NIGHT OF THE DEAD LEBEN TOD
Night of the Dead "Leben Tod" is clearly a film that jumps on the fad for revivals of George A. Romero zombie films that we have seen in the last few years with the likes of 28 Days Later (2002), the remake of Dawn of the Dead (2004), Shaun of the Dead (2004), Day of the Dead 2: Contagium (2005), the remake of Day of the Dead (2008), Romeros own Land of the Dead (2005), Night of the Living Dead 3D (2006), Diary of the Dead (2007) and Survival of the Dead (2009) and the videogame-inspired likes of Resident Evil (2002) and House of the Dead (2003), as well as a great many imitators. Plotwise there are a number of similarities between Night of the Dead "Leben Tod" and Day of the Dead 2: Contagium both use the same idea of a zombie outbreak occurring in a hospital setting indeed, the lesser-known Night of the Dead "Leben Tod" could actually be considered a much better version of Day of the Dead 2: Contagium.
Eric Forsberg does a rather good job with Night of the Dead "Leben Tod". Of all the above-listed zombie films, Night of the Dead "Leben Tod" is surely the most gore-drenched zombie film one has ever seen (Italian zombie films of the 1980s included). There is an amazingly blood-soaked and grim blood transfusion scene where we see Louis Graham in the middle of a hospital room physically pumping all the blood out of Paul Morquechos veins into a massive container. There is an equally nasty scene where Mexican daughter Scarlet Garcia wakes up from Schreklichs operation and says Im hungry momma and then turns and attacks her mother (Carla Valentine), ripping open her skull and eating her brains. There is an unbelievably gory scene where we see Louis Graham and lab assistant David Reynolds battering a zombies head to pieces and the pieces of zombie still beating even when they have crushed it to mincemeat. Elsewhere we see a zombie burying its head in a nurses stomach to devour her intestines; and a shotgun surgery where a zombies limbs are blown off and its limbless torso then chained up and sawn apart. Even the standard food in the film has been made up to look queasy and unsettling like the unidentified fowl that is served up for dinner but looks like a mutated bird, or the plate of ravioli that looks as though it is swimming in blood. This is one of the goriest films I have ever seen.
All of the cast are unknowns. Louis Graham does a fine job as the German doctor, who presumably leads to the peculiar Germanic subtitle (which translates as live death). The clipped Germanic certainty seems overdone at times but Louis Graham creates a considerable degree of sympathy for his misguided scientist, especially in the scene where the zombies, led by his wife, tear his head off as he pleads that he can still help them. There is a very good performance from Eric Forsbergs seven-year-old daughter Lola as the zombie child. She has some wonderfully unsettling lines, all delivered in her little girls voice: I love you daddy. Hold me daddy. When will you take me outside to play? Hello daddy, did you bring me another present? Its not another cat is it? she asks as Louis Graham enters the room and offers a bowl of blood and entrails to Lola who wolfs it down with a polite Thank you, daddy.
Eric Forsbergs films seem a fascinating mixture of gore-drenched splatter and ingenious conceptual twist endings he is like a mixture of George A. Romero and M. Night Shyamalan. There is also a clever and highly effective twist ending to Night of the Dead "Leben Tod", where Eric Forsberg seems to be drawing from the recent Terry Schiavo controversy of which I will not say any more without giving the surprise away.
Full film available online here:-