Hell of the Living Dead/Review 2

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< Hell of the Living Dead
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After the Dawn Of The Dead (which is one of my favorite movies of all time) was released in 1978, the zombie craze spawned all over the world, especially in Italy where cash-in movies is famous for. There's one movie from that era called Hell of The Living Dead that become one of "the worst zombie movie of all time". Although I'm pretty sure that those who voted have never seen Joe D'Amato's Porno Holocaust, Hell of the Living Dead is actually more entertaining than many zombies film!

Directed by Vincent Dawn (Bruno Mattei), the plot is heavily inspired by Dawn of The Dead. In the first scene, the laboratory experiment gone wrong and caused all of them to be zombie. Next scene, we see a group of commando try to rescue a hostage in the building while the soundtrack from Dawn of The Dead is playing (we'll talk about that later). Then, commandos find out that terrorists demanding government to close down all of the laboratories. Unfortunately, the government denies the existence of laboratories and censors this news. So the commandos and journalists have to find out and stop this widespread chaos....if they could.

As you can see, some of the plot construction is similar to Dawn of The Dead. Take a look at the very first scene for example, commandos wear a very similar suit that Peter and Roger wear in Dawn of The Dead. Also, they raid the building in the very first scene as well! But, as all of you know, Italian rip-off movies had a lower budget, so PLEASE don't expect social commentary, twisted ending, A-class acting or thoughtful dialogs. I mean, 30% of this film consists stock footage of animal and African tribes, while the dialog in this film is hilariously bad and awesome at the same time. For example, in the scene when a journalist encounter zombie for a first time, she says "Who are they? They look like monsters". You know what her crew replies? "They could be drunk or drugged". That scene makes me laugh every time.

Speaking of laughing, a lot of characters in this film are totally stupid. Like a journalist's crew who decides to walk into a bunch of zombies to shoot their footage or a commando who plays slider in the playground. But nothing, NOTHING, topped this scene which depict a commando who decides to dress himself with a hat and dress and then dance like Alex from Clockwork Orange! And his death scene is totally epic because one of the zombies walks from behind a camera, which, in reality, a commando should have seen that zombie before it killed him! Luckily, there's a commando member that I love so much. He's Zantoro (played by Franco Garofalo). His characters reminds me a lot of Ash from The Evil Dead. One minute he could play a prank on you by shooting an empty bullet-gun at you, next minute he stands in front a group of zombie while shouting ""I'll dhow you how to shoot them, shoot it in the head!" and attacks them like a really crazy guy.

As I mention before about soundtrack, another thing I love is the fact that they clearly stole Goblin's soundtrack from Dawn of The Dead and Contamination (another "so-bad-it's-good" classic). In fact, I heard a rumor that the kick-ass opening theme song was stolen from Italian Poliziotteschi film called "Diamanti Sporchi di Sangue". Because of this, I try so hard to track down a copy of Diamanti Sporchi di Sangue to find out about the soundtrack. Unfortunately, I can't find it.

To sum up, don't trust anybody who says that this film is really awful. Hell of The Living Dead is one of the most entertaining zombie films of all time and if you have a friend who has never seen exploitation films before, show him/her this movie!


Nuttawut Permpithak hails from Thailand. He spends his free time watching exploitation films (or any films from the past) writing articles, taking photos and reviewing films for GCDb.

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