blood-drenched paper, "House of the Dead" isn’t a good movie,
but I have to admit, it was so good at being bad that I still had a hoot
with it. Apart from “SpongeBob SquarePants”, I can’t remember
anything else this year that made me laugh as much as "House of the
Dead" and in this harsh world of poverty, murders, remakes, rapes,
Larry Clark, rappers acting and the MPAA...laughter is gold.
was some “legit” fun to be had here. We got some tit shots (although
the gals weren’t "all that") and some slow motion Ona Grauer
(Alicia) bobbling cleavage stuff. You can’t go wrong with that either.
Genre favs Jurgen Prochnow (Captain Kirk...get it?) and Clint Howard (Salish)
also showed up, had fun with it all and livened the party with their
tongue in cheek performances. Prochnow was so kool that he smoked cigars
while it was raining cats and dogs on him! You can’t beat that!
director Uwe Boll had his moments. I dug some of his stylish touches and
his knack for nodding the video game feel via his visuals. For example, at
times, when a character died, the action would halt, the camera would spin
around the immobile player and then fade to red. I expected to see the
words “GAME OVER” every time that went down. Pretty clever. There was
also one particular scene where there was a character POV shot, with gun
in frame echoing the “House of the Dead “ video game vibe to a T. Kool!
there was the main candy; the hard pumping, carnage-laced 10 minute
action sequence that kicked in at the hour mark. We get all kinds
of style whore “money shots”, heads getting blown up, limbs being cut
off and bodies getting riddled with bullets. Those with a firearm fetish
should take note because there was enough fire power here to take down a
small country. But having said that, nothing equaled the films’ “so
bad, it's good” quotient when it came to delivering the smiles. How do I
love thy unintentional giggle fit-inducing moments? Let me count the ways:
The Rave of the Century: The
“Rave of the Century” took place during the daytime and was comprised
of 20 peeps that looked old enough to have given birth to me three times.
WTF? If that’s the rave of
the century, I have a couple of tickets to an upcoming Kurt Cobain concert
I could sell ya. PRICELESS!
Characters and dialogue:
The main characters, their relationships and their inane dialogue had me
in stitches. The players here were so beyond paper thin that they made the
“air” between my ears seem thick. It
takes more than a cruddy opening voice-over to establish character
This was my favorite “so bad, it's good” spice.
The folks in this movie weren’t too impressed by zombies,
that’s for damn sure! They
didn’t even blink at the sight of an undead or get agitated about their
f-ed up situation! And that
wasn’t all. The party island is deserted? No reaction. His girlfriend
died? No reaction. His best friend got slaughtered? No reaction. All we
get is a shrug of the shoulders and that’s that. To top that off, one
instance actually had a character ignore his dying friend to go into a
flashback about the whole chain of events that led him to where he is. How
about helping your boy instead of reminiscing, dumbass? What an odd
narrative choice. Yes, I was literally pissing my pants. YOWZER!
Since nobody and nothing was built upon, every time the movie would
pause to deliver heavy handed “drama” (with soap opera music in tow to
boot) laughter from yours truly would ensue. That left field “lovey
dovey” kiss based on nothing cracked me up! Or my fav moment had to be
where a certain character decided to go into his own shite, worrying about
his damaged face and the loss of his pretty boy looks. Dude! You’re on
an Island FILLED and I mean FILLED with murderous, flesh-craving zombies!
Who gives a fudge about your face??? Stop whining and run bitch run!! WOW!
The Idiotic Plot Devices:
Side-splitting coincidences and plot holes to serve the story were
many here! Hey, we need weapons? Well, you’re in luck...Prochnow has a
crate of illegal weapons with him. Hey, we need to know what’s going
down! You’re in luck! Here’s a book lying around that explains the
whole damn thing. Hey, I need to learn how to shoot? Well, you’re in
luck because in this movie if you hold a gun in your hands and rub it
three times, you become a bunny-hopping John Rambo afterwards. YEAH BITCH!
They should’ve called the film Out-House of the Dead. The house was the
size of a pack of smokes. LOL! And I would like to know who the contractor
for that house was, because the interiors kept getting bigger and when an
explosion erupted within it, that little teepee just kept standing. The
house takes a licking, but keeps on ticking. NICE!
The Bald “Villain”:
The reason behind the madness led to some pretty tacky flashbacks to the
days of old where some bald “Herbert West” wannabee baddie was shown
to be responsible for it all. Not only was the nature of the “why” in
this flick so hilariously blah, but when bald boy chewed the scenery, he
did it like Pac-Man on steroids. Yes, you guessed it…my stomach was
hurting from all the LAUGHING!
brings me to the film’s “not so funny” faults. First off, it
didn’t have enough content to fill in a buck and half so it padded
things up left and right with too many shots of the kids walking in the
woods, tenseless glimpses of zombies prowling about and “scary scenes”
that fell flat (the swimming "Jaws" rip
scene is a great example of that). On a technical standpoint, the 360
bullet time technique was overused to the point of self circumcision
during the main action scene. One after another, each character was shown
shooting their weapons as the cam spinned around them. All right, we get
it…LET'S MOVE ON! I would’ve much rather seen more bloody carnage then
stand witness to the same cam technique repeated 5 times in a row.
fans will be disappointed in the fact that the undead here were basically
running targets on two legs and were seldom focused upon. Sure, we’d get
glimpses of rotten zombies here and there, but most of the time all I saw
were dudes running around with toothpaste smeared on their faces. It
could’ve been an army of Ronald McDonalds sprinting around that island
and I wouldn’t have known the difference. So if you’re looking for a
hardcore zombie movie, look elsewhere. The undead here had the same
presence as the soldiers in “Commando”: they were there to get blown
to bits, not scare us.
the flick’s worst sin of all was the injection of actual crappy looking
video game footage into its action scenes. Come on man! Now I actually
liked the video game footage rolling over the opening credits, was barely
able to stomach it as a tool for scene transitions but slapping that shit
during the most exciting moments of the movie was so "out of school"!
It constantly took me out of the sequences and resulted in cop-outs when
it came to zombie violence. I
respect the desire to try something different but in this case, it just
didn’t work for me. And why didn’t they use footage from one of the
recent games? The footage here looked older than what my beaten up Atari
overall, "House of the Dead" was a pretty lousy film, but a
charming lousy film. Its flaws were so "in my face" that I
couldn’t help but derive some enjoyment from them. When I wasn’t
laughing at this movie, I was laughing at it some more...get my drift?
Enter the shack…I mean, the House of the Dead!