Posted: 09/12/05

The Dead Next Door (1988)
by Barry Meyer

From Anchor Bay comes JR Bookwalter's Super8 classic zombie flick.

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After an epidemic has left the world running rampant with flesh eating corpses, a police force called the Zombie Squad head off to Ohio to try and find a cure to the epidemic. They're side-stepped when they run into a crazy cult of zombie lovers who are dead set on preserving the zombies and letting a new world be born because they believe that it's God's will. When one of the squad members gets attacked and infected with the zombie virus, the remaining faction must work quickly to find a cure and avoid the ever growing zombie army.

Director, writer and producer JR Bookwalter was not content enough to just make yet another cheapo tribute to his horror idols Raimi, Romero and Carpenter (whose names are used for characters), so he forged ahead to make his own imaginative and innovative zombie epic. The result is The Dead Next Door, the zombie magnum opus shot entirely on super8 (yep, super8 FILM, not video!) with a budget that falls way short of the $100,000 mark.  This little-zombie-film-that-could was such a grand undertaking that it earned the blessing - and funding - of a then soon-to-be legendary horror auteur Sam Raimi (for anonymity sake Raimi is referred to as "The Master Cylinder" in the movie's credits) and it certainly deserves to be on the same shelf alongside Raimi's Evil Dead and the other classic walking dead flicks that director Bookwalter so much admires.    

Sure, there are the usual snafus that seem to haunt the no-budget horror flicks, like amateur acting, under-lit or over-exposed photography and a hammy Casio soundtrack.  But Bookwalter's heart is clearly in the right place, and you can't help but stick with him and his clever little, sick, bloddy flick. The Dead Next Door is a barreling locomotion ride of a movie that'll have you reaching for the popcorn bowl and the barf bucket at the same time. 

Barry Meyer is a writer doing time in Jersey...and he wants to see your obscure films!

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