The well-renowned gothic horror band Midnight Syndicate, whose music enraptures the Halloween season, by dominating the haunted attractions and many of the retail shops, brings forth founding member Edward Douglas, the composer of Robert Kurtzman’s The Rage (2007) steps out to direct and co-write with Tony Demci his only horror film to date, The Dead Matter.
Demci and Douglas, tell a story of an ancient relic with powers for vampires, and accidentally falls into a grief-stricken woman, Gretchen (Sean Serino) willing to do whatever she needs to contact her dead brother Sean (Kenyatta Foster) and all horror fans know that this definitely won’t have a happy ending. However, she does not want to just to contact, rather bring he back from the other side, and this relic possesses multiple conjuring weapons or tools, depending who holds the amulet. Meanwhile enter into the fray, Vellich (Andrew Divoff) who is sadly a bit under the weather, well actually he’s a vampire, seeking the new powers though he must battle another vampire, with an interest career choice of a drug dealing, by the name of Sebed (Tom Savini). Although, enter into the mix even more people after this amulet, two vampire hunters, McCallister (seems a tad like Van Helsing with his vast knowledge of mysterious, ancient and filled of occult black arts) and Pym, portrayed convincingly well by Jason Carter and Bryan Van Camp, respectively. One last element to add in, zombies, the most popular figure in the horror genre, after all from mud runs to zombie apocalypse firing ranges to pop culture one must have them in the movie. If it sounds like this is too much to handle, it almost does become a tad confusing with all the different vampire factions, but this not a Twilight movie, the romance exists in the power to rule, with the “Tear of Osiris” that reflects back to the ancient world of Egypt and mummies. Incidentally the band Midnight Syndicate provides all of the music for the movie, including a track called “Tear of Osiris”. As usual when a zombie appears things go from bad to worse very quickly with the cast dying off, and some resurrection occurring, though it all works seemingly well. The zombies, thanks to Douglas, have the classic feel to them, a shuffling voodoo White Zombie (1932) sense to them with voodoo undertones. The screenplay and direction brings about comedic elements whether intentional or not, however they work very well, and with a talented cast, using quality effects.
As for Douglas’ first venture into the horror genre from the position of director, provides a solid footing, while not perfect, the elements that he uses in the music he composes translates very well to choreographed scenes. The plot line seems a bit hurried, while the pacing fast but not rushed, a few more rewrites and the plot and screenplay would develop a clearer picture to the viewers. Although the most silly part of the movie and hard to stay focus without laughing, comes from Divoff’s over inflated wig feels it something from either a leftover of 1980s big hair movement or Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995). In addition, an interesting twist from drug use, of synthetic blood with a bit unknown foreshadowing to drugs in real life of today, that seems more potent than the nature element deems extremely dangerous to vampires in this movie. The special effects come across extremely well and never goes into a full-blown splatter-fest, rather a gothic storytelling, using a thick atmosphere reminisce to Hammer Studios, while mixing many different occult themes into one movie.
The DVD for this film is action packed, with many features and keeps a horror fan entertain for hours, if not days, and in the 3-disc deluxe edition includes both the motion picture soundtrack and Midnight Syndicate’s Greatest Hits CD, and then more bonus footage. One must forget to mention the artwork of the box, normally it is very basic, and not with these creative talents at the helm they provide an extremely nice package one that might not get place into a DVD shelf right away. Needless, to say this flick does provide a bit of carnage adding to delightful fun.