Tuesday, 20 August 2013

The Newlydeads (1987) Joseph Merhi

One way I almost always know a film will be a good time is by an opening driving sequence. From Manos to The Shining and all sorts in between, opening driving sequences are sure signs of quality entertainment. The Newlydeads opens promisingly with road, rain, radio, vamp red nails on steering wheel, otherwise unseen driver. Then the driver arrives at a lodge and swiftly succumbs to the advances of the sleazy manager. But wait a second, this is no lady! Scuffle scuffle, bish bash bosh and a corkscrew to the bonce. Cut to 15 years later. 

The essential set up screams out for a good cheesy slasher (murderous zombie drag queen is a hell of a hook), but the execution is confused at best. A small array of doltish death fodder is roughly established, often with hooks for us to want to see them die like pickled prick of a preacher, charmingly deaf elderly couple and such, but outside of one classically styled double murder there's actually little in the expected line and a good handful of the cast have little to no bearing on the plot despite their screen time. Jackie, for that is the name of our mouldering evil-doer seems at first to want to ruin her killer's business and marriage by popping up at inopportune moments and offing his guests, but then it seems that she actually wants him. I'm sure it's not entirely unknown for a head stabbing to light the torch d'amour, but in this case I'm just going to go with it not making sense. It's also unclear whether Jackie is supposed to be more of a visceral undead slayer or powerful supernatural being, both possibilities being touched on. Then there's an action that by any logical plot progression would be climactic but instead takes place with relatively little fanfare some half hour before the end, and a death which should be pivotal or at the very least emotional but is only noticed after the fact, and then immediately glossed over. And naturally, the ending is abrupt, bizarre, inappropriate and lacking in actual closure. 

As you might have guessed, this one is pretty much garbage. But it's the good kind of garbage, fast paced, lively and reasonably short with the end credits coming in around 76 minutes. There's a spot of nudity, a bit of gore, the zombie makeup is suitably grody as far as paste and paint jobs go, the final block is good fun and the whole is consistently stupid while just about keeping the right side of obnoxious. Worth a watch if you're a fiend like me with low low standards. Maybe. 

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