FEEDERS 2 , I’m looking at you). Video Santa obviously felt some twinge of sadness at my feeble state and decided to reward me. Instead of getting another lump of shot-on-video coal in my stocking, I got an honest-to-goodness surprise present in A CADAVER CHRISTMAS.
Kicking off with the simplest premise, CADAVER opens with Eddie (Ben Hopkins) serving his lone customer Tom (Hanlon Smith-Dorsey) in his bar on Christmas Eve. Trouble falls into their lap when a bloodied janitor (Dan Hale) stumbles into the bar (how many times have I heard that joke?) and asks for the restroom. Eddie is justifiably alarmed and calls in the local law enforcement in Sam (Yosh Hayashi). Arriving on the scene, Sam encounters a series of living cadavers in the parking lot and decides the best course of action is to haul everyone - including his recent perv arrestee (Andrew Harvey) - to Mt. Peacemore University to get to the bottom of this (Sam has his own reasons for this peculiar action, which I won’t spoil). Through a series of flashbacks, the janitor tells of how he was working late in an old building that houses the lab of Professor Hildencress when he was suddenly attacked by the reanimated dead. Trapped in the magnetically locked building, the group must now figure out how to survive the attacks of these shuffling zombies. Er, sorry, cadavers.
and watch the half hour “making of” documentary that chronicles how this film went from a 48 Hour Film Project to a two-week shoot to something that spanned two years. And marvel at how everyone on the small crew wore several hats. For example, Hale was not only the lead, but also doing the makeup effects. So not only did he have to keep his character’s thought process straight, but also had to keep continuity on his constantly bloodied face (spoiler: they do an amazing job). The behind-the-scenes is a true testament to the commitment these guys had for their little horror film and will remind you of something a young guy named Sam Raimi (RIP again) and his crew did in the wilds of Tennessee in the late ‘70s. In fact, the only misstep I can find with CADAVER is the aforementioned fake film scratches added to the movie. I know it is the hip thing to do in the post-GRINDHOUSE (2007) world, but CADAVER didn’t need it at all as it can boldly stand on its own two feet. The film ends with a coda promising more adventures from the janitor and I certainly hope to see him mopping up more monsters in the future.