The Dead Hate The Living! (2000)
By: Paul Ryan on October 3, 2006  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Force Entertainment (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 4:3. English DD 2.0 91 minutes
The Movie
Director: Dave Parker
Starring: Eric Clawson, Jamie Donahue, Brett Beardslee, Wendy Speake
Screenplay: Dave Parker
Music: Jared DePasquale
Country: USA
A low-budget zombie film about the making of a low-budget zombie film is a great idea that gets middling treatment in Full Moon's The Dead Hate The Living!. Marking the directorial debut of film editor Dave Parker (who went on to co-write House of the Dead, but we'll ignore that for now), this is a bit of a jumble, but is put together with genuine enthusiasm and love of the genre.

Struggling director David Poe (Eric Clawson) is attempting to film a cheap zombie opus in an abandoned hospital with his friends. Whilst dealing with the usual pitfalls of independent filmmaking (no filming permits, difficult cast members, etc) he stumbles upon a real human corpse. Over the (quite understandable) objections of his cast and crew, David elects to use the body in the film, never giving any thought to just how this cadaver got there. Before long, David and his crew have inadvertently revived the long-dead Doctor Eibon (Matt Stephens) who unleashes a horde of honest-to-goodness undead upon the hapless movie folk…

More ambitious than most Full Moon productions (especially from this particular period) The Dead Hate The Living! struggles against the usual budgetary restrictions (especially when some dicky CGI is used to depict the zombies in flames), but also demonstrates a good appreciation of the tropes of the genre. References to David Warbeck, Lucio Fulci and George A Romero fly fast and furious. Some of these references are quite groan-worthy ("Make them die…slowly!" Eibon commands at one point), but others are amusing and clever. The all-important scenes of zombie carnage are well-handled and impressively gory. Despite his later association with Dr Boll's infamous cadaver opera, Parker displays enough talent behind the camera to make one feel a small pang of regret that he hasn't made any features to date since this one.
Presented on a single layer disc, Force's DVD presentation is a very mixed bag. Opening with some truly awful pixellation (especially in dark scenes) this improves as it goes along, but still isn't that great. The film itself looks as though it was shot on film and then edited on video, and as such often has the look of a TV show. As with most Full Moon titles, this made-for-video title is presented in 4x3 full frame.
A perfectly serviceable Dolby Stereo mix.
Extra Features
We miss out on the commentary which graced the R1 release, but there is still a neat selection of extras on offer.

Revival of the Living Dead: The Making of The Dead Hate The Living! (20.13): In a first for an Australian Full Moon release, we actually get the kind of behind the scenes featurette that accompanies most of their American releases. Parker speaks at length about his passion for the horror genre and the headaches of making a movie in just ten days. We get to see some amusing b-roll footage of two of the zombies (one of them the late Matthew McGrory of Big Fish and House of 1000 Corpses) singing, "I'm a Little Teapot" in full make-up. The cast gush about the director and each other (really painfully in the case of one actor) and the shared enthusiasm of all involved shines through.

Music Video: "Tears of Blood" by Penis Flytrap (9.39m, 4x3 Letterbox): An earlier short by Parker, this is a music video for obscure metal act Penis Flytrap. Crap song, bad acting, but good makeup and gore.

Trailer (1.46): Short and to the point, and with slightly better quality video than the feature itself.
The Verdict
Despite being a quickie production, The Dead Hate The Living! features enough good points to be worth at least a rental, though at just $9.95, it's a reasonably cheap buy. The video is lacking, but the sound is fine and the extras are better than you'd expect for a cheap little film.

And remember: What would Bruce Campbell do?
Movie Score
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