Raiders of the Living Dead (1986)

Using his instincts, reporter Morgan Randall, (Robert Deveau) figures out a story lead near an old farmhouse, only to narrowly escape a zombie attack instead. Receiving help from Shelly Goodwin, (Donna Asali) and she helps him get back to town. After managing to develop a social life, he lets her in on his story, but is soon ravaged by a series of zombie attacks that leads him into the hands of Dr. Corstairs, (Robert Allen) and discovers the connection between the attacks and a closed down prison island that was closed down years earlier due to inhumane treatment on the prisoners. Realizing that she’s been taken captive and is guarded there by a horde of zombies created by a mysterious Man in Black, (Bob Sacchetti) he races to the island to break her out and stop the zombies before the evil plans can be enacted.

The Good News: There was some good stuff to this one from time to time. The fact that the zombie attacks are pretty enjoyable is a good thing, as it means that their scenes come off well. This one is no exception, as the attack in the motel room and the first scene in the farmyard are quite exciting, with the farm being slightly better. From the sneaking around the locale securing some mild tension to the confrontation with the zombie, complete with an exciting chase and a couple action-movie passages thrown in, manages to ingest some momentum into the proceedings as well as a second zombie to make for even more thrills. There’s also a fiery climax where the zombie burns to flames in an impressive visual to really make it end nicely. The attack in the house is brief, but it’s still fun for it’s among the first time gore is introduced into the film. Other action scenes, such as the rather fun opening car chase that turns into a stand-off in a nuclear plant straight out of other action movies. It’s quite fun and really exciting as they both lead into each other. The film also manages to sport some really nice suspense scenes here and there, from a few already mentioned to the zombie resurrection in the graveyard to the first scenes out on the island. There’s two really nice ones, where one sneaks around the facility while the other concerns a brutal zombie attack on the unsuspecting victim. The zombies themselves don’t look terrible, with the desiccated, falling-skin variety that looks really nice, and they look really good at times. The last plus is the fun gore, as there’s some nice gags in here. One has their head blown apart by a shotgun blast, another is set on fire, there’s a variety of bites, an exploding arm, laser burns, an impaling through the chest on a wooden plank and more, leaving it feeling really bloody at times. Add in the fact that it’s just so cheesy it becomes a bunch of fun over time, this one isn’t that bad.

The Bad News: There’s a couple flaws with this one to hold it down. One of the main ones is the incredibly jumbled early sections of the film. This completely all over the place, and it’s like trying to sit through three short films badly edited together. The first fifteen minutes of the SWAT-plot just really show the changes it’s going to have, as the SWAT team deals with him, and then this is just abandoned in favor of a move to the plot with the kid fixing his granddad’s laserdisc player, turning it into a laser beam, then this too is abandoned and we go on to the newspaper reporter plot for a bit. Then back to the kid again. There is a good thirty minutes before we even get a hint of a zombie film, and then the zombies make cameo roles every now and then. The film is almost over by the time we see the zombies start to attack people and then we find out what is going on. But this is around the hour mark when everything falls into place as best as it can, but for the first hour it’s just a series of images with absolutely no meaning or value at all. It goes on like this for the majority of the time, leaving for a very disjointed feeling and hard to get into. The entire angle with the children and the laser beam was just irritating and didn’t need to be there, and quite easily could’ve been skipped out without too much harm at all. Eliminating these would also rid the film of some of it’s lamest special effects, the laser guns that look positively atrocious and should’ve been skipped out. The last flaw is the cheapness surrounding the movie. It really doesn’t seem very high-budget at all, and quite simply looks like a homemade movie at times, with all the cheap-looking special effects in here. These are the film’s flaws.