Saturday, 7 February 2015

House of the Dead (2003)

Puppies poop all over the place, and chew all your stuff.  Neither is a very attractive trait, but dog people don't seem to care.  They see the little critter's unabashed enthusiasm for everything, and unconditional affection for its pack, and accept that enjoying those things sometimes means stepping in feces at three in the morning.

This movie is my puppy.

Because make no mistake, this is a terrible, terrible film.  Even if we ignore some of its more commonly derided quirks, like the interspersing of footage from the arcade game into the movie, we're still left with the nonsensical script, absurd narrative digressions, and awful acting.  And yet, there is - to me at least - that same sense of unabashed enthusiasm.  It feels like it is terrible film not because the people involved didn't care about the product, but because they sincerely had no idea it was bad.

The film takes place on an island in the Pacific North-West, where the world's worst rave is taking place.  And it gets that dubious distinction even before the zombies turn up to eat everyone.

Arriving late to the rave are a group of five would-be party goers who have hitched a ride with a local trawler captain named Kirk (yes, really).  Kirk is played by Jurgen Prochnow, who looks like he is dying a little every time he utters one of the film's turgid lines.

The kids, Kirk, some survivors they meet on the island, and a coast guard official named Caspar soon end up on the menu for the zombies, but oh hey Kirk is smuggling guns, so everyone gets to load up on shooty things and have an extended action sequence.  And I do mean extended.  It goes on and on and on and on and on and on and on.  It's completely absurd and ludicrous and it is of course the director's favorite part of the film (I have his word for it - he says as much in the commentary track, which is another thing of terrible beauty, let me tell you).

What comes after the gunplay scene of interminable gunplay?  Why, more shootiness of course.  And then some explosions and a swordfight for a change of pace.  It is transcendentally trashy.

Now much as I enjoy the film, I can't recommend it - you need to have a true and abiding love of bad movies to get anything out of House of the Dead.  Of course, if "a true and abiding love of bad movies" does describe you, then this just might be the best thing this side of Hawk the Slayer.

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