Long Live the Dead (2007) – By Brian Morton

 It seems that everyone who gets a video camera has the same idea at some point, ‘hey, let’s make our own movie!’ and, most of the time, what results is something that’s a bit more like a home movie than an actual movie. Well, when I heard that an old co-worker of mine had made his own movie, I have to admit, I had some apprehensions about checking it out. After all, it could result in less than friendly relations, but I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised with Keith Samland’s, Long Live the Dead.

The story here is pretty simple, a group of escaped convicts are on the run from both the authorities and the recently resurrected dead. As they flee, they find themselves surrounded by the dead and in need of a place to hideout. When they come across a strip club, they dash inside and barricade themselves in against the undead horde, only to discover that the club DJ, a dancer and a waitress are already hiding in the club’s basement. Now, the group has to find a way to work together, escape the club and get away from the zombies!

For his first film effort, Samland stays pretty much on well-worn paths, with a couple of exceptions. The cast here is very strong, in fact, the only weak link in the lot seemed to be Nicole Newman playing Karen, and her part is pivotal, the weaknesses aren’t so big as to be all that noticeable. The stereotypes are also here in full force, there’s the tough but smart Hammer who runs things, there’s Mad Dog, the con who’s only interested in himself and will hurt anyone who gets in his way, and there’s Johnny, the convict with the heart of gold. Long Live the Dead is obviously a low budget horror movie, but it’s got its charm. From watching the outtakes and extras you can tell that the cast and crew had fun making the movie, which goes a long way to making a movie fun to watch. The story, while not breaking new ground, is still a strong zombie movie, and it has what all zombie fans love, blood, guts and a ton of gore! There are a few moments when you begin to feel that Keith is padding the movie just a bit, honestly, how much footage of shambling zombies can you really watch without wanting to hit the fast forward button? The music in the movie is all original, by local artists, and it’s excellent. Too often, someone who throws together a zombie movie just finds some generic speed metal and that’s their music, Samland has assembled several local groups (Alien DJ, Freakstar and Killin Machine) and gotten them to contribute original songs, and it really works well, especially the ‘running girl’ song (which there’s a music video for on the DVD), rarely has a local group put together what is essentially score music so well!! Kudos to Alien DJ for the great song, and kudos to Samland for not just finding some public domain junk.

Long Live the Dead doesn’t tread any new ground, but it does tread the old ground with a style all it’s own, it’s a fun movie that any zombie fan will really enjoy, and I was amazed at what Keith and his crew did with a very limited budget! I’m giving Long Live the Dead three and a half out of four cigars, because, while it’s not the second zombie coming, it’s not going to put the zombie genre six feet under either, it’s a fan film that the fans will love! You can check out the trailer and find out how to get a copy for yourself by heading over to the Alienstone Entertainment MySpace page. So, until next time, when I’ll be barring my doors against the zombie horde, remember that the best movies are bad movies.