ET TU, BRUNO?
Watch the Trailer Below
When the final deluge and seven year tribulation at last takes the Earth and the powers of Heaven pass judgment upon us men and our civilization, I am quite sure that Archangel Michael and Saint Peter will have a special interrogation room reserved for Claudio Fragasso and Bruno Mattei. Bruno, who sucks, and Claudio, who also sucks, teamed up (and not for the last time) with Rossella Drudi, who really sucks, to write this thing... though "Write" is wrong, as it's really a collage of other folks' flicks thrown against the wall and sticking. In addition to taping the script they clipped together, Fragasso is credited as "Assistant Director" to Mattei's "Director", which is sort of like saying that Darth Maul assisted Darth Sidious, because the path they take us down is pure pain.
Here but for the Grace of God go all of us... again, I don't mean to an island of screaming souls in which the dead eat the living, I mean into the pathetic annals of crap-flick history in which no career is safe, and the viewing of the archives is as uncomfortable as sitting on a steel folding chair with a zit on each butt cheek. The worst thing about this is that it appears that Drudi, Mattei and Fragasso get worse with age. While there is no question that Hell of the Living Dead could suck the paint off of a Picasso, it's still a freight elevator-load better than either Zombi 3 or Zombie 4: After Death, both of which have been used by City Pounds all over the country to euthanize pets (it's cheaper than gas, but less humane). At the very, very least Hell of the Living Dead realizes what it takes to make a midnight B-Movie endurable, meaning, at least one very hot topless chick. Parts of the story crash land upon the crater of interesting, but more often than not the demon of unintentional comedy betrays what little charm and interest can be found in the gore effects.
The plot... well, there isn't one... the story... okay, there isn't one of those either... the... the... the... um... events of this "film" are almost 100% ripped off from Romero's Dawn of the Dead, from the blue-clad and bad-ass S.W.A.T. team, to the hottie falling for the boyish soldier to the zombie elevator scene to, and I'm not kidding, the actual stolen Goblin score of that film. Director Bruno Mattei even used the transparent pseudonym of "Vincent Dawn" in the credits, if you can believe that. But it doesn't end there, scene after scene is stolen from other films figuratively and literally as they're limply laced together in any order to give a narrative only slightly more coherent and organized than the Police Academy films.
In fact, the first half hour actually feels like cuts from three completely different films, as if the viewer was simply changing the channel on a VHF TV with only local stations and checking out ten minutes on each of the three. At Chapter 11 on the DVD the movie is almost completely bankrupt and unwatchable. Just in time, like Supergirl coming to save the day, our yummy reporter leading lady (Margit Evelyn Newton's Lia Rousseau, the only likeable character) takes off all her clothes, and covers herself in native body paints and a teeny, tiny little grass-and-leaves thong to bounce around the island jungle in a hot and desperate search for sanctuary with the native islanders.
Echoes of Linnea Quigley abound in a joyus cacophony, but from that point, it's a waiting and hoping game that she's going to do it again, but she never does (in short, if you get past Chapter 11 and hate the movie, turn it off). For every poorly acted, poorly dubbed and obvious line of her dialogue, the audience response is, and ought to be, "SHOW YOUR TITS". When she steals a gun to take the advantage away from S.W.A.T team guys, one of them actually says "Keep your shirt on, Lady!", which made us all hate him much more than the zombie villains we're supposed to despise. Hell, Mattei actually films her from the head and shoulders for quite a lot of her topless time, making him the real villain. But man, I tell you... That Margi Newton... what a beauty! It's almost worth sitting through the rest of this constipation cramp for her alone! Well, not almost... definitely. Better yet, I'll just watch certain scenese over and over.
Aside from that, this is a film packed with stock footage of African villages, veldt-dwelling predators and prey and all other forms of incongruous film-clips stolen from Marlin Perkins. This would all be forgivable if the film even made sense, but it's crappier than a used diaper, and even the most effective Gore Effects (calculated for disturbance and disgust more than fear) fall flat when shoved into the play-dough of this flickarini. Not that most Italian Horror Schlock is worth a damn, but this intestinal press of a poison piss parfait is especially bad. To be fair, though, it is still better than Zombi 3 or Zombie 4, it's less nauseating than Friday Night Lights and at least it doesn't feature actor David Hess in any capacity. Thank you for that, Night of the Hell of the Living Dead Zombies!
From the stolen scenes, to the same old scary Zombie island we've seen in every one of these Undead flick ripoffs to actual pilfered documentary footage to the music of Goblin reused here yet again, to the very title (all of them), this is not what you'd call an original film! At one point it even feels as if the script is apologizing for itself, channeling Fragasso, Drudi and Mattei as a character actually says "May God forgive us for what we have produced here and pardon us for this evil we have created." If they were truly sorry, though, they would have stopped here and have spared us the dental-work that was their later Walking Dead horse shit! Hot body aside, Hell of the Living Dead gets a hell of a dying Dog. Fragasso and Mattei need to go to confession for this one before it's too late. If even Fangoria, the magazine that helped fund the release of the putrid I, Zombie, are actually making fun of this movie and pointing out how poorly done it is, then you'd better believe that Night of the Hell of the Living Dead Zombie's Creeping Flesh Virus isn't quite Gone with the Wind. Bottom line, "it could have been worse" isn't high praise. So until our hot reporter chick starts hosting primitive culture documentaries topless on the World History Channel in a wild new tribute to Brooke Burke's E! series, I'll see you in the next rotten reel.
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