The Dead Undead is a vampire zombie movie staring Luke Goss. To any American readers out there this will be of no surprise to them. “A vampire movie staring that actor from Blade 2 and Hellboy 2 makes total sense” they will utter in a nonchalant manner.
However any British readers, especially of a certain age, will now be shouting in a confused shriek “a vampire movie staring one of the twins from 80’s pop band Bros? What the f***?!” For them and everyone else in the U.K, Luke Goss will always be a jean wearing, spiky haired, leather jacket sporting, cheesy pop drummer and not the martial arts hard-nut horror star he has reinvented himself as in the U.S.
But reinvent himself he has, and he has done a rather good job of it, moving from bit parts to baddie roles while acquiring some mean and moody kung fu moves along the way. Excellent under heavy make-up in both aforementioned sequels to Blade and Hellboy, both directed by Guillermo del Toro, The Dead Undead sees him shed the latex and take a lead role in a movie that although low on budget is much more innovative and original than it first appears.
Luke Goss is Jack the leader of a team of no nonsense highly trained and heavily armed fighters who arrive just in time to save Summer (Cameron Goodman) who has watched her friends torn apart by ravenous zombie monsters hungry for flesh.
All is not what it seems though and as the mindless hordes retreat and the gun toting gang plan their next move Summer discovers that her saviours are in fact vampires responsible for the creation of these creatures and now the only hope in destroying them.
Yes that’s right readers, Luke Goss (the guy from Bros) is a human loving vampire fighting blood hungry super fast and strong zombie vampires with a bunch of his military trained mates.
The Dead Undead may be a movie based around zombie vampires (not to be confused with vampire zombies of course), however it whole-heartedly embraces the ridiculousness of its on ideas, a fact demonstrated by the cheesy teens on holiday opening which gives us girls in bikinis in the first 5 minutes, a girl showering after 6 minutes and a zombie vampire child trying to eat said sexy senoritas 7 minutes in. It then descends into chaos with all of the annoying teen characters (bar one) being killed off before we hit the 15 minute mark.
From here on it is Luke Goss and his muscle bound mate’s movie and between slow mo shooting and squib exploding extras we discover how these humanitarian vampires not only live a semi-normal life but came to be with each characters story told in flashback from medieval battlefields to the wild west.
With these interesting and original twists on the usual vampire mythos there is a strong analogy made between the vampires treatment by the humans and racism, as well as the age old dilemma of denying your instincts being played up by the fact that the vampires diet of cows blood rather than human’s has lead to the mutation of these monsters, like a vampire mad cows disease.
All these positives however are sadly outweighed by some negatives predominantly due to the very low budget of the film which leads to cheap sets especially in the flashbacks, crap lighting, low quality film, so-so special effects and makeshift make up giving the whole film an overall bargain bin straight to DVD quality.
Duel directors Matthew R. Anderson and Edward Conna, who also wrote the film, both star in the movie and have a background in stunts along with the rest of the actors playing the action hungry vampires. The direction is basic and the editing unhinged at times however as a first film it is a reasonable attempt.
The casting of stunt guys and gals as the main characters, although obviously biased and not based on acting talent, does not backfire as much as it could have and the cast is competent if not excellent all looking the part of world weary warriors if not acting like them. The exception is Luke Goss who caries most of the movie giving a solid and likable performance and proving that he can deliver without the prosthetics.
With an unexpected opening and a promising middle the biggest disappointment of The Dead Undead is its ending, which is unsatisfactory sacrificing closure and climax for a deliberate set up for a sequel which may or may never appear.
While back in Bros, Luke Goss’s bro sang “when will I be famous?” and judging from his current progression and performance in the low budget – but above average – The Dead Undead, the answer could be ‘very soon’.