Death Warmed Up, a New Zealand offering from 1984, is a horror movie that oddly compels its viewers if only to find out if there is anything that will make a lick of sense by the end of the film. In some ways, that is a good thing and yet, the entire affair was almost devoid of coherence and that making it to the picture’s end may not have been worth the investment.
The plot, for what it was worth, is that age-old tale of revenge and in this case, it is about one man looking for a little payback over the death of his parents. To make things just a little more complicated, he was the one who killed his parents – hypnotized by a mad scientist and just spent a good chunk of his young adult life in an insane asylum. Factor in a bunch of zombies in varying degrees of decay, a couple of punks and a bit of action and it should all make for a very successful horror film and to be fair, it is not all that bad. There are hints of greatness within but it needed motivation, resolution and a better script to actually be a good movie. Zombies are great and all but why the need for them when the doctor seemed to be interested in brain experiments, at least as far as Michael was concerned. They did add a lot of gore to the proceedings which is always a good thing, not to mention a bit of sex and nudity to keep it all interesting but it would have been nice if the director had focused upon the revenge while leaving the rest by the wayside.
For his part, Michael Hurst does his best to rise above the material and he does a decent job of it as the man traumatized by what happened in the past while the object of his obsession and his vengeance is played by Gary Day. Both men would seem quite mad during the course of the picture and while Michael would eventually gain that revenge, the cost would be his own life leaving Sandy as played by Margaret Umpers, the last woman standing. For those that like a good genre film, this one pretty much has it all and will satiate anyone looking for such a movie and yet, for others, they might want a little more meat on the bone so to speak and would do well looking elsewhere.
2 out of 5