Exhumed (2003) Film Review 3/5

There exists a level of filmmaking that resides far below the cheapest of B movies, where committed individuals or groups get their friends together, bang out a script, and make themselves their own movie for what amounts to pocket change in the movie industry. These aren’t the types of flicks designed to make a million dollars at the box office, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worthwhile flicks. If you’ve seen “Gigli,” you’d know a big budget doesn’t lead to a good movie.

Canadian filmmaker Brian Clement is rapidly becoming a master of the no-budget horror flick. “Exhumed” is his latest picture (4th full-length horror release, for those keeping track at home) and in many ways it is his most technically advanced flick yet, showing off his wide range of influences both within and outside of the horror genre. The various film genres touched on are difficult to link together, but Clement does an admirable job in an undertaking many more-experienced Hollywood directors have failed at.
We have before us a samurai story, a film noir segment, and a story about mod vampires and rock ‘n’ roll werewolves vs. a totalitarian government. Not to mention a Rod Serling-esque introduction man. I’m interested to see how this all ties together, so let’s roll with the flick.

The first section, a story set in the dying days of feudal Japan, centers on the search for an artifact that is said to bring the dead back to life. The samurai wishes the artifact for his lord so he can restore an emperor to the throne, while a monk tries to prevent the samurai from accomplishing his task, at least at first. The opening bumper is awesome, looking like something straight out of Seven Samurai, and once you get into the picture, the dialogue is entirely in Japanese (!!!!). Awesome dialogue, some decent action, and surprisingly good action to kick us off.

The next segment is a film-noir segment. Like all film-noir, there’s a hardboiled (female!) detective at loggerheads with the police and all manner of strange people. This section is probably the weakest of the film, as the Canadian accents don’t really fit the setting, the voiceover is loud compared to the dialogue, and the scenes are a little too dark at times, but what else would you expect from a film named after the French term for ‘film dark’. It’s functional, though the best part of this particular segment is Det. Sterner (who doesn’t have a Canadian accent) and the burlesque performer known as Kitten Coquette. She’s pretty hot, and her little routine is mouth-watering. Speaking of mouth-watering, the Dietrich-esque Vivian Von Prowe fits that bill well. Be on the lookout for the pinup gallery on the DVD extras.

Our final segment, and the segment that ties it all together, is set in the near future. The world is in a shambles, since the future is never good in any horror flick, and the surviving members of two rival gangs come to battle and settle things once and for all. Oh, did I mention the gangs are vampire mods and werewolf rockers (with disturbing werewolf facial appliances)? Yeah, just when you think this flick has plateaued, it gets even better. Long story short, the vamps and furries are killed by the tyrannical government (of course) and the remaining two girls get thrown into the pit to do battle with one another, or so the plan goes.

There’s an escape attempt that fails, and this is where the story hits its peak. The vampire mod girl (Cherry) and the werewolf chick (Zura) are so overcome by the roiling emotions that come with prison escape and latent sexual tension, they gotta get it on, which they do. Yay for interspecies lesbianism! Not to mention that General Deus (played by Chuck DePape, Clement regular and his strongest actor) has himself a cute little topless servant girl.

This ending is just incredible. Everything gets tied back together in a nice little package, the Rod Serling moderator gets involved with his space laser (!!!!!!) and things just keep getting better. I’m not going to ruin the ending, but check this one out at all costs, and while you’re out there, pick up Clement’s other flicks. You won’t be disappointed. Brian Clement is always a good time.

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