Shatter Dead

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Shatter Dead
ShatterdeadDVDscan.jpg
Directed by Scooter McCrae
Produced by Scooter McCrae
Written by Scooter McCrae
Starring Stark Raven
Flora Fauna
Daniel 'Smalls' Johnson
Robert Wells
Music by Geek Messiah
Steven Rajkumar
Cinematography Matthew M. Howe
Distributed by Tempe Video
Release dates
1994
Running time
84 min.
Language English

Shatter Dead is a zombie film set in an unknown area following a woman named Susan's (Stark Raven) attempt to return to the apartment of her boyfriend (Daniel 'Smalls' Johnson) in the midst of the return of the dead to a semblance of life. On her way, she is harassed by a preacher (Robert Wells) and a dead woman named Mary (Flora Fauna) intent on convincing her that being undead is preferable to life.[1]

Plot[edit]

The film opens with a scene of a woman having sex with an apparently female angel. No explanation is given in the film. The back of the DVD cover says the Angel of Death impregnates a mortal woman, causing the dead to come alive. The next shot is of seventeen months later as Susan works her way through a mostly abandoned town on foot. She encounters some of the living dead, including one who gave up his arm to research.

Unlike most modern zombie film denizens, however, they seem somewhat bewildered and eager to please. However, she catches one zombie stealing gas from her car. She chases him and puts a bullet through his gas canister. It explodes dousing the zombie in flames. Susan returns to her car leaves town. Outside of town, her car runs out of gas. She then finds herself surrounded by zombies to force her from her car. A preacher claims her car for the service of the Lord and drives off after the zombies refill the gas tank.

After walking on foot for a while, another car pulls up. The driver offers her a ride. She holds him at gun point and holds a mirror under his nose. When he doesn't exhale warm moist air, she determines him to be a zombie. She takes the car from him (he doesn't put up a fight) and drives for a while, listening to an announcer discussing the current situation on the radio. He doesn't have much information.

Arriving in a new town, she encounters some living people who direct her to a safe house to stay the night (After giving her the mirror test). While staying there, she encounters Mary, a dead woman pretending to be alive, they shower together. Mary tells Susan that she poisoned herself so she can be beautiful forever. Susan, trusts Mary enough to share the bedroom together. Susan sleeps while Mary plays the harmonium. Susan has a dream where she walks in a graveyard and performs fellatio on her sidearm.

At this point the house is attacked by militant zombies (excited by the Preacher who stole Susan's car). This group of Zombies believes these are the end times and God will return once humanity is all dead. They are intent on converting living humans into their way of, uh, metabolism. Waking up surprised, Susan accidentally shoots Mary in the head, destroying Mary's hope of being beautiful forever. The owner of the house, who looks like the woman from the intro but isn't, is shot in the back at close range with a shotgun. She was pregnant but her wound aborts the baby out the front. Susan watches as the newly dead mother begins to nurse the newly dead fetus.

Susan escapes and encounters the preacher who stole her car. She threatens him while he tries to convince her that death is better than life. Susan gives him the mirror test and discovers that he is still alive. Another shot to the face from Susan and the preacher is now one of the undead.

Susan gets her car and her food back and arrives at the apartment of her boyfriend. He's also killed himself but is up and about. The bathtub is filled with his blood. Her boyfriend has lost his mind. He kept hearing the phone ringing and hearing the dead talking to him (including a cremated mother and a sister who never even knew how to use a phone.)

They can't have sex because he has no blood pressure (his blood is in the bathtub after all), so they have intercourse using her gun as a strap-on. He slips poison into her milk. He wants her to be dead and beautiful forever. She tries to induce vomiting, but he stops her. Before she dies, she manages to throw him out the window, breaking most of his bones (and destroying his hope of being young and beautiful forever). The last sequence of the film is a montage switching back and forth between the preacher making splints for her boyfriend and Susan putting tears in her eyes from the faucet so she can mourn her own death.

Themes[edit]

Life better than death? Throughout the movie, members of the undead try to verbally convince Susan that being dead is better. She never rebuts them, but never shows any signs of being convinced.

Angels According to the DVD commentary, All shots of angels were added halfway through the film's production. The director's friend went to a rock concert. When he asked her what the concert was like she said "It was like being raped by an angel." He liked the strong image that brought and added it to Shatter Dead. Raped by an Angel is also the title of the first chapter on the DVD. Angels in Shatter Dead take advantage of God's disappearance and try to cause trouble and mischief.

Critical reception[edit]

DVD Talk called the film, "An esoteric zombie odyssey that plods along like a Euro-horror epic punctuated by violent ejaculations of carnage."[2]

J.C. Maçek III of WorldsGreatestCritic.com said, "Shatter Dead is inventive and original in many ways, showing that Scooter McCrae has quite a thoughtful brain. However, there's just no soul in this movie. The acting often feels like a community theatre rehearsal, the make-up is straight out of a "Day after Halloween" sale and the overall execution looks amateurish. Still, with the kernel of cool ideas it is clear Scooter had, I'd love to see what he can do with a budget."[3]

Reactions[edit]

In its initial release the majority of viewers of the film disliked it, but a small minority find it to be interesting and thematically challenging. It won the best independent film award at the 1995 Fantafestival and has persisted enough to be recently released on DVD. As of April 2008 it is voted 3.6/10 at IMDb, with 41.5% of votes being 1/10 and all comments on the page one (voted best comments by the other users) being strongly negative (1-2 star scores).

Premise comparisons to other Zombie films[edit]

Unlike the George A. Romero Living dead films, the returning undead retain their full memories and power of speech. The only thing they seem to be missing mentally is ambition. For the most part, they seem content to stand around. They do, however, seem to have gained an urge to bring the living over to their side. The movie never gives a direct explanation for the return of the dead, but the opening scene and the tag line "God Hates You" both imply that the cause is supernatural in nature (specifically that God has abandoned humanity).

References[edit]

  1. ^ New York Times
  2. ^ "Shatter Dead". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2011-05-14. 
  3. ^ J.C. Maçek III. "Shatter Dead". WorldsGreatestCritic.com. Retrieved 2011-05-14. 

External links[edit]