As many of you probably know, this zombie thing really hit full throttle for me when my brother and I started getting together once a month for “Zombie Movie Night.” Not counting special editions, last night was ZMN 22. The features were “The Dead Pit”, a low-budget indie from 1989 and “Rammbock” a 2010 German film just recently made available in the US.
At an insane asylum twenty years ago, Dr. Swan was forced to shoot his friend and colleague, Dr. Ramzi, in the head when he descended the world’s largest spiral staircase and found him doing unspeakable brain experiments. He nailed and spackled the basement door and never thought about the incident ever again. Until…
The mysterious Jane Doe arrives at the hospital claiming someone took her memories. Soon after, an earthquake rocks the foundation and the door in the basement loosens up. With a bullet hole in his head and glowing red eyes that look like someone removed the lights from a ‘light-flashing action’ Tonka truck, Dr. Ramzi returns to torment Jane Doe and get his revenge on Dr. Swan. With an army of the undead emerging from the titular dead pit to follow his command, he succeeds at both.
This movie is bad, but in the good old entertaining way. Very easy to make fun of. Horrible acting, inexplicable decisions and actions taken by the characters, gore that defies anatomy. All the staples that make watching this kind of movie great are there. It drags a bit in the middle and it takes way too long to get to the hardcore zombie action, but we were entertained enough to keep The Dead Pit pretty far from the bottom of the heap. That was more than I expected from it. Grade: C+
Rammbock is a really great…uh…it’s hard to call it a movie because it’s not even an hour. It’s a really great short film I guess. It is very well done and leaves you wanting more, which is exactly the problem.
Mike is heartbroken over getting dumped by his girlfriend and when he has to go to Berlin to return her keys, he figures it’s the perfect opportunity to win her back. Except for…
As soon as he enters her apartment, he is attacked by a zombie of the raging variety. He quickly finds himself locked in the bedroom with a handyman’s apprentice, a rabbit and …a bear suit. He even puts it on (???) at one point ( presumably in case he runs into the Wicker Man cult).
There are a lot of great predicaments and tight spots and, of course, the daring escape. And then it ends just as it’s getting warmed up. I know movies aren’t cheap, but it wouldn’t cost all that much to add a few more scenes of dialogue. The description says the two leads are “forced to work together,” but other than an argument over forks, they get along swimmingly. The movie could have used a much healthier dose of human conflict, which is the key element that turns good zombie stuff into great zombie stuff.
Putting its own spin on the idea of zombies, you can be infected but not turned…adrenaline sets off the virus, so just stay calm after your loved one bites you and you’ll be fine. Again, they could have done a lot more with that angle-it’s a gold mine of tension that they barely do anything with.
Rammbock is a great short film, but I wanted it to be a great regular film, which ultimately knocks it down to just a good film. So much unlocked potential. Grade: B
To read what my brother thought, go here: