Notes from the back row 

DVDs are hot this time of year

If Snakes on a Plane deserves any criticism it’s that it took itself too seriously and really tried to be more than it was, wasting time with a dumb mob backstory and eating almost an entire hour before the snakes actually start causing havoc. Luckily, Flight of the Living Dead, now on DVD, suffers from none of these problems.

The title pretty much sums up the plot — a military experiment is being transferred via plane to Paris when the fit hits the shan and a zombie is unleashed onto an unsuspecting flight of overly attractive stewardesses, air-headed young adults, a Tiger-esque golf pro (with a hot wife and putter he was somehow allowed to bring as carry-on) a cop, an army dude (basically there in order to have machine guns in the movie) and some mad scientists.

The first throat-ripping gore comes about 30 minutes in and from there it’s a dumb, funny, bloody ride of perfect B-grade bliss as every new victim becomes a zombie until it’s pure plane-demonium. There’s even a sexy nun in this flick, which, needless to say, never got a theatrical release . My only complaint is a lack of nudity — there is the obligatory “Mile High Club” scene (can’t have a plane movie without one) but it’s quite tame. All in all though, Flight of the Living Dead doesn’t disappoint. It came out on Oct. 2, hunt it down.

Another hot DVD, just out, is a Stephen King-based chiller called 1408 about a haunted-ass hotel room and the non-believer writer who goes through hell in it. Starring John Cusack, this CGI-riddled flick is creepy enough to make your neck hair stand up and includes a couple nice twists as well. The marketing campaign is calling it “One of the best Stephen King adaptations of all time” which means very little because everyone knows Kubrick’s The Shining is the best. But still, 1408 is pretty sweet.

And John Cusack, how killer is this guy? He started off as a fringe member of the Brat Pack ( Sixteen Candles) but managed to survive that and has since avoided the usual Hollywood crap flicks (for the most part) and delivered such awesomeness as The Grifters, High Fidelity, Grosse Point Blank, Being John Malkovich, and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. You can take your sappy Oscar-wanna-be’s, your Tom Hankses and cheesy-ass Ron Howard flicks (Cusack turned down the Bill Paxton role in Apollo 13) , I’ll take solid genre guys like John Cusack or Nic Cage any day. 1408 — John Cusack, DVD of the week.

DVDs are hot this time of year but don’t write off the Village 8 either. The Heartbreak Kid opens Friday. It’s a remake with a gay title but it stars Ben Stiller and is directed by the Farrelly Brothers. That’s the lineup that brought us Something About Mary. There’s no Cameron Diaz (newcomer Malin Akerman is pretty close) but the Farrellys and Stiller can still deliver an R-rated bumbling romantic comedy that’s good for some stupid laughs.

The other rad thing about this is that one-time local girl Sabine Varnes does the female stunts, including the one you’ve seen on TV where the chick goes over the handlebars of her bike face first into pavement. Hell yeah, Sabine. I love to see a Whistler girl kicking ass in the real world.

Speaking of locals, the B-Grade Horrorfest is coming up Oct. 30 but before that, Whistler’s first ever Zombie Walk/Bar Crawl on Oct. 14. Dress like the living dead and amble around the village scaring the bejeezus out of people. E-mail me for more details.

At Village 8 Oct. 5-11: Seeker: Dark is Rising; Heartbreak Kid; Kingdom; Resident Evil: Extinction; 3:10 to Yuma; Good Luck Chuck; Eastern Promises; Game Plan; Bourne Ultimatum; Feast of Love.

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