Grindhouse Double Feature: Evil Unleashed & Zombie Chronicles

Available at Amazon.com

Directors:
Joe Castro… Evil Unleashed: The Mummy
Brad Skyes… Zombie Chronicles

Running Time: 134 minutes
Release Date: October 9, 2007

The Movies

Grindhouse Double Feature: Evil Unleashed & Zombie Chronicles is, of course, two movies. As such, for the purposes of scoring this review, I will review each movie and then average the two scores.

Evil Unleashed: The Mummy

In Evil Unleashed: The Mummy an Egyptian noblewoman, Nefertesia, pledges her love to the god Amon and asks to live for ever. To prove her devotion, she promptly kills herself.

Flashing forward to present day, the woman’s sarcophagus is uncovered and, after a hilarious bit involving some incredibly fake looking scorpions, the sarcophagus ends up in a museum. It doesn’t take long for Nefertesia to awaken and go on a killing spree of mild proportions.

Though it isn’t intended to be, Evil Unleashed: The Mummy is a hilarious movie. From plastic scorpion attacks to scenes where dancing mummy keeps switching back and forth between hot topless woman and traditional mummy to incredibly bad continuity, this movie will make you laugh. A lot.

The acting is pretty much terrible across the board as well. One of the two leads, Heather Chase, isn’t too bad, but the rest range from barely competent to ‘wouldn’t get cast in a high school play.’

Just as bad as the acting is the special effects. I’ve already mentioned the incredibly cheesy scorpions, but pretty much all the special effects are terrible. For example, there’s one scene where some stabs the mummy. The effect is achieved by having the weapon clearly slid into the bandages alongside the mummy’s head. The camera angle changes and suddenly the weapon is embedded in the center of its head. Brilliant stuff.

One point in the movie just epitomizes the sloppiness with which it was made. A group of characters decide that they need to get to holy ground. One woman suggests an ancient Indian burial ground she knows which is “about an hour’s drive” away. Apparently not considering just going to the nearest church, our heroes set off in the middle of the night. We get a driving montage, a stop due to exhaustion, sun rise, some more driving and a run in with the mummy. After fleeing the mummy, the woman is asked how much further they have to drive. Her answer? It’s “about an hour’s drive.” I know with low-budget movies sometimes scenes can be shot weeks or even months apart, but there’s no excuse for that kind of sloppiness.

The movie is also short. There’s even a fairly lengthy title sequence at the beginning, but the movie’s running time clocks in at a meager 69 minutes. Though depending on your stomach for cheese, that may be seen as a good thing.

If you are a fan of cheesy movies, this one is a perfect choice. There’s so much to mock here that you’re sure to be entertained. If you can’t stand bad movies though, stay far away from this one.

Rating: 2/10

Zombie Chronicles

If you’ve survived the barrage of Evil Unleashed: The Mummy, it is on to Zombie Chronicles. This one is framed as an anthology of zombie tales. They aren’t really zombie tales though (more like ghost stories) and there are only two stories so it’s hard to call it an anthology.

The movie begins with a reporter, Tara Woodley, having a nightmare about being eaten by zombies. We then get a lengthy title sequence which shows literally every kill from the movie you’re about to watch. I mean why bother keeping the audience in suspense, eh? Let’s just show every killing right up front.

After Tara wakes up she goes for a drive. She’s a bit lost so she decides to consult her map. Rather than stopping the car to consult her map, she opens the map up and holds it in front of her face, completely blocking her view of the road. Not surprisingly she ends up almost running someone over.

Tara stops the car and checks on the old man she almost hit. The man, Ebenezer Jackson, is fine and he even offers to help Tara with her story (investigating strange tales) by telling her what he knows.

The bulk of the movie takes place inside the stories Jackson tells Tara. The first one takes place in 1971 and involves an incredibly intricate revenge plot that leaves about 90% of the plan to random chance. This sequence also has the movie’s sloppiest bit of continuity. Jackson tells Tara that this takes place in 1971 yet the couple in this story are driving a clearly-marked Kia Sportage. I have very little interest in automobiles and even I immediately realized how wrong that was (the Sportage didn’t even exist until twenty-five years after the events of this story).

The second story involves some campers being menaced by some ghost/zombie types. Of the two stories, this one is definitely the better. It’s still not ‘good,’ but the gore is somewhat convincing and I actually found myself being caught up in the suspense in a couple scenes.

Of course, neither of the stories are allowed to be all that suspenseful. In case you weren’t paying attention during the title sequence, Ebenezer helpfully spoils the each story by revealing the number of people killed as soon as he starts the story.

There’s a final post-story sequence in the movie as well. It contains a couple twists; one of which isn’t even remotely surprising, the other which really doesn’t make any sense.

I suspect there was originally going to be three zombie “chronicles.” Not only is two stories an unusual number to tell, but Zombie Chronicles is short. Like Evil Unleashed: The Mummy it clocks in at about 69 minutes. Chances are either the people making this movie ran out of money, or the cut story was really, really terrible.

On a whole, Zombie Chronicles is a better movie than Evil Unleashed: The Mummy. The acting is certainly better. With the exception of an incredibly bad performance from Joe Haggerty (who plays Ebenezer Jackson), the acting isn’t that bad. It’s far from great, but for the most part, it’s at least competent.

On the downside, even though Zombie Chronicles is better than Evil Unleashed: The Mummy it’s not nearly as entertaining. Sure, it’s cheesy and there are some unintentionally hilarious moments, but it can’t hold a candle to Evil Unleashed: The Mummy.

Rating: 3/10

The Video and the Audio

The first thing I should point out about the video is that both these movies are in 3-D. It’s not actually indicated anywhere on the DVD case, so some people may think there are just some scenes that have focus issues, but it is actually 3-D. The 3-D it uses isn’t the old-school 3-D, but rather requires special hi-tech glasses. The cheapest model you can get runs about $70 so I wasn’t able to evaluate the effectiveness of the 3-D, but apparently it is quite impressive. If you are watching the movie without the glasses, the 3-D effect can be a bit annoying (especially in Zombie Chronicles) but it’s still watchable.

Outside of the 3-D, the video quality for both movies is quite poor. Zombie Chronicles even has a white wavy line down the left side of the screen for most of the movie. These movies just look terrible.

The audio for the movies is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0. It’s not all that great either. Once again Zombie Chronicles provides the worst example. One scene has the three campers talking. When either of the guys are talking, the sound is quite clear (and presumably was done ADR). When ever the girl is talking, there’s suddenly a loud wind in the background making it difficult to hear.

The Extras

There are no extras for Evil Unleashed: The Mummy. Things are pretty sparse with Zombie Chronicles as well with only a trailer of the movie and an Also on DVD trailer for other terrible (yet hilarious) looking 3-D movies: Camp Blood and Hunting Season.

The Inside Pulse:

If you enjoy cheese, there’s a lot of fun to be had with these movies. Evil Unleashed: The Mummy, in particular, is hilarious. But if you are looking for something that is A) scary, B) well-made, or C) good, then you had best look elsewhere.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for
Evil Unleashed & Zombie Chronicles
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE MOVIES

2.5
THE VIDEO

4
THE AUDIO

5
THE EXTRAS

1
REPLAY VALUE

5
OVERALL
3
(NOT AN AVERAGE)

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