What’s an Undead Ringer?
I review zombie movies for the ZRC. Sometimes people, for whatever reason, don’t want to come right out and peg their movie as a zombie flick. Maybe it’s artistic integrity or they just don’t want to be dismissed by being lumped in with such a stigmatized genre, so sometimes you have to read between the lines. Every now and again, I come across one that looks like it’s totally a zombie movie, but they don’t want to use the ‘Z’ word, so they call them ‘the dead’ or talk about an ‘outbreak’ or ‘cannibalistic creatures’. Sometimes they use these terms to try to sucker YOU, the zombie fan, into picking up their flick, knowing full well it’s about ghosts or lame-ass monsters. By and large, these movies aren’t very good, so to add insult to injury, you’ve just rented a really bad movie that’s not even the zombie movie you hoped for. Well, I’ve been suckered on occasion and I’ll admit it so you don’t have to. We’ll call them Undead Ringers. I’ll review them, discuss them and, yes, spoil the hell out of them, all out of spite for being fished-in. This is the only SPOILER ALERT you get. Now on to:
This is how NetFlix described Living Dead Girl:
“When her grave is disturbed by both earthquake and toxic waste spill, a deceased girl comes alive to walk the Earth again in French filmmaker Jean Rollins’s macabre tale. After rising from her tomb, zombie Catherine (Francoise Blanchard) hungers for flesh and blood and sets out to find childhood friend and blood sister Helene (Marina Pierro). Helene decides to help satisfy Catherine’s bloodlust by luring people into their lair.”
In Living Dead Girl, toxic waste, dumpers that moonlight as grave robbers, awaken the corpse of a beautiful heiress, Catherine Valmont, who craves blood. After killing an amorous naked couple in what was her castle, but is now a rental, Catherine contacts her friend, Helene, whom she made a childhood blood pact with to ensure that they would die together, something that obviously did not happen. Helene comes to the castle to find out that her recently dead friend needs human flesh to survive and begins helping her by trapping unsuspecting good Samaritans in her in basement to feed on. Meanwhile, an American photographer sees Catherine Valmont and photographs her. Becoming enchanted by the pictures, she takes them about town asking the locals who she is. The response that she is a two year dead heiress only heightens her intrigue. She and her husband go to the castle to investigate but end up blowing the lid off the castles dirty secret.
The reason I was surprised to see that the writer/director of this film was the same director as Zombie Lake was that I couldn’t believe someone let him make another movie. This film reminded me very badly of Zombie Lake. It’s painstakingly slow, excruciatingly boring, way too much about love and the zombie sucks. There’s one zombie in this movie, it’s Catherine Valmont and in two years she didn’t decay, rot, age or deteriorate at all. In fact, blood seems to come right off of her burial dress with little wear and tear.
This is hardly a zombie movie. She’s not a vampire because she’s not adverse to sunlight or anything like that, yet she does feed on blood. She’s not really a zombie given that her victims don’t come back as zombies and she really does eat their flesh, just their blood. You’d have to create a new genre for this movie, not vampire, not zombie, how about sucker, because she totally sucks…blood. Calling this a zombie movie only serves to sucker zombie enthusiasts in to watching this movie about a sucker.
Jean Rollin, Writer/Director of Living Dead Girl, learned something from Zombie Lake too. He must have learned that he couldn’t do gore very well, so he backed off from using it a whole lot. The “zombie” bites people and pokes them with her sharp nails and blood comes out, but after that there’s no hole or wound or anything but blood.
And what that hell was the deal with the toxic waste dumpers/grave robbers? Were they taking time off of clubbing baby seals and stealing old ladies purses? Seriously, these guys are dumping toxic waste in this vault below the Valmont castle and then they move on to stealing the jewelry from the corpses that have been laid to rest there. This all goes to show that these are some really evil guys.
Living Dead Girl was better than Zombie Lake, but that still doesn’t say shit for Living Dead Girl. It was slow, boring, not scary and just all around sucked. I can’t really see this being a hilarious party movie, but I guess beer has done funnier things. I also have to add that the cover art is totally some kind of after market spruce up. The movie within looks nothing like that. I recommend that this movie be avoided.