CURSE OF THE CANNIBAL CONFEDERATES (1982)
(a.k.a. THE CURSE OF THE SCREAMING DEAD)
Article #1169 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-27-2004
Posting Date: 10-24-2004
Directed by Tony Malanowski
Featuring Steve Sandkuhler, Christopher Gummer, Rebecca Bach
When a group of hunters and their girlfriends desecrate the burial ground of confederate soldiers tortured and killed by union soldiers, the soldiers rise up to wreak vengeance.
This movie was originally made as THE CURSE OF THE SCREAMING DEAD in 1982, then released by Troma five years later as CURSE OF THE CANNIBAL CONFEDERATES. With a title like that, and knowing that it came from Troma, you immediately know how to adjust your expectations. It’s really just a retread of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD at heart. The dialogue is howlingly bad at times, the acting is terrible (it’s one of those movies where the actors try to express great emotion by hanging their mouth open and getting a vacant expression in their eyes), the music is annoyingly bad (especially during the zombie attack scenes), and all the human characters become so unlikeable during the length of the movie that you’ll be quite surprised that the script allowed any of them to survive. The only really gory section of the movie is the zombie-chowing-down scene that largely plays like the one in NOTLD except that a) it’s in color, b) it’s not done as well, and c) it runs on three times as long. Troma fans may be disappointed; there is more nudity and gore in the opening trailers on the tape than in the movie itself. The movie can almost be dismissed entirely as nothing more than a source of snickers. You will notice, however, that I hedged on that last statement. I did so for good reason. There was at least one startlingly good thing about this movie, and that was Mark Redfield’s performance as the Captain Matthew Mahler, the head of the zombie regiment. Despite having no dialogue (or considering the quality of said dialogue, perhaps “because” would be a better word), he manages to add a real sense of poignancy to the movie. After the first attack by the zombies on the hunters (which results in the demise of several of the zombies), he takes a moment to look over the “battlefield”, and for a few seconds I got the sense of a military leader musing on how many good men were lost in the battle. For some reason, I found this moment as touching as it was unexpected, and he manages to convey some of that same feeling in some of his other scenes. It doesn’t redeem the movie as a whole by any means, but it does show that sometimes you can find gems in the most unexpected of places.