Director – Bob Clark (Black Christmas, Porky’s, A Christmas Story)
Starring – Alan Ormsby (Deathdream), Valerie Mamches (Wanda), and Jeff Gillen (A Christmas Story)
Release Date – 1973
Rating – 4/5
Tagline(s) – ” You’re Invited To Orville’s “Coming-Out” Party…It’ll Be A Scream…yours” and ” Experience the unexpected terror of rising rotting flesh…”
When I entered high school my horror fascination was in full swing. I would often go to Wal-Mart, Blockbuster, the local ma and pop’s video shops, and ebay.com to order numerous horror films but my knowledge of certain sub-genres was lacking.
My sophomore year I met a guy who I would become very close friends with and he would broaden my horror horizons. I would often stay over at his house on the weekends and have what we called fright nights and watch movies until we saw daylight. It was with him that I watched a lot of the films that I love today for the first time. Movies like Bad Taste, The Beyond, Horror Rises from the Tomb, and this film here.
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows a theater group as they head out to a small island where criminals are laid to rest. The group’s leader, Alan (Ormsby), is an asshole and brought the group to the island to perform a satanic ritual to raise the dead.
However, his ritual does not work. Alan, a man not to let failure ruin a good time, digs up a corpse named Orville and takes him back to the cabin where they all will be staying. He plays games with Orville and disrespects him in front of everyone.
Sadly, the dead in the graveyard have had enough and rise from the Earth. The dead eat their way through the theater group leaving Alan to get what he truly deserves at the hands of Orville.**Spoiler Alert**
I am very disappointed with the state zombie movies are in. The sudden urge with apocalyptic zombie films has completely wiped the stage of any originality. Films like Dead Season, State of Emergency, any another other zombie film you can find at Wal-Mart released after 2010 are all the same movie with different cast members.
Zombie movies following Night of the Living Dead in 1968 were amazing for the most part and leading the pack were Italian zombie flicks. However, there were a few American and Canadian films that had a lot of the same elements as their Italian counterparts. CSPwDT uses a lot of the same, for lack of a better word, cliches as the Italian films did like the slow moving zombies, religious and satanic elements, crawling from graves, and just all around bad ass.
I have watched this movie literally 20 to 30 times since I graduated in 2005 and love it even more after each viewing. The acting in this one is decent, however, Alan Ormsby steals the fucking show. He hardly carries on any conversation with the cast, instead, he speaks in amazing one liners that I often quote in my daily life. It is really a damn shame he did not continue a career in front of the camera.
The story is very weak but Bob Clark is a master of taking something simple and turning it into an amazing film. Hell, look at his filmography and you will see what I mean. Finally, the special effects are hit and miss. The zombies look great and when I think about what the perfect zombie looks like this is often one of the movies I think of. Unfortunately, the few deaths we do get on screen are nothing special. They are, without a doubt, the weakest part of the film. Some better gore and on screen deaths would have made this film a juggernaut of a flick in the zombie sub-genre. Overall, this is an underrated zombie classic that should be watched by anyone that calls themselves a horror fan. I highly recommend it.