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House of the Dead: Funny Version
Directed by Directed by Uwe Boll
Written by Written by Dave Parker, Mark Altman
Starring Starring Jonathan Cherry, Jurgen Prochnow, Clint Howard, Tyron Leitso
Produced by Produced by Uwe Boll
Okay…it’s not every day that I actually cheer for a new Uwe Boll film. In fact, with the sort-of exception of Postal it’s never actually happened. I say sort-of, of course, because Postal can best be described as the best of a bad lot, but that’s neither here nor there.
This is, however, a cause for some minor celebration as Lions Gate realizes that House of the Dead is a screaming load of crap, so what better use for a screaming load of crap than to spend ninety minutes mocking it openly?
Seeing as how this sucker’s been out for the last five years, a plot recap may be redundant, but just for the new folks I’ll go ahead. Basically, there’s a rave being held on an island out in what I’m guessing is the Pacific Northwest, and it’s going to be the event of the century, if the drunk brain-damage cases who serve as our heroes and heroines are to be believed. When they finally get to the island, they find a whole lot of nothing…and then, zombies. Thus, the party animals who came for the rave of the century are in for the fight of their lives, aided and abetted by a weapons smuggler, his thoroughly goony sidekick, and a federal agent.
Now…House of the Dead by itself isn’t much of a movie. Sure, the whole psuedo-wire-fu thing they were doing was kind of fun, but any resemblance between the game and the movie is, apparently, entirely coincidental. The game’s storyline was, admittedly, thoroughly Japanese nonsensical, but Boll managed to find a way to make it even LESS coherent by introducing things like lunatic Jesuits.
Sure, Boll’s version had plenty of hot chicks, and that improves just about anything (straight guys in the audience, tell me you didn’t like the whole Liberty / Tyranny thing), but where Boll’s vision was so sorely lacking was that there wasn’t a whole lot of dead until maybe the last half-hour or so. I wanted to see zombies getting shot from like minute one, and I was gravely disappointed. Thus, the addition of the funny improves things greatly, and as is the case with probably every film he ever did, there’s a surprising superabundance of material to work with.
I hate to admit it, but this was a good movie. Sure, the movie itself sucked out loud, but the addition of the funny actually managed to make the movie itself look BETTER. This is weird. I can’t believe I’m ascribing Uwe Boll to a really good idea that I’d love to see more of, but I’m afraid that’s the case. I would LOVE to see more bad movies do this kind of thing. I would love to see more movies in general do this kind of thing. Even if it’s just a separate track or something, the addition of these funny little pop-up-video-esque nuggets is clever and fun.
The ending may well be one of the film’s saddest jokes, but we came here for the funny.
The special features are actually quite well populated, and include audio commentary tracks, a behind the scenes featurette, a special feature on all the aforementioned hot chicks involved, and English and Spanish subtitles.
All in all, okay, it’s true. This is an Uwe Boll movie and Uwe Boll movies still suck. But one thing is crystalline clear—that when you add the funny, you make up for a whole lot of problems.
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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