By Neil Jordan
So, If you’re on the east coast you’re no doubt experiencing the unusually harsh ‘arctic waves’. If you’re on the west coast you have to deal with the unseasonably warm weather.
Whether it’s trying to stay warm and keep the fires burning or finding the shade and a cool beverage, either you or someone you know is going to bring up the following idea ‘ … B-Movie Horror Marathon’.
Today we’ve got a prime candidate for just such a marathon. ‘The Burning Dead’ staring the legendary Danny Trejo! Now, When I describe a B-movie of the horror genre, I’m not talking about legendary franchises like ‘Friday The 13th’ or ‘Nightmare On Elm Street’. No no no no no. I’m talking about a movie worthy of getting critiqued by the original crew of ‘Mystery Science Theater 3000′. Something like an episode of the ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’ T.V. show minus the awesome cast, a smaller budget, questionable computer-generated special effects, and no Joss Whedon at the helm. This movie isn’t without merit though. I mean c’mon. It’s got Danny Trejo in it so it definitely deserves a shot right?!
‘The Burning Dead’ stars Danny Trejo, Thomas Downey, Adam Gregor, Nicole Cummins, Moniqua Plante, Julia Lehman, Robert F. Lyons, Kyle T. Heffner, Kevin Norman, and Jenny Lin.
Our story opens with the Native American warrior Night Wolf (Trejo) and several members
of his family gathered around the campfire as he begins to share the tale the infamous ‘Donner Party’ and the madness that engulfed the early settlers was caused by an evil spirit that resided in the nearby mountain after defeating a ‘good spirit’ many years early. Fast forward to present day, Sheriff Denton is supervising the evacuation of a town in the shadow of the mountain after it begins to show signs of an impending eruption. Little do he and the townspeople know that
there will not only be a volcanic eruption, but the evil spirit residing within will unleash a horde of flesh-eating zombies that spit hot lava and ravage everything in their path!
Yeah yeah. I little too dramatic I know. I gotta give it some credit though. The actors and actresses do give a great performance under the circumstances attempting to be as serious as possible and the ‘lava zombie’ effects are quite well done considering. When the zombies ‘go to work’ there’s a definite ick factor too. Certainly not ‘Walking Dead’ gross but they get the point across. The soundtrack is almost annoying though as its the same track or variations of on a loop over and over again. I think from time to time, the writers may have consulted the ‘scary movie’ handbook because at one point, they do throw in hot chic who randomly shows up at the mountain during the evacuation, sets up a camera in front of the volcano and proceeds to strip while the camera is photographing the mountain in auto. We all know what happens to the ‘hot chic’ in a scary flick that strips down to her underwear or more yes? Predictable but mildly entertaining.
Honestly, I was expecting and hoping to see Trejo show up a lot more in the movie and kick some bad guy ass or in this case, some zombie ass. I think how I described it earlier is the best way to sum it up, ‘ It’s like a really bad episode of ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer ‘ minus the cast and character line up and no Joss Whedon at the helm. I’m giving it 2 out of 5 stars. This one just barely scrapes by. Definitely NOT one for the kids. Don’t waste your money on seeing it in theaters. Take my advice, and add it to the lineup for a B-Movie Horror marathon at home.
Sorry Danny … You just barely saved this one.
On behalf of my fellows at Skewed & Reviewed magazine, this is your friendly neighborhood freelance photographer ‘The CameraMan’ saying thanks for reading, and we’ll see you at the movies.