Monday, June 27, 2011

Leftovers of the Dead: Flesheater- Revenge of the Living Dead

Just who do you think you are, Bill Hinzman?!?  Most notable for playing the first zombie to attack in 1968's Night of the Living Dead, Bill has had a hit-or-miss career.  He appears in many low-budget films- including this one- but never really broke out into a major movie star.  In fact, he only has two Directing credits on IMDB and the other one is for a film called The Majorettes (future review, no doubt).  In the middle of this, he decided to make a starring role for himself as, well, a zombie.  That's the only thing you're famous for, so why not?!?  The key thing to note is that Bill is credited as the Writer, Director, Producer, Editor and Star of the film.  What- you couldn't find time to do the Catering or write a 'kicking piano score' for the film too?!?  The film has a non-existent connection to Romero's series- the fact that Bill is in it.  Does that mean that House II: The Second Story is related to Friday the 13th, since Kane Hodder is in it?!?  Mind you, Zombi Holocaust is sometimes known as Zombi 3, since it also has Ian McCollough playing the same part he did in Zombi II, so dumber things have happened, I suppose.  The plot is simple- zombies get loose and kill people.  There are a couple interesting thing to note about this film, however, aside from its false connection to the series.  To find out, you're going to have to keep reading.  Get a fresh meat tenderizer as we prepare for a dinner date with the...
After a series of blood red credits showing Bill's bony mug, we see some 'teens' going out for a hayride and an overnight stay in the Woods.  This is one weird kegger!  After that lame introduction, we see a farmer move a rock.  He sees part of an etching, so he uncovers the dirt.  Seeing a full symbol, he digs it up more, uncovering a coffin.  He digs all of that up and finds a warning not to open it, but does so anyways.  He finds a zombie (Hinzman) inside, who promptly kills him.  I suppose you're wondering why I went into that much detail there.  It's simple- the movie shows you every freaking second of this!  Seriously, five minutes of this film is wasted on the reveal that everyone could see coming a mile away!  Hinzman wanders around for a bit and kills another farmer (the guy who was driving the tractor) and chases our heroes, now joined by the fresh zombies.  They flee to a farm house, but it's too late for one pair who get killed while off having sex.  Really breaking the mold, huh Bill?  Two of the 'teens' get there too late- stopping to help a wounded comrade- and are locked outside by the official 'jerk' of the group.  It's just as well, however, as the ones inside are killed within about ten minutes.  That's right- thirty minutes into the film and everyone we've ever met is dead.  Where do we go from here?
The answer is simple- lots of random death.  That's right- this is Poor Bastards of Cinema: The Movie!  Among our random victims are...
* Two cops called to the farm where our original heroes bit the dust.
* The home of a woman getting ready to send her kids out trick-or-treating.
- Side note: at least one of the kids that gets killed (the girl, I think) has the last name 'Hinzman.'  Real nice, Bill!
* As a bonus, the sister is also there to die, but only after she partakes in a pointless shower scene.
* A party full of random people also dies after meeting our remaining heroes (the two that were locked out).
After all that random death, what is next?  As it turns out, Bill's plan is to just blatantly rip-off Romero some more.  The townspeople get together, arm themselves and go zombie hunting.  That's the point in having all those random people die and become zombies, I guess.  In the worst bit of plagiarism, our two heroes are shot by two of the men while walking around.  Subtle!  The confusing part is that Bill actually got the same two actors who shot the hero in the original film to cameo here.  You can call it an homage, but I won't!  With all of the zombies dead...or, rather, more dead, all is well.  Of course, we get an Epilogue showing a man digging through the rubble of a house, only to be killed by Bill.  That's right- it's sequel-bait and it's built around the Writer/Director/Producer/Editor/Star.  You can't be killed off in your own movie, Bill?  The End.

I want to be a star, dammit!  The plot of this film is so basic that I could have just guessed it without watching it.  Zombies show up, people die and nothing ends very happily.  The only 'twist' in this movie is that it throws out a ton of people to die, instead of just one big group.  The problem, of course, is that there is a reason that people do it the other way.  This way, there is no real drama about the characters, as we only meet them for a few minutes before they die.  Night of the Living Dead works in a lot of ways because it has a steady cast of people who act off of each other for a long time before they start to bite the dust.  Much like Cemetery Gates, I just have no time to care about these random victims!  The characters just become one-note- i.e. Drunk Guy and Insecure Girl from the party- or there for shock value- i.e. the two kids.  By the way, I'm not sure whether I should be upset or impressed by your killing the kid characters off.  I've never been of the mindset of 'kids must always survive, no matter what' but I also think that you did this just to get attention.  Considering that I only discovered your movie 23 years later, thanks the trailer being put on a different Shriek Show DVD, I'd say that your plan failed.  The bottom line- zombie film completists/historians will be intrigued by the idea of this movie, but the execution is not that good.  It's a generic zombie film that is notable for trying to latch on to a famous franchise.  At least bring something new to the table like the Return of the Living Dead series did, even if it's not always good!
Next up, I get into the remake territory with the 3-D remake of the original Romero film.  Will it be better with pointless 3-D shots and a plot full of more holes than the zombies themselves?  Stay tuned...

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