Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Invasion of the Malevolent Damned

Invasion of the Malevolent Damned (1992)

Directed by: Joshua D. Hall
Written by:
Martin Reed, Joshua D Hall and George Cohen based on the short story by Richard Matheson
Starring: Norma Brickman, Cheryl-Lee Andrews, Michael Cormack, Joseph Taylor-McInnis, Sophia Rooney, Gerald Fuller

A low budget slasher film disguised as a zombie movie has more in common with Ghosts of Mars than Matheson's excellent (though admittedly little known) apocalyptic short story.

A group of teens who decide to party down in a cabin out in the middle of the woods upset the rituals of one psychotic shaman, who then transfers the spirits of nature into the bodies in a nearby cemetery. Unfortunately for everybody involved, one of the teens happens to be a hatchet-wielding killer.

What follows is a bloodbath, where more people get killed by other people than zombies. In fact, the zombies get pretty trashed for little more than a bit of property damage. Okay, so they burn the cabin down with the hot lesbians in it (spoilers).

The writing was unbelievably bad, with many nods to George Romero's ...of the Dead series (one of the characters is named Dawn Romero. Ouch), but even the little in jokes (which were quite effective in, say, Shaun of the Dead) are canceled out by lines like "Jimmy, are those brains?" I mean, come on. The actors did surprisingly well with what they were given, particularly Fuller as the deranged teen psycho.

The music was pretty much the aftermath of the '80s. Apart from a few Beatles songs inserted at hilariously inappropriate times, it all sucked like a bitch.

In fact, the only good thing in the whole damn movie (apart from the occasional good moment between Fuller and Andrews) were the make-up FX. The zombies looked disgustingly realistic, and whoever did the make-up had an interesting sense of humour... no, there wasn't any logic to some of the stuff. For example, why would a woman be buried in her wedding dress? But who cares. It was cool.

The zombies were of the traditional, Night of the Living Dead, slow moving, flesh eating, medium intelligence but no vocabulary variety, the twist being that they could spray acidic pus out of massive sores on their faces, and some of them seemed to have the ability to extend tentacles out of their mouths (which all looked like something out of The Thing, but okay) for no apparent reason other than that it was really gross.

Anyway, the whole thing really suffered from the low budget and poor artistic whatnot on the parts of the writers and director, but perhaps if it had been given the advantage of a higher budget and a better writer who had a sense of fun (that was the real problem there. It was all so heavy and morbid) it might've been better. And maybe if they hadn't claimed that it was based on a Richard Matheson work...

If only. No matter. I just won't bother watching it again and won't recommend it to my friends. Ha! Suck on that pasta. That'll teach 'em.


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