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Film / House of the Dead

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Shooting their heads is the key to everything.

House of the Dead is a film adaptation of a popular light-gun game of the same name directed by Uwe Boll in 2003. It flung his name into video game movie infamy.

It follows a group of people going to a daylight rave held in ominiously named Isla Del Muerte (Spanish for "Island of the Dead", no relation to that one, or that other one), who are then attacked by hordes of zombies. Gun smugglers, cops, and a hundreds-of-years-old undead Mad Scientist ex-priest are also involved.

A "Captain Kirk" joke early on, an explicit reference to George A. Romero, and seemingly randomly-inserted footage from the first three games indicate that the film may actually be a subtle and deliberate Self-Parody. Later a "Funny Version" of the film was released, which is a Recut consisting of goofy outtakes and sarcastic pop-up commentary.


A sequel was released in 2005.

This film contains the examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: Given when the protagonists meet Captain Victor Kirk (Jürgen Prochnow):
    Simon: Oh great, here comes the u-boat captain.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Casper gets her legs chopped off before dying.
  • An Axe to Grind: Rudy's melee weapon of choice. Some zombies also carry axes.
  • Bald of Evil: Castillo was bald even before becoming an undead alchemist.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Alicia. It becomes more pronounced once she loses her jacket.
  • Big Bad: Castillo, the former priest who became an undead alchemist in search for eternal life.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Casper appears suddenly to blow away zombified Cynthia when she is attacking the protagonists.
  • Bling-Bling-BANG!: Karma arms herself with a gold plated pistol from Kirk's stash.
  • Blown Across the Room: Happens to one zombie during the graveyard fight.
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  • Bottomless Magazines: Runs rampant during the graveyard fight until our protagonists reach the house, then they run out of bullets.
  • The Cameo: Sega of America president Peter Moore and series creator Rikiya Nagakawa appear as zombies.
  • Canon Foreigner: All major characters, except Rudy, who is revealed to be Curien, the instigator of the original game's events, of which this movie is a prequel to. Rogan and G, the protagonists of the first game, only make cameos at the end.
  • Captain Obvious: When the main cast realizes that they missed the boat to the rave, the narrator notes immediately that they, in fact, missed the boat.
  • The Cavalry Arrives Late: Only in the end do heavily-armed AMS agents with kevlar vest and assault rifles arrive by helicopter. By then, all the zombies are dead and Castillo has been defeated.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Rudy's narration mentions Alicia's fencing studies. In the climax, she puts them to use in a Sword Fight against Castillo, and defeats him.
  • Closed Circle: The island, as even the waters surrounding it is filled with zombies.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The flashback scenes around Castillo are shown in black and white.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: This gem of an exchange...
    Rudy: You created it all so you could become immortal. Why?
    Castillo: To live forever!
  • Double Tap: Casper is savvy enough to do it, as evidenced by the scene where she finishes off the zombified Cynthia.
  • Drop the Hammer: One of the zombies carry a mallet.
  • Exploding Barrels: The gunpowder barrels (in mint condition from the XIV century) inside the shack that our protagonist take shelter in. One bullet causes them to explode.
  • Fanservice: Some nudity is shown, as usual with these kind of movies. But notably from Erica Durance, who'd later play Lois Lane in Smallville.
  • Foreshadowing: "They missed the boat to the rave. If they only decided to stay back at Seattle, they'd all be alive today." Subtle.
  • A God Am I: Said by Castillo in a flashback.
    There is no God. Only me.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: When our cast accidentally revives the dead in the lab, Rudy starts throwing bottles and containers at them.
  • Guns Akimbo: Kirk with two Desert Eagles during the The War Sequence.
  • Hazardous Water: These zombies can swim.
  • Head Crushing: At the end of the movie, Ruby kills Castillo for good by crushing his severed head under her boot.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Kirk and later Simon make exploding ones.
  • How We Got Here: The film starts with Rudy sitting on the island graveyard and recounting the events that lead him there.
  • Idiosyncratic Wipes: Footage from the actual game is used for transfers. It's as awkward as it sounds like.
  • Idiot Ball: When the cast reaches the rave area, only Alicia is bothered by the fact it's deserted and has bloody rags throughout it. But even she is later convinced that there is just an elaborate stunt going on.
    • The AMS agents who rescue Rudy and Alicia don't even bother quarantining them despite knowing that there was a zombie outbreak on the island.
  • Immortality: Castillo has found it. Now he is searching for fresh body parts to keep himself that way.
    Castillo: I simply want your flesh.
  • Impaled Palm: When our protagonists are attacked on a bridge over a swamp, Rudy manages to impale his hand on the sole huge nail sticking out of it.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Despite most of the characters not having any experience with the guns before, they manage to score plenty of headshots.
  • Informed Ability: According to Rudy's opening narration, Karma thinks she's Foxy Brown, Simon is a Brainless Beauty, and there's a Love Triangle between Karma, Simon, and Alicia. Evidence on any of these descriptions isn't really shown.
  • It's Quiet… Too Quiet: Played straight!
  • Jump Scare: The thing in the blood tank.
  • Latex Perfection: Castillo wears Greg's face as a disguise, with none of the problems that would come with wearing dead skin.
  • Lock-and-Load Montage: Shown before the The War Sequence, when the cast arms themselves with Kirk's smuggling merchandise.
  • Losing Your Head: After Rudy cuts off Castillo's head, he still has life in it to operate his body in an attempt to kill Rudy.
  • Love Makes You Evil: According to the ending, Rudy will cause a zombie outbreak because he tries to bring back Alicia.
  • Machete Mayhem: Kirk's melee weapon.
  • Mad Scientist: Castillo, whose experiments hundreds years ago resulted in zombies today.
  • The Man They Couldn't Hang: One of the flashbacks shows Castillo surviving a hanging and proclaiming himself to be immortal.
  • Mix-and-Match Man: Castillo, who keeps himself alive by harvested body parts.
  • Monster Threat Expiration: The zombies suddenly become very easy to kill when the remaining protagonists are nearing Castillo's secret lair.
  • The Narrator: Rudy, the sole survivor of the film's events.
  • Neck Snap: Zombified Cynthia kills the camera-using Hugh by snapping his neck.
  • Never Heard That One Before: "I don't like no Captain Kirk jokes."
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: When infected Kirk blows himself up, the following explosion lets the zombies inside the refuge that our main characters fought for in the big zombie battle.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: While travelling underground, the protagonists encounter zombie conquistadors.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: Averted. When the cast wonder about the things that are attacking them, Alicia points out that they are zombies and they better accept it.
  • Now or Never Kiss: Alicia gives one to Rudy.
  • Off-the-Shelf FX: Transitions and some action scenes use footage from the original game, that is to say the one released in 1996 along with some battle scenes from The House of the Dead 2 which was released in 1998.
  • One Hit Poly Kill: Karma shoots through three zombies with one shotgun blast during the big fight to reach the house that's right next to the cemetery.
  • Opening Monologue: Narration is used early on to tell us that things has went to hell and to introduce Alicia and her friends.
  • Orbital Shot: Used when a character dies with a fade-to-red effect and during the big zombie battle.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: These zombies are a combination of artificial and flesh-eating types.
  • Outrun the Fireball: Rudy and Alicia do it when they blow up Castillo's lair with a grenade.
  • The Power of Blood: Corpses are revived instantly on contact with chemically altered blood.
  • Protective Charm: Salish gives Cynthia a crucifix necklace for protection. She never wears it, and ends up as a zombie.
  • Race Lift: The film version of G is black.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Zombies are shown to have glowing red eyes early in the film when they kill Matt and Johanna.
  • The Reveal: In the ending, dialogue reveals that Rudy's last name is Curien, the same as the main villain of the first and the third game, making this film a Stealth Prequel.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: How Greg manages to pay off Kirk to take him and his friends to the island rave.
  • See You in Hell: Said by Kirk to the zombies when he blows himself up.
  • Shout-Out: The scene with Matt and Johanna on the beach is a reference to Jaws, but the twist is that it's passed out guy who dies first.
    • To George A. Romero's Living Dead Series. When discussing what kind of creatures the characters were facing one makes a reference to Night, Dawn, and Day. Another replies that Twighlight of the Dead may be next.note 
  • Shown Their Work: Castillo and Spanish conquistadors in the Pacific Northwest is correct for its era in the 16th century as this region of North America was once part of the Spanish Empire. This is a notably one thing Uwe Boll got right for once.
  • Sinister Minister: Castillo was a priest when he was alive.
  • Swamps Are Evil: There's a foggy swamp in the middle of the island and it has zombies hiding in it.
  • Sword Fight: A climactic one between Castillo and Alicia. Rudy attempts join in too with his axe, but mostly only gets in the way.
  • Title of the Dead: Like the game the film is based on.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Applies to everyone who consciously decided to go to a rave in a secluded swampy island with no power that happens to be named "Island of the Dead".
  • Use Your Head: Liberty headbutts a zombie that is attacking her in the water.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Seasick Greg throws up on his girlfriend Cynthia on the boat.
  • The War Sequence: There's a 10 minute sequence where our protagonists try to reach the title house and have to fight hordes of zombies to get there. It's filled with egregious usage of Bullet Time and loose grasp of continuity.
  • Wearing a Flag on Your Head: Liberty wears stars and stripes themed onesie outfit.
  • Zombie Gait: Both running and walking zombies are present. And many stand around simply waiting to be shot.

The Funny Version provides the examples of:

  • Sting: After The Reveal, in the commentary, Uwe Boll himself provides one though one that isn't very effective.. "Duh-duh-duh-duh!"


Video Example(s):


Captain Kirk Jokes

A sea captain named Kirk has probably heard this joke many, many times.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / NeverHeardThatOneBefore

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