Parade of the Dead (2010)

Sex :
Violence :
Director Richard Coburn
Writers Matt Lambert
Starring Hilltop Hoods, Scott Dooley, The Funakoars, Briggs
Genre Zombie Musical
Tagline None listed


The Hilltop Hoods are leading exponents of what is called “skip hop”, a musical movement in Australia that aims to bring local colour to the North American hip hop genre. While I can't claim to have been a skip hop expert prior to this movie I was well aware of the Hoods, who can miss them with five very solid albums in their discography, had some of their music, and grooved along to the odd track. However I do know enough about zombie flicks to get into a good argument on definitions and the like. The Hoods doing a zombie flick! - dial me in Bro this I had to see.

Parade of the Dead weighed in at a tad beyond the 65 minute mark, just slipping into the feature length category. Considering Boredwood wants you to pay $15.50 a ticket for a 70 minute rom-com of dubious merit, at just under $20 for the DVD (price from JB-HiFi) the Hoods' release represents good value for your investment. You get the movie, lots of video clips, and enough extras to keep you happy with life and bouncing to the tunes. This one is all about the music, and I have to say the Hoods write infectious numbers and came at you with full frontal with an energetic approach to getting their various messages across. About the only down side for anyone dialling in for their skip hop fix is an avalanche of f-bombs.

Okay so Parade of the Dead is like an extended Michael Jackson's Thriller (1983) video except with bite and without the need for fracking dancing zombies. You get lots of coverage of the Hoods doing their thing, a zombie apocalypse that touches bases with the nihilistic end of that sub-genre, and these weird cut aways to some guy named Briggs doing a rant on various topics. The Hoods have re-invented the music video as a movie experience and I got to say you will be missing out big time if you don't take the opportunity to bite into it hard, word to your mother yo!

The actual concept of the movie is fairly clever and shines a new light onto the undead feast of the damn. Some video cards at the start of the movie set up the situation and explain what we have got ourselves involved in. Seems in 2010 a virus swept the planet ravaging the human population with the majority of survivors becoming flesh eating zombies. With civilisation collapsing and people starving to death a few enclaves were set up for the last scraps of humanity. HM Gaol Adelaide is one such enclave. Seems about the same time things were going to hell in a hand basket the Hilltop Hoods were making a DVD for their new album State Of The Art. Since the band were totally self involved they went ahead and made the DVD regardless, even as ever more of the undead gather moaning at the gates to their dubious sanctuary. Parade of the Dead kicks in just after the DVD has been made.

While the movie is basically a DVD offering of the latest release by the Hoods there are still plenty of other elements to keep the zombie enthusiast entertained. Plenty of references to previous zombie flicks to discover including but not limited to Dawn of the Dead (remake) (2004), Land of the Dead (2005), and I'm going to say Fido (2006) with the domesticated angle, though some might argue Day Of The Dead (original) (1985). In keeping with the best of nihilistic zombie outings, Parade of the Dead keeps showing an ever growing zombie threat at the gates threatening the existence of an increasingly unconcerned human society. Whether or not the Hoods were making a point here along the lines of Romero's indictment of U.S society I leave to the Critics to decide.

Director Richard Coburn is doing what he can with a seriously limited budget, clearly it didn't extend to bringing Weta in to do the epic scenes. The movie is framed by some quite eerie shots of the Prison itself that are actually very effective in getting the mood happening. Coburn could have booked ended a traditional zom flick with those frames to be honest without loosing anything in the translation. The documentary parts of the movie are working like a brought thing, you can readily buy into the Hoods being interviewed post DVD production. And the live music parts are hitting all the right notes, see what I did there, with fast cuts and frantic filming bringing the live passion and feel of the band to the table. About the only element of the movie I wasn't digging was the unfortunate attempts at comedy that fell flat, things probably sounded a whole lot funnier on the script page and in rehearsals than they did in the final movie.

I'm out of space here so just a quick mention of a few additional elements that I dug before we wrap this. Director Coburn has his additional soundtrack elements working outside of the Hoods' clips, for example the sound of a strong wind playing over the opening and closing shoots. Actually the closing shots were fairly poignant, anyone else reminded of [Rec] or maybe the Brit mini series Dead Set? I really dug the cuts to cartoons to cover background events in an effective fashion. The whole Brazilian volleyball thing was a stroke of genius. And the increasingly self aware zombie theme is simply stunning in implication, once again leaving it to the Critics to wax lyrical about that one.

ScaryMinds had a real quick turn around on Parade of the Dead. We heard about the movie last week via Triple-J, found the DVD yesterday, and hey review hitting the site a couple of days later. Have no idea why I added this paragraph besides giving a big thumbs up to the Js.

I was totally intrigued by the movie before watching and didn't know whether I was getting a down under version of Shaun of the Dead or something completely different. I got both more than I was expecting and to be honest something slightly less. The actual movie is pretty good for an Indie low budget effort with some nice touches to keep things real. Unfortunately the comedy parts fell slightly flat and not being the world's biggest skip hop fan I was slightly bored at stages with the music. Overall however I had a good time in country and got through the movie a couple of times without serious injury.

If you are a Hoods fan or skip hop fan in general then Parade of the Dead is must watch stuff, your life isn't going to be complete without dialling in. Zombie fanatics will dig the referencing and there's enough mayhem and carnage going down to keep the meat wagon on track. The movie is going to score with the various fan bases but will probably not extend much beyond those bases. End of day, who cares, we're happy, that's what counts.

ScaryMinds Rates this movie as ...

  Best Zombie Musical ever!