December 24, 2012



Director: Joe Zerull

4 / 5 zedheads

If you're in the mood for some zombie ho-ho-horror this holiday season, then stuff your stockings with the wildly entertaining indie film A Cadaver Christmas.

When a University science professor's experiments go horribly wrong over the holiday break, the school's janitor, the town drunk, and a disgraced cop must band together to save Christmas from a growing horde of flesh-hungry cadavers. With little more than a mop, some school furniture, and a box full of Christmas decorations, will this unlikely and squabbling group of heroes survive to see the new year? 

 A Cadaver Christmas is one of the most entertaining indie movies I've seen rise up out of the over-saturated zombie movie market in some time.  I liked it so much that I pushed for it to screen as an official selection of Horror in the Hammer's Fright Night Theatre, where it played to the applause of local horror and zombie fans earlier this December.

As director Joe Zerull's feature debut, A Cadaver Christmas is presented in the faux grindhouse style of films like Planet Terror and Hobo with a Shot Gun that strive to simulate degraded and abused film prints. While A Cadaver Christmas occasionally suffers from the common indie film pitfall of poor/uneven audio, all the deliberate faux film grain, over/under exposed colour, and digital tricks to make the movie look like a patchwork of different film stock are so very well done that the audio becomes just a part of A Cadaver Christmas's grindhouse experience. In this regard, the original score is absolutely fantastic. The Spaghetti Western-inspired themes mingled with the tones of familiar Christmas carols help underscore all of A Cadaver Christmas most exciting and uproarious moments.

Zombies or Cadavers?
 But a film does not succeed on visuals and music alone. Filmed in the independent spirit of the original Evil Dead, A Cadaver Christmas also delivers a strong and comedic cast. In particular Daniel Rairdin-Hale as the janitor and Hanlon Smith-Dorsey as Tom Tunninbum make a great small-man/big-man, Laurel and Hardy-esque team. It takes a bit too long for this team to come together, but once they do Rairidin-Hale's intense and abrasive blood-soaked janitor finds a much-needed softening from Smith-Dorsey's dopey and child-like lovable drunk.Together, they are one of the most entertaining zombie-killing teams since Peter and Roger from Romero's Dawn of the Dead.

While it may offer more comedy than horror, A Christmas Cadaver is -- nevertheless -- bursting at the seams with pure entertainment and enough shock value to spike your holiday movie marathons with a shot of horror. What other Christmas movie offers you a brush with necrophilia, decapitations, and death by school desk? A Cadaver Christmas is no doubt destined to be a holiday horror staple here at The Zed Word headquarters for quite some time. Infinitely enjoyable, A Cadaver Christmas (now available on DVD and VOD from Level 33 Entertainment) is the holiday treat all us nice zombie boys and girls have been waiting for.