Sunday, October 3, 2010

Dead Laughter

Director: Gary King
Writer: Bo Buckley
Starring: Christina Rose, Jack Abele, William Lee
2010 | United States | Not Rated | 85 mins

Ever since the Zucker Brothers had us busting a gut with comedy spoofs like Airplane! the parody genre has come and gone in waves. But when combining the elements of slapstick with the horror genre these films seem to be of appeal to audiences either in the theatre market or the direct-to-video scene no matter how good or bad. Gary King was hired to direct an entry into this popular genre and decided it was time to keep with the camp but also have it still appeal to the "wine-tasting crowd" so-to-speak, even if it does feature 'nutchucks'.

Wanda (Christina Rose), your typical nerd, is training under the good karate Master Sensei (Jack Abele) to help fight the Evil Sensei (William Lee) from taking over the martial arts industry in town. But when a school bus accident and a vat of an experimental toxic chemical collide head-on the entire rival evil karate club are turned into karate-zombies! Now it's up to Wanda, with the help of her sex-toy loving Master Sensei's magic belt, to realize her potential and kick some undead ass!

Death of the Dead plays out like a mash-up between a Zucker Brothers comedy and a Troma film. Sight gags, one-liners, body humour, and karate-zombies go hand-in-hand and generate some actual belly laughs. While some of the gags fall short and end up too juvenile and sophomoric, Death of the Dead is still a rather fun time waster. Filled with lots of great camp, this low-budget comedy-horror actual boasts some great acting as well. Christina Rose is fantastic as Wanda and she kicks some awesome zombie ass. Gary King who's previous filmography is actually in the art house and dramatic vein brings some of that talent to what could have been a flaccid and unfunny flop and injects some interesting characters and heart into the film.

While the spoof genre may not appeal to everyone, Gary King has infused enough of his intelligence and talent from working in other genres to make this an above-average entry into parody cannon that has the potential to reach audiences outside its initial scope. King even manages to include a few one-liners from cult faves Troll 2 and The Room which will have those in the know giggling. Death of the Dead manages to have audiences laughing out loud while retaining a surprising amount of heart not commonly seen in the genre. Worth a look.

Fellow Reel to Reeler Skot Hamilton and I had the pleasure of interviewing both director Gary King and actress Christina Rose recently at the first annual Dark Bridges Film Festival. Listen to those interviews below:

Interview #1 (Before the Death of the Dead screening)

Interview #2 (After the Death of the Dead screening)

All contents copyright 2010 Tyler Baptist

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