UnDead or Alive
The Butler's View
Seeing as everyone around here is too busy recovering from some form of Bubonic plague it falls and bemoans to myself, and how I moan about it, to look over another of these films they have left laying around here.
One longs for a classic, some upbeat drama, true mastery of the language! Instead, well looks like they have given me something dreadful to watch and express an opinion on. Oh my.
The film starts off as a Western setting, all right that is not such a bad start. There have been many a priceless and enjoyable Western in the days of...why is that farmer eating a live chicken? Oh dear, one of THOSE films is it? Soon it becomes apparent that there is some sort of White Man's curse causing corpses to stagger about and create havoc. You know if these colonials had stayed proper members of the Empire this wouldn't be such a problem. Perhaps the concept of keeping one's agreements is such a bother to this Manifest Destiny thing?
So, we have this Apache Geronimo curse floating about. So this is a serious horror story of...oh no. Seriously? While the Army Deserter is played by James Denton; a Plumber for Desperate Housewives; isn't a bad choice for a lead...his partner is. Is. Really I am supposed to take a man in a leisure suit seriously as the other male lead? Chris Kattan is going to play the other one? I serious will expect Haddaway music to break out at any moment now. At least the film quickly realizes that having a serious horror film is hopeless and starts to head in the direction of comedy. Faster than a marine on leave with his first pay-cheque.
So our leisure boy is courting a local girl; who while currently not in the horizontal position apparently serves many a happy client that way. Having issues with this way of life he begins a fight with our other hero the Plumber. Soon the Sheriff arrests both and has them hauled into prison. At this point is where I suspect the writers threw up their arms at whom they had cast as the leads and start to dive headlong into comedy from horror. While the Sheriff is corrupt his deputy is quite the doofus and inept to boot. No really boots come into this as he robs the heroes of their boots. Locked in the cell next to them is the earlier farmer/zombie, whom at this point no one realizes is a zombie. His attempts to eat brains instead get shooed away as annoying attempts for attention.
At this point I am beginning to wonder if the zombie's quest for brains is going to be very futile.
Using limited cunning on the Deputy Leisure Suit and Plumber finagle a way out of the cell, and even manage to rob the corrupt Sheriff to boot...oh and steal their boots back. Dumb Deputy finds himself locked in the cell and find himself the victim of the zombie looking for brains to eat...that the zombie gives up on this quest is a poor sign indeed.
In an attempt to get his lady back instead they find her in the arms of the corrupt Sheriff doing the hips shake dance a little closer than is the norm in most brothels, or at least without an extra ten quid. They decide to leave town quickly taking all the Sheriff's ill gotten gains. When the Sheriff goes back for his Dumb Deputy he find himself bitten for his troubles. They resolve in fine western fashion to assemble a Posse to pursue our heroes.
Taking time to “bond of cowboys” our heroes decide to demonstrate shooting skills while discussing what to do next. Leisure suit of course proves to be a useful as a tax auditor so we quickly know that he's going to be of little use. Our Plumber proves to be tolerate and instead a strange friendship forms as they go to sleep that night. They awaken naked in another “Bond of cowboys”. Finding themselves in the middle of a bizarre Moen commercial we now have the third member of our team, and doing everything by the Numbers she learns that one is an army deserter, both are almost useless, and that they can aid her in finding an Army base in exact her revenge on the White Men. Numbers here is Geronimo's niece, and she want to get back for the killing of her uncle. Hitching her naked prisoners to a horse they ride off to go play pony.
Meanwhile the Posse notices that the Sheriff and Deputy are a little green and meaner than normal. The Posse finds itself on the menu, so that soon the entire Posse is a zombie posse off to rustle up some brains. Our Brainless Heroes unknowingly come up with a clever plan to ambush the posse before taking on the US Army fort. The ambush goes well until it occurs to the zombies that they actually don't need to stay dead, causing our heroes to flee as fast as they can. Now our heroes are aware of the White Man curse and that they may need to escape from the area quickly.
Back in the town they have hung the farmer from the beginning who murdered his family...only once more the fact he is a zombie continues to not register at all. So he doesn't stay dead. Over time our farmer manages to eat and kill most the town, finally finishing off the town priest who dies screaming being smothered by an undead prostitute. Not exactly a little death to finish things.
Instead of following this interesting tale we get to rejoin our heroes. They are captured by the US Army, and the whole sordid history of our Army Deserting Plumber comes out, and how it is their money he took from them in gambling. Arresting all of them they are hauled to the fort which they were looking for in the first place, just now how they planned. Thinking they'll have to explain the whole White Man's curse rising from the dead thing they are lucky to find out they don't need to! Our undead Posse got there first so instead the whole fort is a mass of undead! Joy.
The soldiers are quickly slain while our heroes once more blunder about until they come up with the clever idea of drawing all the zombies outside of the fort and then closing the door. This remarkably works better than planned and so we now have our heroes inside the fort surrounded by an annoyed undead posse and soldiers, all intent on eating them. By this point the heroes have figured out that unlike most zombie films shooting them in the head just doesn't work. However decapitation as shown in an earlier scene seems to do the trick. Thus they quest for Cavalry sabres to use, as all the firearms seem to do is annoy the zombies. Meanwhile Ms. Numbers revels that there is a cure to being a zombie, besides removing the head, eating the flesh of the person who created the curse.
Our heroes have figured they can't stay here and need to flee the fort. Building a Blunderbuss they of course find a way to mess up the escape and thus let all the zombies in with them still trapped inside. Making their way into the cellars our Plumber gets bitten and decides to pull a last stand to protect our remaining heroes. Once more this plan doesn't go so well either. While the explosion of the fort's gunpowder and dynamite does wonders to lower the zombie population, Zombie Plumber survives and winds up throwing the Dumb Deputy zombie off a cliff and then biting Leisure Suit.
Thinking herself the only survivor Ms Number runs into the still surviving Zombie Sheriff, however is saved by a now Zombie Leisure Suit and Plumber. They prepare for what appears to be an epic sword-fight, only for us to cut to the next scene of a cured set of heroes minus Numbers. Evidently Om nom nom of relatives works just as well and they ride off into the sunset. Meanwhile back in town the first Zombie farmer digs up his now Zombie family, unliving happily ever after.
Oh dear, not exactly a typical cowboy western is it then? Perhaps the writers did have some sense when deciding to change directions and strike out for comedy in this one, as it does save what could have been a very poor film. The removing of the concept of shooting in the brain actually does ramp it up a bit, though the blundering of the still somewhat thinking...one cannot call the actions intelligent...zombies of the film give our heroes quite a bit of a challenge in dealing with them. In fact running seems to be really the best option. The zombies quest for brains to eat, but there is a serious lack of said brains in most of the living. You get quickly the feeling that once they had the casting they did it was time to just run as fast as one could and hope not to trip and land on their face. And while it is no Shakespeare or Clements they do tell a story and do make the heroes, if not likable, at least you start to cheer just a little for them.
I suspect this is one that requires a quick nip to the pub. After I shall pop back here and continue my duties to get this lot off and out of their beds. Never seen a bunch more prone to taking something as minor a Plague and get all complaining like it was the end of the world. Clearly they have never been to Glasgow before.