×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

A Cadaver Christmas

A small, unremarkable but quite funny tale of revivified dead people overtaking a university building over holiday break.

With:
With: Dan Hale, Hanlon Smith-Dorsey, Yosh Hayashi, Ben Hopkins, Jessica Denney, Andrew Harvey, Michael Kennedy.

One wonders what George Romero would have thought in 1968, when “Night of the Living Dead” commenced a new chapter in horror film history, of the term “zombie comedy” (notwithstanding the fact thathe’s made some since himself). These days there seem to be more zom-coms than straight-up undead thrillers, many retreads of better, prior efforts (notably “Shaun of the Dead”). But “A Cadaver Christmas” is a good ‘un — a small, unremarkable but quite funny tale of revivified dead people overtaking a university building over holiday break. Theatrical prospects are slender, but pic should attract genre fans in home formats.

The pic’s quasi-retro tenor is set by deliberate image streaking and blotting, as if this were a badly used 30-year-old grindhouse print, as cantankerous college janitor Chester (Dan Hale) fights off a bunch of zombies with his mop. He subsequently wanders into a dive whose only patron is burly Tom (Hanlon Smith-Dorsey), served by burlier bartender pal Eddie (Ben Hopkins). Though neither is the brightest ornament on the Christmas tree, they do perceive that something’s wrong, considering Chester is covered in blood, and call a cop friend of theirs.

It turns out Sam (Yosh Hayashi) has actually lost his police job due to an itchy trigger finger, which he is eager to demonstrate anew by unwisely driving the protags right back to the site of the alleged zombie attack.

They’re joined by an officious student campus security employee (Jessica Denney) and youthful all-purpose perv (Andrew Harvey). Eventually we get an explanatory backstory that has something to do with experiments on corpses by a science professor(Michael Kennedy).

Ludicrously over-the-top gore accompanies the climactic battle mayhem, and fake TV news reports over closing credits extend the story several amusing chapters further.

Perfs are nicely tuned. Co-scenarist Hale does the angry-nerd-turned-superhero to perfection, but Smith-Dorsey is particularly funny as the dimmest bulb onscreen. Feature directorial debutant Joe Zerull keeps the silly tale just pacey, deadpan and loopy enough to buoy it several degrees above Troma-style low camp. Assembly is smartly faux-cheesy.

Popular on Variety

A Cadaver Christmas

Production: Produced by Daniel Rairdin-Hale. Directed, edited by Joe Zerull. Screenplay, Daniel Rairdin-Hale, Zerull, Hanlon Smith-Dorsey.

Crew: Camera (color, HD to Blu-ray), Zerull; music, William Campbell; additional music, Josh Weitzel, Anonymous A; costume designer, Peggy Hale; VFX, Steve Brown; makeup designers, Rairdin-Hale, Adam Orton; assistant director, Erin Zerull. Reviewed on DVD, San Francisco, May 13, 2011. (In Another Hole in the Head Film Festival.) Running time: 86 MIN.

With: With: Dan Hale, Hanlon Smith-Dorsey, Yosh Hayashi, Ben Hopkins, Jessica Denney, Andrew Harvey, Michael Kennedy.

More Film

  • Gaston Pavlovich

    ’The Irishman’s’ Gaston Pavlovich, Endemol Shine Boomdog Ink Production Pact (EXCLUSIVE)

    “The Irishman” producer Gaston Pavlovich and his Mexico City-based production company Fabrica de Cine have inked an overall development and production deal with Endemol Shine Boomdog, the Mexican outpost of Endemol Shine North America. News comes as “The Irishman” opens the Los Cabos Int’l Film Festival on Wednesday, Nov. 13. The Martin Scorsese Netflix-backed drama [...]

  • Charlize Theron'The Addams Family' film premiere,

    Charlize Theron to Be Honored by Costume Designers Guild (EXCLUSIVE)

    The Costume Designers Guild announced Wednesday that Academy Award-winner Charlize Theron will be honored with the spotlight award. The Spotlight Award honors an actor whose talent and career personify an enduring commitment to excellence, including a special awareness of the role and importance of costume design. “Charlize Theron is a costume designer’s dream, bringing integrity [...]

  • Ford v Ferrari

    'Ford V. Ferrari' Soundtrack Revealed (EXCLUSIVE)

    The full tracklist for the forthcoming 20th Century Fox film “Ford V. Ferrari,” starring Academy Award-winners Matt Damon and Christian Bale, has been revealed below. The film is based on the true story of American car designer Carroll Shelby (Damon) and the British-born driver Ken Miles (Bale), who together battled corporate interference, the laws of [...]

  • Modern-Loves

    Cinepolis Takes Latin America on ‘Modern Loves,’ Drops First Trailer (EXCLUSIVE)

    MEXICO CITY —  Mexico’s Cinepolis, one of the biggest movie theater chains in the world, has acquired rights for Latin America to Matías Meyer’s “Amores Modernos” (Modern Loves), which world premieres at this week’s Los Cabos Film Festival, playing in main competition. In the U..S., “Modern Loves” has been taken by premium Latinx-content streaming platform, [...]

  • THE IRISHMAN (2019)Ray Ramano (Bill Bufalino

    Los Cabos Film Festival: 10 Takes on the 2019 Edition

    MEXICO CITY —  A crossroads for the film industries of Mexico, the U.S. and Canada, Los Cabos Intl. Film Festival opens its doors on Wednesday, Nov. 13 with a lineup which takes on board hot-button issues – gender, violence in Mexico, the impact of global platforms – as the Festival consolidates its status as a [...]

  • PORNOMELANCHOLIA

    Berlin Winner Manuel Abramovich’s “Pornomelancholia” Taps French Funding (EXCLUSIVE)

    MEXICO CITY — Argentina’s Manuel Abramovich, a 2019 Berlinale Silver Bear winner for “Blue Boy,” has tapped French funding for its follow-up, “Pornomelancholia,” one of the highest-profile projects at Mexico’s Los Cabos Film Festival, which kicks off today with a gala screening of “The Irishman,” Financing from the Region Nouvelle-Aquitaine, a building film-TV hub in [...]

  • CDMX-Film-Pitchbox

    Filmarket Hub Announces Projects for First CDMX Film Pitchbox (EXCLUSIVE)

    When Variety unveiled the CDMX Film Pitchbox, a new movie project pitching forum that will take place in Mexico City on Nov. 29, organizer Filmarket Hub announced that executives from Alazraki Entertainment, Cinema 226, Cinépolis, Lemon Studios, Perro Azul and VCS Capital had already confirmed they would attend. Since then, Dynamo, Endemol Shine Boomdog, Exile Content Studio, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content