Sunday, October 5, 2008


On the fifth day of Halloween, my boo love gave to me ... five grizzled prospector zombies.


Gunslingers, school marms, outlaws, saloon prostitutes, zombie gunslingers, zombie school marms, zombie outlaws, and zombie saloon prostitutes. Oh and Chris Kattan.


The movie opens up with a pretty funny prologue where we see the dying words of the legendary Apache Geronimo who curses paleface invaders, thereby presenting the plot device to explain the Old West zombie outbreak. After being jailed, a couple of outlaws, one a smooth-talking gunslinger, the other a comedy relief goofball, team-up to escape. They later hook up with Geronimo’s niece who apparently has a time-machine of some sort as she uses contemporary slang and acts like an Aaron Spelling primetime zombie herself. But she’s hot so I can immediately forgive her. The rest of the movie consists of the three being chased by the sheriff and his zombie posse and eventually cornered into an abandoned fort.


Undead or Alive rides the crest of forthcoming horror westerns such as The Burrowers, Cowboys and Aliens, and From Hell to Texas. But this movie is unquestionably a comedy and has the look and feel of a combination between a USA Network late night cheapo and an old B-movie Western. The excessive gore and bloodletting is more gross-out and humorous than scary. And given the relative cheapness of the whole movie, the zombie effects are impressive, but the story never delves into the zombies as being more than being a source for jokes. The movie is amusing enough, but never fully emerges as satire or even parody. It’s more like a string of one-liners in a sketch extended to ninety minutes. There are some genuine laughs, though and the humor works between even thinly constructed characters. Undead or Alive brings nothing to the interesting premise of spoofing Westerns or the zombie genre, but will provide a diverting chuckle or two. Despite Chris Kattan.

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