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Rated R
Copyright 2003 Boll Kino Beteiligungs GmbH & Co.
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 19 July 2008

The Characters:  

  • Rudy - The hero, because he was masculine enough to wear a shirt that shade of orange.
  • Alicia - Nice ho-hos!
  • Karma - She wanted to be Pam Grier or Tamara Dobson, but was torn apart by moss-covered zombies - which never happened to either Cleopatra Jones or Coffy, if my memory serves me right.
  • Cynthia & Greg - She was a prissy tart, and he spent most of the movie puking or covered in excrement. Both of them were idiots. Thankfully, they both died. I was afraid that they might breed.
  • Simon - Somehow, this guy managed to act dumber than Jessica Simpson, and vainer than Paris Hilton. Incredible, I know, but it's only a movie. In real life that could never happen. Blown to bits.
  • Casper - She was the baddest member of the harbor patrol ever, but constantly forgot to close her ejection port cover. Her legs were chopped off by axe-swinging zombies, so she died (it beat being assigned as a talking harbor buoy).
  • Liberty - Not the jeep, the girl. Imagine, if you will, a professional Asian raver with a patriotic red, white, and blue bellbottom jumpsuit, sparkles, an infant's pacifier, and white cowboy boots. Now imagine her eaten by zombies.
  • Kirk - Jürgen Prochnow! Owner of the fishing trawler Lazarus, which was just a front for his weapon smuggling business. By the way, he hated "Captain Kirk" jokes. Dead.
  • Salish - Clint Howard was the last living descendent of the Gorton's Fisherman?
  • Castillo - Somebody needed to explain to the zombie master that using black thread to sew together Caucasian bodies is tacky. Decapitated.
  • The Dead Horde - Holy hopping zombies, Batman! These things jumped more than a bullfrog from Calaveras County (which is celebrated for its jumping frogs). The zombies also acted like they were the fashion police. Dozens, if not hundreds, were taken out by the rampaging ravers.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

Know what? I do not believe I ever played "House of the Dead," but I played a heck of a lot of "House of the Dead 2" around 1999. They had it in the laundry at Camp Wilson, and while I waited for my clothes I would sometimes pop in a few quarters to pass the time. So, there I am in the middle of the California desert, waiting for my cammies and unmentionables to tumble dry, but pretending I am a secret agent fighting undead horrors in Italy. Lance Corporal Bajjani would sometimes join me, meaning there were two Marines saving Italy from rotting mutant monsters while their uniforms got intimate with the Snuggle Bear.

However, the interesting thing about "House of the Dead" is that Uwe Boll really did not care about the game's plot. He just wanted the name. The movie Mr. Boll wanted to make was "Zombie Island Rave Massacre," but he rightly deduced that nobody would buy theater tickets for a movie with that title; and it might annoy Troma. He needed a recognizable name. Oh, "House of the Dead" will do nicely.

Be glad that Uwe Boll did not get the rights to make "Lord of the Rings." We might have ended up with a movie about four women who go to Vegas for the weekend and discover that Elvis faked his death so he could open a pizza parlor that is only a front for a satanic cult. There would be Desert Eagle .50 caliber pistols, vampires leaping through the air, and strippers. Just to keep the Tolkien fanboys happy, the main female character's last name would be "Baggins." Not quite the same thing, is it?

Greg and the others miss the last boat to the big rave party being held on a remote island. Simon pays Captain Kirk quite a bit of money to charter the Lazarus for a trip to the Isle del Muerto. As the trawler casts off, Casper and her partner run onto the pier and demand that Kirk return so that his boat can be searched for contraband. I guess they do this on the second Thursday of every month. Great idea, check a ship for contraband the same day every month. We can safely assume that Casper does not catch very many smugglers.

Heck, the harbor patrol cannot even catch a lumbering fishing trawler like the Lazarus. Instead of immediately chasing it down and boarding the truculent captain's vessel, Casper decides to shadow Kirk and see where he is going. Yet again, I have to wonder about the harbor patrol's effectiveness at preventing smuggling. The Lazarus deliberately avoided inspection, and now Casper is giving them the opportunity to ditch whatever it is Kirk is hiding.

After the Lazarus arrives at the Isle of the Dead, the excited party goers rush ashore and hike through the forest to the rave. Did you get that? The rave is being held on a cursed island so far out that the mainland cannot be seen, and the revelers have to walk a few miles to get there. Not only that, but once Alicia and the rest of the group do arrive, the rave looks busted. Nobody is around, the place is a mess, and blood-soaked clothing is everywhere. One of those might be normal for a rave (the mess), one of them might be understandable for a rave held somewhere insanely remote (nobody around), but I do not think that blood-stained clothing is to be expected at a rave. At the "party" held when Michigan State loses a basketball game, sure - along with cars set on fire, broken windows, and destroyed street signs, but not a rave.

Note to self: never invite MSU students to my private island for the "Rave of the Century," even if there are not any cars, windows, or street signs for them to break.

As amazingly bad as this script is, it just gets worse. Alicia is the only one freaked out by the decimated remains of the rave camp! Gregg and Cynthia are completely oblivious, while Simon and Karma just want to find out where everybody went. Is this believable? No. Is the script stupid for thinking we don't notice? Yes. I suppose that if the movie were set in Jonestown the characters would wander through, wondering why everybody was taking naps in the middle of the day.

Back at the beach, Captain Kirk and Salish are hard at work offloading their illegal cargo so they can bury it in the forest. Casper is nowhere to be found, because she had her boat drop her off on the other side of the island. In other words, Kirk is serenely hiding evidence while the harbor patrol creeps through the woods to sneak up on him. Once you see how poorly the firearms are hidden in chests and coolers, you will be just as mad as I am. Anyone with an IQ over 65 would immediately realize that the containers had fake bottoms, and that the frozen fish were just a red herring.

What? What are you mad about? That? Here I am reviewing "House of the Dead" and you're going to scream at me for making a bad pun?

It takes a while, but eventually the overactive zombies (or undead mutants, your choice) make their appearance. Then there is running and shooting, and finding Rudy and some other survivors, and, almost forgot, a lot of shots of zombies quickly passing behind people before attacking. Oh, and zombies jumping through the woods. Gotta have zombies jumping through the woods. To even the odds, Kirk breaks out his cache of illegal weapons. The ragtag group arms themselves with machine pistols, grenades, and large caliber handguns.

Now that the would-be ravers are properly equipped, they make a break for the only defendable location on the island: the old house in the middle of the graveyard. The characters swimming to the anchored Lazarus, killing any zombies aboard, and then making full speed for the mainland is never even discussed. Funk that! If crazy undead zombies are running wild, the last place I am heading is toward the decrepit old house in the spooky cemetery (unless my goal is to find and destroy the source of the damned things).

Arriving at the edge of the graveyard, Rudy and his friends discover that a horde of zombies are between them and the house. They decide to assault through the mutant undead. What takes place is a super-action montage of destruction as the ravers shoot their way clear to the house. Short clips from the "House of the Dead" game pop up and some of the characters are given 360 coverage as they kick butt (though their weapons might change from one second to next). It is rather surprising to me, because they seem like a bunch of useless twenty-somethings, but every one of these people is a close combat expert who knows gun-fu. The undead are dispatched a half dozen at a time.

Getting to the house is the easy part. It's getting inside that's hard. By the time the group does find a way in (Rudy climbs through a window to unbar the door), they are almost out of ammo and a few people lighter. Huh, out of ammo? Didn't anybody teach you all to point at the ground and squeeze the trigger to reload?

I already said I thought the movie was stupid. Why not go all the way? At least it would have something in common with the game.

When the cast of "Dawson's Creek: Apocalypse" searches the crumbling house, they find a laboratory filled with bits and pieces of Castillo's experiments. I saw the biological necromancer's workshop and gave up caring. It was as if Boll said, "We need some filler. Screw it; we'll just film the props." He could have spent a little time developing the creator of the undead creatures, Castillo, but no - when Rudy and Alicia finally reach the zombie master's lair the pace kicks into overdrive. Wham, *BLAM*, thank you and goodnight. Movie's over, here's a tie-in to the game (and it involves Rudy's last name, curse my prescience). Don't forget your hat.

I don't have a hat any more; I ate it sometime around the sixty minute mark. It was either that, or turn off the movie and give up writing a review. I liked that hat. Did you read the whole article? Did you like it? Are you laughing at my suffering? You owe me a new hat.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Ecstasy users are immune to hypothermia.
  • Drunk frat boys make lousy lifeguards.
  • Blondes think that everything involves either their menstrual cycle or their breasts, sometimes both.
  • A full bladder is a serious impediment to romance (or anything remotely resembling it).
  • Never, ever play with a bulimic zombie.
  • Scotch is a topical antiseptic.
  • Oil lamps are prone to blinking on and off.
  • Grenades contain the same explosive force as one hundred pounds of TNT.
  • Insufficient under wire support can be fatal to girls larger than 40D.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 4 mins - Dude, this rave sucks!
  • 13 mins - Boil the strumpet for one hour, drain, and set aside...
  • 19 mins - Step in it and you'll stink forever.
  • 33 mins - Maybe his radio battery died. He is probably building a new radio out of a lemon, two paperclips, and some twine.
  • 35 mins - Michael Berryman?
  • 58 mins - Positively seizure-inducing, even to people without epilepsy.
  • 61 mins - "Let me explain this Barney-style: See if you can find something clean to use as a bandage."
  • 76 mins - I don't think that she is lichen the zombies. Hahahaha! Ah! Don't hit! Don't hit! Laughter is the only weapon I have left.


  • Casper: "What the hell was that thing?"
    Karma: "Our best friend."
    Casper: "Not anymore."
  • Alicia: "Rudy, take a look at this."
    Rudy: "It's blood."
    Alicia: "It's blood?"
    Rudy: "Yeah, but it's not human. It's like it''s like it's been mutated. I've never seen anything like it before. It's completely unnatural."
  • AMS Agent: "Maintain perimeter, G and I are proceeding inside. Advise of any contact with reanimated homo sapiens."

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note housedead1.wav Rudy: "It was a nightmare: so many dead people, so many victims. It all started a few days ago when I came here for a rave, and now all that remains is the rotten smell of death."
Green Music Note housedead2.wav Alicia: "Doesn't this bother any of you? We're on the island where the 'Rave of the Year' is supposed to be happening, but it's completely deserted."
Simon: "Yeah, it worries me; it worries me they don't have any mixers. Simon cannot survive on Bud alone."
Green Music Note housedead3.wav Greg: "Shoot it!"
Kirk: "What do you think I'm trying to do, you f**king moron?"
Green Music Note housedead4.wav Casper: "I'm not going to worry about that right now. We've got bigger problems: my patrol boat's been destroyed; my first mate is missing."
Simon: "What about Greg, Casper? Where is he?"
Casper: "I don't think he made it."
Simon: "What do you mean you 'Don't think he made it?'"
Casper: "He's gone. I'm sorry."
Green Music NoteTheme Song Listen to a clip from the soundtrack.

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Cliphousedead1.mpg - 3.7m
The ravers get "Matrix" on the zombies. Notice how their weapons change every time the camera zooms in for a spinning closeup.

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