Ultimate Zombie Feast DVD Review
Written by Joel Harley
DVD released by Monster Pictures
Directed by Various
Written by Various
2012, Region 2 (PAL), 300 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on 8th October 2012
Nothing makes a movie reviewer's heart sink harder than the words 'low budget zombie movie'. Since Shaun of the Dead and the Dawn of the Dead remake revitalised the subgenre, the living dead have barely been off our screens. Unfortunately, very little of it has been watchable. So imagine my sheer terror when I popped open Ultimate Zombie Feast to discover a collection of sixteen low-budget zombie films from around the world. It's an actual horde of zombies.
Clocking in at a staggering five hours (the equivalent of watching Night of the Living Dead three and a half times) Ultimate Zombie Feast certainly puts the ultimate... and the zombies.... and the feast into Ultimate Zombie Feast. It's a phrase used far too often by reviewers, but this box set really does what it says on the tin. Don't watch them all at once though, unless you happen to like indigestion - it's a really, really big tin.
The zombie action kicks off with Zombeer, an ode to both zombies and beer from the Netherlands. It's a strong start, allaying any fears that one might have for the collection's quality. There are inevitably some rubbish entries amongst the eighteen films gathered, but the ratio of good to bad is better than one might hope. With most of the films being about fifteen minutes long, few of them outstay their welcome by too long (the tiresome Zomblies aside, clocking in at 47 minutes).
'Zombies? In Spain?' asks Zombies and Cigarettes, perhaps in reference to a certain [REC]. It's a less assured outing, suffering from broken subtitles ('do you trust on me?') and a rubbish story. But at least it has subtitles, which is more than can be said for Paris By the Night of the Living Dead. It's a clever idea, letting the action speak for itself, but is clearly a case of style over substance – and it looks ghastly, like Resident Evil remade via YouTube. Kidz is by far the worst of the bunch, packed full of terrible acting, a shoddy script and predictable outcome. But you already knew that – anything which uses the letter 'Z' to indicate a plural should be avoided. It's difficult to dislike any of them, though (even Kidz) since the intentions behind even the worst of them seem entirely honourable.
Most inventive and fun of the lot is It Came From the West, a zombie puppet show with a Western theme. It's a nice counterbalance to the cheap, occasionally samey looking digital video with its over-reliance on filters and dingy grey palettes. It's like Meet The Feebles crossed with Rango, offering the best visuals of the set, a bawdy sense of humour and a hilariously gory chainsaw battle at the end. It's the sweetest course of the feast as well as the best looking. It's perfectly placed as a palate cleanser for those who might be feeling a little full. I'd certainly had my fill by the time I'd finished with Zomblies.
Perhaps the most worthwhile is Savages, India's little contribution to the buffet. It looks the cheapest but its likeable characters and great jungle setting make it the most substantial snack. There are very few zombies in this Indian zombie movie, but when they do arrive they're bloody nasty. If nothing else, it's nice to say that I've seen an Indian zombie movie. Its main contribution is a lot of very loud crying and wailing. Even more so than in Bitten, in which a woman, stickily succumbing to a zombie virus stoically prepares for her own death and rebirth. Such is the joy in this collection of undead horror from around the world – the living dead might be universal, but our reaction to them is anything but.
Ultimate Zombie Feast is the zombie equivalent of the Eurovision Song Contest. It may be cheesy, naff and downright terrible in places, but it's ultimately an exercise in global bonding. It's like one big group hug celebrating a universal love of zombie cinema. It's quite heart-warming, when you stop to think about it.
Video and Audio:
Mostly good, although some of the films struggle to hide their YouTube origins.
Don't be greedy.