Zombie Night (2013)

Directed by John Gulager [Other horror films: Feast (2005), Feast II: Sloppy Seconds (2008), Feast III: The Happy Finish (2009), Piranha 3DD (2012), Children of the Corn: Runaway (2018)]

The Asylum strikes again, and while Zombie Night isn’t necessarily as bad as much of their output, it’s definitely rather generic and as run-of-the-mill as you might expect from a modern-day zombie flick.

Truthfully, I’ve always thought that more than any other subgenre of horror, zombies are the most difficult to keep consistently engaging. How many zombie movies have a group of people banding together to survive a zombie attack, and that’s virtually it? From Doomed to Consume (2006) to Remains (2011), from Day of the Dead (2008) to Isle of the Dead (2016), Zombie Apocalypse (2011), Dead Season (2012) and Zombie Women of Satan (2009), there’s so many bad and generic zombie films out there to make the genre virtually pointless.

Obviously, there have been some well-deserved successes, and those films almost exclusively add something different to the experience. Technically, Zombie Night sort of tries the same thing, as apparently the zombies are only active at night (during the day, they’re just harmless corpses), but that’s not really enough when everything else in the movie has been done to death (pun intended).

There are so many idiotic character choices in the movie, it gets really hard to feel sympathy for any of them. Have an older, blind mother? Leave her in the basement alone without company, I’m sure that won’t freak her out at all. Have a family member about to turn? Just refuse to shoot them, I’m sure that they’ll take your feelings into consideration and stay dead. Want a great place to hide? Try a greenhouse, you know, one of those structures made mainly of transparent glass that, you know, cracks. Even if the greenhouse was stormproof, you really think having a mass of bodies pushing against the glass isn’t eventually going to cause the structure to give? Oh, and instead of letting a babysitter go home to her family, lock her up in one of the rooms, I’m sure that’ll work out.

Of course, it didn’t, and a zombie broke in, killed her, and then all hell breaks loose, not that it matters, because most of the characters utterly suck. I sort of appreciate Anthony Michael Hall’s character, and Rachel G. Fox was sort of cute, in an emo way, which gave us a little something, but otherwise, no other performance (including Daryl Hannah) do that much for me.

It doesn’t really matter, because with a movie this generic, it’s really hard to stand out. Certainly, I was a bit more invested in this movie than, say, Day of the Dead (2008), and generally, I thought the movie was a little better (the fact that no origin was given for the zombies was somewhat refreshing, as opposed to some ham-fisted explanation twist at the end), but it’s still pretty pointless. For a zombie movie, you could definitely do much worse than Zombie Night, but I don’t think this movie has a whole lot to offer overall.

5.5/10

Vampire Ticks from Outer Space (2013)

vampire ticks of

Directed by Michael Butt [Other horror films: Yetis (2012), This Woods Is Cursed (2015), This Book Is Cursed (2017)]

This is a low-budget, low-quality, ridiculous film, yet at the same time, I’ve not had this much fun in a while.

In many ways, this low-budget film (apparently, the budget was around $700) seems a love-letter to the B-movies of the past, such as Attack of the Giant Leeches (and I will say, this movie had a lot more feeling than the 2008 remake of that very title). It has questionable, yet fun, acting, a paper-thin plot, and special effects that maybe aren’t that special. I will say, the blood in particular looked bad (basically just water dyed red most of the time; it was that thin), but really, in a movie like this, I don’t see how that’s a big problem.

As far as actors go, I pretty much liked everyone. Most of them were horrible, which brought a lot of charm. I loved it when some of them couldn’t keep a straight face, and one of them couldn’t help but smirk every time he was on-screen, which was especially funny when another actress actually got into her role, and kept crying. Terrible acting, and I loved it. My favorite was Charley Guaren, who was the opening kill. His over-the-top attitude, his lines, his delivery, everything about him, I absolutely loved. I just wish he had gotten more screen-time.

The movie ends on a somewhat serious note. While the credits are running, it shows interviews with people who believe they’ve seen UFO’s. These look authentic to an earlier time period, and if I had to bet, I’d say wherever the director got them, they’re probably real interviews. Just a small touch that felt slightly out of place, but was cool regardless.

Toward the end, there was a small element of the film I didn’t care for, but it shortly led to a really interesting conclusion, one that a big-budget film likely wouldn’t have the balls to pull off (mostly because it’s so damn ridiculous). Still, I thought it was a lot of fun, and really helped cement the feeling of the movie.

No doubt, Vampire Ticks from Outer Space isn’t an amazing film, but it is both entertaining and amusing. It has that drive-in movie feel, and most everything about it, from the terrible acting to hilarious dialogue/delivery, horrible special effects, and the story, was fun. I had a hoot watching this one, and I would gladly give it another go in the future. When it comes to rating a movie, what matters more than that?

8/10

Grave Halloween (2013)

Grave Halloween

Directed by Steven R. Monroe [Other horror films: House of 9 (2005), It Waits (2005), Sasquatch Mountain (2006), Left in Darkness (2006), Ogre (2008), Wyvern (2009), I Spit on Your Grave (2010), Mongolian Death Worm (2010), I Spit on Your Grave 2 (2013), The Exorcism of Molly Hartley (2015)]

I will try to keep this brief, because the longer I dwell on this piece of crap, the more I just want to rate it a 0/10 and get it done with.

What few things does this made-for-TV Syfy movie get right? The forest is a nice setting. Occasionally there’s some decent gore (an okay dismemberment, a good leg-snapping, and a solid impalement). The story had potential. The plot twist, while somewhat pointless, was fine.

Nothing else was.

In typical bad-movie fashion, this was a bad movie. I totally didn’t expect the creepy old man these characters meet early on is actually a ghost. Oh wait, I did. I totally didn’t expect the ending where things look like they’ll be okay, but then the one surviving character finds out ‘IT’S NOT OVER‘. Oh wait, I did.

I don’t mind a few overused tropes now and again, but this movie was just full of dull, uninspired scenes. There was very little original about this film, which might be okay if they had a competent director or a story that had more suspense and less pointless jump scares.

Some occasionally good gore aside, though, I don’t see what value this movie possesses. None of the actors or actresses were necessarily terrible, but no one wowed me either. If you want a bad movie, you might want to check this out. If you want a movie where you basically know where it’s going from the beginning, Grave Halloween may be your flick. If you want a movie of value, though, I’d suggest looking elsewhere.

2/10