Dir. Brian Clement
If the hoary formulation, alternately attributed to both T.S. Elliot and Pablo Picasso, holds that good artists borrow and great artists steal, then writer and director Brian Clement has a fucking Oscar in his future because the best (for lesser values of “best”) moments from his three vignette zombie outing Exhumed were outright five fingered from much better films. This may, in fact, be the world’s worst attempt at Sweding better horror and adventure films.
The eventually interlinking stories, flung through time and space, revolve around the search for the “object,” an off screen MacGuffin that allegedly has the power the bring the dead to life (it’s here you should be flashing back to that glowing ball thing that linked the stories in the first Heavy Metal). So we see a samurai and monk wander the “Forest of Death” in the first segment, one looking for the object to raise an undead army to conquer feudal Japan for his lord and the other to keep the object from being wielded as a weapon in a segment that plays out like a LARPed version of Versus. Just typing that forces me to consider seppuku. It’s also heavily reliant on something that will become painfully obvious as the film drags monotonously on: Clement uses shadow and fog incessantly to cover up for the film’s pitiful zombie effects. But that's OK because the zombies run away from this pitiful film about halfway through, as well.
By the second segment, “Shadow of Tomorrow,” the shadows grow even longer and the dialogue becomes a faded Xerox of hardboiled Chandleresque patter in the wannabe film noir tale of a detective who stumbles on a case of grave robbing while looking for a client’s missing ex-wife. Eventually mad scientists and b-movie saucer people become involved and the ending scene, where said mad scientist opens up a box containing the MacGuffin, bears a passing resemblance to the ark opening from Raiders of the Lost Ark.
But it was the final segment, “Last Rumble,” where my soul truly began to vomit out all that was good in the world and thoughts of genocide became a light-hearted distraction. It’s a … *heavy sigh* … tale of mod vampires on scooters versus greaser werewolves on Harleys against the backdrop of a post-apocalyptic warzone where a human general hunts for the object to create an unstoppable army. If you ever asked yourself what Quadrophenia would have been like had it been scripted by Stephanie Meyer, first, you should be cock punched, and second, your question has been answered. Let’s put it this way: the inevitable vampire/werewolf alliance is sealed by a lesbian sex scene.
Zombology: The film’s zombies, prevalent in the first tale, eventually drift to the background, powerless against the accumulated, black hole suck of the mass of excrement being flung at the screen. It’s not even worth discussing.
For achieving the rare trifecta of just awful writing, amateur directing and overacting Al Pacino would call excessive, Exhumed is 97 percent as shitty as Hell of the Living Dead. If it had only devolved into questionable racial stereotypes and grossly abused stock footage, I may have had a new measuring stick for horrible films.