Here’s an oddity from the 70’s that surprised the hell out of me. A dark drama set in the rural countryside, a family splitting apart, and zombies, all in one film? You heard it right, folks. Laurel Barnett plays Alicianne, a beautiful young woman on her way to take care of 11 year old Rosalie. Right away, Alicianne can tell there’s something not right with this kid, as both her neighbors and her family seem to have not-so-nice things to say about her. You see, Rosalie is a little traumatized by the death of her mother, and she wants revenge, a revenge that can only be executed thanks to a psychic link that she shares with her ‘friends from the cemetery’, if you know what I mean.
The film’s main flaw are it’s budget limitations. It was probably shot on a Bolex 16mm, and that camera’s inability to record sync sound is apparent, as characters talk without their words matching their lips. That’s about it, however. The movie is able to mix elements from past films like Cat People and Carnival Of Souls to re-package them into an original, fresh take on a zombie genre. I’m surprised nobody else has thought about making a film similar to this, as it’s more than easy to adapt into a modern setting. The backwoods setting is excellent, with the mud, trees and mood almost breaking through my television set. And somebody sure as hell wasted their budget on the fog machines, they’re on full time and it looks awesome, like an American Transylvania. Acting-wise, the film is mostly good, with Laurel Barnett being able to show a lot of emotion while looking hot at the same time. Rosalie Cole stands out, however, as the psychic-powered hellion from hell. It’s a tragedy that this is the only film she was ever in (as far as imdb is concerned) because she had a lot of talent and could have gone pretty far.
One thing that has to be taken into account is the look of the zombies. They don’t look like your traditional undead; hell, they look more reptilian in nature, but still human enough to look like rotting undead. They eat cats and human flesh, and the makeup effects are pretty damn gory, causing a lot of face and eye damage on most of the cast. The blood is that orangy-red fake blood that is more notorious for being used in Dawn of the Dead, which adds to the air of spooky, lack of realism that this movie gloriously displays. I wish more horror movies had the balls to mix fantasy with horror. This is a great movie and comes highly recommended.