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John’s Horror Corner: The Alien Dead (1980), if you like zombie movies, skip this one.

November 27, 2021

MY CALL:  For real, this is an awful zombie movie with absolute zero value even for the time of its release. This is purely for trash cinema connoisseurs.  MORE MOVIES LIKE The Alien Dead: Well, for more films of “equal quality” continue through Fred Olen Ray’s early (and ultra-classy) filmography with Scalps (1983), Biohazard (1985), Evil Spawn (1987) and Deep Space (1988).

WTF did I just watch? Dear Lord, this is dreadful. There are few so poorly written movies that actually try so hard to tell an empty story—and it’s the “trying” that makes it even worse. Watching this is painful.

The first zombie that has more than a moment’s screen time is a guy in what is clearly a rubber Halloween mask like a veiny-faced alien (I guess). These zombies bite their victims, draw extremely little blood, and then carry or drag their victims away. Thankfully, subsequent zombies have better monster make-up (i.e., not just rubber masks), but that doesn’t necessarily make the movie hurt any less. Honestly, the rubber masks at least offered a “this is so incredibly bad” charm.

But if the zombies look bad, the zombie attacks are even worse utter garbage. Just a bunch of people stumbling like drunks and mouthing at necks and forearms of people. Sure there were some more gory scenes, but those few scenes clearly swallowed the hundred-dollar FX budget. My Instagram feed was far more entertaining, and I caught myself on it frequently trying to survive this Florida swamp zombie (micro-)apocalypse.

In general, the scenes are completely empty and nothing ever builds to anything. I can barely even recall what this was about and scenes in the end seem no more likely to be at the end of a movie than the beginning. Apparently, some meteor landed in a swamp and infected people with a sort of zombiism. Only these zombies strangle and drag their victims away and turn to flesh-eating when it’s more convenient like a scavenging hyena. Yeah, dumb.

From what I’ve read this was originally scripted with giant swamp leech people as the monsters. Probably would have fit better and been more enjoyably campy, but such costuming was evidently beyond the scope of the budget. But have no fear, director and co-writer Fred Olen Ray (Scalps, Biohazard, Evil Spawn, Deep Space) went on to do many more raunchy cheesy horror movies! Not only that, but I suffered through and reviewed those as well! Lucky you!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. rdfranciswriter permalink
    November 28, 2021 9:27 am

    Yeah! We just reviewed this one, as well!

  2. rdfranciswriter permalink
    November 28, 2021 9:33 am

    Another “alien” non-starter — this one from 1974 that re-reared its incompetent head in a post Alien/Star Wars Drive-In world — was Bill Rebane’s Invasion from Inner Earth. If you want a film with no zombies (its all from “outer” and not “inner”), lots of junk science exposition and awful acting . . . and lots of coffee drinking and firewood collecting, you’ve found your movie.

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