Reviews
Song of the Dead (2005) 1 brain1 brain
(USA)

I honestly don't know what to make of this movie. It's a zombie musical political satire, and it had me both wincing in mental pain and laughing uncontrollably. There are moments in the movie that are brilliant, like when the zombies groping through a barricade start swaying their arms back and forth in unison for a song, and there are moments that fizzle, like some of the less well-written songs. Song of the Dead is mostly in the style of Rocky Horror Picture Show, that is, choreographed show tunes instead of rock videos like in the horrible Hard Rock Zombies.

The political satire comes into the picture because the zombie breakout is the result of a chemical dispersed in the atmosphere by the US government, but the government blames it on terrorists, and with the help of the media, the whole nation is in a frenzy about the "terrorist zombies." Reggie Bannister, from the Phantasm series, plays the US president, and most of his songs are patriotic drivel about staying the course and banding together (sound familiar?). This is part of the satire, of course, but the catch is that then you have to listen to a song of patriotic drivel.

The script and songs were written by director Chip Gubera. I would say that the lyrics are the weak point of the movie, but there are still great songs to be heard. I liked the opening song, which is by a hiker who has just been bitten by a zombie. We get to watch his transformation as he sings, and then this song moves into one of the theme songs of the movie, "Flesh and Blood," a nice spooky chorus in a minor key. Talking more about other songs I liked would give away some of the surprises in the plot, so I won't go into them, but for the main part I enjoyed the songs that weren't political satire more.

The plot centers around a group of people in a cabin in the country. There are Sandy (Kate Gorman) and Brad (Travis Hierholzer), a young couple, and then Sandy's father Harold (Conrad Gubera) and brother Tommy (Steve Williams), one of the air force pilots who dropped the chemical that caused the outbreak. They are joined by Arthur (Steve Andsager), a mysterious stranger who knows how to kick zombie ass. As they listen to the news reports, more and more zombies find their cabin, and their situation gets more desperate.

Much of the movie's charm is just the odd combination of the zombie and musical genres. Michael Jackson used it to great effect in Thriller, and I thought I even saw some Thriller-like moves here and there. I would say Gubera's stronger suit is zombies, though, since the makeup is pretty good, and there are several references to the genre, Evil Dead in particular. It helps make up for some of the weaker musical stuff.

This is certainly a different movie, and I have to applaud the creativity that went into it. As long as you're prepared for a range in quality, I think you'll enjoy yourself. I think.