Tempe Video's Collector's Edition VHS
What can I say, this is probably my fourth or fifth attempt at watching the "most expensive 8mm feature ever made" over the years, and I still struggled to get through it. Actually, this time was worse in that I fell asleep somewhere in the last half hour.
Bookwalter's film seems far too eager to suck at the altar of Raimi. Though this is understandable with rumors of much of the $75k (which might have been closer to $100k!?!) budget coming from the director's pockets. None of the actors stand out with the too clean-sounding post dubbing only hurting performances. The male lead, a Zombie Squad officer, even features the voice of Bruce Campbell. Queue Sam's pants dropping.
The later half's mad scientist/cultists ramblings seem purposely propped up to limit (for budgetary reasons?) the "epic" scope the marketing hype has always proclaimed this indie to be. As a case in point of an indie not pussing out, Leif Jonker's sprawling Darkness never chops its story at the knees in this fashion, and is much better for it.
The Dead Next Door ultimately proves to be overambitious for its filmmakers. Existing as a labor of love that was probably much funner to whittle away at for several years and more interesting for us to hear about its creation than to actually watch. Still it's worth checking out, considering how cheaply you can find it. The final product is a blast of hot (albeit vapid) air, despite the admirable intentions of those behind it.
As an aside, I watched 2002's Dead & Rotting afterward and had a much better time and didn't doze off. An easy-watchin' mix of boiled cat curses, a witchy Debbie Rochon sexing, plant zombies, and hay-stuffed muck men born from slimy afterbirth armed with sickles.