The Neon Dead (2020)

The tagline on the box “A grin from fear to fear” sums up this sarcastic horror comedy, which serves as the feature film writing and directing debut by visual effects artist Torey Haas (V/H/S Viral). His resume in that field is pretty extensive, so you know you’re getting decent, cost-effective practical effects in this E.C Comics-styled horror tale that wears its Romero-Creepshow influence on its sleeve—well, slimy arm. Think of the Canadian (American syndicated) kids horror anthology Goosebumps seeping into The Walking Dead, and you’re in the Atlanta “neighborhood” (where this was shot).

The original theatrical one-sheets for the film, back when it was known as Invasion of the Dead, carried the subtitle: “Starring Desmond and Jake: Paranormal Exterminators,” so it seems there’s an intended franchise afoot. They’re Ghostbusters-styled supernatural enthusiasts who day-job at a Kevin Smith-inspired video store-quickie mart combo. And an unemployed college graduate discovers her remote country home suffers from a (comical) zombie infestation.

So who you gonna call . . . when you’re afraid of zombies?

This brings back the VHS ’80s memories of its similar brethren in Hard Rock Zombies and Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare, only with a superior level of quality courtesy of Haas’s effective zombie puppets. And the actors are giving it their all and having fun. And the new Neon Dead title fits: this film has a very festive and colorful production design. I had a lot of fun with his retro-romp!

Wild Eye Releasing has given this a DVD reboot along with a free-with-ads streaming debut on TubiTv.

Disclaimer: This was sent to us by the film’s PR firm. That has no bearing on our review.

About the Author: You can learn more about the writings of R.D Francis on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies.

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