Red Lips: Eat the Living (2005) 1 brain1 brainhalf brain

Donald Farmer isn't the first filmmaker to try combining zombies and vampires into one movie. I've seen at least a couple now, and it seems like it just can't be done, at least not where both types of creature have a major role. Vampires are all about seduction, and power, and eternal youth without guilt or conscience. Zombies are about mindlessness, hopelessness, and eternal death. This contrast seems like it would be interesting to explore, but what it comes down to is that these are just two completely different kinds of movies, and if you try to force them together you get an inconsistent movie.

Farmer may have had the best approach I've seen, which is to have a vampire story in which a vampire is narrating zombie stories, which are then shown as self-contained short films within the larger film. This way, at least, there's an intentional division between the two story types anyway. But the transition between the two types is still jarring nonetheless.

I will say this much: my opinion of Debbie Rochon has improved. She starred in the meta-film about vampires, and the difference in acting skill between her and her co-star (Maria Ortiz) was glaring. Whenever Ortiz spoke, I waited impatiently for her to stop speaking, so that either Rochon could speak or the film could transition to another zombie short. In fairness, I should mention that it was Ortiz's job to deliver hokey "seductive" dialog, and Rochon's to react to it, so maybe Ortiz was getting the short end of the stick there.

But on to the zombie stories. There were four shorts, and their length actually worked in their favor, because the filmmakers could then take their idea and present it with as little filler as possible. (In movies at this budget, the filler is usually bad.) Love (or spoiled love) was a factor in three of the four shorts, which was interesting, but maybe not surprising when you tie it back to the vampire seduction taking place in the outer film. To say much about the shorts individually would be too give things away, so I'll try to walk a fine line. The first short is about a young husband who is trying to deal with having lost his wife to the zombie plague. The second short is about a couple and their new acquaintance hiding out in a zombie apocalypse. The third short is about a man who finds a videotape with strange prophetic powers. The fourth short is longer and does not have love as a theme, but is a more straightforward horror film. Some kids offer a ride to a beautiful stranger, and she takes them to visit a haunted house.

I liked the last one the least, maybe because it was more like a typical low-budget zombie film than the others. The first three were interesting, though, and although plagued by typical low-budget flaws, these flaws stood out less against the tight presentations of the stories.

This movie would have been much better as four shorts without the vampire meta-film, so if you're interested in some decent low-budget shorts, this is still worth checking out. My advice: keep your finger on the fast-forward.