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Grave Mistake

USA 2008
produced by
Shawn Darling, Johnny Tabor for Dark August Productions
directed by Shawn Darling
starring Seth Darling, Wendy Andrews, James Blackburn, Stephen W. Eckles, Del Jenkins, Benjamin Palmer, David Lionbarger, Keola Melhorn, David Melhorn, Tracy Melhorn, Gary Harper, Toni Harper, Jaimie Darling, Tanisha Zimmerly, Shawn Mauldin, Paula Maldin, Curt Cocherell, Dorothy Cocherell
written by Shawn Darling, music by James Blackburn, Shawn Darling, Johnny Tabor, visual effects by Shawn Darling

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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All-around redneck idiot, child abuser and cowardly bully Karl (Stephen W.Eckles) dumps some toxic waste onto a graveyard - upon which the dead start to rise in no time. So eventually, Karl finds himself on the run from zombies with the usual crowd: His abused stepson Alex (Seth Darling), Jesus-like mechanic Mike (James Blackburn), an ex-marine with a dark secret, his love-interest Monica (Wendy Andrews), her son Woody (Keola Melhorn), who is among the first to die, geeky Phil (David Lionbarger), an expert on zombie survival who is or course the first to die, and security guard George (Del Jenkins). Of course, one by one these guys die, with Karl meeting an expecially gruesome end when he tries to abandon the others and steal their escape car. Eventually, they run into knight Lord Warmin (Benjamin Palmer), actually the member of a medieval reenactment group who has just snapped when the zombies killed his girlfriend - but now he's in full armour and perfectly equipped to counter the zombie onslaught ... that is, until he drops his sword, then the zombies drag him off.

Eventually, everybody dies but Alex, who makes it back home - where he has to fight his zombie mother and his zombie family dog - when Lord Warmin comes to the rescue. Sure, the zombies have dragged him off, but their tooth weren't strong enough to bite through his armour ...


Arguably, the zombie genre is the most rigid of all horror subgenres, but also one low budget filmmakers tend to come back to the most often, so to make an interesting zombie movie, you have to either find a radically different approach, or at least make your characters interesting.

Grave Mistake, I'm afraid to say, does neither. The story is just your typical humans on the run-narrative, the characters are not only two-dimensional clichées but also painted in such broad strokes it almost hurts, and even the occasional flashes of irony can't save anything. Also, I'm afraid to say most of the actors' performances are sadly sub-standard while the direction is hardly above functional and never really goes for atmosphere or the macabre. At least the gore effects are pretty decent for a low budget indie flick, but that's hardly enough to save the film ...


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD