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Dead and Breakfast
Directed by Matthew Leutwyler
Written by Matthew Leutwyler
Starring Diedrich Bader, David Carradine, Ever Carradine, Portia De Rossi, Gina Phillips
Produced by E.J. Heiser, Jun Tan
The zombie movie, ladies and gentlemen. There have been HORDES of them coming out lately—everything from the truly lousy ones like “The Wickeds” to the slam-bang action ones like “Dead Meat.” George Romero actually came back to the theatres to give us “Land of the Dead,” with mixed results. And the newest horror genre, the zombie comedy, was born.
Much to the delight of horror fans everywhere.
It kicked off with “Shaun of the Dead,” and was quickly followed up with movies like “Snow Day, Bloody Snow Day,” “Hide and Creep,” and now, “Dead and Breakfast.”
They bear a lot of the same elements. Romero physics rule the day—destroy the brain and you destroy the body. Lots of siegeworks are laid—buildings are boarded up and barricaded as a way to defend against the undead hordes.
And as if that weren’t enough, they pack in the jokes. Tons of jokes. All manner of funny bits, from slapstick to cerebral. If you don’t laugh at least once during the proceedings, check your pulse—you just may be a zombie yourself!
So what we have here is a road trip gone wrong, and the besieged bed and breakfast the six friends that went on the road trip find themselves in, resting for the evening. Now, naturally, if you’re on a road trip with friends in a horror movie, something is going to go catastrophically wrong. And if that something goes wrong in the state of Texas, you know it’ll go very wrong in a very big way.
Naturally, it does. The bed and breakfast is besieged by a legion of the walking dead. Which is pretty much why they called it “Dead and Breakfast.”
The opening menu is surprisingly clever. Watch that swirling background (shades of Hitchcock!) and tell me you’re not even vaguely impressed.
And I positively love the first couple of minutes’ comic book style opening credit roll. The rockabilly song going on in the background is the perfect compliment, and I’m just very impressed.
The country song at the five minute forty second mark is too funny for words. I mean it, folks…this is FUNNY. Funny is a great term to describe “Dead and Breakfast”—adding Diedrich Bader to the cast was an excellent idea for the comedy, and the creepy quotient gets ramped up handily thanks to David Carradine.
But it gets better! Sixteen minutes and forty eight seconds features one of the best jokes in the entire movie—the “Find The Corpse” sequence. The morbid hilarity is underscored by the soundtrack, and for being so horribly messy, it’s just really, really funny.
You know what? If I tried to chronicle every single laugh-out-loud funny moment in “Dead and Breakfast,” I’d be here for days describing this to you. You’d be sitting here reading a small novel about all the comedy. Suffice it to say there are literally tons of comedic gems sitting in “Dead and Breakfast,” and that’s long before the zombies even show up.
And when the zombies first start to crop up, the comedy takes a back seat. Oh, it’s still there, but it’s subdued in favor of a whole bunch of really vicious action scenes and plenty of gore.
Forty eight minutes fifty five seconds proves that “Dead and Breakfast” was really paying attention during “Night of the Living Dead” as they take alarmingly similar measures to board up the bed and breakfast. The homemade shotguns are just incredibly brilliant pieces of improvised weaponry.
And the song at one hour and fifty five seconds…oh man. The comedy is back with a vengeance as the zombies mount a DANCE NUMBER.
The ending is stuffed to the gills with action sequences, the occasional joke, and a few nifty surprises. Including a recapping music video during the final credit roll.
The special features include commentary tracks, deleted and extended scenes, a blooper reel (which is just a hoot in a movie like this), additional music, a poster and still gallery, plus trailers for “Dead and Breakfast,” “Man with the Screaming Brain,” “All Souls Day,, and “It Waits.”
All in all, “Dead and Breakfast” is a hoot. Though there will be obvious comparisons between it and “Shaun of the Dead,” these comparisons are cosmetic at best. “Dead and Breakfast” is a laugh riot with lots of action and plenty of gore to be had. If you’re not laughing, folks, check your pulse.
Steve Anderson is a film critic who collects action figures so he can dress them up as his favorite horror villains. He lives somewhere in the United States.
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