Hollywood Gothique
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DVD Reviews: The Attic & Undead or Alive

If you’re a horror film junkie eager to rent some titles even if they didn’t get bit theatrical releases, here are a couple reviews to check out of films that went direct-to-video:

  • UNDEAD OR ALIVE: Like THE QUICK AND THE UNDEAD (2006), this is an attempt to fuse the Western with the zombie genre. Despite the superficial similarity, the two films are actually quite different: UNDEAD OR ALIVE is set in the Old West (QUICK AND THE UNDEAD was set in a post-apocalyptic future that resembled the West); UNDEAD OR ALIVE is an overt comedy; and although modestly budgeted, UNDEAD OR ALIVE has enough resources to capture the grandiose look of an old-fashioned Western, completely with lovely desert vistas bathed in the warm rays of the setting sun. What UNDEAD OR ALIVE shares most in common with THE QUICK AND THE UNDEAD (besides the basic concept), is thin storytelling: the script provides a basic of plot, which functions as an excuse to have fun with the idea of putting zombies in a Western. (pictured at top)


  • THE ATTIC: This direct-to-video thriller attempts to transplant Roman Polanski’s REPULSION into a haunted house setting, but the operation proves to be a disastrous failure; the patient dies an agonizing brain death without ever regaining consciousness. The result is scary, though not in the way the filmmakers intended; fear arises not from on-screen suspense but from viewing the ravages of time upon the film’s cast and crew: for fans of THE DEERHUNTER, it is scary to see actor John Savage reduced to playing the thankless role of the unsympathetic and ill-defined father; for fans of ’80s cult sci-fi films, it is scary to see Catherine Mary Stewart reduced to playing the thankless role of the vaguely alcoholic and ill-defined mother; for fans of PET SEMATARY, it is scary to see director Mary Lambert reduced to helming this muddled mess