THE DEAD NEXT DOOR
Dir. J.R. Bookwalter, 1989
USA, 84 min.
At the tender age of nineteen, Ohio filmmaker and horror film devotee JR BOOKWALTER created the ultimate 8mm zombie epic, THE DEAD NEXT DOOR. This wildly ambitious debut feature took 4 years to complete with a little help from hyperactive horror auteur Sam Raimi (FOR THE LOVE OF THE GAME) and Raimi's regular collaborator Scott Spiegel. Bookwalter's film is the greatest and most sprawling fan made Romero love letter ever realized, and features, according to Bookwalter, a cast of around 1,500!
In a post-DAWN OF THE DEAD world overrun by the living dead, the Zombie Squad is helping search for the key to a special formula which may be able to destroy the zombie menace once and for all. In their search for the secret notes of a mysterious doctor they come head to head with a group of religious fanatics led by a Jim Jones lookalike who is willing to kill to in order to keep his own terrible secret safe. A bloody, FX, zombie filled showdown follows where no fleshy neck area is left unbitten, and no intestine left unchewed!
The DEAD NEXT DOOR is truly impressive in its scale and ingenuity, featuring guerilla shots of zombies attacking the White House and the Washington Memorial! Bookwalter's film also provides plenty of goofy laughs and gleeful groan inducing references for horror fans (characters with names like Dr. Savini, Commander Carpenter, and Raimi)! Capturing the bucolic splendor of Romero's NIGHT and DAWN in its more pastoral moments (thanks to the film's Ohio location), and delivering the goods for the gorehounds in spades, this is the perfect in-world riff for living dead fiends, and a testament to the passion and possibilities of low budget horror moviemaking.
Trailer by Dash Flanagan