The Dead Hate the Living! (Dave Parker, 1999)

The Dead Hate the Living! / Les morts haïssent les vivants (1999)
Running time: 90 mins.
Directed by:
Dave Parker. Produced by: Charles Band, Dana Scanlan
Cast: Wendy Speake, Eric Clawson, Jamie Donahue, Matthew McGrory, Matt Stephens

A green-faced zombie in Dave Parker's THE DEAD HATE THE LIVING !

A no-budget film crew breaks into an abandoned hospital to film a zombie epic. What they don’t know (but should have somehow intuitively worked out, being horror buffs and all) is that back in the day a certain Dr. Eibon had used the hospital basement to conduct his ghastly experiments on bringing the dead back to life. The filmmakers unwittingly open the portal to, ahem, ‘the beyond’, unleashing a smallish horde of zombies in the process. Unsurprisingly, low-budget carnage ensues. It’s not long before Eibon’s goofy zombie henchmen punch and rip and hack – but hardly ever bite – their way through the film-within-the-film’s cast and crew. Can the film’s ambitious director and his sexy A.D. put an end to the rubbery zombie invasion or will they, too, join the ranks of the living dead?

Dave Parker and the talented cast and crew made such a fun straight-to-video comedy horror with THE DEAD HATE THE LIVING. It’s a really well-scripted and enthusiastically acted, albeit cheesy and uneven low-budget film.

The cast

Young good-looking performers bring enthusiasm to their roles. Matt Stephens as the cheekily named Dr. Eibon is the face of the movie. His undead Rob Zombie/living dead pirate image is quite striking. One of the zombies is played by Matthew McGrory, who went on to cult fame in Rob Zombie’s films.

Are the zombies any good?

There are three main zombie henchmen, each with his own distinct look. Their makeup is just terrific.

Is this movie even remotely stylish?

The set dressing and lighting are damn good – the film looks really slick for a SoV project.

Are there geeky meta references?

THE DEAD HATE THE LIVING has a ton of endearing Lucio Fulci in-jokes. The end of Dave Parker’s film is one big ode to THE BEYOND.

What about the music?

THE DEAD HATE THE LIVING! Is not a perfect film by any means. The score, for example, is frankly shit. It’s all watery library music. But hey, this was a cheap film, getting a decent score simply probably wasn’t on the budget.

So is this movie worth a look?

Some may find THE DEAD HATE THE LIVING! too lightweight and corny. One thing is certain: this film has its’ heart in the right place. Dave Parker’s picture channels enthusiasm and love for the horror genre. It’s a lot more endearing than big-budgeted studio-backed zombie epics such the DAWN OF THE DEAD remake, for instance.

THE DEAD HATE THE LIVING! is packed with low-budget delights and well worth re-discovering.

Reviewed by Alex Bakshaev in July 2013