Director John Gulager is not above making entertaining horror films, as we saw with “Feast,” but his offering for the current zombie movie craze ends up being surprisingly conventional and dull. It doesn’t really offer anything new or unique in terms of the zombie movie realm, and to make things worse there are just too many sub-plots. We literally follow almost a dozen characters and their efforts to make it through the beginning of a zombie apocalypse, and beyond their efforts to stay alive, there’s not a lot to them or their personalities.
I’m still not entirely sure if “Zombie Massacre” knows how utterly idiotic it is, or if it’s in on the joke. In one instance, Uwe Boll appears on a television as the American president, German accent and all, discussing the zombie conspiracy and how he wants to get back to golfing and vacation. It’s a perplexing moment, because I’m not sure if the writers and Boll thought the scene would be a wonderful bit of biting social commentary, or if they were just pulling our leg through the cameo. Yes, we Americans love our golfing and vacationing. Good one, Boll! You’re such a witty satirist, you are.
Clandestine government, chemical accident, zombie apocalypse, characters with nothing to lose, you’ve seen it all before, and “Zombie Massacre” brings it in spades. The prologue is solid with the accident at a power plant affecting an entire town thanks to chemicals falling from the sky. Whatever comes in contact with bare skin turns its victims in to flesh eating deformed zombies. But that’s immediately contradicted when we later see zombies dressed in Hazmat suits, so that’s ultimately irrelevant to the narrative. The rest of “Zombie Massacre” is a half assed amalgam of “The Dirty Dozen” and “Mission Impossible,” with the government composed of mostly Eastern European men bringing together a team of rogue soldiers.
They all have their special talents, and oddly enough they, too, are Eastern European. They’re all vicious and cold soldiers, and surely enough we have to know that because they spend a lot of time talking. I mean, they spend obscene amounts of time standing around talking, and conversing about sex and life. The narrative introduces a silent female warrior who is a master with a samurai sword, not to mention a conflicted leader who is being allowed freedom for his crimes if he pulls off the operation. And yet the film is still so painfully boring to endure. Mid-way when it becomes apparent this team can barely pull off their mission as half of them die from a zombie attack, we’re introduced to a mysterious scientist who may have the answers to the infection (original!).
To make things even more grueling, there’s a red neck couple that joins the team to help fend off the zombies. I was never sure if I was supposed to find this twist ridiculous or offensive, but clearly the producers of the movie don’t have a flattering idea of America. For some contrived reason, the pair of redneck gun nuts are visiting Eastern Europe, get caught in the zombie apocalypse, and decide to help the team finish their job. “Zombie Massacre” is too tedious to be taken as an action movie, and much too boring to taken as a zombie film. The zombie rampaging only occurs in mild bursts, offering little to no gore, while the action is only sporadic. “Zombie Massacre” is a ridiculous and tepid attempt at a zombie film, one that really doesn’t re-invent the formula, nor does it seem to want to.
The Blu-Ray from E1 comes with a two minute Storyboard Prologue, the one minute storyboards presentation, and two trailers. There’s also “Superfreak,” a forty minute glossy making of featurette with typical production tidbits and interviews.
I love the storytelling and directorial subtleties of Kathryn Bigelow in her concerted effort to explore the folly of war and violence in the name of patriotism. In the end of the film Maya stands in the belly of a massive jet that is ready to carry her home, and she’s lavished with praise by the pilot who insists she can sit anywhere. Maya sits at the very end of the massive passenger wagon out of ear shot from the soldier. When asked where Maya wants to go, we see the fallout from the raid on Bin Laden once and for all. What was it all for? And in the end, did we really manage to gain something of ourselves back when we finally eliminated Osama Bin Laden? Or did Osama really win when he brought down the towers, destroying our very identities? “Zero Dark Thirty” is a very thoughtful and objective look at the events that led to the death of Osama Bin Laden. And for folks convinced Bigelow would stage a rah rah America film are wrong in their assertions.
Someone, somewhere thought it’d be a good idea. Whether it was the choice of the filmmakers, the producers, or the distributor, someone thought it’d be a good idea to title this zombie flick “Night of the Creeps 2: Zombie Town.” I guess someone thought since this is a zombie film revolving around parasitic slugs that create the walking dead, therefore it should be considered a sequel.
Maybe someone loved the Fred Dekker cult classic and thought this would eventually be considered a sequel if they branded it as such. In any case, “Zombie Town” is about as much of a sequel to “Night of the Creeps” as those awful Taurus Entertainment sequels “Creepshow III” and “Day of the Dead: Contagium” are to their respective classic films.
So what do we learn from Zombies vs. Strippers? Zombies who moan “brains!” aren’t specifically limited to eating brains, strippers crave anal sex even during a zombie raid, cameramen will stay focused on a TV host even if they’re being mauled by the walking dead, watching someone eating someone else’s fingers doesn’t set off alarms that something is wrong with them, pole dancing is actually a hidden form of martial arts, cops are nowhere to be found in the city, zombies will pounce on extras but slowly creep up on principle cast members of a movie, strip clubs only play songs without lyrics, strip clubs only employ four strippers at a time, and when you’re bitten in the butt you won’t notice until much later on. All things considered “Zombies vs. Strippers” is a pretty crummy movie.
For the uninitiated, back in 1978 when George A Romero’s “Dawn of the Dead” was released in foreign countries, it was renamed “Zombi” and re-cut for Italian audiences sans the dark comedy. When the movie became a hit, Lucio Fulci took it upon himself to direct the “sequel” entitled “Zombi 2.” Basically, Fulci’s “Zombi 2” is not actually a sequel to Romero’s “Dawn” but unofficially his horror film acts as a pseudo sequel/prequel for “Dawn.” So basically “Dawn” has two sequels, one official, and one unofficial. I of course prefer “Day of the Dead,” but Lucio Fulci’s “Zombi 2” is not without its merits. It’s a terrifying and often haunting zombie film filled with such effective gore and grue that you could smell the stench of the walking dead permeate off the screen at times.
The Asylum never met a trend they didn’t hop on to for all the moolah in the world. Since zombies are all the rage and have become something of a culture in the world, The Asylum naturally jumps on the bandwagon to offer up their own view of what the world would look like under the rule of the walking dead. Or “zombies” as the characters call them. This time around director Nick Lyon is at the helm and brings us a movie that is not so much an original film so much as it is a pastiche of better sub-genre offerings.
A group of strippers, two hookers, a bouncer, and a pimp run in to a strip club after hours. The start of a funny joke? It’s the premise for “Zombies! Zombies! Zombies!” a surprisingly well made and entertaining horror comedy considering the miniscule budget that it works on from the minute one. Notice how the strip club is the same exterior as the ice rink from the prologue. But who cares? “Zombies! Zombies! Zombies!” is a classic grind house throwback that features a group of mismatched survivors and malcontents going up against an endless horde of the walking dead.