The Amazing Adventures of the Living Corpse

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When mindless zombie John Romero attacks his family, murdering his wife and young daughter in the process, the screams of his son Taylor snap him back to consciousness before the boy can be killed. What happens next is the story of how a former zombie became the legend known as The Living Corpse.

I wanted to find a good zombie movie that I hadn’t yet reviewed for this Father’s Day, not just a good movie, but one that dads could watch with their kids without having to worry about if their little ones were going to have to leave the room. Why? Well, because one of my happiest memories from childhood is watching horror flicks with my dad. This wasn’t an easy thing to do considering his religious nature and the fact that he hadn’t yet come to understand my uncle had already shown me hundreds of horror flicks that he would most assuredly not have approved of, but when we did find one we could watch together, it was more special than I understood at the time. Years later, after he had passed away and I had time to really think about the things we shared together, those times we watched horror movies would be some of my fondest memories, even more so if that movie happened to be a zombie flick. With that in mind, and before my tear ducts figure out a way around that whole not working anymore thing, let’s take a look at the animated film The Amazing Adventures of the Living Corpse.

Our film begins when the dead from a particular cemetery rise from their graves and head straight to the house across the street. Among these risen dead is a man who was once known as John Romero, and the house they are about to attack is the very same one he used to share with his family, a family who are still there when zombies burst through the door. John attacks and kills both his wife and daughter while the rest of the undead go for his son who screams out in panic for his father. Somehow this scream awakens John’s consciousness and he destroys the other zombies but is forced to escape from the house alone when a team of soldiers enter the house and grab his boy. In his despair, John wanders back to the cemetery where he meets a demon named Asteroth who explains that John is neither human nor zombie, but something else, a creature who will become known as The Living Corpse. The pair retreat to the world of the dead where John discovers that portals exists throughout the underworld that might reunite him with his lost son, but first he’s going to have to pass a few trials to get there. With this knowledge in hand, John begins traversing the underworld in the hope that he will eventually be able to make up for murdering his wife and daughter, but a shady group of scientists have other ideas for John, and they intend to use his son Taylor to see those goals fulfilled.

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{Shady scientists are the worst)

Apparently, The Living Corpse is a comic book series by Dynamite Entertainment starring the titular character. I was completely unaware of this fact going in, but I’ll definitely be looking for it now because despite the problems with The Amazing Adventures of the Living Corpse, and there are some glaring problems, it was still an interesting and enjoyable watch that caught my interest and made me care about our zombified action hero. John Romero is a great character, even if his name is a little too obvious in relation to the father of modern zombie cinema, and his pain is a palpable part of the film, both the pain of having lost his son to an unknown danger and the pain of knowing he murdered most of his family in a fit he can’t remember. I really felt for the poor guy as he risked everything to save his son, going through one hell after another just for the hope that he might be able to see him again. I won’t ruin the end for you, but suffice it to say that pain is on full display when the story reaches its conclusion. Though I adored The Living Corpse and loved seeing his battles against the worst the world of the living and the world of the dead could throw at him (and those battle are pretty amazing at times), the other characters were great additions as well with my favorites being the demon lord Asteroth and his pitiful assistant Merk. The poor Merk, known as Worthless Merk for much of the movie, was both comedic relief and the film’s sense of heart as he does whatever is necessary to help out the one person he considers a friend, John. Even the villain, Dr. Brainchild, was excellent, and I got the impression he was supposed to be a throwback to the mad scientist trope in older films.

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{One of my favorite zombies with one of my favorite demonic toadies}

Despite how much I enjoyed this film, it did have two major issues, the animation and the story. These problems have aspects which kept them from completely ruining the film, but had both been addressed prior to release I think The Amazing Adventures of the Living Corpse would have been absolutely amazing. The first is the story. Now don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy the story overall. There are not enough films that look at things from the zombie’s perspective, even fewer where the zombie protagonist kicks as much ass as John Romero, and watching him go through quest after quest was interesting, but there were a lot of side things I didn’t understand such as why he suddenly became such a badass after death (he seems an everyman type in the couple of flashbacks we see), why the zombies came back in the first place, if this was a worldwide phenomenon or localized only to this particular cemetery, why that cemetery was so special (it’s being watched by the film’s villain in the very beginning), why another cemetery mentioned by a few characters was important, or why John in particular was chosen by the underworld. All minor things that can be ignored I know, which is why this issue is the lesser of the two problems, issue two is impossible to ignore, and it has to do with the animation itself.

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{The awesome fight scenes only kind of distract you}

The most important aspects of any animated film are characters, story, and the animation. While the first was done expertly, and the second was mostly taken care of, the animation was pretty bad. It looked a lot like 90’s computer animation or early 2000’s video game cut scenes, blocky, jerky, and at times horribly rendered. As much as I loved the film, the terrible animation was an impossible to ignore problem that brought the film down a hell of a lot. It’s a real shame too because you can tell that the artists were creative types, the fights are extremely entertaining, the denizens of the underworld come in some very imaginative designs, and the locales are immensely varied, but none of that can overcome bad animation that strips any sense of realism from the film. Considering how amazing so many other aspects of this film are, it’s a shame they didn’t put more effort into the animation. I have a feeling this would have been a lot better received if they had.

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{I really wish they’d worked out the kinks a bit more}

Still, despite the problems that were present, as bad as they were, I liked this movie a lot. It was an enjoyable film that any dad can watch with their little ones. There is a good amount of violence, but very little blood, the lack of realism in the animation should keep them from taking anything too seriously, and there is very little in the way of foul language. I’ll just give you the warning to make sure no little one is watching when Taylor, John’s son, is painting a woman towards the end, if there was ever a random set of inserted breasts, that scene would be it, but don’t worry too much, like everything else in this movie, they don’t look very good.

 

The Undead Review

 

Directed By: Justin Paul Ritter (KatieBird*Certifiable Crazy Person, A Gothic Tale)

Starring: Marshal Hilton (I Am Alone, A Gothic Tale), Michael Villar (Visions, Bigfoot Country), Ryan McGiven (Life Among the Undead, A Gothic Tale), C.J. Baker (Stupidman, Devil Girl), and Emrys Wright (A Gothic Tale)

Written By: Ken Haeser (original comic), Buz Hasson (original comic), Ryan Plato (Modus Operandi, The Wheel), and Justin Paul Ritter (A Gothic Tale, KatieBird*Certifiable Crazy Person)

Released By: Dynamite Entertainment, Shoreline Entertainment, and Anchor Bay Entertainment

Release Year: 2012

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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