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Film / The Dead Next Door

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How do you kill something that won't die? Where do you run when they're everywhere?

A low-budget zombie horror movie from 1989.

Several years ago in Akron, Ohio, one scientist's work went wrong and a virus that turns people into flesh-eating zombies got loose. Now in the post-Zombie Apocalypse USA, a special Zombie Squad has been tasked to look out for survivors and get rid of the undead menace. After they embark on a search for a possible cure for undeath, they run into a zombie-loving cult.

This film has examples of:

  • And Then John Was a Zombie:
    • Zombie Squad member Mercer's zombification is eventually stopped, but it happens little too late.
    Raimi: You want to come with us?
    Mercer: No man, I'm a zombie now.
    • Raimi is bitten by a zombie, and the ever-stumbling Dr. Savini gives him Dr. Moulsson's cure, turning him into a half-zombie as well. Raimi "thanks" him by ripping his throat out.
  • Big Bad: Reverend Jones, a cult leader.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Cult member Vincent coughs up blood before dying from his shotgun wound.
  • The Dragon: Commander Carpenter is Rev. Jones's right- hand man, and the field leader of his followers.
  • Eiffel Tower Effect: When the squad arrives back at the Washington D.C., it is established with shots of The White House and Capitol Hill, both surrounded by zombies.
  • Fingore: While reaching for his gun, Richards accidentally puts his fingers inside decapitated zombie head's mouth when he is distracted, and it bites them off. His severed fingers are then shown exiting from its throat.
  • Foreshadowing: On the success of his zombie cure, Dr. Moulsson tells Dr. Franklin that he stakes his "life and hat on it". He eventually loses both, with the hat going first.
  • Human Sacrifice: As Raimi spies on Rev. Jones' cult, he sees a few of its members who sacrifice a girl by plunging a sword into her chest.
  • I'm Melting!: Dr. Moulsson's anti-zombie cure stops the zombification process in the freshly infected, and the fully undead eventually melt away after being injected with it.
  • Machete Mayhem: Some Zombie Squad members, like Raimi and Richards, have machetes as a side-weapon.
  • Off with His Head!: After Richards fails to kill a zombie with a headshot, he takes out his machete to try to finish the job by decapitation. It also fails.
  • Organ Autonomy: Bodyparts removed from the zombies still move, trying to satiate their host's hunger even if they are incapable of doing that by themselves. At one point, Dr. Moulsson presents a still-moving tongue to astonished Raimi and Mercer.
  • Our Zombies Are Different:
    • Guns and blades cannot kill the zombies, and they keep going even if they are chopped up. The government is looking for a way to kill them permanently.
    • If Dr. Mulsson's zombie cure is injected into partially zombified people, they become only partially dead, and they can communicate with other zombies.
  • Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain: Averted. Headshots and decapitations will not stop the zombies.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shout-Out Theme Naming: Characters Raimi, Commander Carpenter and Dr. Savini) are named after famous horror creators. There is also a mention about fallen soldiers named King and Romero.
  • Sinister Shades: Reverend Jones wears thick sunglasses whenever he is conducting his religious work. Even at the dead of night.
  • Tongue Trauma: As zombies rip Dr. Moulsson apart, the half-zombie Mercer does his part by ripping off his tongue, which he had promised to do moments earlier.
  • Vertigo Effect: Used when Kuller watches with horror as zombified Raimi munches on Dr. Savini's flesh.
  • Would Hurt a Child: One zombie is found munching a corpse of a child.
  • Zombie Advocate: Bunch of protesters, who want zombies to be protected instead of killed, are stationed on the front of the Zombie Squad headquarters. They are eventually attacked by the very things they are trying to help.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Has already happened by the time the story starts; the plot is about finding a way to stop/cure it.
  • Zombie Gait: Zig-zagged. Most of the time the zombies are shown shambling around, but in one instance they break into a run after finding living human to feed on.