Friday, April 23, 2010

Zombies and Vampires and Grave Robbers, Oh My!

Glenn McQuaid's I Sell the Dead  (2008) successfully combines the zombie movie with the vampire movie, not to mention the grave robber movie and the period piece.

It succeeds because of an excellent cast, a sparkling screenplay, and a director with the sense to make the special effects work for the story, rather than the other way around.

Young Arthur Blake (Dominic Monaghan) hooks up with veteran grave robber Willie Grimes (Larry Fessenden) and embarks on a life of ghoulish acquisitions. The tale is told in flashback, as an imprisoned Arthur gives a visiting and creepy cleric, Father Duffy (Ron Perlman) the history of his career before he's carted off himself — to the guillotine.

We're talking digging up vampires. Tracking zombies (modern, fast-moving type) to deserted islands. Feuding with rival ghoul gang. Fun with stakes, as placed in vampire chest. Hopping zombie (missing a foot). Mad scientist. Sultry grave robbing woman. Heads roll. Foot rolls. Dart in head. Excellent throat cutting. Grotty pub.

And a constant stream of banter between Willie and Arthur that keeps the thing moving along.

The special effects extra on the DVD tells you all you need to know about the reason the film works. The computer animation geeks were needed for a headless grave robber scene at the end, and for the dart-in-head. If McQuaid had a Hollywood budget, the whole damn thing would have been CG — and the end result for viewers would be SOL.

(Don't believe me about the perils of progress? Go suffer through the "Clash of the Titans" remake.)

Even the absence of nekkid breasts, usually an automatic one-coil deduction, doesn't bother me. If you have to see a comic horror movie, this is it. Four enthusiastic coils.

No comments: