Pete’s Peek | Watch out Barbara! There’s 10 zombie films coming at ya this summer!

From comic to consoles to the cinema, you have to have a great angle to truly stand out from the crowd when it comes making a zombie film these days. With the recent exciting news that El Mariachi producer Carlos Gallardo is now working with Kevin Eastman’s Heavy Metal group on a massive multi-platform project Zombie Apocalypse (out next year), we’ve picked out 10 – some truly frightning, some just plain frightful – for you to check out this summer. So, let’s bring on the zombie flesh carnage!

Zombie Angle: They’re vampires with mad cow disease

This is really corny fun. Luke Goss (balding, but looking fit) leads a band of mercenaries against a horde of zombies vampires. It takes 40-minutes of gunplay before we get to the crux of the story (Goss and his bros are actually vampires trying to stop mad cow disease from wiping out their species), by which time you will have probably switched off.  But the rocking soundtrack and seeing Vernon Wells (aka Wez from Mad Max: The Road Warrior) and the late Forrest J Ackerman (one of my childhood heroes) in brief cameos did wake me up – briefly. Out now on DVD
Pete’s Verdict: **

Zombie Angle: Italian gorefeast
After being devastated by a deadly epidemic, the world is now governed by the living dead. Holed up in a research center, two zombie hunters and a scientist try to find an answer to what has happened to the human race. This awesomely gore-tastic Italian shocker features some the best make-up effects I’ve seen in a long time. Uwe Bolle of Bloodrayne fame is one of the producers. But don’t worry, he didn’t have anything to do with the script. Out now on DVD.
Pete’s Verdict: ****
Zombie Angle: Road movie set in West Africa

Shot on location across Burkina Faso and Ghana, The Dead sees Saving Private Ryan’s Rob Freeman play a mercenary who teams up with a local military man (Prince David Osei) to battle the living dead. I’ve been following this much anticipated zombie survival flick for a while now, and finally it is set to invade cinemas across the UK from 2 September, ahead of its US theatrical debut in October. There’s also a special one-off event being held during this year’s Film4 FrightFest in London, in which the film-makers host a live commentary during a screening of the film. The free event is scheduled to take place on 27 August at the Empire in Leicester Square. Released in UK cinemas 2 September.
Pete’s Verdict: ****
Zombie Angle: Saving Private Ryan – meets the living dead

After a virus turns everyone in the UK into zombies, a military unit heads to the coast in a bid to escape before the whole country becomes a nuclear inferno, but are picked off by murderous bandits and marauding zombies.

Imagine filming yourself and your mates out playing soldiers with paintballs on a shaky camcorder and you have this movie in a nutshell. The film-makers wanted to create an earnest, gritty realist take on the genre, but the action falls flat (nearly all the scenes are shot in night vision with guns taking aim, but not shooting anything) and it takes itself far too seriously. It’s also shot in documentary style, but there’s no-one behind the camera, which makes for some serious head scratching. Out now on DVD
Pete’s Verdict: *
Zombie Angle: Free running zombies.

OK, so this British indie horror came out last year, but I mention it because it’s the only example of zombie parkour – that’s free running for those not in the know. As the world succumbs to a zombie apocalypse, mercenary Cole (Craig Fairbrass) is chasing the one person who can provide a cure. Cue lots of free running. British regulars Danny Dyer and Sean Pertwee also star, as does Warehouse 13’s Jaime Murray. Out now on DVD and Blu-ray.
Pete’s Verdict: **
Zombie Angle: Welcome to un-Deadwood

Not to be confused with the iPhone game or the similarly titled big-budget sci-fi Cowboys & Aliens, this well-shot indie, set in the Wild West, sees a trigger-happy bounter hunter joining forces with an Apache warrior and a nubile young girl when the inhabitants of a gold-mining town turn into flesh-eating zombies. Boasting a good-looking cast of unknowns, neat make-up effects and well-executed fight scenes, Cowboys & Zombies is an entertaining ride. The only let down is the audio – in particular the gunshots (they sound like toy pop guns) and the uninspired synth soundtrack. For trivia buffs, it’s shot in Jamestown, California, the same area that exteriors for the 1960s sitcoms Green Acres and Petticoat Junction were filmed. Available through the official website.
Pete’s Verdict: **
Zombie Angle: George A Romero wanted to see it.

In the aftermath of a terrorist attack, a survivor, Sarah (Kris Tearse, who also wrote the screenplay), wakes up in a medical evacuation centre (how very Walking Dead), discovers the dead are coming back to life, then tries to escape the building with a group of survivors. Is it a brain-munching cult classic in the making as the press release boasts? Did George Romero actually see it? What do you think? Out now on DVD
Pete’s Verdict: **
Zombie Angle: Scream – with zombies
If you have never experienced the cheap thrills of a ScreamTime Films production then be prepared for this low budget indie flick in which a group of nightclubbers dodge zombies and a brutal serial killer. (UPDATE: This film is now not due out until 2012).
Pete’s Verdict: Wait and See
Zombie Angle: Corporate satire – with cleavage

A drug manufacturing firm is celebrating selling its latest biological weapon to the military when the virus escapes the lab and infects the building. Cue: lots of office workers (including adult film star Alexis Texas) battling the undead. This US horror-comedy indie is just a step up from Zombified, thanks to its production values being slightly better than home movie standard, but it still fails to deliver the shocks, laughs and tintillation that it sets out to do, mainly due to the below par acting and uninspired direction. Out on DVD through Breaking Glass Pictures.
Pete’s Verdict: *
Zombie Angle: Shaun of the Dead – hits the road

Two zombies awake amidst a zombie attack and decide to take a road trip to track down a lost love, unaware they are being chased by the agents of a ruthless company with it’s own agenda. I haven’t seen this one yet, but it’s at the top of my list of films to see at this year’s Film4 FrightFest (screens 29 August). Check out the website.
Pete’s Verdict: ****

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