Calculate your chances...negative...negative...negative!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Cheepnis Review: Revolt of the Zombies/Vengeance of the Zombie

Old review of one of the discs from last year's insane Dollar Tree Haloween DVD collection. I still haven't had much time to watch the other 20 or so discs...

OK, I'm going to do a quick review of the first of the Family Value Halloween discs I've had a chance to watch. First side is Revolt of the Zombies from 1936. Apparently this is a sequel of sorts to the classic White Zombie and Lugosi's eyes make an uncredited guest appearance as the one thing in the movie that is even half way creepy.

In a nutshell, a Cambodian priest creates zombies to help the Allies win World War One, but now he's "trying to take over the white race". (Yes, that's in the movie.) So, the scientists have to find and destroy the secret, but of course it doesn't work out that way. Jealous guy discovers the secret and tries to use it to win the woman he loves from dashing other guy.

The movie itself is slow and talkie. It's more about a love triangle than zombies and the zombies are more about being hypnotized than being undead. Lots of wooden acting, inane dialogue and process shots. Reminds me of the kind of movie you'd see on the first season of MST3K.

Anyway, this is pretty typical Public Domain fare. The print isn't too bad and the encode actually looks good. I didn't notice ghosting and in place where the film isn't too scratchy, the image quality is pretty sharp, if a little grainy. Could be a lot worse, though I'd hardly recommend going out of your way for this film.

The flip side, Vengeance of the Zombies, is a horse of an entirely different color. First, it's a European flick from the early 70s, so expect a totally different flavor. Second it appears to be uncut, so there's boobs and blood. Not exactly family friendly. Third, it's actually pretty good, in a cheesy sort of way.

I gave this a pretty casual view, so I'll try to relate what happened as best I can remember. Basically you have some voodoo invoked to create an army of the undead to exact revenge killings. That's the crux of it, anyway. There's an Indian guru named Krishna Eye Rolling, the cute redhead and the police type guy. That's pretty much what you need to know.

I really dug this film as it was low budget without being low class. The effects were pretty cool and had a bit of a sense of humor about them. It wasn't really "scary", but I did have a good time trying to figure out what was going on.

The quality of this release, which doesn't seem to be public domain, is pretty good. It's full frame, but you don't feel like you're losing anything. The print is clean, though I wish the audio was clearer as the music is so good cop show funk type tunes. It looks like this DVD was sourced from video, but at least they used a good copy to source from, assuming Family Value actually encoded this themselves.

I'd say try to find this one for Vengeance. Well worth the $1. Revolt, I assure you, you can pass on watching guilt free.

This disc is also an excellent example of the lack of quality control on Family Value's packaging. First off, Vengeance is misspelled on the cover. On the back, Revolt's time is listed incorrectly, Vengenance has no time listed and the description for the movie is a riot. (Apparently it was lifted from a fan site.)

Speaking of listing times, it occured to me that one of the other FV discs I got was a twofer with The Phantom Creeps. The listed time was 256 min, which would be about the run time of the entire serial. Though the entire serial has been issued on a single disc, I'm guessing it was either a flipper or dual layer, because without major compression, there's no way you could fit 4+ hours on a single layer side of a disc, like the kind FV uses.

Again, FV must have pulled it's info off a website without any consideration for what was actually on the discs as putting the disc in a player reveals the seventy some-odd minute movie that was made from the serial for TV rather than the entire seiral itself. That makes a lot more sense and just FYI if you see that disc and are scratching your head like I was.

No comments: