The Dead Next Door (1989)

Genres - Action, Horror  |   Sub-Genres - Action Thriller  |   Run Time - 78 min.  |   Countries - USA  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Gory and fast-paced, the popularity of The Dead Next Door among young viewers probably springs from its resemblance to a live-action video game rather than any intrinsically impressive qualities, other than the fact that it ever got finished in the first place. Shot over four years at a cost of over $120,000 (Sam Raimi originally put up $8,000), it was later redubbed by Evil Dead star Bruce Campbell. Despite its inflated reputation, the film is likely to strike all but the most rabid devotees of low-budget splatter as the reductio ad absurdum of what was already a thin plot line during the subgenre's major period of popularity in the 1970s: Zombies eat people, and the uneaten people shoot them. This Nintendo style of filmmaking has caused more than one wag to label it "chop 'em and pop 'em," but if mindless bloodletting is what the viewer seeks, this is admittedly one of the more skillful attempts. The collector's edition contains extra scenes and a half-hour documentary about the film's troubled production. Creator J.R. Bookwalter went on to make many genre films, including The Sandman and Polymorph.