Hell of the Living Deadrecommended viewing

Mutual of Omaha's Wild Italo Zombie Movie, featuring Marlon Perkins
★★★★
☆☆☆☆☆
Released: 
1980
Director: 
Bruno Mattei
Starring: 
Margit Evelyn Newton, Franco Garofalo [as ZANTORO!], Selan Karay, José Gras
The Setup: 
Industrial accident causes a lot of zombies to start their flesh-munching festivities in Borneo or somewhere.
Discussion: 

This movie DEMANDS to be seen. I will, however, add the stipulation that you MUST be drunk or otherwise off your face in order to lower your brain activity to anything approaching the level that this movie will require. You also cannot expect to witness anything of any value or quality at any point during the proceedings. Only then, grasshopper, is your mind in a state of emptiness ready to accept the startlingly transcendent vision that is Hell of the Living Dead.

The movie opens with some nuclear plant or Borneo or somewhere with a lot of jungle. You hear some crappy music and see some supervisor at the plant walking down a line of workers. Then cut to a hand pulling down a slide lever. Then back to the guy walking, seemingly further along. Then the hand pulling down another slide lever. By the third time, you realize that you are seeing the SAME guy, the SAME hand, the SAME FOOTAGE, repeated in order to fool any naïve 3-year-olds in the audience. And at that point I started to giggle.

Soon after a rat attack on a moron the zombie apocalypse starts, and our heroes arrive on the island. As they walk along, they look to the left and see a monkey in a tree, or to the right and see a crocodile sliding into the water, and soon you realize that they're using stock nature footage. Stock nature footage, that is, that they have made NO attempt to match with the footage they have shot of the actors. It made me giggle even more.

And then you realize that A FULL THIRD OF THE MOVIE IS GOING TO BE COMPOSED OF STOCK NATURE FOOTAGE. And you are right. And then you add to that the horrible dubbing. And the hideous dialogue. And the ludicrous plot. And the stupid things the characters do. And pretty soon I was giggling uncontrollably, which continued nearly throughout.

What is most precious about this movie is the way the poor actors, using their already meager skills, have to feign some reaction to the stock nature footage that is going to be inserted. My favorite example of this is when the female on the team decides that, since she spent time as a native anthropologist living with some tribe in the past, and promptly removes her shirt [straights note: tits displayed here]. Then she paints herself with some LUDICROUS sixth-grade-hall-display approximation of "native body paint," and heads into the native village. As she walks in, she turns her head to the left and gasps, and then you see, as though this is what she was looking at, some stock footage of some skulls or something. Then she turns to her right and her eyes widen. and then you see some stock footage of natives piercing their lips or something. The whole thing is hilarious on many levels: 1) there is NO interaction between our heroine and the natives, who are supposed to be standing four feet away, 2) the set markings and huts look absolutely nothing like the ones in the native footage, and 3) if all the stuff going on in the footage were really happening at once, well, sure would be a busy little beehive!

And the thing is, nearly the ENTIRE movie is like that. At one point our heroes are in the middle of a field when one of them glances to his left and sees a bunch of natives paddling in a canoe.

There are other aspects to admire:

> The soundtrack isn't just a rip-off of Dawn of the Dead, the soundtrack IS that of Dawn of the Dead.
> The characters discuss how you have to shoot the zombies in the head, then proceed to unload round after round into their chests.
> You will not be able to miss the tophat and tails number.
> Just go to the beach. there'll be a boat RIGHT THERE.
> There are a number of scenes of the characters cavorting in front of the zombies, saying: "Ha ha! Too slow! You won't catch me! I won't be zombie meat! You won't find me on your dinner plate!"
> Please promise me you'll watch this film.

If you happen to get the DVD of this film that has another film by the same director; Rats: Night of Terror, you might think "Woo hoo! Twice the shitty movie bang for my buck!" However, you'd be wrong. Rats isn't nearly as hootworthy as Hell of the Living Dead. Maybe it's just that I was kind of hoping for more of the same. It's inane, to be sure, but somehow the magic just isn't there. Too bad.

Should you watch it: 

YES. Probably best watched with a few buddies and copious alcoholic beverages.