Bad Movies Beware!
Oh, back to the stinkers.
This movie was part of the fabled “Video Nasties” list, which was reviewed by my guy in the Netherlands, Horrible Reviews, a while back. He wasn’t far off when he said this movie was a slow burn because OH MY GOD.
Some movies need to be a slow burn. Since I’m primarily focused on horror, we’ll just stay nice and comfy in that genre.
Typically, you want a good haunted house flick to be somewhat of a slow burn. You need time to develop the characters just enough for you to identify with them. You also need time to build up the level of haunting. Going balls to the wall with the CGI ghosts from the word go can be just as bad as dragging out the film too much. Either way, it’s dissatisfying.
In the case of zombie flicks, Night of the Living Dead was also a slow burn. A lot of it was the building conflict between the survivors inside the house while they fought to keep the barricades up and escape.
Then, there’s this dog turd.
Yes, not only was this movie bad, it dragged like the corpse through the woods in the opening scene of The Devil’s Rejects.
The film opens with two young girls driving through the desert in the Middle East because, hey, why not? They stop off at an oasis and go exploring, finding different remnants of the village that used to be there but completely missing the large swastikas on parts of destroyed vehicles, the rifle butts sticking out of bushes, and the skulls here and there.
Hey, just another day in the middle of nowhere.
The girls are soon taken by hands emerging from the ground, and the sound of something croaking like a bullfrog sounds as they are attacked and eaten.
In the next scene, Col. Meitzell visits Captain Blabert (Blah-bert. Yeah.) . The Captain led a squadron into the oasis years ago and lost all of his men in the fight against the Nazis. He was the only survivor.
The Nazis supposedly left a treasure worth roughly six million dollars in the oasis, and Meitzell wants to mount a search for it. He kills Captain Blabert after getting the location of the oasis and leaves out to go look for it.
Meanwhile, Robert Blabert, the Captain’s son, gets the news that his father has been killed. He knows about the treasure and picks three of his most stooge-like buddies to accompany him to the desert to look for it. We have Ronald, who likes to kid around. We also have Ahmed and Sylvie. Ahmed is the smartest one in the group, and Sylvie is Robert’s love interest in any particular given scene.
Yeah, the consistency.
The group heads to a small town just on the outskirts of the desert and do the touristy thing while Meitzell and his wife gather two no-name treasure hunters and head to the oasis. The two hunters decide to do some exploring at night and leave if they find the treasure.
The zombies have other plans, however, and kill the two hunters, who have a dynamic not much different from Rocksteady and Bebop from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Meitzell is attacked and bitten and pushes his wife away so he can flee while she is eaten.
Blabert and the Blabettes meet up with the Professor and his assistant, Erika. Erika and Ronald make eyes at each other right away, and the dialogue for those two goes right down the s**ter from that point on.
The group is caught by surprise when Meitzell comes along and dies in front of them…
Wait a damn minute.
Meitzell was wounded and drove away. Where the hell is his jeep? And why would he go right to the professor? Did I miss something?
More boring dialogue and exposition, and Blabert and his crew decide to go to see the Sheik, who is also Blabert’s grandfather. The Sheik warns them that the oasis is cursed with the living dead. Eriak and the Professor leave with a camera crew to go and investigate, but never return. Blabert and gang decide to go out and look for them.
They head out, and we get more babble and camera shots of the desert. In fact, it almost seems like this movie showcases the lack of acting talent on the part of the actors and voice actors, and the zombies are just extra so they can call it a horror movie.
About the only thing scary about this movie is the fact that I’m still watching it.
Blabert and the Blabettes come to the oasis and find that the camera crew that had accompanied the professor is all dead, and the professor and Erika are injured. She tells them about the creatures that attacked them, but Blabert refuses to leave until he has answers on the treasure.
That night Ronald hooks up with Erika, and Robert and Sylvie share a tent without all of that sex nonsense while Ahmed stands watch.
Sure, let’s put the Middle Eastern guy out there to die since the film doesn’t have the Token Black Guy.
Ahmed hears a croaking noise and investigates, only to be eaten. The zombies swarm on the camp, and the professor has them build a ring of fire to hold off the ghouls until morning. The zombies try to go through it, and stock footage of dummies being dropped in flames is overdone as Blarbert and company fight for their lives.
Ronald and Erika try to leave, but they’re killed off, and the Professor is also killed in the fight. Dawn comes and the dead disappear into thin air. Robert and Sylvie leave the oasis and are found by the Sheik.
VERDICT: WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED?!
Oh. My. Lanta. What the hell did I just watch?! As if the action and story dragging like a gimp leg wasn’t bad enough, the anticlimactic climax just left me frustrated like a kid who took the school tease to prom.
The film’s original title is La Tumba de los Muertos Vivientes. The movie was dubbed over in English, though I would’ve preferred subtitles. Even at that, I can still tell good pacing and acting from bad pacing and acting, and this s**t was just plain wretched.
The acting was wooden and stiff, and it seemed like the very concept of on-screen chemistry was lost among the people in this film. The dialogue was probably loosely translated for American audiences since Spanish and English are different in their grammatical structure, but it was still hokey and laughable at times. The interaction between Ronald and Erika was especially goofy, and the lines often came off as childish.
The pacing, as I’ve been saying, was abysmally slow. Apparently the director knew that there wasn’t enough content to fill the time he wanted the movie to stretch, so we get treated to a lot of montages and scenery shots of the desert and the market where Blabert and his friends tour around until they decide to get back on their search for the oasis and its treasures.
The zombies make, hands down, the oddest noise I’ve ever heard the cinematic dead make. It sounds like frogs croaking and clicking, and they make no facial expressions whatsoever. My guess is probably the make-up was too fragile to allow for much more than eye movement, and even that is limited.
What caught me up the whole movie? Well, let’s recap: Col. Meitzell and Robert Blabert both had a reason for going to the oasis. They both wanted treasure, and Robert also wanted some answers on his father’s past.
Why in the hell were the two girls from the beginning out there?!
I mean, really. What two college chicks would go drive around in the desert for the sake of exploring? IT’S A FREAKIN’ DESERT. There’s sand, the occasional oasis that may or may not be haunted by the undead, and more sand. Maybe a camel.
No, not that camel. But good throwback.
If you get a chance to watch this movie, make sure you drink before you watch it. That way you’ll be numb to the pain and will likely pass out before it’s over. In fact, make it a drinking game. Every time there’s a pointless scenery shot, an expositional montage, or dialogue that makes as much sense as naked skydiving, take a shot.
You won’t make it twenty minutes in before dying from alcohol poisoning.
Yeah, don’t make it a drinking game.