THE NEON DEAD – Movie Review



  • RELEASE DATE: Available on DVD September 13th (Click Here to Purchase a Copy)
  • WRITTEN BY: Torey Haas
  • DIRECTED BY: Torey Haas
  • STARRING: Marie Barker, Greg Garrison, D. Dylan Schettina

 Everything is coming up Millhouse for Allison; she’s got a nice house, the potential for a great new job, and…wait; not everything is cool; that aforementioned house is riddled with slimy ghosts! Thankfully a wise beyond- her -years Girl Scout tips Allison off that the town just so happens to possess a crack paranormal investigation unit (that also work at the local grocery store). Come to find out, Allison’s ancestor (a former owner of the house in which she now lives) was an evil wizard who performed a ceremony that unleashed the preternatural hordes of the demon Z’thax (while simultaneously turning him into a neon grinning monster) upon the grounds. What follows is a non-stop cavalcade of ghouls, voodoo zombies, demon acolytes and potato chips…well mostly the monsters mentioned; but chips do play a small part.

THE NEON DEAD is an interesting fright flick; it’s not so much a carbon copy of the themes of 80’s genre cinema (like a lot of the slasher pastiches that have come out recently), but rather a continuation of the themes present in some of the more off-beat films of the day. With its evil cults and multiple creatures easy comparisons are made to SPOOKIES or GHOULIES, but there are elements of everything from the classics of 8-bit gaming (a FINAL FANTASY style victory theme accompanies the defeat of the film’s creatures, not to mention there are video game style Boss battles) to the wise-ass paranormal investigations and eliminations of GHOSTBUSTERS to the enchanted weaponry and talking severed heads of EVIL DEAD II. All of this gets mixed up in a bubbling cauldron and comes out as one of the most downright fun horror films I’ve seen in forever!

As enjoyable as THE NEON DEAD is; it’s made even better by its creature and production design.  When the supernatural shenanigans kick into high gear the entire film looks like a black light poster art directed by Dario Argento with Mario Bava whispering advice in his ear. Your eyeballs will be bathed in neon glowing goodness the like of which you’ve ever experienced. And as for the monsters I mentioned; there are a shocking number of them for a film of this budget; and every last one of them is a unique and interesting design (and utilizes awesome practical effects including some sweet stop-motion!); it’s no small feat and one that deserves recognition.

If there’s any negative here it’s that some of the dialog is a bit clunky in its delivery due to the inexperience of some of the actors involved. To me that mattered exactly zero F’n percent; but I know how nit-picky some of you bastards are.

I’d tell you to pick this up based on the strength of the feature alone; but there are quite a few extras contained on this DVD release. First of all you get an ultra-informative commentary from writer/director Torey Haas, next up we get some character profile shorts (two are short films that expand upon characters in the film, and one is a behind the scenes footage doc focusing on the character at hand), a compilation of lead actor Greg Garrison getting his ass kicked, and two short films from Haas.

I’m going to keep this short and to the point; I absolutely loved the ever loving shit out of THE NEON DEAD; and if you dig on EVIL DEAD and NES games you’re most likely going to love it too! Highly, highly recommended!


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