DVD/Blu-ray Reviews

Zombie Bloodbath Trilogy



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</script></div>{/googleAds}Just got my copy of this DVD two disc set and while not perfect, I found the overall experience to be a fun way to waste some time. I have to say right up front that I am a huge fan of Zombie movies, and I truly think that the fine people who made these films must be too. I also have a soft spot for people who are trying, sometimes against all odds, to live a dream. And again, these people are doing it. Is this some award-winning collection of amazing film? No. Not even close. But for what they do on their meager budgets, these films should be recommended. For me, the bottom line is always, was I entertained? Did I have a good time with this movie? And here the answer to both was Yes.

Zombie Bloodbath (69:00)
The first in the series is also the most raw. It opens with some kind of accident at a nuclear facility and people melt down or something. Cut to some years later and a new housing community is built over the old reactor site. Some kids making a video fall into a hole and find themselves trapped in the bottom levels of the facility. They get rescued, but the hole is not sealed and the people from the opening start lumbering out of the hole. Soon, the whole town is overtaken by the undead. And these zombies are fun.They go from cool rot makeup to the cheapest slap on white-face ever, but they are fun.

The whole movie culminates in a showdown between the final survivors of the area and the undead, with our heroes going into the reactor's lower levels to take out the flesh eating zombies and seal the hole forever! Pretty cheesy, but I think it was meant to be. Still, it moves very fast, has buckets of gruesome effects and really tries to have some style.

Over all, a fun little film that is VERY rough around the edges, but still had me laughing and enjoying the ride! I have seen many DV films, and some shot of video films, and many are quite dull, but this one really wasn't. While newer DV films are technically superior, they just aren't fun!

Zombie Bloodbath 2: Rage of the Undead (93:00)
Up next is Zombie Bloodbath 2: Rage of the Undead. Now this one left me a bit puzzled due to a few plot holes and some confusing twists here and there, but it is a better film on many levels. Director Todd Sheets truly shows a major leap in style and talent between the two films. Again, this is not for people who want gloss and Hollywood style Horror films, this is for people who like their zombies bloody, raw and grainy.

The story as far as I could tell, was basically about two robbers who in 1945 try and steal from an elderly couple only to find that the couple are members of a cult. One guy is simply killed and the other, the one in charge, is basically turned into a scarecrow and crucified and they stand him in the nearby field, still alive but dying. Cut to present day and a van full of college kids break down near a farmhouse. At the same time a group of convicts escape from a nearby jail. Both groups end up at the same house. The house was the one the elderly coupled used to live in and when one of the convicts knocks down the scarecrow and takes its jacket, it causes the scarecrow to wake up and he in turn brings the cult members back from the dead. Wow. And this is all in the first half hour.

There is another plot also going on in town where a couple of serial killer types have taken some workers at a deli hostage. This actually works though, as the people trapped in the house finally escape and end up in the same Deli. Most of the twists work out pretty good, but it is obvious that the film was just too complex in some spots for its own good. It all ends in a huge showdown with the remaining heroes finding a delivery truck or something full of flesh eating bacteria vials. Of course they throw it at the undead and cause some major melting and a few heads to explode and then we get an odd, thought provoking ending.

First, let me say, that while it was not always easy to follow, I still had a major good time with this movie. It was fun and the acting was pretty darn good for a low budget effort. It was obvious that Todd Sheets was truly trying to bring more to the table than a typical zombie film, and in that regard, he has succeeded. It had better special effects than the first film, great pacing and some cool music and visuals, plus there is a true show-stopper of a shot from INSIDE a mouth as a knife is jammed through it. Care was taken here and it shows.

The film is a good example of no budget cinema that could have used one more rewrite, but still shines with more style than most DV films I see. Not quite as fun as the first film, though a better movie technically.

Zombie Bloodbath 3: Zombie Armageddon (90:00)
Finally it was time to tackle Part Three in the series, Zombie Armageddon. The Zombie Bloodbath series appeals to me not just on the level of splatter, but also on the level of creativity it must have taken to make these work on any level, ad to make them all entertaining seems like an impossible task with budgets this low, yet I am always shocked at how much they kind of worked, even though they shouldn't. Part two had some really original ideas and part three really had me rolling for one simple fact. If Lucio Fulci made the Breakfast Club on a $150 budget, this may have been the end result. This one is easily the best in the series from a technical level, and it does have some pretty fun CGI effects here and there. Knowing when the film was made, I kind of expected the CGI to be worse than it was.

The kind of effects that DV films can utilize today are much more advanced than they were when this film was made. But it adds to the charm in a way, of this low budget effort. This time, the script is pretty tight and even with all the twists and turns, makes sense and has some humor and more heart than most DV films. The final twist as a matter of fact, was done quite well, and could have been super confusing, but turns out to be a cool idea and makes perfect sense. This is probably due to Todd Sheets growing even more as a director between the two films. His style, pacing and direction all seem more solid and it is fun to look back on all three and watch a guy grow and evolve as a moviemaker.

The story involves time travel, zombies, government conspiracies and more, and I would tell more about it, but it really is better to leave the surprises intact. I would love to have seen this script done on a bigger budget. Basically, in the future, the military needs more bodies for the war and create zombies to basically fight and win the battle. Well, they win like they were suppose to but then the question becomes, what do we do with all of them now? So the Government loads them all on a space shuttle and sends them into space. Of course, they end up hitting some sort of black hole and going back I time to present day and the Government intercepts them and takes them to a secret underground base. A nearby school is above ground but has some old tunnels under it that still lead to the base and when to science nerd types find a signal belonging to the old shuttle, they trace it, thus finding the undead.

Now, this sounds kind of far fetched, but in reality there is an air force base in Missouri that I know of, my uncle was stationed there, and it was next to schools and shopping areas and did have underground areas. Not only is Whiteman Air Force Base there, also an Army / military ammunitions Plant is there as well. Kind of cool to bring that local edge to the script. Though not as gory as the previous entries in this series, Zombie Bloodbath 3 does have some over the top gore moments and one standout scene involving a zombie fetus that had me both grossed out and rolling out of my chair. It still has more gore than a typical Hollywood film, but there was so MUCH splatter in the other two that this one does seem a bit mild in that area, but the film makes up for it with better acting, a good story and better style. Another fun ride in Zombieland for me, I would say that I look forward to more films from Todd Sheets.


DVD

DVD Details:

Screen formats: Full Screen 1.33:1

Subtitles: None

Language and Sound: English: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo

2-DVD Edition Includes:

* ZOMBIE BLOODBATH
* ZOMBIE BLOODBATH 2: RAGE OF THE UNDEAD
* ZOMBIE BLOODBATH 3: ZOMBIE ARMAGEDDON
* COMMENTARIES featuring Director TODD SHEETS
* Extensive BEHIND-THE-SCENES Documentaries
* Early GORY SHORT FILMS by Todd Sheets
* Camp Motion Pictures TRAILER VAULT

Zombie Bloodbath

Extra Features

* Commentary track: With writer/director Todd Sheets
* Featurettes: Behind-the-Scenes featurette

The acting is uneven, but a few good performances shine through and one really should listen to the commentary track. I went back and watched it again with that on and found it to be a good bit of information on the trials and fun that the crew and cast experienced on the movie. Director Todd Sheets seems pretty proud of this, his first film, but also has no delusions. He knows it's a trashy zombie movie, but he does show respect to people involved. Also, Sheets has a great sense of humor and some humble integrity that others could learn from in the movie field. The behind the scenes of Zombie Bloodbath is pretty fun as well. I felt it was almost as entertaining as the film it was made for. There are some great interviews and behind the scenes footage, mixed with news stories about the film from some major places like CNN, FOX and MTV.

Zombie Bloodbath 2: Rage of the Undead

Extra Features

* Commentary track: With writer/director Todd Sheets

The weakness lies in the scripting and in a few of the lazier performances. Again, I recommend listening to the commentary track. It was even better than the first one and I learned a lot. Like finding out that some of the scenes were shot on Super 8 film for effect and that the film came back ruined from the lab and they could not use it. And they had already been editing the film by the time they got the film back, so some of the confusion is from a few scenes not being in the film. Also, I learned that Todd Sheets truly has a passion and love for making Horror movies. It shows.

Zombie Armageddon

Extra Features

* Commentary track: none
* Featurettes: Behind-the-Scenes featurette

There was no commentary on this one but the behind the scenes featurette was cool and I enjoyed all of the interviews.

There is a raw short film that I found fun on a warped level, though VERY low budget, and some cool trailers to round out the collection. Overall, this is a solid, if a bit flawed, release with plenty of extras and TONS of gore and splatter. While not breaking any grand rules of move making, I found the series to be fun and always a laugh, so I give this set a solid recommendation.

Todd Sheets was not trying to make award winning art here folks, he was trying, sometimes against all odds it seems, to make fun zero-budget, splattery horror and to that end, he has succeeded in spades. And really, when looking back at the time these films were being made, he was one of the first to grab a camera and follow his dreams and the fact that I am reviewing a film made almost 20 years ago, shot on video with unkowns in the middle of nowhere, proves that in some way, he is successful and an innovator in the area of low budget DV movies. Knowing very little going into this set, from the commentary, the films and the behind the scenes features I learned a lot about this director and his crew and his films, and I actually am pleased to say that I hope to learn more and find more of his films in the future.

Number of discs: - 2 with Keepcase Packaging

{pgomakase}

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