Exploitation Retrospect | The Journal of Junk Culture and Fringe Media

Don't Wake the Dead (2008)
Schnaas Film GmbH | Review by Dan Taylor

While DEAD EYES OPEN – another recently-screened Germanic zombie outing – is deliberately paced and as serious as a heart attack (frequently to its detriment), Andreas Schnaas' DON'T WAKE THE DEAD hits the ground running and delivers such a furious first 30 minutes that it's almost unfair to ask the flick to keep it going for the full running time. It doesn't but I doubt any true-blooded trash fanatic will hold it against the director or the film.

Lana and her friends are busy renovating a German castle (complete with a child-like painting of what appears to be Nathan Lane as Hitler!) in preparation for a concert by the band Gang Loco. Naturally, the castle is the burial ground of a group of cursed Knights Templar and it just so happens that the concert is schedule for the once-every-66-years evening that the Knights return to wreak their horrible vengeance. Damn the luck!

Helped by a sword-wielding, motorcycle-riding, pistol-packing monk in a duster, the gals soon find themselves battling an army of undead Templars and Nazi zombies (who unsuccessfully battled the Knights during their last appearance on Earth). Like I said, it's almost unfair to ask Schnaas to keep up the pace of the flick's opening 30 minutes. There's enough blood, beasts and breasts to satisfy most jaded trashhounds, the chicks are all dressed (and act) like its an 80s slasher flick, and there's plenty of decapitations, hacked limbs, arterial spray and Nazi-cleaving along the way.

Unfortunately, the script by Klaus Dzuck and Ted Geoghegan paints Schnaas into a corner after about an hour and doesn't leave him anywhere to go with the story. Not that he doesn't try. I'd swear that new gals show up every ten minutes or so just so they can pop their tops and get attacked by the Templars and/or Nazi zombies.

Luckily, DON'T WAKE THE DEAD gets a free pass for any sins of repetition thanks to delivering one of the most inspired moments of out-there trash cinema I've ever witnessed. Though the impact is a bit lessened by delivering the moment repeatedly for about 20 minutes, I still howled with delight and immediately added this to the pile of films that must be shared with a group, like PIECES, RAW FORCE and THEY BITE.

Oddly enough, though both this and DEAD EYES OPEN were shot just a few years ago in the same country they look like they were filmed decades apart, maybe on different continents.

 


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