Fright Pack: Walking Dead

Likely the easiest collection to assemble for Anchor Bay's Fright Pack series, Walking Dead serves up a nice assortment of undead flicks, even though they're not all winners. Dead Heat, an action-comedy starring Treat Williams, Joe Piscopo and Vincent Price, kicks things off with some fun, knowing not to take the undead thing seriously. In fact, the use of the word "zombie" doesn't apply, as the story finds two cops hunting down invincible criminals and ending up discovering a lab that brings the dead back to life with temporary results and no flesh-eating. Some decent one-liners, the odd gross out and a cool-looking three-faced mutant makes this an average buddy cop film but nothing more. City of the Living Dead is the first to opens the gates for a number of films with such desperate titles. Directed by the legendary Lucio Fulci, the film has a flawed storyline that constantly has you scratching your head. A priest kills himself, which opens the gates of hell and allows the dead to rise and eat the living. Some séances are thrown in to confuse you even more, but if you're looking for gore, Fulci delivers with some brutal scalping and a human-killing-human murder scene involving a power drill that is as pointless as it is delicious. Also directed by Fulci (a man who never tires of providing the world with creepy soundtracks and gore aplenty) is The House by the Cemetery, a much better film but still not one of his best. More of a psychological haunting thriller with some blood and guts thrown in for entertainment value, it drags in spots and features an intolerably whiney kid whose voice tends to grate. Fulci strays from the zombie genre but this mix of supernatural and mummified terror produces some creepy moments. Nightmare City is easily one of the weakest zombie films ever made. A plane arrives full of zombies, who are not only hungry but can operate machinery, weaponry and well, cook Duck a l'Orange, forcing a journalist and his wife to try and fight back against killers who don't fall with a bullet to the head. The deaths in this film are unconvincing and poorly executed, making for a difficult and unimpressive experience. Along with the poor special effects, the zombies resemble the Toxic Avenger with crusty heads, which suggests there wasn't much of a budget. There is a bizarre fondness for aerobics that is quite amusing and the ending raises the level of interest but for the most part, this is extremely uneventful. Hell of the Living Dead (again, note the title) is certainly the most far-fetched film in this set, as New Guinea is the setting for both a zombie outbreak and a vacation for a SWAT team. Joined by an anthropologist who knows how to win the hearts of the cannibal tribes with her nudity, the film uses some completely outrageous stock footage of the land's wildlife that rarely synchronises with the film's actual scenes. Containing likely the oldest and youngest zombies used in a film, and a good eyeball popping that is well worth the wait, this movie knows how to have fun, even though it obviously came at the expense of director Bruno Mattei's attempt to make a serious flick. Let Sleeping Corpses Lie is a slow film that's more interested in portraying life in the English countryside than following a story about flesh-eating killers. It takes until the very end for the film to pick up and deliver the desired gore and action, using a hospital for an easy location to get on with the body count, but no matter how enjoyable the finale is it's too little too late. With the millions of zombie films out there lost in obscurity, Anchor Bay could have done a better job with Walking Dead, but so far in their struggling Fright Pack series this remains their most consistent collection. (Anchor Bay)