Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Imagine one of those late night Cinemax sex movies without the sex.  Just… imagine… I’m serious here, stop and think about what that film would actually be like without none of the simulated humping, bad music, and saline filled breasts.  You would be left with some crazy story involving a cheating husband or wife, some outlandish murder plot, and of course some kind of double cross, but no saline filled breast to justify its existence.  It would not be a pretty sight, now would it?  This is what the film ‘Living Death’ was, at least in its first hour, and believe me when I tell you, it wasn’t pretty.  In the last twenty minutes however, the film became some kind of wacky, slasher, gore fest which actually kind of helps it along.


Greg Byrk is Victor.  Now are there ANY characters in the history of films named Victor that are any damn good?  I don’t think so.  This Victor ain’t no damn good either (that there is double negative folks) as we meet the man showing a honey around his mansion, particularly, his torture room in the attic.  Now Vic not’s a total sicko, as he politely asks Melanie (Kelsey Matheson) to get on the inquisition rack and begins to slowly torture her, but he really means no harm.  That is until his pesky wife Elizabeth (Kristy Swanson) pops in and surprises him, making Vic’s arm jump and breaking poor Melanie’s shin, causing the bone to protrude from the skin.


As is typical, Victor is your total asshole rich dude, who drinks, drugs, sexes and cares about nobody but himself, but he knows this guy Roman (Joshua Pearce), who is not only his best friend, but also his lawyer, and Roman can just about get Vic out of any situation that his pathology gets him in.  But wouldn’t you know that Elizabeth and Roman are doing each other on the side and have a plan to finally eliminate the boorish 

playboy.  Roman contacts his drug connection who delivers to the scurrilous lawyer a special concoction that originates from a blowfish (?).  A single drop of this stuff will temporarily paralyze you, but allow one to experience what’s going on around you.  Imagine what a whole a bottle would do.  Well, our potential murderers thought it would kill Victor, but instead it just paralyzes him a lot longer is all, though he sure seemed to dead.  Even to the M.E.  So the super paralyzed Victor has a funeral, gets spit on, is about to be autopsied, is eventually cut open by some eager med students, and then buried alive with full awareness before he comes around consciousness.  Wow... is he ever upset, and let the killing begin!

Yes, this picture was lame, but before we briefly get into the lameness of it all, a note on Ms. Swanson.  I’ve seen Kristy nekkid, as I’m sure has anybody who may have stumbled across her Playboy pictorial.  Kristy Swanson, at least in 2002, has a figure that could stop the hands of a clock.  Now, in this particular film, it would seem she has gained about fifty pounds, looking quite Ruebenesqe.  I don’t personally know Kristy Swanson, but I do know enough Hollywood types to know that these are some phenomenally vain people, and there had to be legitimate reason for Ms. Swanson’s weight gain, be it pregnancy or illness.  Turns out soon after this awful film was finished, Ms. Swanson soon gave birth to a little boy.  Congratulations!  There have been instances of women attempting not to gain weight while pregnant, which could be disastrous for the unborn child, but not Ms. Swanson who it looks like will be great mother.  That doesn’t make this movie any easier to tolerate though.

Further proof of Ms. Swanson’s worth as person is that she’s pregnant, carrying an extra fifty, and yet still managed to come out everyday, fighting morning sickness and swollen feet to try to finish this awful, awful movie.  Sure it’s hard to think of new stories, but the cheating wife, murdering best friend angle is so tired that even Skinemax has moved on other lame story lines.  The movie picked up after Victor finally rose from the dead and started killing everybody, but that didn’t happen until an hour into the film.  Until then what we had was one big extended lull.  This would have been a good time to have some fake breast and simulated sex injected in the film, but it was not to be.

A couple of things though keep me from sticking ‘Living Death’ in the Garbage Corner and the Stinking Pile, and one is the performance of Greg Byrk as Victor who was so slimy, and so rotten that I’m thinking dude is like that for real, and another is it did have some decent gore.  Director Erin Berry doesn’t pace the film all that well, and he’s also guilty of being a producer of ‘UKM: The Ultimate Killing Machine’ which IS in the stinking pile.  Faint praise perhaps, but ‘Living Death’ is way better than that garbage.

Oh well, good luck with motherhood Ms. Swanson, as you will find acting in subpar, sub B level Direct-To-Video movies cake compared to babies screaming at three in the morning, getting pissed on, trying to find a decent kindergarten, and NEVER being appreciated.  What am I thinking?  That’s the Nanny’s job.

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