Christmas Horror

A Cadaver Christmas (2011)


There’s nothing quite like a good, flesh-munching zombie (I mean cadaver) flick to get one in the festive mood, and you’d be hard pressed to find a better way to spend an hour and a half this season.  A Cadaver Christmas, while not terribly well known, does have a small but loyal cult following; once you watch it, it’s not hard to see why.  Easily one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in years, this one features a fantastic cast and snappy one-liners that will have you laughing so hard you’ll be wondering if you didn’t put a little too much whiskey in the eggnog.


Or if you’re one of the HH crew, you’ll be wondering what asshole put eggnog in your whiskey.

Sweaty’s Stats



Not much, but there is one topless scene about halfway through.


Plenty.  The effects are nothing too special, but they get the job done.

Scare Factor

Zero.  This one is straight comedy all the way through.



The film opens in our favorite home-away-from-home, the local bar.  It’s Christmas Eve and only a single patron is stirring: poor, pathetic Tom the Drunk.  He and the bartender, Eddie, are wasting away the night when they’re suddenly joined by a third: the Janitor, and soon-to-be hero of this story.


“I’m the Janitor. I clean up messes.”

Doused in blood, the Janitor makes for the bathroom while Eddie puts in a call to the police.  To stall him, they agree to listen to his story, which amounts to your fairly standard zombie premise; the dead have reanimated, the setting is a university this time (where our Janitor works), and the usual rules of zombie lore apply: moaning, shuffling, and a bite that transmits the desire to snack on brains.


Popped collars optional.

A commotion outside the bar leads the three men to the rest of the party; enter Sam the Asshole Cop and his Perp, in custody for uh … getting a little too buttfucky with the local barnyard inhabitants.


And that was the last time I ever searched the internet for the words “sexy,” and “goat.”

The Asshole Cop wastes no time in living up to that title, by forcing the Janitor and the others to accompany him in investigating the university, despite the Janitor’s warning of the danger inside.  Once there, the magnetic doors lock, trapping the party in with the undead.  The Cop and the Janitor argue, but there’s really only one course of action now, and that involves some sweet, sweet zombie slaughter.


And some sweet, sweet snow shovel decapitation.

The movie paces like you would expect.  Someone gets bit and turns, someone dies, someone who wasn’t previously a hero gets to redeem themselves by saving the day … it’s all your standard tropes, but the movie does it perfectly, banging out some fantastic jokes all along the way.


Did someone say former enemies are going to have to put aside their differences to fight towards a common goal?

It ends with a zombie hoard showdown in the end, as they all do; however, this flick manages to sneak a few surprises in there as well.  I won’t spoil it, but I will say I haven’t been that satisfied with an ending in a long time.


It was their diabolical plan all along, thanks to the zombification serum developed by Prof. Grinch.

Final Thoughts

For his breakout film, this is a surprisingly worthy installment from director Joe Zerull.  It’s always refreshing to discover someone both so talented and relatively unknown, at the beginning of his/her career.  It hopefully means that we can expect more, and I must say, after viewing this film I can’t wait to see what he’ll come up with next.

Comedy is a subjective thing, but fans of campy horror will absolutely find something to like in this film.  A few of the jokes fall a little flat, but for the most part I was laughing my ass off throughout.  The chemistry between the characters is top-notch, something I can’t stress the importance of enough in these types of movies.  It’s been said that zombie films are less about the zeds and more about the human element of the characters, which is something I couldn’t agree with more.  The characters in A Cadaver Christmas felt so much like real people, I had the overwhelming sensation that I knew them, as if I were watching a movie my friends had made.  In fact some of the lines flowed so naturally that I suspect some of them may have even been ad-libbed.


Can you guess what character we here at HH identified with the most?

The effects aren’t exactly Savini-grade, but they are satisfying enough.  Most of what you’ll see is blood in this film, as the camera cuts away for most of the violent stuff.  It works well enough, but if a sequel is made, I would like to see a bit more gore myself.  On the plus side, the movie is very Christmas-y.  If you’re making a horror list for the holiday, this one absolutely needs to be on it.  Fun, festive, and outstandingly funny, I just can’t recommend this one hard enough.  And from all of us here at HH …


Score: 9/10, great cast, hilarious dialogue, a must see


IMDB for this bloody fare

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2 replies »

  1. I wondered about this film; excellent review. SAUN OF THE DEAD previously was my most fave zombie comedy; but you’ve put the hunger in me to see this one too.


    • Shaun of the Dead is the better movie, but this one does a lot with what it’s got. Just goes to show you don’t need a big budget to entertain.


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