Die and Let Live (2006)/Raising the Stakes (2005) Review

Die and Let Live (2006)/Raising the Stakes (2005) Review

I was vaguely familiar with IWC Films before I turned on the current Tempe release of their two feature length movies, Die and Let Live and Raising the Stakes. Previously purchasing (and enjoying) the short-film compilations Faces of Schlock I and II, where IWC Films contributed two shorts,  I had higher expectations for these films.  I am happy to report that both movies on the new DVD delivered!

The first movie of the double feature is Die and Let Live, a zombie comedy about a couple friends who decide to throw a party to achieve that eternal goal- to try and impress a girl.  After watching a late-night horror show interrupted by a real zombie outbreak, the friends realize they must come up with a plan to make sure they make it through the evening. 

In the same vein as Shaun of the Dead, Die and Let Live is hilarious. The chemistry between Benny (Josh Lively) and Scotty (Zane Crosby) is spot on, similar to the best-buds combo in the aforementioned movie.  This movie is all about the comedy, and the comedy is extremely well done. In one of the best gags of the movie, the primary mission is coming up with a plan to rescue the pizzas that were left in the yard after the pizza man was attacked by zombies.

The blood and gore effects are decently executed, but I wish the zombies had a little makeup on them instead of just blood accents.  For a no-budget movie, the video quality and the sound are also very well done.  Sprinkle in a little flashback to my high school years with the ska soundtrack featuring “Big D and the Kids Table”, the “Planet Smashers”, and “Catch 22” and I had a good time.

Our second movie is Raising the Stakes, a vampire comedy about a couple losers (once again Lively and Crosby) who want to be vampires.  Of course, the theory is being vampires will make them scary and cool.  After purchasing a potion that transforms them into creatures of the night, the two learn that even vampires can be losers. They also only have four days to feed on human blood.  Another no-budget movie that’s all about the comedy and not the monster action, this movie didn’t quite click as well with me.

For starters, this movie is the older of the two, and the video quality showed.  Granted a lot of that had to do with the movie being 90% shot in the dark.  I also had some issues with macro-blocking, but hopefully that was only with my screener copy and not with the final product.  Maybe I should chalk it up to my lesser vampirism fandom compared to zombies.  Some of the comedy was still very funny, but overall wasn’t quite as enjoyable.

Which brings me to the conclusion, is this worth your hard earned money?  If you’re a fan of Troma movies (Lloyd Kaufman cameoes in both movies) or other budget-horror comedies I’d say yes.  This is especially true for the fact that on IWC’s website this DVD is only $10!  The disk is also packed with other short films and goodies to really make this disk worth checking out. 

Apologies to the fine folks at both IWC and Tempe Entertainment, I’ve had this screener for about a month, but somehow it snuck under the television stand.  I guess that’s bound to happen when you have a nosy little three year old running around.

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Matt has been a fan of horror films since his first trip to the video store when he was transfixed by classic vhs cover art. Now he primarily enjoys films from the grindhouse era of the 70's and 80's, but holds a soft spot in in his heart for low budget flicks.

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