Zombies have really become an intricate part of pop and film culture, even going so far as to become part of our daily lives at times. How many of you have woken up in the morning, groggy and hung over as all get out, wondering when George Romero will hold an audition for another zombie movie so you can give it a shot? How do you explain some of the co-workers at your workplace? And what is there to say about the idiotic teenager at Blockbuster Video with eyes partially closed, trying so hard not to trip over himself? They could be everywhere.
At the hospital in “Graveyard Alive”, they’re not from the graveyard, but first arrive by way of a woodcutter who was bitten by an unseen creature that he forced into a box. He arrives at the hospital with an ax firmly implanted in his head, meriting an operation in order to get it out. The doctor handling this operation is Dr. Dox (Karl Gerhardt). He’s just like one of those soap opera doctors who seem to wear the outfit just for show. He’s engaged to Nurse Goodie Tueshuze (Samantha Slan), who wears the hottest nurse outfit on the staff, yet refuses Dox’s sexual advances, claiming that it won’t happen until after they’re married.
Our guide into this soap opera-ish, sometimes over-the-top world is Nurse Patsy Powers (Anne Day-Jones), a mousy, ugly duckling type who has a rivalry with Goodie, though Goodie seems to have the upperhand for now. She’s got the standard octagonal glasses and spends every evening in front of the TV, watching an equally cheesy hospital soap opera. It all changes however when she’s taking care of the woodcutter-turned zombie (Goodie certainly won’t do it since she’s grossed out by him), and he bites her. She pulls away quickly, but as in any zombie film, it’s too late.
Soon, she begins to change, losing the glasses and wearing slinkier outfits, and raising the suspicions of the hospital’s maintenance engineer, E.R. Kapotski (Roland Laroche), who used to be a doctor, but lost everything when his wife and two daughters died from a mysterious flesh-eating disease. His new best friend is the bottle, but there’s just something about Patsy that keeps him sober enough to find out if she’s actually a zombie. If so, it’s not good for the hospital. And after Dr. Dox becomes attracted to the new Patsy, Goodie becomes equally wary and even angry at this turn of events. She’s hotter when she’s angry, though.
“Graveyard Alive” was filmed in black-and-white and has a fun B-movie feel to it. You might think you should feel guilty watching it, but everyone involved knows that they’re overdoing it and really revel in that. Dr. Dox sometimes looks like this clueless buffoon, while the rivalry between Goodie and Patsy is like anything you’d find in a bad modern high school movie. But it’s fun! That’s the great thing about “Graveyard Alive”. It even has a narrator at the beginning and end whose ominous voice sounds like one of many hosts on those late-night TV horror screamfests, or whatever glued you to the set when you were a kid. And let’s not forget the bad dubbing too where the dialogue plays, but the actors mouths don’t always move the same way, sometimes even catching up later on. It shows a slight influence from Jacques Tati, among many other influences.
With the intended bad acting, the doctors and nurses who don’t do much of what their profession requires, and a half-decent catfight between nurses (though not as long as I wish it could have been), “Graveyard Alive” is an entertaining, amusing film and (at the risk of being cheesy), you won’t mind it taking a bite out of your time.