last week was a big week for everyone’s favorite insane, narcissistic, delusional, german video-game-based film director, dr. uwe boll. september 9th saw the release of his newest creation, seed (which i plan to watch this week) and, far more importantly, the director’s cut of his greatest work to date, the house of the dead.
late on a friday night in 2003, i saw the house of the dead in our local theater. i knew i was in for something special when i realized it was the film’s opening night, yet i was alone in the theater. i have yet to meet anyone who has actually seen the film, so as far as i’m aware, i may well be the only person to ever view it. if this were true, it would be a shame, because the film is indeed special. the house of the dead is so spectacularly horrible and inept in every conceivable way that it is the perfect example of a film “so bad it’s good.”
widely regarded as the worst filmmaker working today, boll never disappoints. whether he’s proclaiming himself the only genius in hollywood, ranting incoherently or taking phone calls on commentary tracks, or challenging his critics to boxing matches, boll does not come across as the poster child for sanity. in keeping with his reputation, boll has released the strangest director’s cut ever released: the house of the dead: funny edition.
this edition of the house of the dead is different in several regards.
- it opens with terrorists holding director uwe boll hostage, telling him they will force him to watch his own film as punishment for making the worst movies known to man and ruining several talented actor’s careers.
- boll gave free reign to one of his critics, allowing them to place “pop-up video” style word balloons throughout the movie, pointing out continuity mistakes and plot holes and generally making fun of the film from beginning to finish.
- several shots are replaced with “gag reel” type footage of the same scene from the cutting room floor. these include shots where you can hear boll cursing at his cast, characters inexplicably dancing with fish, the director driving by in a train car, and shots where zombies tell jokes to their screaming victims.
- the soundtrack has been replaced with far more annoying and intentionally goofy music
- various pieces of dialogue have been replaced with newly recorded lines from the cast
- the dvd features an all new commentary track from uwe boll
the end product is a combination of mst3k-esque text quips, stupid jokes and gag reel footage that, when all is said and done, results in what is probably a better film than the original cut. it’s hard to judge something so odd — the original film has a quirky charm to its ineptitude that pushes it so far into the spectrum of bad that i actually ended up liking it. this cut is likely more entertaining, but its intentional humor is not really as funny as the unintentional of the original. still, this is a director’s cut unlike any you are ever likely to witness. like boll himself, the house of the dead is impossible to take seriously and is difficult to hate despite its many flaws. similarly, at first glance uwe boll is an easy man to dislike, but the more films of his you see and the more times you hear his often delusional but self-deprecating commentary tracks, the more likable he, and his films, become. both versions of the the house of the dead are definitely worth a look as they give far different experiences of the same film, one of the best worst zombie movies of all time.
bonus link: check out gameradar’s top 7 worst scenes in uwe boll movies