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Written & Directed by: Yfke van Berckelaer
Starring Brad Culver & Esme Allen
Dante is a 200 year old zombie. After falling in love with Claudia, a mortal girl, he changes his flesh-eating ways to win the girl of his dreams. The closer he gets to his desires, the harder it becomes to maintain the facade, especially when his zombie friends attempt to intervene...
FXhome sponsored the Comic-Con 2007 short film festival, which is how we encountered Zombie Love, winner of the Humor/Parody category. A glance at the credits on the DVD sleeve quickly raises eyebrows: it’s not often that a zombie movie has a credit for ‘book and lyrics’. Zombie Love has the rare distinction of being a horror-musical-rom-com, which makes it at least a third more crazy than Shaun of the Dead.
While the obvious comparison is to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Zombie Love is actually far less deranged, depicting a classic tale of star-crossed lovers that would fit quite comfortably into a Disney movie if it were not for the copious amounts of blood and gore. Dante (Culver) is a love-struck zombie, worn down by the endless grind of killing and eating people until he stumbles upon the sweet and innocent Claudia (Allen). Having saved her from attack Dante then has to decide whether to hide his true nature or reveal his brain-munching habit.
Zombies alone provide an amusing twist on a classic theme and would have made for an entertaining film. Opting to include musical numbers is a risky decision, especially when operating on a low budget. Thankfully director Yfke van Berckelaer and her team prove more than up to the challenge, delivering witty lyrics and high quality performances from their leads. Crucially, the songs work, both technically and artistically, adding hugely to the film rather than detracting.
The cast of supporting zombies are particularly amusing, each hailing from different eras. Utterly incapable of comprehending Dante’s longing for human affection they endeavour to thwart his courting at every turn, most notably by chomping on a dead body in Claudia’s dining room. Which brings us neatly to the gore, ably handled by make-up artist Allan Holt. The zombification is limited mainly to faces, which is a slight shame (other than one superbly decaying torso!), but the victims are handled with gruesome relish, intestines thrown about liberally.
A few areas belie the film’s limited budget, most notably the dance numbers that feel more constrained than they should, never quite soaring as high as the music itself. The sound mix is a little muffled during the non-musical moments, notable mainly in comparison to the highly polished production of the songs, resulting in unfortunate volume tweaking on certain speaker set-ups.
The DVD itself is well produced with a range of amusing background material, from teaser trailers to behind-the-scenes featurettes that shine a light on what appears to be a very jovial and collaborative shoot. Available for a mere $15 ($20 international), the Zombie Love DVD is yet another vital addition to any self-respecting indie film lover’s collection.
If you’re into zombies or musicals – or perhaps both – then head over to the official website to grab yourself a copy. Proceeds from the DVD go towards helping to fund a forthcoming feature-length version.
We’ve got more Zombie Love coverage coming soon, including an interview with director Yfke van Berckelaer.