Undead or Alive

Undead or Alive 27 x 41 Poster.indd

When Apace warrior Geronimo was captured by the U.S. Army it was said he created a powerful potion called the White Man’s Curse, something that may have the power to resurrect the dead.

When I first became a member of the undead, one of the things I used to think about was what an adventure being a zombie in the old west must have been versus being a zombie in our modern times. Riding across the barren landscape on my undead steed (sure he can’t move very fast but I never have to feed him), devouring unlucky pioneers as the horde creates ghost town after ghost town, and even being able to rot under the stars of the open range after riding off into the sunset. Plus, everyone smells just as bad as the undead so I don’t have to spend so much money on deodorant.

Our story begins with a short little introduction to “The White Man’s Curse”, a potion the legendary Geronimo created shortly before being cornered. Turns out the curse was meant to flood the Old West with the walking dead, something it begins to do rather quickly when ranch owner Ben (hilariously played by comedian Brian Posehn) becomes the first of the cursed and begins infecting others with the disease. While a captured Ben waits to be hung (no one’s yet figured out the walking corpse isn’t technically alive), former soldier Elmer (James Denton) rides into town only to end up in a fight with wannabe cowboy Luke (Chris Kattan). This leaves the both of them under the care of the corrupt town sheriff and his lackey, who put them into a cell right next door to the undead Ben. When Elmer enacts his escape plan later on that night, the sheriff and his lackey end up zombie chow with both coming back more than a little pissed off at their two escapees. The Old West turning into a zombie hell, an undead posse close behind, and miles of barren landscape to cross, things are not looking good for poor old Luke and Ben.

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{The unlikely cowboy pair of Denton and Kattan with their female companion, whose smarter than the pair combined}

Chris Kattan in a zombie movie? That was my first question any way. I just couldn’t see the guy doing a zombie film, seemed like an odd fit. After watching Undead or Alive, no one but him could have pulled off the character of Luke Rudd with such comedic results.

Yes, before we go any further, this is a comedy (or Zombedy as it’s come to be known). I know that’s going to push a few people away right off the bat and I can’t necessarily blame them. Too many zombie films have come out over the years where some filmmaker figured they could just make a movie moderately funny and the audience would forgive the fact that they were watching a less than stellar movie. Unfortunately, nine and a half times out of ten not only do these movies suck but they aren’t funny either. Don’t get me wrong, there have been a few major successes but the overwhelming majority of comedic zombie films are complete shit so I can absolutely understand any apprehension when it comes to funny zombies. I would like to ask that you give this one a chance though and I’ll give you a couple reasons why.

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{My stomach is starting to rumble}

The first is the most obvious, the fact that not only is this movie funny, it’s fucking hilarious. The main reason this movie was so funny (and also the thing that kept it from getting ridiculous) was the brilliant choice in casting who was going to be playing who. Each actor seemed to be perfect for their part and what was even better was that they all appeared to really love their chosen characters, meaning that whomever they were playing, they took their character and ran with the performance, giving that character a real life all their own. Each did such an amazing job that I can’t honestly say one actor was better than another, it doesn’t matter if it’s our three heroes, the fat toady to the sheriff, or the asshole sheriff himself, each character is hilarious, serious, and more importantly, real. The most fun you’ll have from this movie is going to come from the characters and my hat is off to each and every actor this film has, with a special tip to Brian Posehn for his amazing and hilarious performance as the very first zombie.

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{Brian Posehn gives his wife the tender, vicious kiss of the undead}

Of course, even amazing actors can’t save a poorly written flick which thankfully, this is not. The story is great and fits perfectly with what you would imagine from an old west zombie flick, a curse by Native American legend Geronimo brings back the citizens of gold rush towns. Perfect. Where the real writing talent lay though is in the dialogue and this kind of leads back into the great acting because it took great actors to pull off the well written lines, lines that never get corny or overly cheesy but will keep a smile firmly on your face for a good 90% of the film.

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{It’s like Clint Eastwood if he had a comedic sidekick…and had to escape zombies…and…okay, it’s not like Clint Eastwood}

The last things to really make this movie such an enjoyable experience were the makeup and effects. Don’t expect an amazing set of effects because this movie didn’t have a large budget and what they did have went to location shots in the New Mexican dessert, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t make the best out of what was left. In fact it’s quite the opposite, they did great with whatever was left over and the results do the film credit, the way the zombies look is especially impressive and I loved how they continue to decay as the movie proceeds.

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{Okay, now I really need to get something to eat}

While this may not be the funniest film I’ve ever seen it’s definitely one of the funniest zombie movies I’ve ever seen. Add in some old west flair and a comedic duo to rival that of Nick Frost and Simon Pegg from Shaun of the Dead and you have a movie I can’t see anyone being disappointed with.

The Undead Review

 

 

Directed By: Glasgow Phillips

Starring: James Denton (Desperate Housewives, Ascension Day), Chris Kattan (Saturday Night Live {1996-2006}, House on Haunted Hill {1999}), and Navi Rawat (Feast, House of Sand and Fog)

Released By: Odd Lot Entertainment and Image Entertainment

Release Year: 2007

Release Type: Straight to Video

MPAA Rating: Rated R

About The Undead Review

When I was alive I was an asshole and after I died remained pretty much the same, if not a little worse. You’d think becoming a member of the walking dead would mellow a person out, no more worrying about awkward small talk with people, no more having to be politically correct, and the entire world is your upright, bipedal buffet. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun as hell to be a zombie, just somewhat irritating at times, especially those times you have to watch a lame movie or read a lame book. Thankfully, when I am forced to watch these films or read those books, I’ve got places like The Undead Review to bitch and moan to my heart’s content. {When he’s not devouring the living or sinking his teeth into a good film The Undead Review (Andy Taylor) spends his time writing his own stories or hunting down the paranormal. Oh, and did we mention his blind dog once saved the world?)
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