Three pranksters run afoul of a witch when they unwittingly cause the death of her son. She takes a magical bath, transforms herself into a beautiful woman, seduces all three (one after another in the same bed) and plants pumpkins filled with the aborted remnants of their passionate encounter to grow three avenging ghouls. Before you can say ’hocus pocus’, she is wreaking her bloody revenge and teaching them what it means to be DEAD AND ROTTING, in this latest DVD release from Tempe Video.
Director David P. Barton is a childhood friend of producer/director J.R.Bookwalter, as well as making amateur super-8 films together in high school, Barton supplied several creature FX for Bookwalter’s directorial debut THE DEAD NEXT DOOR before going on to handle FX for PHANTASM 2 and THE ABYSS. Unlike the usual Fangoria-Fan-FX-films, DEAD AND ROTTING stands head and shoulders over the usual fare, with a tight, intelligent script, excellent cinematography, sound, and competent (if somewhat camp) acting.
I was a little concerned at first with the stereotypical character names, and twanging guitar in the background, but within the first minute could see this was light-years away from Barton’s childhood films which are featured in the excellent assortment of special features included on the DVD along with an interview with the Director, audio commentary, behind the scenes footage, and a truly nasty short feature by Chris Seaver (also starring Debbie Rochon), which you won’t be sharing with friends and family entitled FILTHY MCNASTY. The occasional lapses in logic and the lighting set-ups are the only thing that irked me as some of them were so obviously constructed and unreal, including the clichéd backlighting and smoke machine that accompanied each appearance of the murderous pumpkin heads.
You could do far worse than buy or rent this movie. It’s not scary, but it is original and well produced. I enjoyed it and would certainly show it to friends. I could only have wished for more glimpses of the buxom Debbie Rochon who played the young witch incarnation and Tammi Sutton who plays a former stripper turned white witch. When you watch the extras and listen to the commentary you get the feeling that these people love what they do, without pretension and it comes across in the film.
Directed by David P. Barton
USA / 2002 / 72 minutes.
SPECIAL DVD FEATURES
Dolby Digital Widescreen 5.1 suround mix / 16:9-enhanced (1.85:1 aspect ratio)
DEAD & ROTTING