After a zombie epidemic has run rampant across the country (an unofficial homage/follow up to Romero’s Zombie trilogy) the U.S. government sets up a military zombie squad to cull their numbers. When the odds get too high and one of the squad gets infected, a small group set off to find an antidote but run afoul when they encounter a crazy cult of Zombie lovers.
This film has been hailed as the most expensive super-8 film ever made. Originally planned as an SOV, J.R. Bookwalter following the advice of Sam Raimi (Evil Dead) decided to try and make a film with Hollywood scope on a Camcorder-Straight-to-Video budget.
THE DEAD NEXT DOOR suffers pitfalls that you encounter in most low budget films, such as dire acting, poor sound, and out of focus phtography, but it makes up for it with an intelligent (if not entirely original) script, impressive FX and a whole heap of imagination, sometimes surpassing it’s inspiration with sheer audacity and vigour.The film bears the usual tribute character names e.g. Officer Raimi and Doctor Savini and the obligatory Fangoria magazine appearance, which can really grate on you, but don’t let that spoil it for you. This is an impressive independent and one that other amateur filmmakers would do well to try and better and remains superior to the majority of the director’s other works.
The original UK release was under the Screen Edge label, but this recently issued DVD comes courtesy of Tempe in the USA and from Cryptkeeper films in the UK. Unfortunately both prints are grainy and in places it looks like the original was left lying around on the floor picking up dust. No attempt at digitally remastering has been made, and the Tempe (USA) release features no extras, so it’s the Cryptkeeper UK release to look out for.
Directed by J. R. Bookwalter
USA / 1989 / 82 minutes.
SPECIAL DVD FEATURES
15 Years in 15 minutes documentary
A Cryptkeeper Films DVD release
All region. PAL. Dolby Digital. Full Frame 1.33:1
THE DEAD NEXT DOOR