Dead 7 Grown Boy Bands Meet Seven Samurai (Review)

Dead 7 - Season 2016

One has to admire Asylum; the studio that  brings  Z Nation and Sharknado (ad nauseum)  to SyFy.  The former sometimes reaches heights that can only be described as sublime and the latter is an exercise in schlock. Dead 7; a sort of mishmash of grown boy bands meet Seven Samurai (or the “not-so” Magnificent Seven) is the latest effort from the bargain basement film company.

At two hours, Dead 7 is a little long and drawn out.  Co-written by Nick Carter and Sawyer Perry and directed by Danny Roew the film follows a group of disparate “heroes” who take on the evil Apocolypta (Debra Wilson), who could be a kissing cousin of Big Daddy Mars (Richard Cetronein John Carpenter’s Ghosts of Mars.

The world has been overrun by zombies and the power mad Apocolypta is raising an army of the undead to take over her little part of the world. She sends hordes of the creatures to overtake towns, under the supervision of her “non-zombie” right-hand man (AJ McLean another of Nick Carter’s band mates from BSB), and makes more zombies.

Dead 7 - Season 2016
Joey Fatone as Whiskey Joe

As the team of seven work toward taking out Apocolypta they find more zombies and more villains to overcome. This film, despite being written outside the Asylum studio feels right at home on SyFy with its mix of Z Nation and the Sharknado  franchise meet the Seven Samurai manages to slightly entertain.

There are enough CG exploding heads and blood spray to keep most gore enthusiasts satisfied. It is never explained just why Apocolypta wants to overrun the world  with zombies.  The heroes battle an ever increasing amount of these creatures  and as the two hour film progresses, characters  stumble and die along the way.

Of course the big pull of this film is not its plot and is more about the  grown boy band members.  Nick Carter is the lone wolf hero who  reluctantly joins the mission.  There are members from BSB *NSYNC, 98 Degrees and O Town.

Carter looks good and all of these boy band performers do a pretty impressive job in front of the camera.  The problems with the film, and there are a number of them, have to do with liberal borrowing from other  horror films, an overabundance of CG deaths and a meandering plot line.

Dead 7 - Season 2016
Erik-Michael Estrada as Komodo

For example; the heroes pull teeth from the “copperheads” and use the mouth enamel as currency. This is all too similar to the collection of vampire fangs in Stake Land which were also used as a replacement for money.

Dead 7 is probably more entertaining to fans of the former boy band members who populate the film.   Others may find the movie  a bit tedious as the pace drags and the boy band actors are a little up and down in terms of performance.

Joey Fatone is good as the gregarious Whiskey Joe and Carter is good as Jack, so too is his wife Lauren Kitt Carter who underplays the role of Sirene. McLean’s giggling Johnny Vermillion is just annoying after a while however.

The camera work is a mixture of oblique angles and tight shots that fall short of a proper close-up and feel more like an effort to ignore the set’s background.  Overall Dead 7 is more on par with Sharknado than Z Nation and a deviation from the usual popular fare from Carter and his fellow Backstreet Boys band members.

The film is not overly impressive as it rambles (At two hours how could it not?)  and it ultimately fails to deliver a punch by its end. There are moments where  Wilson actually manages to be rather disturbing and the one scene where she licks zombie drool off of a zombie’s chin is revolting.

Dead 7 - Season 2016
AJ McLean as Johnny Vermillion, Debra Wilson as Apocolypta

Dead 7 is another example of Asylum putting together a project that falls short but still has the odd moment that entertains.  On a Sharknado scale of one to five, this one is a two and a half sharks short of a full mark.

Sorry Nick.

 

American Horror Story: SDCC News Jessica Lange Tease

Kathy Bates at SDCC AHS Panel
San Diego Comic Con, aka SDCC annually mades headlines when the creators, cast and other various members of the entertainment industry give out early information about iconic games, TV shows and movies. American Horror Story gave fans a bit of news about the next season and Ryan Murphy decided to tease fans of the series about past star Jessica Lange. While Lady Gaga fans are overly excited about the face that their Mommy Monster will be in the show, acting only – sorry kids – the news that award winning actress Lange will not be in this newest ensemble was more than disappointing to say the least.

Granted fans of the show have known for sometime now that Lange would not be in Hotel, but the tease that she could return in a later season was a bittersweet treat for fans. It does feel a little like a bad joke, replacing Lange with Gaga? Really?

In a joint panel, stars from both AHS and the new horror comedy series Scream Queens, starring American Horror Story alumnus Emma Roberts and horror icon Jamie Lee Curtis, revealed certain noteworthy items from both shows. Curtis teased fans of her Laurie Strode character from Halloween that there would be a “wordless” nod to the role that helped to make her one of the original scream queens. Roberts is reportedly going to show up at the end of the latest version of Murphy’s brilliantly macabre creation, at least that is what the show’s creator told the panel audience at the SDCC.

The 24 year-old actress will apparently reunite with her one-time real life boyfriend and costar Evan Peters. It is interesting to note that the Scream 4 star had been arrested in 2012 for allegedly beating Peters up, he refused to press charges and the relationship limped along till June 2015 when they called the whole thing off.

Roberts will not be the only other AHS alumni member to reappear in the hotel setting of season five of the series. Ryan Murphy, the same man who brought the world Glee and “gleeks,” stated that other characters would be appearing in this newest season. Murphy has always insisted that the each season’s characters are interconnected, he proved that in season four by showing how Pepper, who was first spotted in Season three; Asylum, was placed into Briarcliff.

While this is welcome news to fans of the long running series, it is still a major disappointment that the one constant in all of the previous four seasons, Jessica Lange, will be missing. The two time Oscar winner stated after Freakshow had finished that she would not be in the next one. Her reason was that she needed a rest from the verse. Considering the different types of characters she played along with the intensity of her performances, it is no wonder that the 66 year-old performer took a break.

This absence may just be the missing ingredient from Murphy’s crowd pleasing cult favorite that spells disaster for its long running success. Lange was not necessarily the glue that bound each episode of every season together, but she was the steely spine of each and every story. The thread that held together through each twist and turn and bloody gruesome event.

Lange’s Elsa Mars, Sister Jude Martin, Fiona Good and Constance Langdon were all disparate creatures, and as much as Elsa was heart rending yet despicable, her Sister Jude will be the epitome of character arcs for the entire season; a journey that started with the viewer hating her overbearing nun and then crying real tears for her and that fall from grace.

SDCC saw fans of American Horror Story getting the latest news about the latest verse in Ryan Murphy’s creation and his teasing that perhaps other performers who will not show up might do so in another season, “aka Jessica Lange,” is a little exciting, if not bittersweet. Sadly Lange will not be back this time around and maybe that is the way it should be.

After all, how can she top Elsa Mars’ rendition of Bowie’s “Life on Mars.” Not to mention her sad success at the end of the season. Have a look at the video below of Elsa belting out this show stopper and think of the Comic Con and just what the latest season of AHS will be like without Lange.

Do not be afraid to shed a little tear…

Z Nation Season One: Six of One Half a Dozen of Another

Z Nation Season One: Six of One Half a Dozen of Another

So far season one of Z Nation has been “six of one and half a dozen of another” in terms of episodic quality. This week’s episode, Going Nuclear follows the usual formulaic approach that the Asylum produced show relies upon. Fans who have been watching the series since its start on SyFy will have noticed that a few shows in the season have been a cut above the rest. Either in content, plot or intent, some shows have stood out from other offerings thus far. The death of Garnett, played by Tom Everett Scott who makes one think of Robert Hays, in the episode Resurrection Z was a sombering show and felt a little different from the rest of the series.

‘Z Nation’ Going Nuclear: One Star Trek Reference and The Simpsons

‘Z Nation’ Going Nuclear: One Star Trek Reference and The Simpsons

Z Nation, in Going Nuclear proves that folks who come in contact with Team Murphy, usually become the fatality of the week and this episode managed to have two references, one for Star Trek and the other for The Simpsons which is fairly impressive. Doc gets to do a “Bones” line, “Dammit I’m a doctor not a nuclear physicist” and the inclusion of a nuclear plant supervisor named Homer Stubbins is pretty funny. On par with the, “Don’t hug the zombies, gotcha,” line from Doc.