DEAD INFERNO (a.k.a. Bombshell Bloodbath) *** USA 2014 Dir: Brett Mullen. 80 mins
The feature debut for co-writer / director Brett Mullen – later responsible for delicious giallo homage BLOODY BALLET – this is an engaging, fast paced homage to vintage Italian splatter cinema. Its tone is set with a spry opening involving a drunk hillbilly mowing down a female zombie during an outbreak, lamenting “You damn women are so fucking stubborn” before she rips his throat out.
Six days earlier, ex CDC employee / grief-stricken widow Rob Springer has been working with reanimated rats as part of his determined bid to revive his late wife. Sporting a plague-doctor costume and fond of self-justification (“I am only borrowing…from the cemetery”), the increasingly batty Herbert West-esque doc unleashes mayhem while his daughters valiantly try to cover up the ensuing mess. Offering a refreshingly feisty pair of female characters pitted against an array of doomed male douche bags, this deftly balances deadpan dialogue and show-stopping splatter with incidental banter, including a strip-club detour in which two losers discuss the different kind of boobies in the world. Larry Parks shows up as an archetypal small town Sheriff who hates college kids, while Mullen appropriates the atmospheric graveyard scenes and impressive gut-munching gore of fan favourites like BURIAL GROUND, DR BUTCHER M.D. and CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD. It takes its threat seriously, bowing out with a Romero-inspired, cynical epilogue, and gains much mileage from a Fabio Frizzi-style score.
Review by Steven West