Children of the Living Dead (2001)
Director: Tor Ramsey
Marty Shiff/Deputy Randolph
Tom Savini/Deputy Hugs
Zombies run amuck…the rest of the story ain't worth spit.
I’ll begin with two “Arrow is your friend” warnings. WARNING 1: Just in case you’re confused, this movie isn’t an official sequel to George Romero’s classic “Dead” trilogy. WARNING 2: If like me, you were dying to see the Savini man in action...don’t bother because he’s only in here for like 5 minutes. Every year, there’s at least one film that bores the living shite out of me, that astounds me with its awful screenplay, that baffles me with its mediocre acting and that makes me question how it ever got released. This year, "Children Of The Living Dead" is it.
Any movie, be it low or big budget has to begin with a solid screenplay. The one for this turd is amateurish at best. It begins with a prologue and establishes its characters. Then, it flashes 14 years later and establishes new characters. And then, it flashes one year later to start from scratch again and introduce new characters. What the fuck???? Every time I thought the movie was about to pick up, it would start over again! How freaking frustrating! To worsen the situation, the script also sports putrid dialogue, clumsy character development (what was up with the love subplot…urgh) and a pace that could send any genre fan to the grave.
On a technical standpoint, the movie’s dubbing is unbelievably poor. I guess the people behind this junk didn’t have the green for decent sound because the flick is shot purposely in a way to cut around it. Character dialogue is mostly delivered when the actors are far away from the camera or their mouths are cut out of frame so we can’t see their lips. I kept asking myself: "who’s talking here???" It got to a point where I thought I was tripping out and had to ask my homie if he slipped a “Mickey” in my “scotch”. The dialogue delivery itself is painfully unconvincing and doesn’t help the movie’s case. It’s so obvious that the actors are blandly reading their lines. Talk about flat.
Story-wise, the film does have a premise with potential (I liked the master zombie concept) but it’s never taken any further than that. The good ideas are ruined by a choppy flow, lots of useless “filler” scenes that don’t bring us anywhere, an overacting zombie that will piss you off, instead of frightening you (note to actor: this isn’t the stage bud, it’s a horror movie) and way too many overlong scenes of zombies walking for the sake of walking. The film even resolves to re-using some of its own footage more than once (like the Savini stuff). I guess they really wanted to pad the clocking time.
Do I have anything positive to say about this shit-sandwich? Well, we do get the occasional gore and seeing Tom Savini do his back-flipping “Sex Machine” shtick early on was amusing. But if I want wet zombie gore and an ass-whooping Savini, I’ll watch "Dawn Of The Dead" again. At least with that classic, we also get a strong script, awesome gore, good scares and a pure sense of fun. "Children Of The Living Dead" is not only shit...it’s boring shit. There’s no other way to cut around it.
Average zombie makeup, a couple of bloody zombie bites and of course, bullets to the head. We’ve seen all this before executed in better ways.
All of the actors have to fight bad dubbing and their own lifeless dialogue delivery to look good. Damien Luvara (Matthew) and Tom Stoviak (Greg) are the better actors here. Marty Shiff (Deputy Randolph) sleepwalks through his part. Jamie McCoy (Laurie) has a voice that could break glass and she puts zero conviction behind her words. Sam Nicotero (Dusty) has awful comic relief lines and they drag him down. Tom Savini (Deputy Hugs) shows up to do his “Sex Machine” thang, collect a pay-check and to get the hell out of there fast (smart move). A Barrett Worland (Abbott Hayes) is way too theatrical as the main zombie. I couldn’t take him seriously. This isn’t “Nosferatu” you’re playing hombre! His constant mugging and growling for the camera annoyed the crap out of me.
T & A
This movie really needed female flesh…like REALLY needed it. We get absolutely nothing. The ladies do get Damien Luvara taking off his shirt. I guess they didn’t know that the target audience for horror movies are men. Where were my tit shots????
Ramsey does deliver a couple of gnarly shots but the film looks too washed out (even the living folk look dead), tension is totally absent, the pace is lumbering and the cinematography is pretty shoddy.
Alan Howarth (he works with John Carpenter a lot) provides a decent, moody score and it’s wasted on this crud.
Released by Artisan Home Entertainment
IMAGE: We get a 16:9 Widescreen image. That means if you look closely you’ll sometime notice the boom mike pop in or the shadows of crewmembers lurking about. The image is washed out of all colors and has a sickening tint to it. Was that intentional?
SOUND: We get an English 5.1 Digital Surround and 2.0 Dolby Stereo. The sound is too good for this flick. We get to hear the annoying growling and the awful dialogue clearly. The decent score comes through but I still suggest that you watch this one on mute. It should be less painful.
EXTRAS: Artisan didn’t do much for this DVD in terms of extras and I don’t blame them. We get the flick’s Trailer, we get the standard Photo Gallery and a Trailer Gallery (with previews for: Deep In The Woods / Wishmaster 3 / Pemonition aka Convergence / Bloody Murder / Ginger Snaps and If I Die Before I Wake).
The DVD also showcases a kool animated menu. Even though the disk is low on extras, Artisan still gave the film more than it deserves.
The people behind this film should’ve forked out more money and had Savini be in the whole film. Maybe he could’ve made it somewhat watchable. Or better yet, give Romero the moolah so that he could’ve finally shot the REAL “Dead” sequel. As is, "Children Of The Living Dead" is an incompetent, massive waste of time and no amount of booze, drugs or helium can make it remotely enjoyable. I’d rather masturbate with a cheese grater than watch this puke again. You’ve been warned.
If you’re not sleeping, stay tuned after the end credits for a small surprise scene.
Tom Savini is also billed as the “stunt coordinator” for this mess. Did he owe someone money or something?
Joe Wolf, producer of "Halloween," "A Nightmare on Elm Street" and co-creator of the original "Night of the Living Dead," is executive producer here. His daughter Karen Lee Wolf, wrote and co-produced "Children." “Night Of The Living Dead” co-writer, John Russo is also a producer on the film.