Raiders of the Living Dead (1986)

The story as Zombie films go is not particularly offensive, we’ve got the typical out of town reporter investigating some strange goings on in a run down chemical plant that’s become a bit of an urban myth around town. But you know you’re in trouble when any ‘horror’ film begins with an overlong montage sequence of stills from the video cover accompanied by a cheezy eighties soft-rock theme tune. Things only deteriorate from then on. The opening sequence is immensely shaky, with lumbering actors (no, these are not the ones playing the zombies,) crusty library music, jerky camerawork, little dialogue, (though when you actually hear the ‘actors,’ and I use the term loosely here, it’s understandable,) and along with ploddy editing, the whole thing appears clearly worse than it already is. The Direction is so poor in fact, it had me reaching for the box to read the blurb on the back to possibly find out what the hell was going on.

Soon we’re ‘treated’ to a Swat team shoot out (I wonder where they got that idea from?) but it appears no one told any of the cast, because they look like they’re rehearsing for a school play. And it’s understandable going by the crappy props they’re given to ‘shoot’ with. It’s hard not to be critical when a film reeks as bad as this one. Just when things don’t look like they can get any worse the story line introduces some irritating school kids who start building Laser guns (ooh how fifties,) from their broken CD players, to help in the fight against the undead. Oh and the laser effects are truly amazing, the FX crew ought to be knighted, and perhaps given crayons instead of the felt pins they obviously used for the film, just in case they injure themselves, or horror upon horror, work on another film! Obviously the creators of this thought they’d make a quick buck from a genre that doesn’t necessarily need a lot of capital to produce. But here the cutting of corners and cheapness of the whole production is painfully evident.

Those hoping for a cheap but entertaining zombie outing ought to look elsewhere because ‘Raiders…’ provides about as much entertainment as watching paint dry. Try instead Jorge Grau’s highly recommended ‘Don’t Open the Window’ (known as ‘The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue’ in the U.K.) or J.W. Bookwalter’s rewarding cheapo ‘The Dead Next Door.’

Buyers or renters beware, IVS U.K. have put together a half decent cover with clever packaging (unlike the one pictured above) that seems very reminiscent of early ‘Evil Dead’ and ‘Return of the Living Dead’ releases that will perhaps lure a few curious but misguided horror fans, but take it from me this was one film I (and many others no doubt,) could have done without seeing.