I did a big critical no-no, I requested this DVD to review because I had all the intentions in the world to completely bash the living crap out of it. I was out for blood and was ready to have no remorse about it. But, the joke is on me, because Corpses Are Forever actually isn’t half bad. Crap, I really wanted to be negatively witty. Damn you Jose Prendes! Zombie movies have all been the rage lately. On the heels of the September releases, Resident Evil: Apocalypse and Shaun of the Dead and with critical masterpieces like House of the Dead and Dawn of the Dead behind us, one can say the genre has yet to be sucked dry just yet. Enter the low budget filmmaker, where slow motion action sequences and trying to look cool ceases to be a factor. Corpses Are Forever in no way tries to appeal to the bastard MTV generation that modern Hollywood horror flicks tend to cater too, instead it’s just a campy shoestring production out to entertain. It is both bad and good in that great cheesy way. It’s Evil Dead for the new millennium.
C.I.A. Agent Malcolm Grant (Jose Prendes) finds himself in the midst of Armageddon. The dead have risen and darkness has clouded the earth. It’s up to him and some kind of government operation, run by General Morton (Richard Lynch), to determine a way to stop this epidemic through the use of scientific experiments on Grant’s mind. As the truth unravels, it turns out it’s not the government who’s behind this whole 'end of the world' plan, but instead a higher, or rather, lower power. It is up to Agent Grant, with the help of a Priest (Bill Perlach), his rogue nurse (Brinke Stevens), and his estranged wife (Debbie Rochon) to take down the system that brought the zombie bloodbath on our planet.
Rather than being scary or thrilling, Corpses Are Forever is intriguing. The film plays out in both real time and flashback, in bother color and black & white. Each flashback reveals more and more about the ultimate climax, and has the viewer hooked within the first ten minutes. The zombie element is just a backdrop to what’s going on inside the story - an espionage murder mystery. How the heck they all come together and make a pretty decent flick is beyond me. Secret agents, zombies, the Devil? You’ve gotta be kidding me. But hey, if Elvis and JFK can fight a Mummy at an old folk’s home...and have it be interesting, anything is possible.
Jose Prendes is the guy responsible for this flick. His transformation from the flashbacks to the present day will have you double taking. As director, writer, producer, and star of this flick, he brought forth a movie that is quite fresh and promising, and with a bigger budget it could’ve been a cult phenomenon. Instead he does the best he can with what he has and that needs to be commended. He was able to bring into this production a cast of B-movie horror veterans, most notably Linnea Quigley (The Return of the Living Dead), Debbie Rochon (Tromeo & Juliett), Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp), and Richard Lynch (Puppet Master III: Toulon’s Revenge). Granted it’s not like they have much to do now, but throwing B-horror talent like that in front of the camera can mean only one thing. Prendes is a fan - and it is that fan mentality that brings us this guilty pleasure.
Like most low budget horror flicks the dialogue is cheesy, the blood is plentiful, and the acting is atrocious - But that’s the idea. It doesn’t take itself seriously, yet at the same time it does. Parts are played deadpan and soon after tongue is placed comfortably in cheek. My only problem with the flick is that some of the colored sequences make it look as if the movie is a porno - in a movie with no nudity whatsoever, that is not a good thing. I kept waiting for it, and when it (sort of) came I was disappointed.
Overall, Corpses Are Forever is a pretty decent flick for what it is. It accomplishes what it was going for and makes you think. That's quite rare in a “zombie” movie. If you find yourself pacing up and down the aisles of the video store and can’t quite make up your mind as to which flick to pick up for an evening at home...give this a try. It won’t hurt. Besides, whether you like it or not, there will be a sequel anyway. I for one am looking forward to The Corpse Who Loved Me. Well, you would think a release like this would barely have a decent menu screen let alone extras, but you’d be wrong. It has a menu screen which resembles a cross between Night of the Living Dead and James Bond movie, and has extras. In fact it has a commentary, one little featurette, and several trailers.
The Audio commentary on the disc is from director/writer/producer/star Jose Prendes, as well as his cinematographer Alvaro Rangel, fellow producer Don Calfa, and Prendes’ girlfriend (an actress in the film) Jessica Lewis. The four of them talk about the troubles of trying to pull together this cheap project courtesy of Prendes’ trust fund, point out the little mistakes, lament about the harsh schedule, and criticize Rangel for his accent. Nonetheless the commentary did what it was supposed to, it was informative and entertaining. It ceased to be ninety minutes of ass kissing like most commentaries, and instead showed a side to filmmaking that has really not been seen.
The featurette plays out like a version of MTV Cribs, yet without shoving a person’s egotistical self worth down your throat. We follow actress Linnea Quigley around her house in Florida as she gives us the grand tour of all her horror memorabilia from previous works on other B-movies while at the same time showing off her dogs...and all in a bikini. Too bad she’s a “buttaface”.
There is a trailer for this flick on the disc, as well as other trailers for upcoming Asylum releases. They’re all really bad as far as trailers go, but it’s good to see people at least trying.
I had low expectations taking this off the shelf at Hollywood Video, and was quite surprised after I finished everything on the disc. The folks over at The Asylum Home Entertainment put out a pretty good disc. I applaud both them and Jose Prendes for completely shocking me with a decent DVD and an all-right movie.
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