19 March 2015 | MartinHafer
There are worse movies out there...though this is hardly a glowing endorsement!
"The Burning Dead" (also known as "Volcano Zombies") is an extremely low budget film. And, the title pretty much says it all. So, I knew going into this film that I wouldn't be seeing Masterpiece Theatre or Jane Austin!! Yup...it has what you'd expect--a lot of cheesy special effects and makeup and some occasionally broad acting. And, it's clearly for folks who like horror and don't mind it of the bargain basement variety! Now I am not saying the film is 100% bad....just mostly bad.
When the film begins, an American-Indian played by the ubiquitous Danny Trejo is telling some kids a story--and then the actual plot to this film begins. I say 'ubiquitous' because Trejo was in 17 different productions last year and is slated, so far, to be in 21. In fact, while this tough-looking guy didn't begin acting until he was almost 40, he so far has nearly 300 credits!! So did it surprise me that this Mexican-American actor was playing a Cherokee? Nah...I think he'd appear in the lead of Cinderella if they offered it to him! He hammed it up a bit during his small portion in the film, though I always enjoy seeing him...even in schlocky films like this one. To paraphrase Liberace--you might laugh...but Trejo is probably laughing himself all the way to the bank!
Trejo's story is about zombies who are vaporized during the 1840s. And, oddly, when the same volcano becomes active again today, these zombies are reconstituted by the evil volcano spirits and they set about doing what zombies do best--slowly chasing after folks who seem to inexplicably fall down and get devoured. None of this is especially inspired--especially in light of the hundred bazillion zombie TV shows and movies over the last decade. Here is the real problem though--it was bad but not bad or cheesy enough to be a film for a bad film junkie who wants to laugh at the film. Additionally, had the film not taken itself so seriously and been more like some of Sam Raimi's or George Romero's zombie films, it might have worked. As it is, there just isn't enough to recommend it.
Despite all my reservations about the film, however, I am giving it a special award for 'The Most Ludicrous Nude Scene of the Past Decade'. As the volcano is belching smoke and getting ready to blow, an insane but very shapely lady appears near the crater with her camera and starts to take some candid topless photos of herself with the volcano as a backdrop!! Rarely have I ever seen a more contrived and asinine way to insert a bit of nudity into a movie!