Death Warmed Up (1984)

( aka, Death Warmed Over)

This one has the uneasy distinction of being the first horror film from New Zealand.  Unfortunately, it suffers from the problem that so many firsts suffer from:  the best thing about them is that they are a first.

Dr. Howell has a dream:  he wants to end death.  Permanently.  And he is willing to go to almost any end to do it.

Unfortunately, his fellow researcher, Professor Tucker isn’t happy with his disregard for the niceties of medical ethics, so Howell (apparently) hypnotizes Tucker’s son, Michael, who then slaughters his mother and father.

And while Michael in in the insane asylum, Howell sets up a longevity clinic on an island, where he is busy carrying out all sorts of icky experiments on those unlucky enough to want to live forever.  Which means his clinic is full of the horrible monstrosities that resulted.  Hey, that’s the way it goes with (mad) science.

So Michael , seeking revenge, visits the island with his friends, disguised as tourists…

Which is where it all starts going wrong.

This isn’t one of those films where nothing much happens.  All sorts of wild events take place, it’s just that it is awfully hard to explain why any of them are there.  We have a couple of one-on-one car battles, a motorcycle chase through tunnels, dead bodies, random murders, references to The Island of Dr. Moreau, gory brain surgery, two entirely gratuitous sex scenes, and a siege in a diner straight out of a George Romero film.  And, of course, the hero has Roy Batty’s hair — and is wearing most of Roy’s wardrobe for that matter.  Everything they could think of seems to have gone up on the screen, but no one seems to have been too concerned with making it all fit together.

So you won’t be bored — there’s too much going on for that.

Just don’t expect it to make much sense.

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