Tag Archives: Bruno Mattei

104: Hell of the Living Dead Plus: More Journey of the Living Dead & More Halloween Shopping, Haunters, and Matilda!

Arnold and Natalie are off to Pennsylvania for the Doctor of the Dead’s birthday, and chat about more Halloween shopping as well as three films: The Italian zombie “classic,” HELL OF THE LIVING DEAD (1980); the recent Netflix documentary, HAUNTERS: THE ART OF THE SCARE (2017); and MATILDA (1996)! It’s Sweet Death and more in this all-new DOCTOR OF THE DEAD podcast!

Show Music: “Rage” (feat. Vosmoy) by Still Pluto.

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On Twitter, find the Doctor at @DoctoroftheDead and Natalie at @nblitofsky!

SHOW LINKS:

Zombies: The Beginning (2007)

THE PATIENTS

Director: Bruno Mattei
Writers: Antonio Tentori, Giovanni Paolucci
Starring: Yvette Yzon, Alvin Anson

THE PATHOLOGY

The lone survivor of her ill-fated group following a horrific visit to the creature-infested location seen in the previous film, Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) is sent with a military team by her corrupt corporate masters to investigate the loss of communication with a…oh wait, did I say Ripley? I meant Sharon (Yvette Yzon). Anyway… Sharon, the soldiers, and a sleazy company rep find themselves trapped by an ever-advancing horde of mutant zombie monsters back on the ISLAND OF THE LIVING DEAD, and soon Sharon will have to venture deeper than ever before to uncover the horrific secret birthing chamber where creepy black-eyed baby demons dance maniacally around a huge brain in a case. Spoilers? You’re complaining about spoilers now? Are you kidding me?

THE PROGNOSIS

Quickly undoing the surprise ending of ISLAND OF THE LIVING DEAD in order to allow for Sharon’s story to continue – and admittedly, folding her final reveal from that film into a recurring nightmare works very well even if we then get that dream repeated many many times – ZOMBIES: THE BEGINNING then proceeds to do a quick name “search and replace” throughout Jim Cameron’s ALIENS script. I’m not kidding. It’s sad that for his last production, Mattei chose not to create much of anything original and instead shot the equivalent of a crappy fan film posted to YouTube. Actually, let me take that back; that’s an insult to crappy fan films posted on YouTube. As for “writer” Antonio Tentori, who appears on both DVDs in some very nice interview featurettes, can he really claim the writing credit here since this movie is indeed ALIENS with entire chunks of dialogue quoted verbatim and huge sequences re-created shot for shot? Game over, man, game over.

And there’s the aforementioned brain in a case. That talks. And then explodes. For no reason.

That is not to say, however, that you can’t have some fun with this. In fact, ZOMBIES: THE BEGINNING (or ZOMBIE GENISYS, foretelling TERMINATOR: GENISYS by eight years) is better than its predecessor, but that’s because the action ramps up significantly, the resulting carnage provides some bloody set pieces to satiate the gorehounds, and the bizarre finale – which replaces the Queen Alien’s egg chamber with hentai-esque tentacled insanity and some of the creepiest kids outfitted with elongated heads and black eye caps you’re ever likely to see – is a study in surreal abandon. And there’s the aforementioned brain in a case. That talks. And then explodes. For no reason. This all happens in the film, trust me.

Kudos too for everyone in the cast; they give it their all, especially Yzon. When you’re trapped in something like this, you might as well devote every ounce of concentration to delivering a performance with conviction. Whether Yzon is bravely marching into danger or another cast member is gamely trying to recreate the performance of Bill Paxton or Paul Reiser, the ensemble does the best they can with what they’re given.

By the way…did you like CRIMSON TIDE (1995)? Besides basing most of the running time on an ALIENS “homage” that he didn’t get out of his system with 1989’s SHOCKING DARK, Mattei then pads the proceedings with footage stolen from Tony Scott’s submarine thriller, thus adding Viggo Mortensen to the cast list. And while we’re talking about the many ways this movie borrows (to put it inaccurately) from other sources, there are nods to DAY OF THE DEAD, RATS, IT’S ALIVE, and even a menagerie of misshapen monsters that would make the newscaster in NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD correct at long last. Don’t ask me where the white ape came from though, unless there was a spare Mugatu wandering around.

The ensemble does the best they can with what they’re given.

And so closes the career of Bruno Mattei, not at the end but THE BEGINNING. Although this last film and its immediate predecessor, ISLAND OF THE LIVING DEAD, are hardly sterling examples of cinematic storytelling to say nothing of being particularly notable zombie movies, it’s still just as important to thank Intervision and Severin Films for giving American zombie and Mattei fans a chance to finally see them at all!

RATING

04brains

HELP US BY ORDERING THE MOVIE VIA THIS LINK!

41: The Walking Dead S05E15 – iZombie S01E01

“Try” to keep up as things get dangerous behind the walls of the Alexandria Safe Zone! Season 5 of THE WALKING DEAD is drawing to a close and Rick may finally be going full-blown Shane before it’s over! Join Arnold and Scott as they crash through a window, roll around on the ground, and decide what was good, what wasn’t so good, and what sort of grade the Doctor thinks the episode deserves!

ALSO: We discuss the premiere episode of the new CW series IZOMBIE, Arnold talks about the new Indiegogo campaign for the planned remake of classic 1980 zombie film NIGHTMARE CITY spearheaded by TOM SAVINI and UMBERTO LENZI, and much more!

Show Music: “Bitter Pill” (feat. Vosmoy) by Still Pluto.

We welcome all feedback at doctorofthedead@yahoo.comcontact@g2vpodcast.com, or on the G2V Facebook page! Find the show on Twitter at @DoctoroftheDead!

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SHOW LINKS:
NIGHTMARE CITY INDIEGOGO CAMPAIGN

Island of the Living Dead (2007)

THE PATIENTS

Director: Bruno Mattei
Writers: Antonio Tentori, Bruno Mattei, Giovanni Paolucci
Starring: Yvette Yzon, Gaetano Russo

THE PATHOLOGY

The dumbest fortune hunters on the seas are having a bad day – they really should have studied up on things like how to successfully bring treasure chests to the surface – but when they discover a heretofore-unknown island, they embark on one of the most lackluster adventures this side of a rejected Scooby-Doo script. The location shooting is at times truly impressive, and the cinematography far better than it has any right to be. But once inside the island’s catacombs on sets that must have been left over from old GILLIGAN’S ISLAND or MONKEES episodes, the treasure hunters predictably split up, encounter a wide array of inconsistently powered ghost-zombie-vampires, do the flamenco, drink maggot-infested wine, and get themselves killed off way too slowly. You’ll be feeling shipwrecked yourself as this often padded and uneventful ‘adventure’ limps to its finale and one last attempt at a shocking twist.

THE PROGNOSIS

Bruno Mattei has a place in the hearts and guts of zombie fans from his work on immortal ‘classics’ like HELL OF THE LIVING DEAD and ZOMBI 3. ISLAND OF THE LIVING DEAD was his penultimate film – part one of a two-part saga – but it’s not exactly a triumphant return. There’s really no sugar coating it; this is a bad movie. The acting is amateurish (although admittedly you can tell that most of the cast members are really trying), the dialogue (assuming the dubbed lines are close to the original writing) is awkward and childish, and the quality of the production is a step or two above community theater. Ed Wood himself would be proud of the actors’ attempts to enliven their acting with cartoonish gesticulation and googly-eyed expressions, to say nothing of a familiar lack of discretion in waving guns around at colleagues; Plan 9 is definitely in effect. You do get the sense, however, that everyone involved is working hard to make this come together into something resembling a finished product, and that dedication alone is admirable.

Ed Wood himself would be proud of the actors’ attempts to enliven their acting with cartoonish gesticulation and googly-eyed expressions.

It’s also possible Mattei might have been deliberately playing up the flaws normally associated with his other films for the fun of it, but even if we give him that (and that’s a stretch), the movie still fails to deliver on much of what made his other work so memorable. This is a remarkably tame ‘exploitation’ film, with no nudity and little gore to provide visceral thrills; the only thing it exploits is the viewer. ISLAND could easily air on cable and look poor in comparison to edgier fare on commercial networks.

This is a remarkably tame ‘exploitation’ film, with no nudity and little gore to provide visceral thrills; the only thing it exploits is the viewer.

The zombies are a mildly interesting mix of monsters, with some of them gleefully stalking prey while others are quite chatty. They blur the lines between corporeal zombies, ghostly apparitions, and in some cases, skull-faced vampires! At least one of them demonstrates the ability to regrow a lost limb; that’s a new one on me. The movie also offers a veritable catalogue of zombie pop culture references, with nods to the genre’s Voodoo origins, scenes and lines of dialogue lifted wholesale from NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, ZOMBI 2, BURIAL GROUND, TOMBS OF THE BLIND DEAD, PSYCHO, THE FOG, and THE EVIL DEAD, and references to KING KONG as well as musical nods to ALIENS and the Berlioz piece heard in THE SHINING.

ISLAND OF THE LIVING DEAD may be a mess, but it’s still the first part of Mattei’s two-film farewell and a must-see for any zombie fan.

It is a shame that this is only presented dubbed; the only proper way to see films in another language is with the original soundtrack and subtitles. But if this is the only way we get to enjoy Mattei’s final zombie epics, it’s a cross we’ll have to bear. Besides, based on the acting we can see, it’s unlikely the original voices would change the proceedings too much. ISLAND OF THE LIVING DEAD may be a mess, but it’s still the first part of Mattei’s two-film farewell and a must-see for any zombie fan. Once you reach the typo-ridden disclaimer text at the end, you’ll surely be rushing to move on to the final chapter, so lock and load and join me for ZOMBIES: THE BEGINNING!

RATING

03brains

HELP US BY ORDERING THE MOVIE VIA THIS LINK!

36: The Walking Dead S05E10 – “Them”

The whole gang is back together and on the road as Season 5 of THE WALKING DEAD continues. They’ve lost so much, but they keep marching on, and Rick has a good idea why that is. Join Arnold and Scott as Arnold tries to get Scott to say anything about this episode – what was good, what wasn’t so good, and what sort of grade does the Doctor thinks the episode deserves?

Show Music: “Bitter Pill” (feat. Vosmoy) by Still Pluto.

We welcome all feedback at doctorofthedead@yahoo.comcontact@g2vpodcast.com, or on the G2V Facebook page! Find the show on Twitter at @DoctoroftheDead!

Please help support the continued production of G2V Productions:
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SHOW LINKS:
THE ROAD BY CORMAC McCARTHY

THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS

ZOMBIES: THE BEGINNING

ISLAND OF THE LIVING DEAD

@IntervisionCorp

@SeverinFilms