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(Apr 24, 2018)
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A policeman (Ed Nelson) and a psychic (Deborah Rose) link cult mayhem to a morgue (run by Norman Fell) where ancient ghouls are on the loose. The film plunges into the nightmarish experiences of a portly, depressed psychic (Deborah Rose), whose involvement in a grisly child-murder case leads her and her detective partner (Ed Nelson) to an imposing, fortress-like mortuary. Chen the owner of the funeral home and prime suspect in the case, claims the three mummified corpses in question are not children but ancient demons known as Kyoshi . It seems the little monsters have been around for centuries as a result of an age-old curse and can only be placated with offerings of human flesh with which the mortician has been supplying them his entire life. When Chen is jailed on murder charges, the under-fed ghouls awaken in search of dinner, trapping the staff inside the mortuary walls and devouring them. The survivors, including Rose and Nelson, use every means at their disposal to combat the demons, which have possessed the bodies of morgue attendant Mrs. Poopinplatz (Phyllis Diller) and her poodle, mutating them into hideous monsters.
-New HD Restoration from the Original Negative - Financed by Code Red s Credit Card
-Extensive Color Correction exclusive to the Code Red release version
-Uncompressed LPCM Stereo Soundtrack
-Audio Commentary with Director James Cummins and Producer Richard F. Brophy
-Interviews With Actress Phyllis Diller, Director James Cummins and Producer Richard F. Brophy
-BRAND NEW Exclusive To Code Red Version, Interview with Producer Phil Smoot and Crew Members From North Carolina
-Reversible Sleeve with Alternate Artwork
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The story follows two detectives Jersey Callum (Ed Nelson, the worst overactor in the bunch,) and Gordon Mullen (James Eustermann) as the young cop with a point to prove. To help the investigation into some child murders they enlist the help of a psychic, Alley Cates (Deborah Rose,) who phones in her performance. Phyllis Diller and her psychotic poodle run the morgue and it will not surprise you to learn that before long zombie children are out of control in the building. You can imagine the pandemonium as the zombie spawn (who sort of look like Chaka from "Land of the Lost" in fright wigs, only much less frightening) rampage and the film essentially devolves into yet another in a long line of "people trapped with something bad in a scary building" movies.
Having said that, all is not boring or predictable: to see Diller as a zombie is a cinematic treasure that makes the film worthwhile by itself (although it is debatable whether she was scarier before or after her zombification.) As an aside, in the interviews, Diller reveals this is a rarity, in that it's the only movie she has ever made with her actual hair showing! As if Phyllis Diller as a zombie wasn't entertaining enough, just wait until you see the ultimate evil in the film: her giant mutated zombie poodle. It's simply epic. Likewise, it's demise is both ludicrous and perfect, and is a comedically worthy capstone to the movie.
There are many extras on the DVD including a fairly boring commentary, and some interviews. The interview with Phyllis Diller is actually really fun to watch, and she is in good humor for it. There are also trailers, photo galleries, biographies, and several features that require a computer to access (like a script, for instance.) I loaded mine up on my PC and these features worked but were balky to access.
In the end this is a fun movie that will amuse any horror or Phyllis Diller completist. It suffers from pacing problems, and the framework has been done many times before, but when you add zombies, Phyllis Diller, and a truly mental poodle into the mix, it's still worthwhile viewing.
I watched this quite a while ago and then seem to have forgotten to either log it on the spreadsheet or review it. Since it took me the first twenty minutes of the film to realize I'd seen it before, this is not a big surprise; it's a very forgettable film, save Phyllis Diller's hysterical (but very small) role. I even considered the possibility I'd seen it under another title and checked the director's name, and still couldn't turn it up in the archives. Oh, well.
Plot: Alley, a psychic (Troop Beverly Hills' Deborah Rose in her final screen performance to date), is burned out and wants the cops to leave her alone. Her closest friend on the force, though, Jersey Callum (Airport '75's Ed Nelson), begs her to help with one last particularly nasty case. After some hemming and hawing, she reluctantly agrees, and they head down to the morgue, where they meet up with the most awesome pair of morgue attendants you could ever ask for: Norman Fell (yes, Mr. Roper!) and Phyllis Diller, who has a toy poodle in tow. There are a few other characters, but you don't need to worry about them, they're zombie fodder. Yes, zombie fodder. Because, you see, this case is so nasty that the murdered kids (did I mention Alley specializes in kids?) have come back from the dead. They're pissed off and ready to eat anything that stands in their way. Which, of course, is everyone in the morgue.
James Cummins, who also wrote, was an effects guy on a number of interesting, and largely underrated, horror and sci-fi films over the years, including The Exterminator, Enemy Mine, Dead and Buried, and Strange Invaders. As such, you can expect some sterling special effects here, and you get 'em. (Considering it's the box art, I'm guessing it's not a spoiler to tell you the poodle gets it and then comes back as a zombie. Hysterical.) On the other hand, this was also Cummins' first attempt at writing and directing, and you can expect, well, what you expect when dealing with a first-time filmmaker. Which is not to say this is bad, exactly, it's just below average when it's not bringing its A game. Which is most of the time Phyllis Diller is not onscreen or her zombie poodle is not going around trying to kill people. Still, while I can't recommend the entire film, it's absolutely worth renting for Diller's appearance.
(And yeah, I like Enemy Mine. You got a problem with that?) **
A detective and a homely psychic go to a coroner's office to investigate a Japanese man's claim that his ancestors have been protecting humanity from zombie children. This sounds fun, but it takes over 40 minutes for anything to happen and those 40 minutes are painfully stale with wretched writing and talentless acting; it's not even campy or cheesy, it's just plain bad even by "bad horror" standards.
Thankfully, at some point they realized they had to let the cat out of the bag. And in this case "the cat" is a trio of slimy, twitchy Asian zombie children. These zombies have a little more flavor than most. Being hundreds of years old, they look a bit like unwrapped mummies with sunken leathery faces and being children makes them a bit more creepy.
Like any good zombie, these zombies manage to infect others. Not by bite, but by contact with their slime. A despicably heinous old lady becomes infected and mutates into an eight foot tall, googly-eyed ghoul with menacingly clumsy long-limbed prosthetics. It was hilarious and awesome! Another fine infection greets us when the woman's poodle licks up some slimy zombie secretions. This poodle transforms into a giant, roid-raging monster reminiscent of Dead-Alive (1992).
Once this movie got going (about halfway through) it was a lot of fun and it managed to steer away from being "just another zombie movie" while maintaining all of the hokiness.