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Raiders of the Living Dead

Raiders of the Living Dead (1986) Movie Poster
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USA  •    •  86m  •    •  Directed by: Samuel M. Sherman.  •  Starring: Scott Schwartz, Robert Deveau, Donna Asali, Robert Allen, Bob Sacchetti, Zita Johann, Corri Burt, Leonard Corman, Christine Farish, Nino Rigali, Barbara Patterson, Tex Tuttle, Robert A. Sacchetti..
        A newspaper reporter hears of strange goings-on on a remote island. He travels there and finds that a mad scientist lives there and he is creating zombies.

Trailers:

   Length:  Languages:  Subtitles:
 1:53
 
 

Review:

Image from: Raiders of the Living Dead (1986)
Image from: Raiders of the Living Dead (1986)
Image from: Raiders of the Living Dead (1986)
Image from: Raiders of the Living Dead (1986)
Image from: Raiders of the Living Dead (1986)
Image from: Raiders of the Living Dead (1986)
Image from: Raiders of the Living Dead (1986)
Image from: Raiders of the Living Dead (1986)
Image from: Raiders of the Living Dead (1986)
Image from: Raiders of the Living Dead (1986)
Image from: Raiders of the Living Dead (1986)
Image from: Raiders of the Living Dead (1986)
Okay, so here is the deal - Independent International head Sam Sherman buys Brett Piper's cheap-o zombie flick DYING DAY and decides to shoot new footage for it (featuring Scotty Schwartz!) to create RAIDERS OF THE LIVING DEAD, a film so convoluted that cut-n-run producer Godfrey Ho probably saw it and said, "What the hell is going on here?" Naturally, two story lines are working here. Storyline #1 - reporter Morgan Randall (Robert Deveau) is working on a story about experiments involving the living dead. Storyline #2 - young Jonathan (Scott Schwartz) builds a ray gun out of his grandpa's (30s western star Bob Allen) laserdisc player (!?!). The two scenarios crash together when grandpa picks Randall up off the street and he tells him his wild story and they all decide to attack the zombies. Confused? I hope so.

If you think trying to mix two films together is this film's biggest problem, you got another thing coming. Wait until you see the laser effects, which consist of scratching the actual interpositive according to Sherman on the commentary. It is not because they are incompetent he pleads, it is just that they had no time. All of this pales in comparison to the logic on display from Piper's section where Randall is attacked by zombies but survives. He is saved on the roadside by a female cop the next day and what does he do? Does he tell her what happened? Hell no! He goes into town, buys a sawed off shotgun, rents a room and then asks his female companion to accompany him to a screening of some THREE STOOGES movies. Do whhhhhhhhat?

Image Entertainment felt the need to release this in a 2-disc super special edition that contains 3 versions of the film. You bastards! One extra is DYING DAY, the original version of the film. This has Morgan Randall (Deveau again) on the run cross country from zombies for the past two years trying to escape a family curse. He ends up in New Hampshire and, after being hit by a car, ends up shacking up with a nurse before heading into town to buy a shotgun and hit the flicks for some THREE STOOGES (not seen this time). The nurse has feelings for Randall though and urges him to get to the root of this family curse since he is the last of the line. Turns out Randall's Great Great Grandfather had some sugar cane fields in Cuba. When ol' Grandpa got frisky with a slave's wife and she spurned his advances, he had her whipped to death and her husband when to Haiti and got this curse placed upon his boss. Damn you Great Great Granddad!

It is really fascinating to watch DYING DAY right after RAIDERS and almost made the experience of sitting though that one worth it. Almost. Brett Piper's initial film is decent enough and has a slight Lovecraft "Lurking Fear" vibe to it with the cursed family and all. It is kind of confusing as to why Sam Sherman went out of his way to re-shoot and eventually re-shape nearly the entire picture. This clocks in at 80 minutes and I'm sure he could have just shot some filler of zombies killing someone to crank it up to 90 minutes. Instead, Sherman junked most of the footage and I would say roughly 25 minutes of this appear in RAIDERS OF THE LIVING DEAD. It is a much more serious film and, while it wasn't a classic by any means, it could have been decent. Plus, it features more gore and nudity, which RAIDERS sorely lacked.


Review by udar55 from the Internet Movie Database.