Before we go any further here, let me explain to our faithful Horrorviewers what I’m reviewing. (Sorry to break the fourth wall, kids, but you need to know what you’re in for, before you read continue.) Death of the Dead is a combination of martial arts, Troma-style undead, nerdy chicks, sadomasochists, and over-the-top physical comedy. Still interested? Yeah, me too.
Meet Wanda (Christina Rose, who has had bit parts on a lot of TV series, but has yet to really break through – we wish her the best). She’s an uncoordinated nerdy chick who just can’t seem to get it together.
The filmmakers have politely asked us to ignore the fact that she’s obviously a beautiful young woman, and focus instead on her hair tie and glasses. Ever seen Tamara? I digress.
After getting verbally abused and embarrassed in school, Wanda joins her class at Mojo Dojo, learning from Master Sensei. (Enter ridiculous sight gag number one.) Master Sensei rips off a killer dance routine, and when he’s finished, Wanda is given the choice to emulate it, or to face an ass-whooping at the upcoming martial arts tournament.
Her rival in the tournament is pompous a-hole, Donnie (Michael Blaustein) who trains at Killer Ninjas Karate Academy. Donnie is told by his master, Evil Sensei, that losing to Wanda means death (illustrated in a half-dozen, very silly ways).
The stage is set. Wanda becomes the Karate Kid…without the coordination or talent, that is. All seems lost. Needless to say, Donnie wipes the floor with Wanda, and, other than a chat between the masters, the plot is in motion. Wanda is the worst of the worst…which is very important when the ridiculous, world-changing events occur.
As the tournament wraps up, viewers witness two scientists struggling with a discovery that could change all mankind. The new chemical compound is volatile, and so they must dispose of it without anyone being exposed to it. However, the Killer Ninjas bus runs off the road at that precise moment, and the martial artists run headlong into the scientists. The chemical compound infects all of them, and soon, the asshole ninjas become undead, high-flying asshole ninjas.
Wanda has a run-in with the other cheerleaders, and her mother’s trailer trash boyfriend. She’s left with no home, no hope, and nowhere to go…except to her instructor. At the same time, viewers get exposed to the growing zombie epidemic, spreading quickly throughout the town.
Wanda inherits the belt that was passed down to her master from his master, the one known as Ghetto Sensei. Her master was too short sighted to make use of the belt, and so, Wanda, despite her own ignorance, must realize that she alone deserves to wield the magic belt, and that she alone can save the human race from the oncoming tide of undead.
The final act of the film pits Wanda’s master against his arch-enemy, and ultimately, Wanda’s transformation from idiot to heroine. What’s not to like?
Wanda dons the belt, loses the glasses, and then what? Yeah, you guessed it. Time for some serious ass kicking. Wanda undergoes the full Rambo/Resident Evil Alice treatment, and emerges ready to slaughter any undead ninja, zombie, cheerleader, or other bloodsucker in her path.
Of course, Wanda’s unique blend of beauty and intelligence are required to undo the scientific experiment. She gets the chance to chat about the whole zombie outbreak with a disposable goth chick, right down to the possibility of a cure for the zombies. So…why not? Wanda genius Wanda and her completely disposable sidekick develop the formula to cure all the zombies (which is apparently 95% dry ice).
The finale’ pits Wanda against an army of undead karate masters, including Donnie and Evil Sensei, powered the whole time by some serious 70’s martial arts music. Wanda gets her revenge, both for herself and her dopey master, and all seems like the world is better…except that this flick naturally leaves room for a sequel.
Writer Bo Buckley (Dismal, Death 4 Told) gets credit for this combination of T&A, zombies, ninjas, and laughs. Death of the Dead is a Troma-style mix of fart jokes, penis jokes, hot female lead, goofy dialogue, extended stunts, and lots and lots of fake blood.