Lovers of low-budget B-movie horror and exploitation films rejoice! Jason Toler’s Crack House of the Dead brings the zombie apocalypse to the gritty, drug-riddled streets of Brick City. Crack House opens with a pair of small-time drug dealers complaining about the gentrification of their dilapidated neighborhood just before being “serviced” by a zombie-infected junkie who desperately needs a fix and “brains.”
The film’s primary action occurs in a crack house just before the home’s inevitable invasion by a zombie horde. Locked inside are undercover detectives Turner (Jason Toler) and Russell (Herschel Savage) and their mark drug supplier/strip club owner Cavario (Oji Nuri). Tension and distrust are at palpable levels.
That night the detectives were to take down Cavario, but the “state” needed all law enforcement available to protect the city from an unknown presence. Turner decided that he would defy orders and proceed with the bust. The duo recruits unwitting officers Rivera (Laurie Davis) and Brady (Steve Crest) for back-up.
Now holed up in a crack house, other survivors begin to filter in for protection. Hidden upstairs are a serial killer and his next victim. Then another drug dealer begs to be let in with one of his girls, who swallowed several balloons of coke. This gang of unlikely survivors must band together to ward off the zombie invasion…or will their distrust of one another turn their chances of survival into divide and “die?”
“…occurs in a crack house just before the home’s inevitable invasion by a zombie horde.”
Crack House of the Dead offers the best of both worlds of a time gone by in independent filmmaking. Fans of b-movie horror will appreciate writer/director/star Jason Toler’s low-budget epic. For a production with little resources, Toler goes all out with better than average zombie make-up and blood-squirting gore. The zombies look pretty good…inexpensively good.
He also leans heavily into the tropes of gritty urban drug thrillers. Toler sets up an elaborate undercover takedown of a major drug dealer, but this story only serves as a means to get his main characters in the same crack house together. Detective Turner’s plan goes awry not because of a poorly executed plan but because of zombies. He also shifts his thriller into exploitation territory with more than our fair share of gratuitous nudity, inopportune sexual encounters, and a trans sex worker’s revenge on a killer.
Though not explicitly stated, Crack House of the Dead has a VHS quality or style to the final product. I think the idea was this the film is a VHS found footage story. Instead, the film’s transitions have VCR rewind and timecode overlays, like a scene of the drug dealer’s women changing in a dressing room and swallowing coke balloons. Based on editing and camera angles, this idea (if there was one) was abandoned for a straightforward narrative.
Crack House of the Dead is just plain indie filmmaking fun, particularly for fans of gratuitous sex and violence. There’s nothing groundbreaking in the story. Most of it is pretty laughable and full of plot holes and is more of an homage to a time when movies like this were made to rev up our endorphins. The film will piss off this current “woke” audience that the more “sophisticated” batch of filmmakers is catering to today. Instead, Crack House of the Dead serves as a nostalgic oasis of storytelling of not-so-long-ago.
"…plain indie filmmaking fun, particularly for fans of gratuitous sex and violence."