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Curse of the Cannibal Confederates
(a.k.a. The Curse of the Screaming Dead & Curse of the Confederate Cannibals)
(1982)
 

Director: Tony Malanowski            
Cast:
Steve Sandkuhler, Christopher Gummer, Judy Dixon


Dr. Freex, of The Bad Movie Report, seems to think that Forever Evil, a backyard movie he personally worked on, is the kind of movie that's to be immediately disowned. I haven't seen the movie (though I plan to watch it...someday), though I somehow have the idea it can't be all that bad. In fact, after watching Curse of the Cannibal Confederates, I am positive it must have some merit - for no other backyard production could possibly be as badly planned and executed as this movie. For a change, I will write a prescription for a doctor: Dr. Freex, watch Curse of the Cannibal Confederates, and you'll immediately feel better about Forever Evil. (Warning: Side effects include boredom, strained eyes, slack-jaws, fits of frustration, and involuntary groans.)

How bad is this movie? It's so bad, that Troma (which now owns the movie) freely admits it's one of the five worst movies in its library. Right from the first shot is one explanation for this opinion; quite simply, Curse of the Cannibal Confederates is absolutely rock bottom in its technical skills. The entire movie looks like an 8 mm porno loop that was made in the early 70s, then sat on a shelf for over twenty years. Troma is usually good at remastering movies, so you have to wonder if there was nothing they could do here. Sometimes when the characters are talking onscreen, the audio is so bad that you can't make out what they are saying. The quality of the audio also noticeably changes when there is a cut from one character to another. When a character is talking off screen, there is usually a buzzing sound in the background of their dialogue, which immediately stops when they stop talking. The colors are almost completely washed out, and some shots have visible hair and crud stuck on the lens. Every shot looks dark - sometimes so dark, you can't make out what's happening onscreen, including the opening credits sequence where it vaguely looks like zombies are rising from their graves.

That footage is actually taken from later in the movie - Troma redid the opening credits (using cheesy video graphics) for this video edition. The explanation for this might be because the original closing credits - which still remain - are at times unreadable. I did manage to make out in the cast listing the sentence, "A wonderful cast is worth remembering." If that's true, it would explain why I can't remember (or wasn't bothered to find out) who was who in the cast. All I remember are the names of some of the characters. There's the character of "Sarah", who always acts like she is looking at cue cards off screen, and likes to point awkwardly at stuff off screen ("Thoze sure ahr stranggge fireworks!") Another woman is thoughtfully named "Blind Kiyomi" in the opening credits, since her attempts at acting blind are so poor, it would have taken us a long time otherwise to figure out she was blind. "Mel" looks and acts like a shaggy Bruce Campbell wannabe with his grinning and his attitude, though doesn't even come across as a third rate impersonator.

These three characters, plus another woman and two other hairy welfare bum-like men (whose names I didn't catch) find themselves officially on a deer hunt in the countryside, but are really stuck in a retread of Night Of The Living Dead. Though you wouldn't think so for more than half of the movie. Most of this time is devoted to them complain and bitch to each other, so maybe we should thank Troma for that new opening showing the zombies, so we know we are supposed to be watching a horror movie. While waiting for this footage to be repeated, as well as any other zombie mayhem, you can pass the time by noting things like the movie's uninspired direction. For example, in the long opening conversation between the three men in the front of the camper, every shot is either a head-on shot of whoever is speaking, or a head-on shot of all three.

There's also some poor editing, when we are taken to the back of the camper where the three women are. Then after several minutes of the characters engaged in boring chat and wandering around the barren woods, we are treated to more wandering around, though with only with one of the characters, as he investigates the source of bell noises Ms. Blind Kiyomi hears. This is accomplished by repeated cuts to footage from a jiggily hand held camera as the character wanders around, around, and around...finds a graveyard....mulls the graves....wanders around, around, and around....finds an abandoned church...wanders inside around, around...

Much later in the movie, the Confederate zombies pop out of their graves, dressed in surprisingly clean clothing that ranges from plaid shirts to coats with army stripes painted on the sleeves. The zombies themselves are also surprisingly well preserved, looking like wet faces covered with flour, and their mouths showing teeth, saliva, and gums still showing a health color of pink. Making the sound of an upset stomach, they pounce on them, seemingly only wanting to wrestle. Fortunately (for the jerks, not us), the six happened to bring explosive bullets with them to this deer hunt, which leads to a number of incidents when they shoot the zombies in the head, and the heads of the zombies explode into pieces of paper mache. (Curiously, when they are shot elsewhere in their zombified bodies, there are no explosions.) As the mayhem plays to music sounding like the theme from The Avengers, for a long time it seems that not only will this be a plotless movie, but a bloodless one as well. Finally, near the very end, we get some munching of intestines, which is bloody and convincing enough, I suppose. Though I think it would have played out better had they not stopped things (the little there are) to a dead halt to show the zombies munching and slurping for several long minutes.

Aside from the little merit in the gut-crunching, I am hard pressed to think of anything else notable about Curse of the Cannibal Confederates. It is truly the absolute pits in almost every aspect that you find in films. And don't get me wrong - this isn't the kind of awfulness that's funny - it's so bad as to be almost unwatchable. So bad, that even Troma should blush for believing it warranted a re-release.
 


UPDATE: Michael Hoffman revealed the following to me:

"Believe it or not, Curse of the Cannibal Confederates is actually a sequel/remake of a barely seen horror film titled Night of Horror.  This is a must see and is actually worse!  I rented it in a local video store and had to later purchase it!  I have a copy, if you are interested...but, if not...you still must find one!!!  Talk about an unknown movie!  This is the worst film ever made!!!!!!!!!!"

From this, I did some research, and found that this 1981 movie (the IMDB incorrectly lists it as being a 1987 movie) shares the same director and at least two of the same actors! It also does indeed share a Confederate theme. So both movies must have been made back to back. Do I want a copy? NO THANKS!!!!!!!!


UPDATE 2: David Jenkins sent this along:

"Just a couple of words on Curse Of The Screaming Dead. I have a copy of the old video print, and while it ain't no great shakes, it isn't as bad contrast as the Troma print. The night scenes are easy to watch, and the end credits (such as they are!!) are sharper. While the sound is not that terrific, the dialogue is easy to understand! I think the problems you had were related to the Troma print!!

"As for Night Of Horror, all I can say is that you are wise for your generation!! Whatever you may feel about C.O.S.D., Night is ten times worse!!!!! I ran across an LP copy about 6-7 years ago and threw it out after the first viewing!!!!! As far as I can remember, the film dealt with a bunch of people traveling through a civil war battlefield. They then decide to stay at an inn. During the night, the hero is transported to the field (dressed in a uniform!) during the actual battle. (The Civil War battle footage actually looks better than the rest of the film, as if it had been shot for a different film. There were at least several hundred people in those scenes!!!)

"After the battle, his is transported back to his friends and awakes. He tells them what happened and they all have a big laugh!!!!! The end!!!

"Well, at least I saved you from ever being tempted to see it. What little I was able to find about the director is that he came from the same area as Don Dohler. Also that he made a series of films that somehow worked the civil war into them!!! (Sorry no addition titles were ever located!!) That's it for now. Keep up the good work!!!!!!!!!"

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See also: Brainwaves, Hex, Manson

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