Monday, October 27, 2008

Graveyard Alive: A Zombie Nurse in Love (Elza Kephart, 2003)

I desperately wanted to see this film last year during its brief theatrical run -- the film's unique visual style, zombie theme, and playful title all came together to manufacture a cinematic itch worth scratching. However, my fake busy schedule prevented me from doing so. Well, after a long and agonizing wait, I was finally given the opportunity to plunge head first into the absurd mire that is Graveyard Alive: A Zombie Nurse in Love, a delightfully fucked up Canadian film, directed by Elza Kephart, that perfectly combines my love of cheesy horror, leggy registered nurses, and art-house pomposity to create one fiendishly macabre sorbet that is chock-full of violence-based humour, organ eating, crazed Ukrainians, and, most importantly, unrequited zombie love. A frumpish nurse named Patsy Powers (a well-proportioned Nana Mouskouri look-a-like played by Anne Day-Jones) is a pariah at work, an uncoordinated spinster who leads a life of tedium: afternoons daydreaming about handsome doctors and evenings in front of the television to watch her favourite soap opera, Hope Hospital, on a television with a fuzzy picture. This all changes when a disheveled woodcutter (Eric Kendric)--sporting a giant axe in his head--is admitted to her ward (axe in the head, by the way, is a treatable ailment in some parts of Quebec). Since they both have something in common; she's frumpy nurse, he's a woodcutter with an axe stuck in his head, the two strike up a bit of a friendship. And during a modest moment of intimacy, he nibbles her on the hand, leaving a slight abrasion. Soon afterward, Nurse Patsy begins to notice some changes in her appearance, as the dowdy nurse morphs into an attractive nurse seemingly overnight. Suddenly lipstick, when properly applied, looks fantastic on her, the sight of her legs encased in black silk stockings cause the orderlies to literally salivate like a lustful pack of stocking-obsessed dogs, and her posture has become a lot less slouchy.

Unfortunately, there's a catch to becoming a zombiefied health care vixen. You see, Patsy is starting to rot (her hands are showing signs of rigor mortis), so in order to stop the rotting process, she needs to consume human flesh on a regular basis.

Luckily for her, and her shapely figure, there's a freshly stocked morgue in the basement that is jam-packed with meaty corpses.

Now, I'll be the first to admit that her character was a bit of a pill in the early goings, but the alluring Samantha Slan is wonderful as Nurse Goodie Tueschuze, a blonde woman who's engaged to the handsome Dr. Dox (Karl Gerhardt), the hospital's top surgeon, and who dreams of becoming head nurse. And thanks to a brilliant turn around during the film's action-packed final third, the film's official "annoying character" suddenly went being a shrewish bully to the film's endearing protagonist by the time the halls of the hospital are brimming with zombies.

Filling the void left by the hospital's Ukrainian janitor/zombie expert, E. R. Kapotsky (Roland Laroche), the sexy Samatha Slan brought a lot of plucky energy to role of Nurse Goodie.

Of course, I liked Goodie when she was an irritating hosebeast, yet the addition of pluck brought some much needed nuance to her character.

Looking like Jennifer Baxter's mildly Québécois twin sister, Miss Slan is a gorgeous actress with a silent film star-esque face that is complete with expressive eyes and a scrunchy nose.

Oh, and the luminous photography really accentuated her laudable legs during the film's many nurse-on-nurse showdowns. At first, Goodie Tueschuze, R.N. and Nurse Patsy mainly battle over the ownership of Dr. Dox's cock. But as more and more patients begin to drop dead (the hospital's stats for this month don't lie), Goodie begins to suspect that Patsy is the one responsible for the spike in untimely deaths.

Bathed in glorious black and white, and utilizing shadows (the film utilizes ceiling fans to great effect) and flickering light superbly (a film like this has no business looking this stylish), Graveyard Alive: A Zombie Nurse in Love turns out to be one of the best looking zombie love stories ever captured on film.


  1. Is this a new review? Sounds like a movie right up your alley. Yum-Yum written all over it, or something like that.

    Fake busy schedule. Hee.

    Nana Mouskouri. Nice allusion.

  2. It's an old one. But I tinkered with it. In fact, I added the "fake" to the "busy schedule" during the tinkering.

    My folks owned about four of Nana Mouskouri's albums. So her name and image are pretty much ingrained on my psyche.

    Did you get a letter published in EW this week? Some woman claiming to be from Minnesota wrote "Zac Efron on the cover of your Photo Issue? Seriously? Why not a real man, like, say, Clive Owen..." :D

  3. "Claiming to be from Minnesota?" Women from Minnesota can't find Clive hunky? Hunkier than Zac Efron?

    Then again, the only person I know from Minnesota is a lesbian.

    Clive Owen should have been on that list of actors who should fire their agents. I guess he's going the sequel route now (Inside Man 2, Sin City 2).

  4. No I meant "claiming to be from Minnesota" as in she's really from South Carolina. In that, I thought she was you.

    Speaking of which, tell the person using Spaghetti Cat as their avatar on Match-Cut to change it. I keep think they're your posts.

    Just kidding, I've seen Spaghetti Cat avatars on a quite few message boards as of late.

    Just be glad there's no Shoot Them Up 2 in the works.

  5. Okay, I see.
    It's anecdote time.
    I haven't written a letter to the editor since my freshman year of college. I liked this guy, but the like was not mutual. I got drunk at a party and started cursing at him, and felt stupid about that incident, so then I tried to figure out ways to avenge his rejection via more intellecutal means.

    He wrote an editorial about capital punishment. Now, I really don't give a flying **** one way or another, but I thought I'd write a letter in response to his editorial. In it, I said that Son of Sam was a good example why capital punishment is a good idea. Only one problem--Son of Sam was convicted in New York State where there is no capital punishment. (My father, BTW, was the one who noticed this error, after I had proudly shown him my work.)

    So, that was my last letter to editor. I feel shame even writing this.

    Actually, I almost ended that streak when EW left Shawshank off their 50 greatest movies of the last 25 years list. Turns out enough people wrote letters. :)

  6. Woo-hoo! Annecdote time!

    Hmmm, for some strange reason, I had this idea you were sending out letters to the editor left and right and I guess center.

    Intellectual revenge always seems to backfire. Childish and petty is the way to go.

    Anyway, I'm glad you're like me and can't be bothered most of the time. ;)