Category: Zombies

“Day Zero” (2022) starring Brandon Vera / Z-View

Day Zero (2022)

Director: Joey De Guzman

Screenplay by: Ays De Guzman

Starring: Brandon Vera, Pepe Herrera, Mary Jean Lastimosa.

Tagline: When the dead rise, humanity falls.

The Story:

As a zombie virus spreads like wildfire, Emon (Vera) fights to get home to his wife and child.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)

Brandon Vera is a former MMA fighter.  He has the potential to become a better known action star.

Day Zero is low budget zombie film.  It also had potential.  Pepe Herrera was Vera’s comic relief sidekick.  Thankfully, the comedy wasn’t over the top.  As Vera and Herrera fought their way to save Vera’s family the action became to repetitive.  I taped out after 43 minutes.

“The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live” starring Danai Gurira & Andrew Lincoln – The Teaser Trailer is Here!

I hate that Rick was gone for years from The Walking Dead, but I am looking forward to The Ones Who Live.

Danai Gurira (Michonne Hawthorne) and Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes) reveal what’s in store for the return of these two iconic characters. Don’t miss the series premiere of The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live February 25th on AMC and AMC+.

“The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon” – Season 1 (2023) starring Norman Reedus / Z-View

The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon – Season 1 (2023)

Created by: David Zabel

Director:  Daniel Percival (Eps.1 – 2, 5 – 6); Tim Southam (Eps. 3 – 4)

Teleplay by:  David Zabel (Ep. 1); Jason Richman & David Zabel (Ep. 2, 5); Coline Abert (Ep. 3); Shannon Goss (Ep. 4); Dani Parker (Ep. 5); Jason Richman & Laura Snow (Ep. 6)

Starring:  Norman Reedus, Clémence Poésy, Louis Puech Scigliuzzi, Blanc-Francard, Anne Charrier, Romain Levi, Adam Nagaitis, Eriq Ebouaney, Dominique Pinon and Melissa McBride.

Tagline: Hope is not lost.

The Plot: 

Daryl Dixon finds himself in France when he wakes up on a deserted beach.  How he got there will become clear as the season progresses.  His goal is to get back home.  Unable to speak the language and with no one he can contact for help, Daryl begins his journey.

Daryl is injured after encounters with a walker with corrosive blood and killers who are part of a paramilitary group.  When Daryl comes across a fortress held by nuns, he is given aide.  There Daryl meets Sister Isabelle (Poésy) and a young boy named Laurent (Scigliuzzi).  The nuns and others throughout France have heard of Laurent.  Many, for reasons that will become clear, believe that Laurent will be the savior of humanity.  He will lead France to a new golden age.  Sister Isabelle tells Daryl that it was prophesied that a warrior would come who would safely take Laurent to Paris where followers await.

Daryl ain’t buying it.

But when Sister Isabelle promises that she has people in Paris who could help Daryl get back to America, he agrees. Cue the walkers.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)

It’s neat seeing Daryl as a stranger in a strange land.  It is cool how quickly people/groups came to realize how dangerous/resourceful Daryl is.

I like the idea of the nun with a past and how she is working to receive redemption.  I also got a kick out of what became of the man she left behind.

Seeing zombies we are familiar with as well as new “strains” of zombies is something that needs to continue in small doses.  I like the “explanation” for the new fast and strong walkers.

Except for Norman Reedus, (and a cameo by Melissa McBride) all of the actors/actresses were new to me except for one.  I couldn’t figure out where I’d seen him before.  So I looked up Dominique Pinon.  He was Vriess in Alien: Resurrection!

The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon – Season 1 features some of the best Walking Dead episodes in recent memory.  Bring on Season 2.

“The Walking Dead: Dead City” – Season 1 (2023) starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan & Lauren Cohan / Z-View

The Walking Dead: Dead City – Season 1 (2023)

Written by: Eli Jorné (eps. 1-2, 4, 6); Keith Staskiewicz (ep.3); Brenna Kouf (ep. 5)

Directed by: Loren Yaconelli (eps. 1-2); Kevin Dowling (eps. 3-4); Gandja Monteiro (eps. 5-6)

Stars: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Lauren Cohan, Gaius Charles, Mahina Napoleon, Zeljko Ivanek, Logan Kim, Jonathan Higginbotham, Karina Ortiz, Michael Anthony, David Chen and Lisa Emery

Tagline: Keep Your Enemies Close

The Plot…

Maggie’s son, Hershel, has been taken hostage by a sadist known as “The Croat”.  The Croat was an enforcer for Negan, when Negan led The Saviors. So Maggie recruits Negan to go with her to Manhattan to rescue Hershel.  Negan agrees on the condition that Maggie’s group give Ginny, a young orphaned girl, refuge.

Maggie and Negan head to Manhattan unaware that three Marshalls are tracking Negan who is wanted for murder.  Because of their past history, Maggie and Negan’s partnership is uneasy at best.  Add in the complications of the Marshalls, New York City full of zombies, dangerous survivalist groups, plus the sadistic Croat with plans of his own… let the fun begin!

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

The Walking Dead: Dead City – Season 1 clocks in with just six episodes, which is a smart move.  I think all of the Walking Dead spin-offs should come up with a story to tell and get to it,

I wasn’t too sure about the pairing of Negan and Maggie.  Maggie’s hate for Negan should override every reason for her to be around, much less work with him for a common goal.  Then the writer’s came up with a plausible reason… to save her son.  I liked how Negan put his murdering her husband back on Maggie when he asked her “How many husbands have you killed?”  Maggie also got to see how Negan using over-the-top “theatrics” when murdering a person kept a group from attacking them.  Well played, writers.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Laura Cohen are two of the most popular Walking Dead characters.  They have the star power to carry the series.  Zeljko Ivanek plays The Croat with zeal.  Gaius Charles as the Marshall is an interesting character that I believe will be come more important in season two.  Lisa (Ozark) Emery is a welcome addition to the cast. She was mean in Ozark and now she’s mean and creepy.

Bring on Season 2.

The Walking Dead: Dead City – Season 1 (2023) earns 4 of 5 stars.

“Night of the Living Dead” (1968) directed by George Romero / Z-View

Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Director: George A. Romero

Screenplay: John Russo, George A. Romero

Stars: Duane Jones, Judith O’Dea, Karl Hardman, Marilyn Eastman, Keith Wayne, Judith Ridley, Kyra Schon, S. William Hinzman, Bill Cardille, John A. Russo, Russell Streiner and George A. Romero.

Tagline:  They won’t stay dead!

The Plot…

When the dead suddenly begin reanimating with a craving for human flesh, a group of strangers find themselves together in a deserted farmhouse.  As the group argues about their best moves for survival, the dead continue to gather outside!  Soon the farmhouse will be overrun.  The clock is ticking.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)

Night of the Living Dead, shot on a shoestring budget with most of the cast taking their first acting roles, reinvented and revitalized zombie movies.  Investors in the film, many of the people who worked on the film behind the scenes and some of locals ended up taking on-screen roles as well.

Although NotLD is one of the most profitable independent films of all-time.  Sadly, George Romero didn’t see much of the profits due to his little understanding of distribution deals.  To make matters worse, the film was released with no copyright notice which at the time placed it in the public domain.  Anyone or any company could make a sell copies of the movie with no proceeds going to George Romero or his investors.  That’s why there are so many crappy versions available.

NotLD takes place on the first day of a zombie apocalypse.  No one knows what is going on or the best course of action.  One of the interesting aspects of NotLD is that Harry Cooper argues that everyone is safer in the basement.  Cooper is the least likeable of the group and a different course of action is taken.  Turns out Cooper’s idea was the best.

Night of the Living Dead (1968) rates 5 of 5 stars.

SGT. ROCK VS the ARMY OF THE DEAD by Bruce Campbell and Eduardo Risso!

Bruce Campbell teamed with Eduardo Risso to create SGT. ROCK VS the ARMY OF THE DEAD.  Here’s the lowdown…

Berlin, 1944. The Nazis are besieged on all fronts by the Allied forces. Defeat is inevitable. But Hitler and his team of evil scientists attempt a last-ditch effort that may turn the tide of the war and rewrite history itself: a serum that resurrects their dead soldiers, stronger than they were in life, and sends them back into the battlefield.

Now Sgt. Frank Rock and Easy Company have been dispatched into enemy territory to face off against the strangest, most horrific enemies they’ve ever encountered: Nazi zombies!

Sgt. Rock and Easy Company are behind enemy lines, armed to the teeth, and ready to go up against the strangest-and deadliest-enemies they’ve ever encountered: zombies, and a whole lot of ’em! Strap in, soldiers, it’s you against the world…of the dead!

Horror icon Bruce Campbell and comics legend Eduardo Risso bring you a terror-soaked Sgt. Rock tale like no other!

Collects DC Horror Presents: Sgt. Rock vs. The Army of the Dead #1-6.

“The Last of Us” – Season 1 (2023) starring Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey / Z-View

The Last of Us: Season 1 (2023)

Teleplay by: Craig Mazin & Neil Druckmann (episodes 1 & 9); Craig Mazin (episodes 2 – 6, 8); Neil Druckmann (episode 7)

Directed by: Craig Mazin (episode 1); Neil Druckmann (episode 2); Peter Hoar (episode 3); Jeremy Webb (episodes 4 & 5); Jasmila Žbanić (episode 6); Liza Johnson (episode 7); Ali Abbasi (episodes 8 & 9)

Stars: Pedro Pascal, Bella Ramsey, Anna Torv, Nico Parker, Merle Dandridge, Keivonn Woodard, Jeffrey Pierce, John Getz, Scott Shepherd, Storm Reid, Ashley Johnson, Nick Offerman, John Hannah, Terry Chen, Ian Rozylo, Graham Greene, Sonia Maria Chirila, Andy McDermott,  Christopher Heyerdahl, Nelson Leis, Elaine Miles, Marcus Aurelio and Adrian Hein

Tagline: Save who you can save.

The Plot…

2023.  Twenty years ago a pandemic caused by a bizarre easily transmitted fungal infection turned most of the world’s population into mindless mutant killing machines. Society collapsed.

Joel (Pascal) currently lives in a city under military rule.  Joel and his partner Tess (Torv) plan to escape the quarantine zone and head into the wilderness.  Joel’s brother is there somewhere with a group of freedom fighters.  As Joel and Tess make plans for their escape they encounter Marlene (Dandridge).  She can provide them with needed equipment if they will take Ellie (Ramsey) with them.  Ellie is an orphaned fourteen year old with a lot of attitude… and she just may be the key to a cure.

Joel, Tess and Ellie head out.  They will quickly discover the infected aren’t the worst thing they will have to deal with.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

The Last of Us is based on the popular video game of the same name.  I’ve never played it and didn’t know the story ahead of seeing the show.

Every episode contains twists, but none as brutal as in the first episode.  It should have been obvious looking at the posters, but I had avoided everything I could in regard to press for the show.  I was gobsmacked by how much I came to care for a character I had never seen before.

It’s interesting how time is played with throughout the series.  The first episode features a scene on a talk show that takes places 30 to 40 years before the start of the pandemic.  A scientist is talking about the dangers to humans that fungi could present with minor changes to the environment.  That was clever.  Each episode features flashbacks to strengthen the present story.

The characters are well cast, well written and well played. Of course not enough can be said about Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey.  They are supported by an amazing supporting cast. Standouts include Anna Torv, Nico Parker, Merle Dandridge, Jeffrey Pierce, Storm Reid, Nick Offerman, Graham Greene and  Elaine Miles.  Some of these characters appear in just one episode or a few scenes in one episode.  The attention to detail in getting the right person in each role, no matter how small pays off.

Joel (Pascal) and Ellie (Ramsey) are the heart and soul of the series.  Yet sometimes the people they meet take center stage. In episode three, titled Long, Long Time, Joel and Ellie become supporting characters, but this chapter remains essential viewing to The Last Of Us story.  Long, Long Time ranks with the best single episode of any continuing drama ever.  With each new outing we learn more about Joel, Ellie and the world they live in.  I wouldn’t want that reality, but I sure love visiting it.

The Last of Us is making the right choices in every department.  I look forward to season two.

The Last of Us: Season 1 (2023) earns 5 of 5 stars.

“The Ghost Breakers” (1940) starring Bob Hope & Paulette Goddard / Z-View

The Ghost Breakers (1940)

Director:  George Marshall

Writer:  Walter DeLeon based on the play The Ghost Breaker by Paul Dickey and Charles W. Goddard

Stars: Bob Hope, Paulette Goddard, Richard Carlson, Willie Best, Pedro de Cordoba, Virginia Brissac, Noble Johnson, Anthony Quinn, Tom Dugan, Paul Fix, Lloyd Corrigan  and Robert Elliott

Tagline:  The two stars of “The Cat and the Canary” find love and laughter in a haunted house!

The Plot…

On a voyage to Cuba Mary Carter (Goddard) and Larry Lawrence (Hope) develop a flirtatious relationship.  Mary is going to Cuba to claim an inheritance. Larry ended up on the ship by accident.  When Mary is told about ghosts and zombies on the land and mansion she’s inherited, Larry decides to stick around.  The mansion is just as creepy as she’d been told.  It’s full of secret passageways, walls with hidden panels, and a painting that looks just like Mary. When what appear to be ghosts and zombies show up, it may be time to sell!

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…

Due to the success of The Cat and The Canary, the studio wanted to quickly re-team Hope and Goddard. The Ghost Breakers fit the bill. Although they play different characters, the plots of both films are very similar.

This is the third time the play The Ghost Breakers was made into a film.  The first two versions were silent.  It was remade for a fourth time as Scared Stiff in 1953 with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.

The Ghost Breakers (1940) earns 3 of 5 stars.

“King of the Zombies” (1941) Starring Mantan Moreland & Dick Purcell / Z-View

King of the Zombies (1941)

Director:  Jean Yarbrough

Screenplay:  Edmond Kelso

Stars:  Dick Purcell, Joan Woodbury,  Mantan Moreland, Henry Victor, John Archer and Marguerite Whitten. 


The Overview:  Beware of spoilers…

1941.  World War II is raging across Europe.  James “Mac” McCarthy (Purcell) is flying his small plane from Cuba.  With McCarthy is his valet, Jeff Jackson (Moreland) and his buddy, Bill Summers (Archer).  A terrible storm blows them off course.  Running low on fuel, they pick up a transmission in a foreign language.  They spot a small island and although banged up, survive a crash landing.

Dr. Miklos Sangre (Victor) lives on the island with his wife, Alyce (Stacey), and his many servants.  Sangre invites Mac, Jeff and Bill into his mansion.  Sangre shows Mac and Bill respect, but Jeff is treated like one of the servants.  Jeff quickly picks up that something is off with Dr. Sangre. There are strange things taking place on the island.  Will Jeff be able to convince Mac and Bill?  And if they do believe Jeff will it be too late?

King of the Zombies was originally conceived as a straight up horror film.  Bela Lugosi was announced to star.  With the success of Bob Hope’s The Ghost Breakers, King of the Zombies was re-written as a comedy.  Mantan Moreland’s character was added.  The producers were unable to get Lugosi.  Their second choice was Peter Lore.  He was also unavailable, so they went with Henry Victor.  Victor is excellent as the creepy foreign agent.

The real star of King of the Zombies is Mantan Moreland.  He is excellent as the scared, but perceptive sidekick (who steals the show).  Marguerite Whitten who appeared with Moreland in Mr. Washington Goes to Town and Lucky Ghost, is a welcome addition as a source of information and Mantan’s love interest.  Madame Sul-Te-Wan makes a believable voodoo priestess.

King of the Zombies is a low budget “B” picture that is heads and shoulders above most of the same type films of this era.  If you’re a fan of the genre, you should enjoy King of the Zombies.

King of the Zombies earns 4 of 5 stars.

“Tales of the Walking Dead” Season 1 (2022) / Z-View

Tales of the Walking Dead Season 1 (2022)

Directors:  Ron Underwood (Ep. 1);Michael E. Satrazemis (Eps. 2 – 5);Haifaa al-Mansour (Ep. 4); Deborah Kampmeier (Ep.6)

Writers:  Maya Goldsmith & Ben Sokolowski (Ep.1);Kari Drake (Ep.2); Channing Powell (Eps.3, 5); Ahmadu Garba (Ep. 4); Lindsey Villarreal (Ep.6)

Stars:  Anthony Edwards, Parker Posey, Terry Crews, Danny Ramirez, Olivia Munn, Poppy Liu, Lauren Glazier, Kevin L. Johnson  and Embeth Davidtz

Tagline:  None.

The Overview:  Beware of spoilers…

Tales of the Walking Dead is an anthology series that takes place in the world of The Walking Dead.  Each episode is a self-contained story with no continuing characters.  This series sometimes ventures into different horror subgenres (time-loop, a haunted house/witch, etc.) which is refreshing.  I enjoyed all the episodes, but even if you find one lacking, the next is something different.

My favorites were:

1. “Evie / Joe” starring Olivia Munn and Terry Crews

4 “Amy / Dr. Everett” starring Poppy Liu and Anthony Edwards

5 “Davon” starring Jessie T. Usher

I hope we get a season 2.

Tales of the Walking Dead, Season 1 earns 4 of 5 stars.

“Among the Living” – The Trailer is Here!

I’m a sucker for a good zombie movie.  Among the Living looks like it could fit the bill.  Deal me in.

Stranded in the countryside in the aftermath of a deadly outbreak, older brother Harry fights to protect his younger sister, Lily, while he desperately searches to find refuge with their father. Harry and Lily are determined to survive their journey as they strive to avoid an infected population with a thirst for blood as well as the greater threat of other survivors.

“State of Emergency” (2011) / Z-View

State of Emergency (2011)

Director:  Turner Clay

Screenplay:  Turner Clay

Stars: Jay Hayden

Tagline: When the dead walk, the living… run.

The Overview:  Beware of spoilers…

When a chemical plant explodes, a toxin is released that turns people into blood thirsty cannibals.  The area is put on a military lockdown and survivors are to hunker down until help arrives.  Jim (Hayden) makes it to a farmhouse where three others have sought shelter.  Will they survive each other and the cannibals until help arrives?

State of Emergency is a low-budget, but well done film.  It is helped by a likeable cast, a decent story and able direction.  If you’re a fan of the genre, you should enjoy State of Emergency.

State of Emergency earns 3 of 5 stars.

“Zone of the Dead” aka  “Apocalypse of the Dead” (2009) Starring Ken Foree / Z-View

Zone of the Dead aka  Apocalypse of the Dead (2009)

Director:  Milan Konjevic, Milan Todorovic

Screenplay by:  Milan Konjevic from a story by Vukota Brajovic, Milan Todorovic

Starring: Ken Foree and Kristina Klebe

Tagline:  This City Is a Living Hell

The Overview:  Beware of spoilers…

Agents Mortimer Reyes (Foree) and Mina Milius (Klebe) are transporting a dangerous criminal when a zombie apocalypse breaks out.  The agents and criminal join forces in an effort to fight their way to safety.  Think Assault on Precinct 13 meets Night of the Living Dead (but not nearly as good as either).

Zone of the Dead isn’t good by any stretch of the imagination, but if you’re in the right frame of mind and enjoy zombie films, you could do worse.

Zone of the Dead aka  Apocalypse of the Dead earns 2 of 5 stars.