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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 and an explicit reference to George A. Romero 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!"


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