The Stiff: Chapter 4: Page 139

The Stiff: Chapter 4: Page 139

It’s been a busy past few days drawing something big and getting ready for Emerald City Comic-Con! If you’re around Seattle, please stop by at booth GG-07. I’ll have some new (and old but not-seen-in-awhile) stuff to show off.

Recently I saw two borderline ‘zombie’ movies that I had put on the Map of Zombies based on others’ descriptions, but hadn’t seen yet myself. Both were made in 2008.

I’d heard SPLINTER was a fungus-infection movie, and it is, but it’s actually a tiny bit more like THE BLOB or THE THING; the parasitic fungus/thing-from-underground/whatever doesn’t even leave its hosts with a vaguely human form, instead stitching and intertwining multiple bodies together into a mass of limbs and dead flesh. In other words, I realize to my horror that I should have listed it on the Map under “Mutagenic Corpse-Parasites” rather than living fungus-zombies — curses! Anyway, it’s a good monster movie, with good if simple characterizations of the tiny cast of four, and the creature looks suitably gruesome, although it moves so fast and is shot so jerkily we rarely get a good view of its human-centipede-esque whole — which I think is entirely the filmmakers’ intention, and it works. From the trailer, I’d thought it would be more of a body-horror movie about contamination and infection, but actually this aspect is less important to the heroes than just trying not to get killed and smashed to little twitching pieces by the fungus-blob. A good, simple movie.

OUTPOST, which came to my attention through a glowing review on Steven Shaw’s “Watching the Dead”, is definitely my favorite Nazi-zombie movie. It’s a little thin-soup plotwise, with little dialogue, characterization or subplotting, but that’s fine for what it is; the deleted scenes on the DVD are mostly more character-building dialogue but upon reviewing it the movie works better when you’re just thrust into this bleak situation somewhere in Eastern Europe with these characters you barely know. Plus, it stars Titus Pullo from “Rome”! -_- Impressively, the whole thing is played totally straight and humorless (unlike, say, SPLINTER, which even though it’s by no means a comedy has its bits of silly banter and one great moment of gallows humor involving an exacto knife and a stone block). The plot involves murderous sci-fi Nazi undead in an old bunker (the movie’s one set), but they’re much, much more than ‘undead’, and the grim situation plays out with simple but inexorable logic. Or mostly logic, anyway. SPOILER — I appreciate the fact that the Nazis never talk or utter a word. My only tiny quibble is that, given what the soldiers do, it could have been EVEN gorier and more sadistic (Lucio Fulci, we miss you and your eye-injury scenes). (Also, offhandedly, the Nazis probably wouldn’t have drawn their own soldiers quite so evil-looking in the animated WW2 Nazi propaganda film the characters discover midway through the movie. But still, the bit of fake-WW2-propaganda was effective and creepy.) As you can tell, both these quibbles are super-minor, so I recommend the movie. There are two sequels, of which the 2nd movie, BLACK SUN, sounds faintly interesting (it seems to expand the premise out to the logical conclusion, although it’s equally low-budget) and the 3rd, RISE OF THE SPETSNAZ, sounds stupid — it’s a prequel which, apparently, replaces the scary super-zombies of the first OUTPOST with boring old regular zombies! Lame.

NEXT UPDATE: Friday! At Emerald City Comic-con!

Discussion (2)¬

  1. Night-Gaunt says:

    “Splinter” is a very good bizarre new organism spreading film but not really a “zombie” film. But then the Resident Evil pictures really aren’t about reanimated dead walking again either. They are background to the bigger danger of super corporations let loose to do evil. Why I like them over most other movie and gaming scenarios.

    I like it that in the later iterations the T-virus necro-animates are evolving. Becoming more alive and growing new mouth parts (Magini) to better hunt in a predator rich environment created by the versatile T-virus.

  2. azathotep says:

    I think Outpost is one of those franchises that goes downhill with each movie. I saw the 3rd outpost movie the other day. A lot of the action scenes are bizarre. Features lots of nazis just running into bullets not even bothering to raise their guns. As for the zombies, it’s mainly 1 vs 1 fist fights between the main characters and large zombies, kind of neutralizes the horror of zombies by turning them into ugly mean drunks.

    That said there’s a minute long scene near the end where a squad of nazis are ordered to hold a corridor against a single mega zombie. There are some acting wobbles but part of hearing the bullets and screaming in the distance…and BOOM. Felt a bit more real and horrifying. That bit was good I just wish the rest of the movie had a similar tone.