Despite heavy praise by critics Night of the Living Deb (2015) gets barely any love as an American Independence Day horror movie. Maybe that’s because it bills itself as a “Rom-Zom-Com” and no one wants that! But give it a chance. It’s currently playing for free on Tubi and a lot of people could use some laughs these days.
The film steals bits of its plot from Shaun of the Dead. Two people are unexpectedly caught in a zombie apocalypse and must make their way through town to retrieve their loved ones. But where Deb differs is that the duo are actually coming off a one-night stand with each other. Think of it as “The Walking Shame of the Living Dead.”
You see Deb is kind of a desperate gal. She is infatuated with the gorgeous metrosexual Ryan (Michael Cassidy) who is actually engaged to another woman. One night on July 4th eve, Deb flirts with him, and the next morning, she lies clothed in his bed. Neither of them (or us) knows if “anything” happened. Ryan wants her to leave but doesn’t know how to get her to do so.
What they do know is that something weird is happening outside. People have gone crazy biting other people which they quickly deduce as a zombie apocalypse.
Deb is an interesting character. She’s always quoting Longfellow and lives somewhere between infatuation and clinical anxiety. But she’s not shy about plowing down the undead in her massive Caddilac. She can be charming but slightly sadistic.
Maria Thayer as Deb is the heart of the movie. In the recent movie Dashcam, audiences were introduced to Annie Hardy who some say is the most annoying protagonist to ever sustain a movie. Unlike Annie, Deb’s pesky behavior is actually funny and her sense of humor is charming. The bottom line is she is likable and her chemistry with Ryan is classic sitcom stuff.
Night of the Living Deb’s budget came from a crowdsourcing campaign. Director Kyle Rankin never lets the action die. There are bits of downtime, but that’s for plot development and it doesn’t last long. You may remember Rankin as the co-director of Project Greenlight’s The Battle of Shaker Heights.
Rankin loves gore and there is plenty of it in Night of the Living Deb. Although not state of the art, most of it is humorous so it’s not horrific anyway.
The movie is not perfect. Its derivative nature barely registers as homage. Even the hilarious “twist” ending abandons the formula as contrived as it is. But fans of zombie films might like to put this in their rotation around Independence Day because it’s got heart, great performances, and never takes itself seriously. There’s freedom in that.
Romero would be proud. Happy Fourth!
Creepy Smilers Caught on Camera at Major League Baseball Games
The horror movie Smile is opening on Friday, and in a genius bit of marketing, the studio gave horror and baseball fans a creepy meta experience this past Friday.
On September 23, viewers of three Major League Baseball (MLB) games had people in the stands, near the cameras, who had disturbingly evil smiles across their faces, sometimes for innings at a time.
Innings and Grinnings
Sports Illustrated reported on the story citing three games in which the grinning people appeared: Red Sox-Yankees, Mets-Athletics, and Cardinals-Dodgers.
The stunt was effective. Unnerved fans and viewers quickly went to social media and posted about the smilers, making the whole gag a success.
But sports fans weren’t the only ones creeped out by the grinning ghouls. During the live broadcast of Good Morning America, behind hosts Hoda Kotb and Al Roker, a scare actor could be seen with the same evil Cheshire grin watching them from the street window.
The Psychotic Smirk
This deceptively trustworthy facial expression is known as the Psychotic smirk according to tvtropes.com.
“The Psychotic Smirk is a favorite with Big Bads everywhere. There’s no need to broadcast just how dangerous they are – everyone’s got a pretty good idea already, but no one can prove it. The important thing is to smile with only one side of the mouth. Sometimes, it’s accompanied by a Finger Wag as if to say “Nice try, sucker” if the hero had attempted to defeat them.”
That concept might be behind the plot of Smile which follows Dr. Rose Cotter who after experiencing a traumatic event notices that people start to smile just before becoming murderously unhinged.
Sosie Bacon — Kevin Bacon’s daughter — portrays the troubled Cotter in the film and she says it was a tough role, and audiences aren’t ready.
“Truthfully, I wasn’t fully aware of how much this part would wear on me when I began the movie,” Bacon told Orange Magazine. “It’s physically demanding, because your body doesn’t understand the difference between acting and real life. But honestly, I don’t know that anything can prepare you for an experience like ‘Smile.’”
Smile opens in theaters on Friday, September 30.
‘Wednesday” Comes To Netflix November 23rd
Most of us originally thought that the new Wednesday series would premiere in October. It would certainly fit in perfectly with the spooky season. However, when we didn’t see the series starring Jenna Ortega on the Netflix and Chills list we knew we would have to wait a bit longer.
We have received official word that the much anticipated Tim Burton series will be released on Netflix Thanksgiving weekend. The date was shared along with a new poster that you can see below.
Watch Wednesday On Netflix Starting November 23, 2022
The synopsis for Wednesday goes like this:
The series is a sleuthing, supernaturally infused mystery charting Wednesday Addams’ years as a student at Nevermore Academy, where she attempts to master her emerging psychic ability, thwart a monstrous killing spree that has terrorized the local town, and solve the murder mystery that embroiled her parents 25 years ago — all while navigating her new and very tangled relationships at Nevermore.
Go deeper into the Wednesday character with Jenna Ortega and Tim Burton in this featurette.
‘Sinphony’ Trailer Reveals a New Terrifying Anthology Experience
Sinphony: A Clubhouse Horror Anthology offers up nine new tales of horror all packed in a tense set. The stories range from a witch trying to protect her kids from a killer to mold spores that make you ravenous if inhaled.
The synopsis for Sinphony: A Clubhouse Horror Anthology goes like this:
Conceived and curated entirely on the popular, audio-based social media platform Clubhouse and produced by Screen Anthology, SINPHONY: A Clubhouse Horror Anthology features a group of international filmmakers each exploring a character dealing with tragedy caused by a supernatural entity.
The directors contributing segments to the film include a new who’s who of horror: Haley Bishop, Jason Ragosta, Sebastien Bazile & Michael Galvan, Mark Pritchard, Kimberley Elizabeth, Jason Wilkinson, Nichole Carlson, Steven Keller and Wes Driver.
SINPHONY’s shocking stories include: an innkeeper’s growing concern about his secretive new guests; a contractor who inhales mold spores that lead to murder; a couple confronting the fact that one of them is a ghost; a witch protecting her child from a killer; a dance craze that has dire consequences, and much more.
Sinphony’s directors include Jason Ragosta, Steven Keller, Haley Bishop, Wes Driver, Mark Pritchard, Kimberley Elizabeth, Jason Wilkinson, Nicole Carlson, Michael Galvan & Sebastien Bazile.
Sinphony arrives in theaters, on digital and in theaters beginning October 21.