By Steve Anderson | September 1, 2007

There’s an old adage out there about biting off more than you can chew–specifically, that you shouldn’t. And “The Grand Horror” is a perfect example of why.

This extremely ambitious horror tale starts off with what looks like Zombie Apocalypse–an assortment of vaguely humanoid types shambling around and tearing out intestines in that grand old “Dawn of the Dead” style. But it doesn’t stop there, no sir! Several survivors of the goings-on on the streets take cover inside an abandoned yet still strangely intact theatre.

This is where the problems with “The Grand Horror” really get started. Logic is just shot all to hell–did I mention that that the theatre still has food and bottles of Captain Morgan in the basement?

Abandoned theatre, midst of Zombie Apocalypse, but this theatre which has apparently been closed for years has popcorn, and oil, and various boxes of food and rum contained therein. Worse, it takes until the end credits to even conclusively tell if the things roaming the theatre are zombies that found their way in from outside, or actual homicidal ghosts haunting the theatre.

“The Grand Horror” is clearly, clearly low budget. They’ve borrowed a theatre, and have gone to such an extent to keep it clean that they even put plastic sheeting down whenever they’re about to stage a corn-syrup-laden killing. Ostensibly, it’s because the ghost haunting the place kept his theatre in pristine condition, but this flimsy plot device is pretty easy to see through. Even the sound engineering is off–on at least one occasion, lines were impossible to hear because the volume had temporarily dropped through the floor.

But what saves “The Grand Horror” from being a complete waste is its incredibly bold storyline. Yes, it’s low budget. Yes, they’re biting off way more than they can chew. Yes, logic is the biggest casualty of this zombie attack. But let’s face it–it takes a great whopping lot of ambition to launch a haunted house plot in the middle of a zombie attack. No one before them has done it, so I give Kister and company due kudos for at least taking a run, albeit an unsuccessful run, at that brass ring.

As is the case with so many before them, “The Grand Horror” is not the film of Kister and company’s that I really want to see. What I really want to see is the film they put out when they’ve got a proper budget and decent effects and the space they need to tell their incredible sweeping epic of a story properly. Because Kister definitely has a way with survival horror–“The Grand Horror” is proof of that. The ending he cobbled up was an excellent topper to the whole affair. He definitely built drama and a little pathos like no tomorrow and I believed I was watching a band of four in the midst of the world-ending horror of a zombie attack.

This time, Kister and company didn’t pull off an incredibly ambitious project. That’s okay–you can’t win ’em all. But Kister and company are worth keeping an eye on. Leave the baby be, and just pass on their bathwater.

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