Saturday, August 15

One Last Damn Time: The Dead Next Door (1989)

Tempe Video's Collector's Edition VHS

What can I say, this is probably my fourth or fifth attempt at watching the "most expensive 8mm feature ever made" over the years, and I still struggled to get through it. Actually, this time was worse in that I fell asleep somewhere in the last half hour.

Bookwalter's film seems far too eager to suck at the altar of Raimi. Though this is understandable with rumors of much of the $75k (which might have been closer to $100k!?!) budget coming from the director's pockets. None of the actors stand out with the too clean-sounding post dubbing only hurting performances. The male lead, a Zombie Squad officer, even features the voice of Bruce Campbell. Queue Sam's pants dropping.

The later half's mad scientist/cultists ramblings seem purposely propped up to limit (for budgetary reasons?) the "epic" scope the marketing hype has always proclaimed this indie to be. As a case in point of an indie not pussing out, Leif Jonker's sprawling Darkness never chops its story at the knees in this fashion, and is much better for it.

The Dead Next Door ultimately proves to be overambitious for its filmmakers. Existing as a labor of love that was probably much funner to whittle away at for several years and more interesting for us to hear about its creation than to actually watch. Still it's worth checking out, considering how cheaply you can find it. The final product is a blast of hot (albeit vapid) air, despite the admirable intentions of those behind it.

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As an aside, I watched 2002's Dead & Rotting afterward and had a much better time and didn't doze off. An easy-watchin' mix of boiled cat curses, a witchy Debbie Rochon sexing, plant zombies, and hay-stuffed muck men born from slimy afterbirth armed with sickles.
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8 comments:

Jenn said...

Now you know cat boiling isn't on my list of things that are easy to watch, Jay. Poor cats! Even if they are necessary for curses. But I'm down with Debbie Rochon in sexy situations, plant zombies and sickle-toting placentas!

Sehnzeleid said...

Actually if it's any conciliation, three guys hire two stoner idiots to scare a supposed old hag witch and they end up boiling her cat (off-screen), she discovers this (it's actually her son) and then launches a plan of vengeance by seducing them in a young form (Rochon) to kill them.

Sehnzeleid said...

...with said sickle-toting placentas. Hahaha...

Jenn said...

It is a great consolation, thank you. If the cat killing takes place off camera, I'm good. I had to walk out of the Williard remake.

Sehnzeleid said...

Oh, it's "consolation"...duh

Damn, I just made a huge error in my response to an English professor. Hehehe...

Jenn said...

I didn't even notice your spelling error! I'm a terrible English professor. Well, that's not true, I just drink too much :P

Love your new profile pic, btw.

Carl (ILHM) said...

The first act always reels me in, but then the film just falls apart, I have trouble making it through this one without a bag of seeds keeping me awake

Sehnzeleid said...

Bag of seeds? Yeah, the opening is great, I'll give it that.

Thanks Jenn! Even though I think I look nuts in the pic...

...do you dare tread upon the staircase?
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