Plot: A wild island rave is going down and of course, anyone who is anyone wants to be part of the action there. When a group of friends heads to catch a boat to the island, they realize they’ve missed their chance, but with such an epic rave on the line, they look for other options. That leads them to Captain Kirk (Jurgen Prochnow), who they learn is a smuggler and general not great guy, but they ignore the advice of a police officer and hire Kirk’s boat. As soon as they arrive at the island, the party looks dead and no one is around, while the scene looks like it has been ransacked. They manage to find a few people, but the news just gets worse, as they’re told that zombies are on the loose and feasted upon most of the party guests. Now that the undead have crashed the rave, the friends try to muster an escape plan, but with an island crawling with zombies, is there any chance for survival?
Entertainment Value: House of the Dead is a much maligned zombie flick, often mentioned when the worst movies of all time are discussed. But to me, this movie does what it intends to do, which is provide an over the top, cheese soaked zombie ride, so I don’t see House of the Dead as that bad. I’ve seen much worse, much more bland movies given more praise, so while this one is no classic, the movie piles on the bloodshed, has some humor at times, and has some camp value. In other words, House of the Dead might be bad by traditional cinema standards, it is never dull and for a low rent zombie movie, has a lot of fun moments. The movie does amble at times, but between the kills, the over the top humor, and a colorful cast, I think House of the Dead has a lot to offer fans of wild horror cinema. The cast hams it up, as you’d expect from this kind of material, with humorous efforts from Jurgen Prochnow, Clint Howard, Ellie Cornell, while most of the younger cast members are terrible, but that’s ok, as they’re mostly around as zombie fodder. I could also do without the video game elements, as they seem odd and out place, even with the movie taking place in the same world as the House of the Dead game series. If you appreciate blood soaked, over the top zombie movies, don’t listen to all the hate and check out House of the Dead for yourself.
This movie has a few topless scenes, so there’s some nice sleaze and while not extended shots, they’re not “blink and you’ll miss them” type nakedness. This is a zombie movie, so a good amount of blood is spilled and our dead friends meet some splashy demises in various ways. This includes a lot of bullet wounds, most of which produce large gushes of crimson, which are always fun to watch. A highlight includes a zombie busting through a human like a high school football team through a paper banner, shown in vivid detail with ample bloodshed. There’s also crushed heads, dismemberment, zombie bite wounds, and some red tinged explosions. So there’s a good amount of blood and guts on showcase in this one. The dialogue is a mix of annoying college kids and over the top, bad jokes from the others. I had fun with Prochnow, Howard, and Cornell, who seem to embrace the b movie vibe and play up the silly humor, but most of the younger cast is better left unmentioned. In any case, there are some fun lines here if you like bad jokes and one liners. As for craziness, there is some wackiness at times and a few colorful characters, but it never goes too off the deep end. Although a scene where a chick with huge breasts engages a pirate zombie in a sword duel does up the score, especially since the zombie aims to open her blouse, rather than go for the kill.
Overall Insanity: 4/10