Zombie Hunters: City of the Dead (TV Series) (2008)
Directed by Patrick Davaney
The zombie-mania thats been plaguing America is a hit or miss thing. For every Rec there is a Diary of the Dead. For every 28 Days Later, there is a Automaton Transfusion.
But now its infected the independent world of cinema and the horror community.
After touring Chiller, I stumbled upon a booth of geared up soldiers ready to blow up shit. And they were offering something I've never heard of.
A zombie TV show.
Well that's new. A NYC production, they gave their sales pitch. We discussed the POV horror I hate so much and they laid out what they were all about. Hmmm. So I forked over some cash and bought myself a DVD of the first 4 episodes of Zombie Hunters - City of the Dead.
I support the indie horror scene. I was once a zombie on a low budget short film in college. You gotta give props to people willing to take a risk and make something they hope horror-lings will appreciate.
Well it's got heart.
ZOMBIE HUNTERS is a show of modern horror. It details the lives of Billy Cassidy and his group of friends and family, all trying to survive the re-awakening of the dead in New York City.
The first feeling I got when watching ZH was like watching a living adaptation of a chapter in Max Brook's World War Z which is one of the best books about zombies...EVAR!!
World War Z told different stories of people's experience during the Zombie War. Each perspective gave you a view of what it was like and how people survived.
ZH, if somehow was jigsawed into WWZ was an interesting take on how New Yorkers would handle such a situation. Would we all take up arms and go all militia? Would we wait for the government to send troops to save us. Or would we make our house or apartment a fortress and build a fuckin moat?
The pilot was a quick intro to the main characters. Billy Cassidy our main anti-hero and his 2 friends Bates and Denworth. With the help of 2 doctors they save a couple who seem to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.
2 of our ZHs have to save a girl lost in the woods. Solid entrails eating and gratuitous headshots.
We get an intro to how the 2 doctors joined the team as they are attacked in a hospital.
The ZH's try to buy guns from a survivalist militia group and shit hits the fan.
The zombies are your generic, slow moving, very fuckin dumb, oozing guts, very pale zombies (fuck frenetic zombies!). Lots of moody music and trash metal are met with quick surreal shots that go for tone and atmosphere. Think lots of darkness and 60 watt lighting.
As low budget as ZH's is, it tries to give you that sense of dread of living in a world where the dead have come back to life. They hunt the dead in abandoned buildings, backwoods and dark streets. The suspense is littered but sometimes it dragged way too long.
The 3 main actors were all solid and gave decent performances. It was like talking to your friends at a BBQ but with zombies. A few cameo performances were outright horrible ranging from the distressed couple to a mom worrying about her daughter. Total spazzing wooden acting and outright reading your line performances, I could only wince.
But it's the zombie violence that bulks up Zombie Hunters. Back to the basics, Savini style, very minimal CGI gore and splatter. Headshots galore, finger flesh eating, intestine munching and white wall blood splatter.
It's that effort that makes up for the shortcomings of ZH.
And that's where the heart comes in. Zombie Hunters is ambitious, splicing in a TV newscast every episode complete with news anchors and "on the street" interviews which I found very entertaining.
The scope and landscape they wanted to accomplish may have been over ambitious but they pushed and pushed to make a horror TV show they wanted to make. And that's pure heart. A heart covered with blood, intestines and guts.
You gotta love it.
Gore-ipedia (if you want to be shocked don't read)
Finger flesh eating
Lots of zombie annihilation
Nude-ipedia (because you like boobies)
2 doctors fucking up a zombie
The Jaded Viewer's Final Prognosis
A few of the episodes are on YouTube. There have been worse low budget zombie epics than Zombie Hunters. There have also been better efforts.
This falls somewhere in the middle. If you still haven't gotten your fill of Romero, check it out.
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