Dead Kansas: A review by Angela Estes
Taking place in the overcrowded genre of reanimated corpses (aka zombies, walkers or “rottens,”) Dead Kansas opens in glorious monochrome black and white reminiscent of the earlier cult masterpiece, Night of the Living Dead. The action quickly colorizes, however, and black and white scenes appear with special sound effects only to depict “rotten” vision or moments when the monsters are present.
In Dead Kansas’ mythos, women were the first to get sick and hero Glenn has what is now a highly sought commodity: a daughter. From a biker gang to a doctor who may have the beginnings of a vaccine for the disease, everyone wants a piece of Emma, who loves her pa, has some respectable “rotten” killing skills and who just wants to see the world beyond her family farm.
“All I do here is pick vegetables and shoot rottens.”
Act 1 is thoroughly enjoyable with nice acting by Alexandria Lightford as Emma; Aaron Guerrero as her father, Glen; and Michael Camp as the gang leader, Jebediah. Jeb also has a couple of really great lines like “Live in hell long enough, everyone turns into a demon.” Act 2 continues strong as Emma appeals for help to the community known as “The Shambles.” Made up mostly of former Circus or Sideshow performers, “The Shambles” has all sorts of interesting props and calliope music as well as including the somewhat recognizable Irwin Keyes playing the Giant.
Overall, the movie is somewhat uneven. Act 3 opens with a new actress, Erin Miracle, playing Emma. There isn’t even the slightest attempt to reconcile the new Emma with the old Emma. Although only a minute should have passed between Act 2 and Act 3, her hair is significantly longer, she is a bit older and she is dressed far more provocatively. Perhaps embracing the campy inconsistencies and problematic acting in the second half could have created an almost Ed Wood-ish triumphant cult classic, but for me, what began as an exciting internet find, simply fizzled out.
IMDB credits Dead Kansas as writer, director, producer Aaron K. Carter’s sole credit. On the merits of Act 1 and 2 alone, I will be watching to see his future projects. Carter’s story telling skills definitely show some potential.
To find out more about Angela Estes: https://plus.google.com/+AngelaEstesangiece/posts
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