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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Day 172: Masters of Horror: Dance Of The Dead

Masters of Horror: Dance Of The Dead
It's like the Electric Slide, but way worse

There are many reasons why we decide to watch a horror. Sometimes we like the story it's based off of, sometimes it's a certain director or actor involved, sometimes we like the genre. Whatever the reason, when our interest is peaked, we expect a certain level of quality in what we are about to watch. Those expectations may be too low and we are pleasantly surprised at discovering a new movie. There are other times, though, when your expectations are high and you end up crashing into a mountain of awfulness.

Masters of Horror: Dance Of The Dead is based off a story written by Richard Matheson (What Dreams May Come, I Am Legend) and adapted to the screen by his son Richard Christian Matheson. The movie stars Jessica Lowndes (90210, Kyle XY) as Peggy and Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street, Freddy vs. Jason) as The MC. In 2008, terrorists deployed a biological weapon called “Blizz,” instantly burning anyone caught in it's path. Ten years pass and the United States has fallen into disarray after World War III. Peggy works in her mother's diner and longs to explore the outside world. When she was younger, she saw people burned to death by Blizz while she, her sister, and mother reached safety. A group of bikers/drug addicts come into the diner one day and Peggy becomes infatuated with one named Jak (Jonathan Tucker, The Ruins, Pulse). Jak, along with his sketchy friend, Boxx, have shady dealings with people in the rundown town of Muskeet, including The MC who works at a club called The Doom Room. We even see them steal a person's blood right off the street. Seriously, we see them come up to an old woman on the street, put an IV in her arms, drain some blood, and run away. Jak returns and takes Peggy on a drug-fueled bender on their way to The Doom Room. Jak and Boxx meet backstage with the MC and give him the stolen blood. Afterwards, they all watch the performance on stage, a zombified woman due to Blizz being electrocuted in order to make her lurch and dance. The MC brings on the next “dancer” which turns out to be Peggy's lost sister, Anna. How did she come to be this way and why has Peggy's mother come to Muskeet?

Now working Bar Mitzvahs and funerals

Wow, this was painfully bad. While the story seems slightly interesting, I think something was really lost in translation from word to film. Richard Matheson is no slouch when it comes to writing good stories. I mean, he wrote the absolute classic Twilight Zone episode, “Nightmare At 20,000 Feet.” While this may have been at one point a good story, it isn't a good one now. The story is all over the place in a confusing and nonsensical mess. So some biological weapon named Blizz (Seriously? Blizz? That sounds like something Dairy Queen would sell) burns people who come in contact with it, but you're safe if you're inside? Seems like you'd do more damage with a bomb. Then they just skip ahead and society has totally crumbled, leading to people stealing blood in broad daylight. Really? REALLY?! I can't even figure out what the story is supposed to be? The horrors of nuclear war? The evils in society? Well, it's sure not about zombies, contrary to what they advertise.

There are two saving graces to Dance Of The Dead; Robert Englund and music by Billy Corgan. Robert Englund is his usual wonderful self, speaking with conviction and making every word matter. Corgan's music is somewhat pounding industrial, or more precisely, Hollywood's idea of insustrial. It is fun to listen to and sets a dark tone to the movie. One of the biggest problems for the movie are the characters and the actors portraying them. No one is likable in Dance Of The Dead. Peggy is far too naïve at the beginning, but easily slides into the world of drugs and debauchery as if she's slipping on an old pair of shoes. The love interest, Jak, is supposed to be some sort of sweet badboy that's still a drug using, blood-stealing scumfuck. I'm supposed to like this guy because I'm pretty sure I hate his guts. It doesn't help that the performances are mediocre at best.

Acting the fuck out of this scene

There are very few good things to say about Dance Of The Dead. The story is barely coherent with unlikable characters, weak acting, and predictable and downright stupid ending. There is very little in the way of action and entertainment. It's labeled as a zombie movie, but that just barely passes for truth. Robert Englund is as great as ever and the music by Billy Corgan is pretty good. Perhaps something was lost in the execution of this movie, but I really don't know why they made this into an episode of Masters of Horror. There are far better stories out there deserving of an episode. I was expecting a fun zombie movie starring Robert Englund. Instead, I got a boring story that goes nowhere with a small Robert Englund role. The movie has a lot of drug use and nudity, so it's definitely not for kids. Dance Of The Dead is not scary and it is not entertaining.


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