French Sex Murders

better than portuguese handjob assaults

Casa d’appuntamento
aka The French Sex Murders
aka Das Auge des Bösen
aka La brigada del inspector Bogart
aka Maison de rendez-vous
aka The Bogeyman and the French Murders
Director: Ferdinando Merighi
Released: 1972
Starring: Anita Ekberg, Rosalba Neri, Evelyne Kraft, Barbara Bouchet, Howard Vernon, and Robert Sacchi
Running time: 83 minutes
Genre: giallo, exploitation

It all began on the last day of Carnival: The silhouette of a man leaps from the Eiffel Tower! Cut to the base of the Tower, where a man dashes toward it from one direction, while several cars full of men and gendarmes pull up from assorted directions. Then HUMPHREY FREAKING BOGART jumps out of a car, and they all give chase up the Tower! Upon reaching the observation deck, the man/silhouette leap (again), and Bogey lights a cigarette, then looks pensively down. A noir-ish voiceover tells us when it all began …

Jewel thief Antoine leaves the scene of the crime to shower baubles on his favorite hooker, Francine (Bouchet), at Madame Colette’s House of Ill Repute. Unfortunately, the very concept of a hooker doesn’t seem to sit well with the deranged Antoine, and he smacks his bitch up upon realizing that she does indeed make the sex with other men. Antoine is clearly crazy and a dick. He absconds, and her body is found bludgeoned to death. It seems obvious that Antoine is the killer, and he is pursued accordingly by Bogey–sorry, Inspector Pontaine (Sacchi). Antoine goes to his ex-wife Marianne (Neri) for help, but she and her lover/manager Pepi want none of that, and the hapless schmuck is soon caught, protesting his innocence all the while. Upon his arrest and sentencing, Antoine vows revenge upon all those who helped to convict an innocent–albeit derange and woman-beating–man. To further his vendetta, Antoine escapes prison and flees, only to be decapitated in a grisly motorbike accident. His head is handed over to the creepy Dr Waldemar (Vernon) for some totally pointless “experiments,” and we’re briefly distracted by some intrigue between Waldemar’s assistant Roger and his daughter Leonora (Kraft) before the Inspector pronounces the case closed.

death stalks la ville-lumière

Everyone can rest easy now, right?

Since this is a exploitation murder mystery, no. People continue to die right and left, all with a connexion–sometimes so entirely tangential as to appear invisible–to Madame Colette’s House of Happy Endings. Who could the killer be? Is it the pipe-smoking Professor of Prostitution? A hooded Satanic cabal? The Killer Nun–err, Madame Colette–herself? Could it be sleazy Roger? Or even Boris Karloff–I mean, Doctor Waldemar? Who knows? Merighis sure doesn’t seem to! We will visit scene after scene, murder after muder, and the cast will drop like flies until someone realizes a murder mystery requires a killer–and all will be revealed, culminating in the final chase we … already saw. Twice.

Play it again, Samuele: Not all gialli were created equal, and French Sex Murders is one of the most disadvantaged orphans of the genre. It has none of the style or visual flair key to stars in the giallo firmament, nor any suspense, and not very much gore. The plot is more confused than convoluted, and makes even less sense than that of most gialli. But a cast that’s a virtual Who’s Who of Eurocult cinema, a swinging score by Bruno Nicolai, insane edits by Bruno Mattei, and the nonsensical gimmick of a Humphrey Bogart-lookalike make it a worthwhile diversion for the (very) tolerant fan.

when worlds collide

Bill: Remember that awesome scene in Point Break, when Johnny Utah is chasing a president through back yards and alleys and they’re leaping fences and throwing a dog around and it’s exciting and fast-paced and gets you all pumped? French Sex Murders starts off exactly like that scene, only it’s not awesome and it doesn’t have the same excitement and action or even a dog, but it does have some cops making a big deal of jumping over a chain that was so low they could’ve easily stepped over it. Oh, and Johnny Utah is Humphrey Bogart and the man in the president mask is a cartoon silhouette. Yes, Humphrey Bogart. Or, rather the man with Bogart’s face, Robert Sacchi. He’s not the only familiar face. Just as Point Break had an awesome cast of recognizable actors (at least to mainstream American audiences,) FSM’s cast, while maybe not the Eurosleaze all-star team, could definitely be the Eurosleaze all-stars B or C-team. This cast, the complete absurdity of the movie, and some laughably inept acting, however, are all the movie has going for it. French Sex Murders, I mean, not Point Break.

Fisty: I especially like the cast credits over the laissez-faire chase scene; excitement is created by all the infamous names flashing by, but not by the chase itself. It’s a very subtle way to distract viewers’ attentions from the many shortcomings of not only the opening scene, but the entire film. After all, one can coast on the pleasure of seeing Evelyne Kraft, Rosalba Neri, or Barbara Bouchet for quite a while–or Howard Vernon if that’s your bag.

"oh, nothing much. 'sup with you, girl?"

That amazing cast influences the wacky plot, too. Apparently, it was common practice to feature alternate edits–sometimes differing wildly–for different countries, often focusing on a star who was particularly popular in a given country. A cheap exploitation flick like French Sex Murders (I’ll never make an initialism of that title because I enjoy saying it too much) would milk that dodge for all it was worth, as you can see if you try to follow along with French Sex Murder‘s plot. The good folks at Mondo Macabro took practically every inch of footage from every version, stringing it all together in what is touted as the longest, most complete version of French Sex Murders ever distributed, but whether that creates any clarity in the storyline, I’ll leave as an exercise for your divertissement.

Basically, nothing in French Sex Murders makes much sense. I know, I know, you’re saying, “But Fisty, how often do gialli make sense?” Yes, yes, as a genre, gialli do not have a reputation for being sensical. With all the red herrings flying about like fish at the Pike Place Market, and the boobies, and the psychedelica and the camp, the gore and the boobies, the crazy visual style and editing tricks, well … the actual story can get lost. But most have at least a pretext of plot, and the greats have more. French Sex Murders is not one of those. Everything in it is a red herring for exploitation’s sake, until they decided to just wrap it up already.

i'm not crying, i'm wondering about tony. wondering where he could be, who he is with, what he's thinking, whether he's thinking of me, and whether he'll ever return someday.

Ordinarily, you’ve got some amateurs investigating a murder (or murders), hindered by the hilariously incompetent police force. French Sex Murders has no amateurs doing anything at all but wandering around living their varied lives: Leonora and Roger have their affair and worry over it, Marianne sings and worries over her cheatin’ man, Waldemar messily mashes up a sheep’s eye for no particular reason, etc. Inspector Fontaine wrapped up the case after Antoine died, so he’s really not doing a whole lot after that other than the occasional narration, other than looking uncannily like a cross between Bogey, Nixon (Bill: like in Point Break!,) and my ex Sean. Ugh. People die. This isn’t even really explained as subplots, because they’re just the faintest traces of such. It’s more like the bare bones of five different movies (read: familiar and/or pretty faces) are all tossed together haphazardly till they stick in a semblance of a story. Mostly, people die that you’re expecting to die, so there’s not a lot of tension because, well, you’re already expecting it. Occasionally, someone else of no apparent import dies. Even the murders themselves are pretty tame, too, with some laughable effects, so the payoff for waiting and watching is insignificant.

it's a sexy party at madame colette's!

Bill: Antoine’s escape from the law is possibly the most useless twist in the film. He’s captured and tried and sentenced to die by the guillotine, which, shockingly, France was still using until 1977. I looked it up. This all seems to happen in, like, a day, by the way, with the trial – a murder trial with no real witnesses and a man’s life on the line – lasting all of two minutes! Nice courts, dick. Anyway, he lays a curse of revenge on everyone that allowed an innocent woman-beating thief to be executed for Francine’s death. This is cool. An innocent man is put to death, swears revenge and people start dying. I can dig that, only, in the next scene, you’re being informed that he’s escaped. They don’t show you this happening. They tell you with a news report. One second he’s screaming about a curse and the next, he’s on the loose. Now the supposed killer is on the loose and ready to carry out his revenge for the beheading he escaped. Fine.  Not as good of a story, but I’m still down. Only, then, they cut to him running from the cops. He steals a motorcycle and we get a really shitty motorbike chase with the cops that ends with him getting in an accident and losing his head.

WHY?!

If they were going to cut off his head anyway, why not just do it with the guillotine? Why was this chase even necessary? All his escape did was lessen the impact of his curse rant, make for even more of a convoluted plot and pad the run time with boring scenes of Antoine riding a motorcycle. Did Dick Randall just show up on set one day and demand a motorbike chase? (Fisty: Yes.) Did they not have a kung fu professor handy to shoehorn in that day? “Hey, Merighi, someone’s letting me borrow a motorcycle, write it in.” I mean, I could at least understand it if Martellanza was the kind of actor you just wanted to see more of, but he’s not. He’s terrible! His dick-flappingly angry explosion of man on woman violence against Francine should have been upsetting, but he’s so outrageously bad that the scene becomes unintentionally hilarious.

pb&g does not condone woman-beating, ever. unless she's really uppity.

Fisty: As a card-carrying humorless feminist who likes to shriek, “Misogyny” whenever she gets the chance, I must say that it is amazing how woman-beating becomes high comedy in the hands of skilled artisans. I love that Merighi keeps Bouchet fully dressed while Antoine’s willy waves in the wind–and that Martellanza desperately tries to keep it covered. His performance is nothing short of uh, remarkable. French Sex Murders is full of moments like that.

Bill: Like when one girl is accosted and all but raped in the club, and Marianne and Pepi just watch. And when Pepi finally does step up to stop the guy, Marianne interprets it as a sign of infidelity! And seduction in French Sex Murders seems to boil down to snatching a bitch up by the arm, spinning her around and slamming faces together, busting her lips with your teeth. I am surprised everyone walked away with all their teeth intact. There really is a lot of crazy to laugh at in this flick. We did mention that, right? Every murder flashes over in rainbow colors, like some twisted Skittles commercial. The courtroom scene flashes to negative. At one point, while the aging judge is on the verge of collapsing, looking like he’s having a heart attack, Waldemar, the DOCTOR, just suggests he go home and have a shot of Cognac. Alcoholism is the BEST heart medicine!

But it’s Bogey that really takes the prize. Inspector Pontaine just has to be the wackiest thing in the whole movie. One of these things is not like the other. He feels like he was snatched out of a completely different movie and dropped into this. It’s like having a Ru Paul impersonator play Gary Busey’s part in Point Break.  Even his dialog is out of place, with lines like, “You run a tight ship, Pepi. Better keep it on an even keel.” He just does not fit in this movie. Whoever had the idea to cast Sacchi and use him like this (probably Randall) is either completely mental or a true visionary. Either way, the total nuttiness of French Sex Murders is the saving grace of an otherwise stupid giallo that, despite its cast, can’t even manage to be sexy.

Fisty: Whoa, whoa, WHOA. Brandy IS medicinal, Bill. And lest we forget as Dr Johnson said, “Claret is the drink for boys, port for men, but he who aspires to be a hero must drink brandy.” Clearly, Waldemar is a hero. Acting out a Donkey-Skin fantasy, but a hero nonetheless.

definitely not an oedipal reference

I want to get back to where you were going with sex and the French murders. Considering it’s a giallo set in part in a brothel (and ostensibly named for it), French Sex Murders isn’t seductive in the least. There isn’t much nudity or sex–comparatively speaking. Merighi also keeps the focus largely on male characters; though the camera does follow Marianne and Leonora around for a while, it’s content to chase others as well. It’s an interesting turnabout from a more usual female-centric giallo, where a woman is an integral part of a sleuthing duo, or the main character. Rather than dissecting the male gaze upon women as in films like Blood and Black Lace–or even Strip Nude for Your Killer–Merighi seems more interested in gazing upon males and their activities; women are only incidental. They’re on par with the hideous faux rococo knickknacks scattered around the sets to class up the place.

Bill: Ugh, I know. All that eye candy and no one bothers to take the wrappers off. Neri may be your girl, but I am all about Evelyne Kraft. She was stunning as Leonora, way hotter than stupid old Lori Petty was in Point Break. But sadly she isn’t given a whole lot to do in the movie and Roger can never seal the deal (not surprising, considering he pronounces Roger ROH-jhay,) so she never sheds her kit. The second half of the movie is a bit spicier, however, including the sex scene where we get to see Doris’ magnificent pit-crops hanging like the damp black hair on a pair of Japanese ghost girls’ heads. Typically underarm ‘fro on a girl is something I’d complain about, but here, it adds some extra hilarity to a sex scene that was already made pretty funny by her bearded hippy man’s lovemaking style. It kind of looks like he’s in a wrestling match that he can only win by climbing over her and licking her shoulder blade.

oh my god, i left the baby on the bus!

Fisty: I might venture that the main failing of French Sex Murders is that it doesn’t fetishize anything at all; not the blood or kills, not the mystery, not the women or even the sex (and if you can’t fetishize sex, what fun are you?). Even with all its myriad faults, look at how another purely exploitational giallo like  SN4YK worshipped its women; they were stunning and active–look at the camera’s love for Femi Benussi; she exists to be sexy and beautiful (which is likely sexist, but who doesn’t enjoy watching that woman walk? or move? or breathe?), her introductory scene is a paean to the confident and sexually liberated woman. There is no woman like that in French Sex Murders. And the sex is perfunctory, like they realized they were over halfway through the movie with barely any action, and so they threw in a sweaty sex scene.

With such flaws, can we still call it a giallo? Sure, why the hell not? It nominally features many genre conventions: Black-gloved killer, psychosexual motivation for the murders, murders that re-enact or compulsively repeat a trauma, camp fashion, incompetent cops, red herrings, casual sex, etc. We’ve got a ludicrous narrative, staccato editing, tacky settings, and performances that vacillate between labored and melodramatic, but we also have a film that is rarely dull due to its defiance of conventional (or good) filmmaking. Dick Randall (look for his cameo as a few-wearing sheikh!) et alia set out to make a campy and preposterous exploitation giallo, and they did just that.

If you’re looking for middle-brow Art or intelligence, you won’t find it in French Sex Murders. You won’t find much sexiness or style, either, or even blood, but you will find total absurdity.

Bill: It’s no Point Break, but it’s ok for a watch with some MST3K style ribbing.

they're all going to laugh at you

Hell Week of the Shrieking Cannibal Dead

Halloween is on its way.  This is my favorite time of year and I wanted to kick off the season right.   What better way to do that then with hordes of the shambling undead?  I decided that I’d spend a week watching nothing but zombie movies, beginning on September 18th and leading up to Old School Sinema’s 6th Cleveland Charity Zombie Walk, which I knew was coming up on September 25th.   If I managed to survive 30 hours of gutmunchers and the company of hundreds of brain-ivores, this week of extreme carnage would serve as my official beginning to this years Halloween season.

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supernatural voodoo woman

1.  Sugar Hill (1974)

Blaxspoitation voodoo zombies in the funkified seventies, killing organized crime thugs.

It’s a low rent Foxy Brown with zombies by the people who brought you Blackula.  It’s all very cheesy.  Also very fun.  The zombies have bulging eyes devoid of pupils or irises, discolored skin and cobwebs on them.  They look slightly moldered more than straight out rotted.  It’s a look that is, at once, really corny and still pretty cool.  Nothing to see in terms of gore or nudity, sadly, but plenty to laugh at.  Noisiest jungle ever.  And Baron Samedi is hilarious.

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orgy of the dammed

2.  Beneath Still Waters (2005)

Aquatic, grimoire-raised, zombies in a reservoir over a submerged town, killing anyone that goes near the water.  (Great idea!)

Brian Yuzna always makes good with bucketfuls of awesome gore and make up and some nice, healthy titties and, really, that is usually enough.  He doesn’t disappoint here, bringing both in good supply.  With Beneath Still Waters, however, he really goes out of his way and also gives you some creepy atmosphere and it’s a great concept.  Based on a novel, I believe.  Thank you, Brian Yuzna, for Melinda Clarke in Return of the Living Dead 3 and thank you for Beneath Still Waters, a movie that lets me have my cake (smooshed all over a woman’s breasts at an orgy) and see people get eaten, too.

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hong kong gooey

3. Bio Zombie

Chemical weapon, soft drink zombies inside a mall, killing the people locked in with them. How’s that for a twist?

Bio Zombie is a fucking awesome zomcom.   Woody Invincible and Crazy Bee are my new heroes.   They are like the Shaun and Ed of zombie movies. Well, the Shaun and Ed of Hong Kong zombie movies, I guess.  Or maybe I should call them the Brody and T. S. of zombie movies.  Or if Shaun and Ed were the Brody and T.S., then Crazy and Woody could be the Jay and Bob of zombie movies.  Regardless of what I call them or if any of this jabber makes any sense to you, they fucking rule.  The make up is shit and the movie is weird as all hell, like most Asian comedies I’ve seen, but the flick has heart.  And, while Jelly isn’t that hot, her friend, Rolls, is sexy as hell.

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the opposite of good

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4. Zombi 3

Chemical, or possibly viral, zombies (and zombirds!) on a tropical island with one radio station, killing a lot of lousy actors.

So, so very bad.  It steals outright (not pays homage to) Return of the Living Dead, The Crazies and Day of the Dead.  The head scientist over acts so hard I started to sweat just watching him.  He yells every line and throws his arms about wildly and pauses in very odd places.  If Jeff Goldblum and William Shatner had a baby that developed some nervous condition that caused uncontrollable muscle spasms and was always screamingly angry, that child would have given a subtler performance than this guy.  Throughout the whole movie there are zombies throwing themselves off of roofs at people.  Why and how did they got up there in the first place?  Beats me.  Oh!  There’s a helicopter escape, too!   Two of the three remaining survivors get to da choppa and begin taking off, hovering and calling for the third survivor to jump up and grab on.  They do this instead of just waiting for him to get in, which they could have done, since there were no zombies anywhere near them.  Or were there?!  As he’s hanging off of the skid of the helicopter, zombies leap up out of the hay beneath him.  They were hiding there all along!  BASTAAAAARDS!

So bad.  I didn’t even mention the deejay, the zombie deejay.

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you don't have to see to love boobies

5.  Night of the Seagulls (1975)

Evil, blind, Templar Knight zombies in a village of assholes that beat retards with sticks, killing beautiful young maidens.

Ah, I do love the Blind Dead series, of which this is the fourth and final film.  How can anyone not love them?  Gorgeous women, great concepts, creepy atmospheres, awesome sets and those wicked, eyeless, sword-wielding, zombie horse-riding, skeletal knights are some of the coolest risen dead in all of film history.  Even though they’re blind, they’re always nice enough to rip open a young maiden’s dress before killing her.  They do this for us, you know, since they can’t see ’em.  What a considerate bunch of corpses.

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you'll shoot your eye out, kid

6.  Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things (1973)

Grimoire-raised, criminal zombies on a misty island with a graveyard for undesirables, killing a local theater group and their slimeball director.

Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things is amateurish in every way.  Still, some of the one-liners are clever and the movie can be fairly funny at times. I especially liked one character’s repeated confession to having pissed in his pants.  It isn’t something that I can bring myself to watch often, but I do like it for a couple of reasons.  One of those being the bitchin’ title.  Seriously, one of the coolest titles ever.  The other being that the entire movie has the feel of the kind of local station-produced tv segments that would be hosted by some Elvira-type character.  I can’t watch this movie without getting nostalgic for my days as a youngster, watching all sorts of horror flicks with my local, Cleveland area, horror hosts like Super-Host, Big Chuck and Lil’ John, and The Ghoul.  Ah, good times…  Call me old, but I think TV was better before we all had cable and knew what an infomercial was.

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no boats, no lights, no motor cars

7.  Shock Waves (1977)

Aquatic, Nazi zombies on, and in the water around, The Isle of Peter Cushing, killing a boat-load of stranded tourists.  Hmmm…  That’s three different zombie infested islands already.

Come on…  It’s underwater Nazi zombies in cool goggles and Peter-fucking-Cushing!  Like I have to say anything more about that?

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reich of the living dead


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8.  Outpost (2008)

Philadelphia Experiment, Nazi zombie, masters of time and space in an old, abandoned bunker, killing an international bunch of badass mercenaries .

Here, we have something new!  Some kind of electromagnetic, unified field theory, universal vibration gobbledygook machine has created a breed of Nazi zombie that can blink in and out of existence at will.  I’m not even sure if they would qualify as zombies, since they seem awful ghost-like, but they look like Nazi zombies and they’re solid enough when they’re there.  Bullets hit them, but don’t stop them.  They sure as hell can kill in some pretty nasty, physical ways.  AND I LIKE THEM!  The mercenaries in the flick, lead by DC (Ray Stevenson, who made an even better cinematic Punisher than Dolph Lundgren, if you can believe that) are some badass guys, but don’t stand a chance against these inviso-vibro-zombies.

I love weird war tales.   Outpost fits that genre well and would make a great double feature with Neil Marshall’s Dog Soldiers, which, itself, is one of the better action-horror, weird war movies from recent years.

My only real complaint about Outpost is the lack of color.  The damn movie is practically in black and white.  I understand that this is a stylistic choice and that sometimes it even works for a movie, but I’m getting really tired of it.  Still, it is a spiffy addition to the zombie Nazi sub-subgenre.

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"they're us. we're them and they're-" YES, BARBARA, WE FUCKING GET IT!

9.  Night of the Living Dead (1990)

Classic, Romero zombies outside of a farmhouse trying to eat the people inside and a few animals outside, because meat is meat and a zombie’s gotta eat.

How about that cast!  Tony Todd, Bill Moseley, Tom Towels, Tom Savini!  And, man, is that Patricia Tallman a looker or what?  Savini does almost everything right with this remake.  My only issues with it are some of the more melodramatic moments, like Ben looking to the sky and screaming, “Damn you!  Damn you all!”  I was waiting for him to say, “Get your rotting paws off me, you damned dirty zombie,” all Chuck Heston-like.  Or Barbara’s, “They’re us. We’re them and they’re us.”  Just seeing the look on Tallman’s face was enough, we didn’t need the sledgehammer to drive the point in.

One awesome moment:  When Ben first steps out of his truck, all you see are his boots, then the hooked end of his crow bar comes down into the shot.  I would swear on my life that this was a nod to Tony Todd as Candyman, except I know that Candyman didn’t come out until 2 years after NotLD’90.  Savini is a horror prophet!

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fuckin' nursery school

10.  Dawn of the Dead (2004)

Red Bull-infused, athletic, viral zombies, outside of a mall, killing the people hiding inside, but dogs are safe.

I like this movie, I do, but, while I mostly love the script, the more I watch this, the more I have to roll my eyes at Snyder’s direction.  How about we turn this into a drinking game?  Whenever you see a slow-mo explosion from far away with muted sound, drink.  Whenever someone is about to be shot and the movie cuts to another shot before you hear the bang, drink.  Whenever the camera gets all up close on a gun barrel with a whoosh sound and hints of slow motion, drink.  Whenever a digital gore effect is shown in slow motion, drink.  Whenever you see shell casings fall and clink and clack to the floor in slow motion, don’t drink.  That would be way too much alcohol and you would die.  If I seem like I’m being extra harsh on this flick, while being very forgiving to others, that’s because I am.  It bugs me that this is just an ok movie.  It really could have been great, but it’s held back by one man’s obsession with quick edits and slow motion and zombies that consume as much Gatorade as they do flesh.

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a mouthful of greek salad

11.  Day of the Dead (2008)

Viral zombies (with the proportionate speed, strength and agility of a spider) in a small town, killing everything.

You know, when you get over the fact that they’re using the name Day of the Dead and realize that it has so little in common with Romero’s movie that it is really a remake in name only, it’s not any better or worse than a lot of other shitty movies, which can be enjoyed as such.  Hell, it’s really more like the Zombi 2 of Dawn of the Dead ’04 than a remake of Day of the Dead ’85.  Sure, Mena Suvari is completely unbelievable in her role, but she has a shapely enough ass that it shows through, even under her army duds, so that’s ok.  Yes, Nick Cannon is the Jar Jar of zombie movies, but legless zombie Ving Rhames is cool enough that I think he should be a legless zombie in every movie he’s in, so that almost balances out.   Also, Cannon’s P. Diddy line made me laugh.  And, ok, zombies with 6-foot vertical leaps and the ability to crawl on ceilings is pretty dumb, but the airborne transmission of the virus and flu-like symptoms are kind of neat.  And, I mean, this movie begins with four teenagers making out in an abandoned building.  That’s a clear sign that they weren’t aiming to boggle your mind with their brilliance. If they had named it anything other than what they did, you could probably watch it just as dumb movie that’s easy to laugh at and make fun of.

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lol wut

12.  Zombie 4: After Death (1988)

I don’t know!  Some kind of zombie, voodoo, I guess, on another island, killing whoever happens to be around, including bisexual porn stars, really ugly mercenaries and a girl who may have been able to run across the ocean as a child.

JEFF STRYKER!  I totally used to sell the Jeff Stryker Cock and Balls dildo at work!  This movie rules!  Except it sucks!  As bad as Zombi 3 is, Zombie 4: After Death is on a whole ‘nother level of bad.  It is AMAZINGLY bad!  Nothing in this movie makes any sense whatsoever!  NONE!

The credits will tell you that this was directed by Clyde Anderson, but that’s a damn lie.  The man behind this pile is Claudio Fragasso.  He is the man who wrote and directed Troll 2, a movie so bad they had to make a documentary about it.  This guy is the Sultan of Suck.  He is the Pope of Putrescence.  And Z4: After Death is worthy of him in every way.

The zombies!  They all seem to be just a little over five feet tall.  This is never really explained, but I think they were probably all jockeys.  They may have also been ballerinas, which would explain their graceful leaping abilities.  Seriously, it’s like watching Ice Dancing of the Living Dead Jockeys, only without the skates.  They’re also really good at synchronized window and wall smashing and masters of leaping out of nowhere in small rooms where they could not have possibly been hiding.

Oh, and the song!  Al Festa’s song, Living After Death, epitomizes every cheesy metal song in every movie from the late ’80s.  Not only does it play over the opening credits, but when you first meet the mercenaries, they’re listening to it on the radio.  It rocks so hard that I started getting excited near the end of the movie, because I knew they would play it again.

The end!  This a spoiler, but I really don’t think that matters with a movie like this.  JEFF STRYKER GETS FIST FUCKED IN THE TORSO BY A ZOMBIE!  Really.  That fist just keeps pumping in and out, with an occasional little twist, through a hole punched into his back and out of his belly.  And this just goes on and on while he makes an O-face and the girl who ran across the ocean plucks out her own eye and peels the skin off of her zombifying face.  None of this makes any sense at all, but who cares, because as soon as it’s done, YOU WILL BE ROCKED RIGHT DOWN TO YOUR CORE BY AL FESTA!  Not only do they play Living After Death over the end credits, as I knew they would, but the song rocks so hard that they let it keep playing over an empty black screen after the credits have finished.  FUCK YEAH!

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bill just farted

13.  Return of the Living Dead Part II (1988)

Trioxin zombies in a small town, eating braaaains!

Return of the Living Dead is one of my favorite movies ever, but I actually saw RotLD Part II first.  While now, I watch it and laugh at the humor, when I was watching it by myself one night, 12 or 13 years-old, it scared the hell out of me.  My house at the time had windows that would rattle whenever there was a strong wind.  As I was watching, the window began to rattle and I could almost swear that there was a silhouette of a person out there, beyond the blinds and I knew, it was a zombie trying to get in.  To this day, even as an adult, whenever a window rattles, I flash back to that moment and imagine rotting hands smacking against the panes of glass, trying to get in and eat me.

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reports that the virus was caused by rage infected monkeys have now been dismissed as complete bullshit


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14.  28 Days Later (2002)

Rage-infected zombies in an emptied-out Great Britain, killing anyone unfortunate enough to catch their attention.

This movie is so great.  Sometimes I forget how great it is, until I watch it again.  I could easily name off 50 zombie movies from memory and maybe as many as 100 or more, but I can only think of two that have made me cry.  28 Days Later is one of those.  Everything about the movie (except for the lame Rage explanation) is perfect.  Love the music and the way it slowly builds through the climax until it’s almost maddeningly intense.

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panic in the streets of london

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15.  28 Weeks Later (2007)

More rage zombies in infected Britain, killing the people resettling the island.  Yes, it’s an island.  That’s five different islands and six movies so far with zombie-plagued islands.  How many more are there?  Zombie, Zombie Island Massacre, Survival of the Dead, House of the Dead, etc…  Why does anyone ever think that going to an island would be a good way to escape zombies?

Jeremy Renner before he made it big!  Not as good as 28 Days Later, but still really good.  Great cast, great music.  Very depressing.  100% less Cillian Murphy penis.

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we're the only ones who've watched the damn thing anyways

16. The Signal (2007)

People infected with a madness, akin to 28 Days/Weeks Later infected, only with more mental ability, run all over a city killing the uninfected and each other.

Neat idea.  Three different men each direct one-third of the movie, with each segment labeled as Transmission #1, 2 and 3.  It makes for some strange tonal shifts in the flick.  The first third is somewhat disturbing and played very straight.  Scary stuff.  The second takes a more comedic angle and had me laughing pretty hard.  Then the final segment takes the movie back to the more serious, though not as suspenseful, territory of the first.

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nothing at the movie show when you're dead

17.  Return of the Living Dead (1985)

Trioxin zombies on the loose in Louisville, Kentucky, eating the brains out of punks and paramedics and anyone else they can get their teeth into.

One of my top 5 most watched movies ever.  Infinitely quotable.  Tarman and the “Pain of being dead” zombie are amazing!  Trash, I love you, codpiece and all.

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I was aiming for twenty movies, but I fell a little short.  I did watch the beginnings of Zombie Strippers, Don’t Wake the Dead and Burial Ground, but since I fell asleep during all three, it would be dishonest to include them and claim the full twenty. But, if you look at some of the movies I had no trouble staying awake for, that may tell you a little bit about how bad these three are.

The zombie walk, like the five previous walks, was a great success and a helluva good time.  A few hundred or so people turned out, massive amounts of food were gathered and the world was made a better place.  The streets were clogged with the rotting hordes and cars were attacked, civilians eaten and at least one dog was lightly sampled by the dead.  Mmmm… tasty!  I can’t wait to do it all again next year.  But for now, bring on the candy corn, because it’s Halloween time.  Silver Shamrock, bitches!