The Alien Dead (1980)


Imagine, if you will, a swamp in Florida. Now imagine that there are zombies in the swamp, first eating all the wildlife and then going after the few residents who live out there. Sounds like it’s not a terrible premise, right? Now say the zombies were a bunch of tourists drinking in a houseboat that got hit by a meteor, which is why they’re now zombies and why this movie is called Alien Dead. Seems silly, but you can handle it, right? Ok, now imagine that all of those residents they’re going after are all a bunch of Yankees trying to do bad imitations of Southern accents. Still with me? Now imagine that none of them could remember their lines.

If you’ve ever wondered what a movie looks like when each scene was given only a single take, well, here you go. Characters constantly flub their lines, many of them don’t make sense, and the timing is perpetually off. Buster Crabbe, the sole real celebrity in this(he portrayed Flash Gordon, Buck Rodgers, Tarzan, and even Billy the Kid at various points in the 1930s), may have been drunk in all of his scenes. Linda Lewis, the other “star” according to the box, was only in this movie and never appeared again in cinema.

How bad is it? Well, in one scene a lady is attacked by zombies, one of which apparently pulls her right hand off and eats it. We’re then presented with a blatant shot of a different zombie now eating her right arm with her hand still firmly attached. In another scene, a woman is impaled by a stumbling zombie who suddenly thought to pick up a pitchfork. We get a slow pan down to show “Oh no, she got impaled!” despite being able to see the fork at a totally different angle in front of her. Worse, wirework is then used to show the zombies “lifting” her in the air. These are the highlights, because in other scenes the zombies just kind of fall on people, and they then die.

Then there is the randomly changing bluegrass and country soundtrack that will suddenly come blaring in for no reason and then stop just as suddenly. There are the shoddy edits and sudden cuts. There is even one scene of a topless woman swimming that goes way, way beyond gratuitous. Seriously, half of it involves her standing halfway out of the water while the camera slowly zooms in on her chest before remembering what it’s supposed to be doing.

I haven’t even criticized the script yet, but don’t worry, it makes Boggy Creek II: And the Legend Continues look like Citizen Kane.

You may be wondering how low I rate this one. Well, I place it firmly in R.O.T.O.R. territory, which is to say I fucking hate it. We’re down among the likes of Teenage Hooker Becomes a Killing Machine, which holds my title for the worst film I have ever seen.


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