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The Weekend Horror Double Bill: I Put a Spell on You February 25, 2007

Posted by Ian W in : Film Reviews, Horror , add a comment

For the first of these double bills we’ve got a couple of zombie flicks and we’re talking old skool voodoo zombies.

The Dead One (1961) Region 2
This is set just outside New Orleans on a plantation inherited by John Carlton, who’s taken his new wife there for their honeymoon. Cousin Monica is none to happy about this as she had been running the plantation prior to John’s arrival and as she moonlights as a voodoo priestess she’s not someone you’d want to piss off. She hatches a plan to use her zombified brother to kill John’s wife in the hopes of holding on to the land through a loophole in their Grandfathers will.

Director Barry Mahon’s claim to fame is that the part played by Steve McQueen in the Great Escape was loosely based on him. That’s as close to making a classic film as he came; it’s clear from this that he was a kindred spirit to that master of (mis)direction, Ed Wood.

The first twenty minutes are padded out with a couple of New Orleans jazz bands and an appearance by exotic dancer Bella Bella, the latter ends up tagging along to the plantation for no other reason than to provide someone for the zombie to kill.

In a film filled with awful acting special mention should be given to Monica Davis. Her performance as the voodoo priestess reaches a level rarely seen in movies and must surely have had 1961’s Oscar hopefuls quaking in fear. Attempting to overcome her acting deficiency with sheer volume she urges the zombie to “kill, Kill, KILL, KILL, KILL!” As for said reanimated corpse his make-up consists of what looks like oatmeal that’s been applied to his face and allowed to dry and a fright wig.

Described on the sleeve as “a historically important missing link in the cadaverous canon of modern zombie cinema” this was “unearthed from a long forgotten film vault.” It’s clear that some things should stay lost.

The transfer is anamorphic widescreen but they’ve taken a 2.35:1 aspect ratio and stretched it to fill a 16:9 widescreen screen, so you get a distorted image resulting in lots of tall thin people. As for the print, it’s in remarkably good shape for a Z grade movie over forty years old.

The only extra is the trailer.

Boy Eats Girl (2005) Region 2

This is that rare thing – an Irish voodoo zombie horror comedy. Clearly trying to piggyback on the success of the previous years Shaun of the Dead this doesn’t even come close to that film either for comedy or horror, although it’s a close thing on the gore front.

Set in a school but with actors who all look to in their early to mid twenties (star Samantha Mumba was 22 at the time) this can be summed up by the following simple equation: American Pie + Irish accents – Laughs + Blood and gore.

When Nathan accidentally hangs himself hangs himself (with a little help from his mum) while drunk after seeing the girl of his dreams (Mumba) with another guy his mother uses the voodoo book she recently found beneath the local church to bring him back. Unknown to her there is a page missing from the book that results in Nathan having a craving for human flesh, not only that but his bite also infects others. This soon results in a town full of hungry zombies.

Lacking in laughs the film just about gets by on its overzealous use of gore. The blowjob scene (you can guess what happens) is probably the reason for the films 18 certificate although Mumba’s innovative use of a mechanical digger results in several dismembered corpses. The effects are surprisingly decent for a film that only cost $5m but then maybe the producers realised that was the films only selling point.

The disc features a decent anamorphic transfer and an unexceptional 5.1 soundtrack with little use made of the rear speakers.

Extras consist of a short Making Of Featurette and the trailer.

Next week: Mario Bava’s The House of Exorcism (Lisa and the Devil re-edited to cash in on the success of The Exorcist) and Possessed based on the true story that inspired The Exorcist.

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