(Chris Kattan and director Glasgow Phillips, SXSW 2007)
Undead or Alivecombines two pretty well-formalized genres: The zombie movie and the western. They're both dense fields -- but Undead or Alive skips merrily over their surfaces with the breezy glancing bounces of a well-thrown stone over a river. The zombie elements are on-loan from a series of other films, and the western stuff is this broad, six-shooter-and-saloon look of the film: What you get might best be described as Night of the Living Deadwood. Written and directed by animation-writing veteran Glasgow Phillips (South Park), Undead or Alive has a few jolts, some nice laughs and -- while it's hard to imagine the film doing Shaun of the Dead-style numbers either at the box office or in people's hearts -- it's a good example of how to do horror comedy right.
Apparently, Geronimo delivered a powerful curse at his passing -- one that makes the dead walk the Western plain in search of flesh. Wandering lone riders Elmer (James Denton) and Luke (Chris Kattan) roll into town and into trouble. They're very different men; Elmer carries a Henry rifle and dresses like John Wayne; Luke carries twin six-shooters and dresses like Gram Parsons. They get chucked in jail, neighbors in lock-up to the patient zero for the curse, (played by stand-up comedian Brian Posehn) who's in the pokey for having eaten his wife and child's brains. Escape turns into larceny and pursuit by a posse, circumstances forging an unlikely duo -- soon made a trio by Geronimo's niece, Sue (Navi Rawat), even as the bad sheriff who first locked them up becomes the undead sheriff on their trail.