The Dead Next Door (1989)
There are no words to describe just how low-budget this boring piece of garbage really is. In fact, just by renting this tape I have probably spent more money than the film’s producers on the film itself. (I, and the other ten people who saw this film made quite a good profit for the producer, who happens to be Raimi, allegedly; if that is true, why the hell is he wasting time with this kind of crap? A favour for a (talentless) friend?) This lower-than-low-budget snooze-fest was financed by somebody’s failed garage sale. Or was a cast member’s kid-brother’s piggy-bank raided in the middle of the night? Who knows. And it’s not just the fact that the “film” is to the most part incredibly dull: it’s supposed to be like an indirect “homage” to Romero’s zombie trilogy and other horror-movie greats; hence the rather trite “idea” of naming the idiot characters after real-life directors, actors, or horror-film characters. Ha-ha. Hilarious. Don’t you just love movies with film-buff “in-jokes” and references? So very original and interesting… But what really annoyed me is the way the movie managed to brake just about every basic “zombie rule” that there is: 1) zombie’s never run – but they do here, 2) zombies do not understand languages – but they do understand English here, 3) zombies cannot be trained (like dogs) – but here they can, 4) zombies cannot be trained to be selective about whom they attack, for they are indiscriminate about whom they want to rip to pieces and eat – yet here the zombies are trained to attack their trainer’s enemies, and, 5) uninfected, non-zombie humans should not be dumber than their distant zombie relatives – but in this movie the zombies aren’t the main idiots. Some homage.
The humans in the film really are as dumb as the zombies. But not in a funny way. For example, there is a “zombie squad” (ha-ha) which consists only of cops who are repeatedly careless about what they do in the company of zombies and hence constantly get bitten (and turn into zombies – at least THIS zombie rule still applies). And then there is the main “plot” which reduces zombies to side characters! For some reason the “writer-director-actor” Bookwalter (“Call me Ed Wood”) thought that viewers are more interested in seeing cops fight some silly little religious cult than zombies themselves. Big mistake. (Still, not that a different plot would have mattered; this film was destined to fail: its humble piggy-bank origins combined with the talentlessness of its witless creator would have seen to that.) The acting is ATROCIOUS. The dialog is so inept and dull that it would have been re-written even by the what-does-“rewrite”-even-mean Ed Wood. The only thing that was handled well is the special-effects gore. (I guess even piggy-bank money can buy enough red paint.) Another positive thing about the movie is its mercifully short length – and that’s not counting the 10-minute(!) end-credits. The end-credits look like a kind of post-production celebration party by all the idiots involved, in which they indulge themselves shamelessly, and with some rather pathetic attempts at humour. For example: the movie’s “accounting” is listed as “pseudo-accounting”. What they forgot to do is replace “direction” with “pseudo-direction”, “cinematography” with “pseudo-cinematography” (or “non-cinematography”, or “some guy holding the camera”), and so on. The music was “pseudo-composed” by Bookwalter, the songs being so bad and under-produced that they can be easily mistaken for the sound of a big pile of s*** getting flushed down a toilet.