Zombie films have been around for about 45 years now. We’ve seen shamblers, and runners, and virus induced cannibalism, baby eaters, and genetically enhanced mutants, and zombies who can’t pull their feet out of mud but can disembowel a human being. The point is – recently, the zombie genre has gotten a little stale. I mean, really, what is there left to accomplish? What new story is there to tell? Enter…Christmas With The Dead.
In Christmas With The Dead, Calvin is attempting to make this Christmas the best Christmas ever. The only problem is that it’s June…oh, and the human race has pretty much been wiped out by zombies. Despite this overwhelming threat and the walls of solitude and regret he’s built into his own mind, Calvin ventures out into dangerous territory for some gasoline and extra outdoor Christmas decorations. It’s only then that he meets ex-garbage man, G.M., the only survivor he’s seen in months. G.M. learns that Calvin’s wife and child died on Christmas Eve, and with his last shreds of humanity, agrees to make this Christmas the best one of all. Unfortunately their new friendship is tested by an even bigger threat.
Christmas With The Dead is written by Joe R. and Keith Lansdale and directed by T.L. Lankford. This film stars Damian Maffei (The House That Cried Blood), Brad Maule (“General Hospital”), Chet Williamson, Kasey Lansdale, Madeline Brassell, and Adam Coats.
Well, as a potential buyer, what should I say to market this movie in a way that would gain your attention? What qualities does Christmas With The Dead have that would make you want to go pick it up at the local Walmart? I think the film’s originality is a good starting point. As I mentioned earlier, zombie films are becoming really repetitive lately, but Christmas With The Dead brings a lot of animation to a dead storyline. The type of zombie pictured in this film aren’t so bloodthirsty, but they’re still a threat. Although you can bat them away with a 2X4 and not have to worry about them for a while, you still wouldn’t want to be surrounded by a herd. Also, the zombies seem to retain some human characteristics, sparks of humanity I’ll say, but I can’t ruin that for you. I’d rather see a new breed of zombie like the ones here than the same old runners in the remakes.
Christmas With The Dead is a zombie movie with heart…one that’s still beating. Lately in zombie films, a family member dies and the survivor is like, “Oh, no! Amy!” *BLAM!* Christmas With The Dead is an indie film with hints of comedy, but it does give a surprisingly accurate depiction of what the majority of the population would do in the event of an undead apocalypse. I mean, would you just shoot your mother in the head and act like it never happened, or trap her in the basement with hopes of rehabilitation? I will say that the character of Calvin (played by Damian Maffei) is a little bit insane by the time the movie starts to take off, but his intentions and inner workings are spot on for someone who’s lost everything almost overnight. I’d rather see a movie that’s emotionally accurate than one with unlikable and unrealistic characters. Another plus for Christmas With The Dead!
Speaking of Damian Maffei, I’m glad to finally see him starring in a feature film. I’ve been a fan for a while and I think the world of horror needs to keep an eye on him. He really is a great actor who can be versatile in his roles. He was a frat boy in Night of The Pumpkin, a bully in The House That Cried Blood, a complete psycho in Stable House, and now a pacifist in Christmas With The Dead. My other favorite actors here include Brad Maule, Adam Coats, and Scott Strickland as the man in the bunny suit.
As a cohesive project, Christmas With The Dead is an above average indie film. There’s very few errors in production (I counted one), an amazing cast, original story, and a little thing called realism. Christmas With The Dead is not trying to break gore records or scare the pants off of you; it’s trying to give an accurate depiction of one man’s story during the zombie outbreak. It’s very different from all the other zombie films of the last five years or so, but horror fans who love a good, hearty story will love it. Also, I noticed a lot of references to other zombie films and television in this. I saw little nods across the board, from Night of The Living Dead to “The Walking Dead.” (I counted about five). You’ll have to look for those too.
Needless to say I was very impressed with this flick. Christmas With The Dead is a year-round Christmas drama filled with blood, guns, zombies, and delusional characters; a fantastic zombie flick that will warm your heart…then rip it out and eat it.