Brain Dead (no relation to Peter Jackson’s classic horror film from 1992), but rather from director Kevin S. Tenney and his company Prodigy Entertainment, as their first film, from writer Dale Gelineau, yet successfully winning five awards from various independent film festivals. I recently had the pleasure of revisiting this zombie film on CrypticTV, a flick that I last saw in 2007 at the Terror Film Festival, in Philadelphia, PA. Even after 7-years, the film stills holds throwback to b-movies of the late 1980s, never once takes itself seriously at any standpoint in the movie, rather a laid back country good old feeling to it. In addition, this film has no relation nor any remake version of director Adam Simon’s Brain Dead (1990), Kevin’s production fully stands alone and on its own merits.
The storyline has eight people caught in the most unusual circumstances, except those in horror films, then again, perhaps not, as they find themselves as the most disjointed unorthodox mismanaged group barricading in a rickety old fishing lodge bracing for a full-on zombie assault. Noting that this zombie-terrorizing group happens to be alien-infected mutant controlled creatures sounds similar to Night of the Creeps (1986). The infamous eight, starts with psychopathic killer Bon (David Crane), a wisecracking reckless driving criminal Clarence (Joshua Benton), follow by Claudia (Michelle Tomlinson) a man hating lesbian with her tag along sorority sister Sherry (Sarah Grant Brendecke), already suggesting looming issues. Rounding the group the blessed Reverend Farnsworth (Andy Forrest) who enduring lusts after his young assistant Amy (Cristina Tiberia) and a couple of local law enforcement officers, who act more of bumbling comedic Abbott and Costello team. The potential for this many people in conflict normally prove to contain adlib moments, though it appears absent, perhaps to the constraints of the filming schedule and limitations of the cast. Matt Zemlin, a unique actor with many voice talents lends himself in an unaccredited role in the film, and recently found himself in the independent and high acclaimed film The Sky Has Fallen (2009) from director Doug Roos. Now, what zombie b-movie would be complete without the 25-year veteran filmmaker with over 150 film credits, of which 49 are horror movies, none other than, Jim Wynorski, as Sherriff Bodine.
Tenney, noted for his film, Night of the Demons (1988), comes back energetically making an independent comedy horror film with an incredible amount of actions occurring at once, causing laughter and mayhem that lacks the sheer numbers for a roaming zombie horde to spread across the screen yet effectively creates tension. From the opening scene of a thumbnail sized meteor embeds itself into the skull of fisherman who’s only goal at that moment was for some productive alone time, however that drastically changes the course permanently. The rule, dangerous things come in small packages, wrecking havoc and giving close-up revolting detail in gore and bloodshed head ripping open with feverish intention and glee. The makeup and special effects team provided excellent practical effects, with splatter detail and an over-the-top immense amount gore galore for the gore-hounds and the bloodthirsty hordes of sick demented fans to enjoy in lavish salvation.
While the film, is not with a few cringe worthy moments such as choppy dialog, standardized acting and characters, hinted to a backwards culture, sorry the humor of Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (2010) not present here, however none that can take away with any of the kill scenes, especially the birthing scene. The film’s keynote scene must be viewed by all horror fans and that is the most original way to give birth to a zombie creature, and shatters the previous holder, Dawn of the Dead (2004). Spewing more fluids that are alien and using a prosthetic female genital for the birthing canal, a touch sickness and brilliance for the pro-life supporters of alien producing slugs for zombie creations, marks a new level of grossness.
Brain Dead, might be a modest budgeted horror film, from an onetime screenwriter, but it definitely packs in zombie-aliens, graphic exploding heads, over surplus of bad jokes and liners, and quite a bit of nudity surrounding police, clergy and psychos – then again this is b-movie horror extravaganza adventure.