Welcome to Zombies Down Under, two zombie films plucked from the Southern hemisphere. We recently caught the trailer for the Australian film Undead - see it for yourselves at www.undeadmovie.com - and we knew we just had to see this film as soon as possible.
But waht to go with it though. Well, seeing as Jim had been badgering for ages to include the HK zombie comedy film Bio-Zombie, it seemed to make the ideal partner for a 'Zombies Down Under' night. So, finally, a Zombie Club featuring two zombie films, and all is good in the world.
Plot 2 Fun-loving hustlers play joke with a stranger by bottomed him up with his "Wine" which is in fact a bio-chemical weapon that can destroy the world. Now the stranger turns into a zombie and cries out for revenge. (Taken from DVD Sleeve - honest)
Rawshark Bio-Zombie starts off with a very Mallrats feel, as two down-at-luck losers, Woody Invincible and Crazy Bee sneak into cinemas and jock around their VCD store. It's not long though, before they accidently run over a man who is infected with a zombie virus (via Lucozade no less) and all hell is unleashed when they return to the mall with zombie in tow.
Make no doubts about it, Bio-Zombie is a real treat. There are many great characters here (Sushi-Boy, Rolls, Jelly etc), and the humour usually hits more than it misses, especially when the cops arrive on the scene to (separately?) interrogate our two heroes in a side-splitting split-screen shot that results in a great visual gag. Great zombies and gore, and there are literally hundreds of movie references / homages from Dawn of the Dead through Goodfellas, Reservoir Dogs and a genius Computer Game coin-in sequence that would put the creators of Spaced to shame.
Towards the end I announced that I thought it "was better than Wild Zero", only to be shouted down by Zomblee and Jim who don't quite think it reached those heights. Well, with a (very non-Hollywood) cool ending, I'm sticking by it - it's at the very least as enjoyable as Wild Zero. If you can keep up with the speedy English subtitles, though, you're a better man than me.
"What made you spit on me?" "Sudden emotion."
Zomblee Bio-Zombie is REALLY funny, and is probably worth learning Cantonese for. That said, the subtitles are hilarious. Interpretation problems are obvious – see “I am stooling” as an example of someone speaking from the loo. See "Don't come over, I'll shoot!” as another example.
There’s no argument about it – Bio-Zombie is a true ‘Zomedy’. Or Bio-Zomedy. Our two main characters own a VCD shop in the mall but seem to spend very little time working, preferring of course to get up to all sorts of mall mischief. They way they are constantly (and almost successfully) covering their fuck-ups and lies throughout the course of the film is as hilarious as it is razor-sharp in its wittiness.
a frustrated zombie trying to obtain a drink from a faulty vending machine
zombies who BEAT PEOPLE UP and FIGHT EACH OTHER
a main character sliding down the middle of twin escalators (a la Roger in Dawn of the Dead 1978)
perhaps the funniest police interrogation ever filmed against mirrors (trust me here)
a sublimely downbeat ending
Think Dawn of the Dead meets a computer game meets Mallrats and you’re in the right territory. Seriously good fun.
“It's good to piss.”
Jim 'Zomedy' eh? That's pretty cool. Okay - let's clear a few things up.
* The video game references mentioned above are a direct rip from House of the Dead - the game Crazy Bee and Mr Invincible are playing on their Sega saturn at the beginning. In particular, look for the sequence with the spinning camera which tells you what each characters main weapon is - priceless - and much, much better than how it's done in the God-awful House of the Dead movie.
* Bee and Invincible don't own the VCD shop, they just run it for their boss who turns out to be a real asshole right up until he attempts to save his wife from zombies, after which he turns out to be 'armless (that's a gag - a clever little play on words). He does however have some of the best badly translated lines in the movie -
"I have plenty fellows, you know?"
"I want to beat you, you know?"
"I would not do such a thing!"
and the classic...
"You want my wife to eat your noodle?!?!"
Good stuff eh? Zombie club don't get much better than this...
"Thank you, we're closed, come next time!"
Director Wilson Yip
Cast Jordan Chan
Angela Tong Ying-Ying
Runtime 94 mins
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Plot Meteorites hit outback Australia, turning the local population into zombies, but there's a lot more to it than that...
Rawshark Undead opens on a small outback Australian town where we meet a few people before - Wow, Wow - meteors suddenly strike, killing grannies and cricket players. Granny turns into an undead, and a guy yells "Bugger Me!", before having his head taken clean off, accompanied with jet-spray blood spurt. Applause already and we're only at the credits...
A few survivors gather (including a scene stealing Dirk Hunter as a nervous cop who acts like a Terrier with Tourettes whilst wearing shorts and walking-socks) and there's plenty of great gore-splats (walking spines and spades in the head) as the survivors fight their way out of the besieged house, only to come across a gigantic black wall that seems to stretch to space. Then things really begin to turn weird.
Effortlessly imaginative and visually stunning, Undead is only really spoilt by an appallingly-bad performance from Mungo McKay as 'poor-man's Russell Crowe' hero Marion. In the DVD extras the actor describes how he spent a lot of time preparing for the role by trying not to blink when he fired his (admittedly impressive) triple-barrelled shotgun. Should have spent the time taking acting lessons my friend.
"Then.. one day.. you're attacked by zombies.. who.. munch at your face.."
Zomblee Any film featuring a three-in-one shotgun commands a certain amount of respect, for that alone! I am happy to inform you that Undead is one of the most adventurous zombie flicks I have ever witnessed. Packed start to finish with some of the best lines ever, this one should have you rolling about on the floor for various reasons.
Firstly, Dirk Hunter. Thank you, Dirk, for an unforgettable performance. You’ve never seen anything quite like this. Always one step away from frothing at the mouth, he swears his way through the film while wearing those great shorts (cue Jim: “I love coppers in shorts!” – sorry Jim, it didn’t sound gay when you said it though). A lot of the time his performance is so electric and unrelentingly frantic that we can’t even understand a word he’s saying. A highlight for me was “fuck ye fuckin fucker fuckers”. That gives you some idea of what’s on offer here.
In brief: zombie fish, acid rain, great Romero-style zombie action, triple shotgun carnage, meteorite explosions through cricketers’ chests, helpful aliens, a hilarious / bizarre script and the healing power of water (?!) all combine to make this one hell of a unique zombie film.
Undead is on my ‘must-own’ shopping list and will be a cult classic in years to come, despite the truly shameful acting job of Mungo McKay. Oh Jesus, trust me, laughing at him is all you can do otherwise he'll ruin this otherwise great little movie for you. I think ‘Mongo’ McKay would be more appropriate. Mongo like candy...
“There is no such thing as zombies!”
Jim Zomblee's hit the nail on the head - if you can't get over the terrible acting of Mungo Mckay then your appreciation of this movie is severly effected. Sadly, it did effect me and I spent half the movie cringing and thinking about how good Undead could have been with some better casting. I mean, this guy sounds like he even dropped out of the William Shatner school of acting.
I... had... to... warn... you...
Mind you, his badness does provide for good riffing - "Why is the hero dressed like a farmer?" That was one of Rawshark's.
But apart from that hideous hick-up, Undead rules. The majority of the cast do okay although, as Zomblee also pointed out, I took a particular shine to the thick-accented outback copper with shorts. He has the best line in the movie, which is... *ahem*
"Don't you fucking mess with me boy-o, you fucking little fucking wanker!"
More great stuff, don't you think? Undead is at times amazing, at other times pretty clumsy, but at the end of the day it looks and feels a lot more expensive than it actually cost, and you have to applaud that kind of achievement.
"No worries, mate!"
Director Michael Spierig and Peter Spierig
Cast Felicity Mason
Runtime 104 mins
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It had been far too long since we'd had an exclusive zombie night at Zombie Club, and this reminded us so much why we just love seeing maurading dead blown to bits with triple-barrel shotguns.
Bio-Zombie was a brilliant 'Zomedy' from Hong Kong, and it really is unfair that this little film hasn't really received a release on these shores. Hunt it out, you won't be disappointed.
And for all his efforts, Mongo from Undead was unable to spoil the enjoyment of this great Australian zombie / Twilight Zone movie. The DVD available from CDWow has tonnes of extras, and is a real treat for all you lovers of stylistic zombie gore...
Coming soon It's John Saxon night, as we settle down to watch two films from this genre-veteran's back catalogue, namely Black Christmas (1974) and Cannibal Apocalypse (1980). Stay tuned.
8th Jun 04 The film opens with a very similar voiceover narration to the original (see Trivia) but with different footage as we tour the furnace room, all fingernail scratches and blood-clotted hair, of the Hewitt residence.