lemon juice to that injury, the bootleg even had the VCR timer left on (see pics).  Ah, quality.  ZOMBIE: THE RESURRECTION is a torturous affair.  Officially ending at the 50 minute mark (with 5 minutes of credits to pad it to still non-feature length), it seemed like it went on for days even when using the film enhancement button (fast forward) during the laborious zombie attacks.  Co-directors Breiner and Torsten Lakomy have no idea on how to even stage a clever zombie attack.  If you should watch this (please don’t, I beg you) notice in the end attacks how the two women will run into the frame, only to be surprised by zombies popping up in front of them.  Now, I’m no Hitchcock, but wouldn’t screen logic dictate the women would see those zombies on the ground in front of them?  On a technical level, it is a nightmare with terrible camerawork and hissing audio.  Even if my German is rustier than the metal bookshelves in Hitler’s bunker, I still had trouble understanding what characters were saying due to the horrible audio on here.  Truth be told, I’m sure you and your friends have made films very similar to this where you run around the woods and have people attacked.  The only difference is you had to the good sense not to release your weekend exploits commercially.  Believe it or not, this actually got released on DVD in the last few years in an edition limited to 666 copies.  It is now out-of-print.  Consider yourself lucky.

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