Tag Archives: zombies

30 Days of Madness, Day 9 — Zombeavers (2014)

by Tom Kapr

Wherein I attempt to watch one new-to-me horror film every day of October till Halloween and write a quick review. I will end my review with a letter grade like we do on our podcast (A, B, C, D, or F–pluses and minuses are for the non-committal!) and with the movie’s rank on my Flickchart.

zombeavers

 

Directed by Bite Me. Written by Who Gives a Dam.

This is the worst movie I’ve watched since our Junk January podcast. I knew they weren’t all gonna be Body Snatchers and Jarmusch films, but this is real bottom of the barrel. And it has a Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes? Y’all be trippin’.

I’ll be the first to admit that a horror movie about killer beavers has been long overdue. They’re terrifying creatures, and they have killed people. It’s the teeth. Those long sharp incisors are used to cut down trees. They can sever an artery quicker than anything with fangs can. I’ve been bitten by rodents, dogs, cats, birds, a turtle, and a snake; I even have a scar on my shoulder from a squirrel. Rodent bites are the worst. I will take any of those critters chomping into me over a beaver bite.

Anyway, here’s everything I jotted down throughout the course of the film (and a few things I didn’t). SPOILERS AHEAD.

- Oh good. Girls who use the terms “bi-atch” and “sooo awesoooomme.”

- Ah, dick pics. Just I wanted to see.

- I have to spend the movie with these girls? The beavers cannot start killing quick enough.

- Have a feeling I’m going to have to endure a doggie death first.

- “Why are girls attracted to assholes?” Probably similar to why guys are attracted to vacuous bimbos.

- Oh my god, this girl can’t die fast enough. [Note from the future: She in fact is the only one to make it to the final frame. Still dies, but it comes about 76 minutes too late.]

- Rex Linn, finally bringing a little bit of something good to the proceedings.

- Oh no, the beavers are making Critters noises.

- How does this girl even have friends?

- And now three equally unbearable guys. Hooray.

- THIS is the “great guy” these two girls were talking about earlier? He’s a complete tool!

- Finally, a beaver attack! And it’s… awful. Even the creature effects suck. And a bat does not split through flesh like that.

- So this guy is like the Matthew Lillard of the group. A low-rent Matthew Lillard. If such a thing is possible.

- I hate every character in this movie.

- Jenn. Your friends suck. Get new friends.

- “That was another fucking beaver!” Just a sample of the brilliant dialogue.

- So their making jokes about this girl’s small tits while their now foot-less friend is bleeding out?

- Hey! That dog’s life preserver disappeared between shots!

- This is so lame. An actual live beaver could kill so much more efficiently.

- And, not only do I have to endure a doggie death, this guy picks up the dog and throws it into the water as a distraction. He must die a horrible death. [Note from the future: If having your junk torn out by your former girlfriend after she's turned into a zombeaver counts as a horrible death... yeah, he did.]

- Why has this girl not totally flipped out on this guy for murdering her dog?

- I. HATE. THIS. MOVIE.

- A tree felled by the beavers stops them from driving down the road. A tree I could lift and move by myself. Also, has anyone who worked on this film ever seen at least a photograph or a drawing of what a beaver-felled tree looks like? They don’t use hatchets.

- And now a line stolen from Die Hard. These bastards.

- This guy got his foot chewed off 30 minutes ago. He’s been sprawled on two separate couches. Never keeps his leg elevated. Dummy.

- Movie, will you PLEASE kill this guy.

- Trying to create sympathy and be tongue-in-cheek at the same time. Over and over. Fail after fail.

- So, the one non-asshole in the movie and the one character who is almost sympathetic suddenly turns into a zombeaver-human monster hybrid. Didn’t see that coming. Now we’re only left with “caring” about the two who are left–the ones who cheated on her. This movie is just a bunch of assholish people and they’re all intolerable.

- OK. The zombear is a funny touch. You get ONE point, movie.

- And now why this earnest piano music at the end? Oh, because it’s supposed to be funny when she gets hit by the car. THE END.

Man, I hated this movie. And the four of you who picked it for me can bite me. You know you are.

Final grade: F

My Flickchart ranking: #3202 (out of 3256, a relative 2/100)

30 Days of Madness, Day 3 — I Walked with a Zombie (1943)

by Tom Kapr

Wherein I attempt to watch one new-to-me horror film every day of October till Halloween and write a quick review. I will end my review with a letter grade like we do on our podcast (A, B, C, D, or F–pluses and minuses are for the non-committal!) and with the movie’s rank on my Flickchart.

walkzombie

 

“The characters and events depicted in this photoplay are fictional. Any similarity to actual persons, living, dead or possessed, is purely coincidental.” This statement is included in the opening credits. Then we get this woman’s opening voice-over narration:

“I walked with a zombie. [Laughs] Does seem an odd thing to say. Had anyone said that to me a year ago, I’m not sure I would have known what a zombie was. Oh, I might have had some notion that they were strange and frightening–even a little funny. It all began in such an ordinary way. . . .”

Cut to a man conducting a job interview of the woman. First line: “You’re single?”

So my initial impression of the film is, oh goody, bad voice-over narration, then jump right into the old-fashioned sexism. But despite the narration (oh, do I hate unnecessary voice-over narration), this movie won me over. It is one of the low-budget horror films produced by Val Lewton for RKO Pictures in the 1940s, and is basically Jane Eyre with a Voodoo spin. Narration aside, the dialogue (by Curt Siodmak and Ardel Wray) is well composed; it is passably acted by its cast, with the notable standout being Edith Barrett as the mysterious family’s matriarch; and it is expertly directed by Jacques Tourneur.

Tourneur and cinematographer J. Roy Hunt knew how to build the film’s moody and often creepy atmosphere perfectly, through the black-and-white light and shadow; and the music (by Roy Webb) and excellent sound design also go a long way to create the right effect. And the zombie named Carre-Four (played by Darby Jones wearing a simple but effective makeup job) is one of the creepiest “monsters” I’ve seen in a film.

Just some random notes I made along the way:

3:59 – So she’s gonna keep it up with narration, huh?

5:13 – Black chauffeur just finishes telling our protagonist about how his ancestors were brought to the West Indies “chained to the bottom of a boat.” Her response? “They brought you to a beautiful place, didn’t they?” Wow.

5:45 – Still with the narration.

23:40 – Never have I been so creeped out by such a pleasant-sounding island song.

30:20 – She loves this guy? Why?

33:56 – Is it a good idea to give a pin to a days-old baby?

48:38 – “Mind me now, horse!” Best line in the film. Gave me a good laugh. [delivered by Theresa Harris]

Yes, there was much to ridicule especially early on in the film. As to my least favorite thing, the narration and the actress who delivers it, let’s just say that Frances Dee is no Joan Fontaine, and Fort Holland is no Manderlay.

Final grade: B

My Flickchart ranking: #919/3249 (a relative 72/100)

Remembering Bill Hinzman

By Tom Kapr

Bill Hinzman (1936-2012) is largely unknown. He was mostly a behind-the-camera technician, though he appeared in a handful of low-budget horror films. He even directed a couple. But nothing to make his name known. Indeed, I didn’t even know his name until he passed away a few days ago. But he had a lasting effect on me as a cinephile, and it only took one scene in one movie.

When I was a sophomore in college, I began to get into zombie movies. I had often heard about Night of the Living Dead, but had never seen it. One weekend I decided to rent it. I was living with three roommates at the time, but on this particular weekend, they were all gone. I was alone. So, on this particular Friday night, I walked down to the dollar video store (oh, how I miss that dollar video store) and rented a VHS copy of Night of the Living Dead (yes, I’m old).

I walked back to my dorm room, fixed myself a chicken sandwich, positioned my table in front of my TV/VCR set-up (did I mention I was old?), popped in the video, and turned off the lights.

This is what I saw:

 

 

Ten minutes after starting the film, I’m staring at the screen with my mouth hanging open, mid-bite, a partially eaten sandwich in my right hand. I don’t know how long I had been holding that sandwich mere inches from my face without moving. But I finally looked at the sandwich, put it down on the plate, paused the video, got up, and turned on the lights. And I believe I paced a bit. I had shivers running up and down my spine from that scene.

And in case you didn’t figure it by now, that zombie, the first in a new cinematic breed, was played by Bill Hinzman.

I finished the film, and it’s still one of my all-time favorites. There are many things I love about it. I love the grainy black-and-white. I love the discordant soundtrack. I love how in the racially charged 1968 America, the hero was a resourceful black man (played by Duane Jones). I love how director George Romero and his writing partner John Russo created an entirely new genre of film–the post-nuclear zombie horror.

(Warning: Here be spoilers!)

And there are several horror scenes that have stuck with me in a particular way: the moment after entering the house when we see the dead lady with her face eaten off; the scene after the car accident, when the zombies are all standing around eating parts of the car’s erstwhile occupants as if they’re at a barbecue; and especially the scene when mommy walks into the basement to find daddy’s little girl eating daddy.

But it was that opening attack that had the most profound effect on me. And Hinzman totally sells it: the crazed look in his face; the staggering way he walks and–you zombie purists may notice–runs; the relentlessness with which he tries to break into the car. I have a particular horror of being trapped in a car with someone trying to break in, so this had particular resonance with me. (Or did I develop this fear after watching the film? Hm…) He’s a monster, but he still has remnants of his humanity left, most clearly seen when he uses some leftover reasoning skills to pick up the rock and break the window.

 

 

Hinzman’s zombie is still the quintessential zombie, even after forty-plus years and all the revisionism of the post-28 Days Later world. He may be gone, but he lives on (ironic though that statement may be), and it’s all because of a few minutes in a low-budget scare flick.

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Let’s Start Again: “Night of the Comet” makes a buck

By Steven Moore

This week I watched two post-apocalyptic films, both of which include the cataclysmic event instead of being set long after. This week I’ll discuss Thom Eberhardt’s Night of the Comet as an example of how an apocalyptic film can go horribly wrong, and next week we’ll explore Don McKellar’s Last Night and the psychological impact of an apocalypse. Where one is clear exploitation and financially motivated, the other is an exploration of the human condition. These two films provide the two ends of the spectrum, and I wanted to discuss them one after another for that reason. The post-apocalyptic film can lay humanity bare or exploit the fears of the weak. Night of the Comet prefers the latter.

In Night of the Comet, an approaching comet that seems to have induced a worldwide keg party has passed too close to earth, bathing it in some sort of radiation that turns most people to a pile of reddish dust and a lucky few into zombies. Why zombies? Because there has to be some sort of monster, right? The kids these days like monsters.

Julius Caesar would be proud.

The handful of survivors have been protected by being inside any kind of steel shelter. One young girl runs away from home and spends the night in a steel shed, and emerges unscathed to find everyone gone, though she’s more interested in her music than the death of humanity, because that’s how kids are. The protagonist of the film is Regina, a video game wizard who works in a movie theater and sleeps with various male employees to make a few extra bucks (this is before the apocalypse, mind you). Regina, played by a doe-eyed Catherine Mary Stewart, just happens to spend the night in a steel-reinforced movie theater film room with one of the aforementioned employees, and thus survives.

The problems with this film are so numerous and so deep that it would be impossible to enumerate them in a single blog post. Early on in the film, Regina and her boyfriend are discussing Superman’s inability to see through lead. Regina explains that lead halts radiation, which is how Superman sees through objects. This is a bright moment of the movie that made me think, okay, this could be kind of smart. Two scenes later, the metal that saves people is not the lead that they were clearly discussing previously to set up the miraculous survival of a few, but plain steel. Why? What happened? My best guess is that they were able to get a sponsor from the steel industry, and this movie was just about the money anyway. A shopping spree scene where the two young girls are dancing around through a department store, trying on clothes to bad 80’s music, and giggling as the dust of human beings lies all around them illustrates the priority of product placement over any kind of actual craft.

To be honest, I almost didn’t even bother writing about this movie; however, it illustrates a pitfall of the post-apocalyptic genre. Night of the Comet came out just as the fever regarding Halley’s Comet was starting to ramp up. Even though there was absolutely no evidence of danger, people were scared. I recall anti-comet pills being sold on store shelves and a smattering of bomb shelters being built. While it was nowhere near the nuclear scare of the 1950’s and most people realized it was silly, this film saw an opportunity to capitalize on fear and jumped on it. How many post-apocalyptic films describe an end to the world that seems to spring right from our own irrational fears? There have been countless nuclear-, fossil fuel-, and technology-based apocalypses. Every new story about the end of the world seems to confirm exactly how we think it’s going to end based on current events: bird flu, terrorists, fast food, etc.

The post-apocalyptic genre is about revealing humanity’s dark side, including those fears we try to push aside, to hold back while we go about our daily lives. The end of humanity is inevitable, and we all know it. When or how that will happen is unknown, but the planet Earth has a shelf life. We, as a species, have known this ever since we started watching the stars. It’s embedded in our psyche, even though we don’t want to think about it. Whether it be the eventual death of the sun or some other event, our home is temporary. While some filmmakers decide to tap into the subconscious fear and use it to make a quick couple of dollars, others use it to explore the human condition beyond social constraint. Usually, it’s pretty ugly. In Night of the Comet, the revelation is that there are always people out there that will try to make a buck off other people’s irrational behavior, something shown in every other post-apocalyptic film. When the Apocalypse comes, these are the people you want to look out for.

30 Days of Madness, Day 30: Sugar Hill

Sugar Hill (1974) Written by Tim Kelly. Directed by Paul Maslansky. Starring Marki Bey, Don Pedro Colley.

Marki Bey is Sugar Hill.

Sugar Hill is a decently entertaining blaxploitation zombie flick. Diana Hill’s fiancée is murdered by a business competitor who wants to take over his lucrative Club Haiti. Hill calls on the god Baron Samedi and his army of zombies to help her take revenge on the gangsters. Samedi cries, “Awaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaake!” to his undead minions, former Guinean slaves who rise from their graves to do their master’s bidding. From there it gets all, “Hey Whitie, you and your punk friends killed my man!” Marki Bey is ferociously foxy as Diana “Sugar” Hill, and Don Pedro Colley is delightfully deranged as the Baron Samedi. Here is how the villains bite the dust (spoiler alert, obviously):

Don Pedro Colley is Baron Samedi.

Henchman #1: Death by machetes at the hands of the zombie horde. His body is found first. His head is found later.

Henchman #2: Death by hogs. Thrown into the pen by the zombies, the other white meat eats the other other white meat. Mm-mmm. “I hope they’re into white trash.”

Henchman #3: Death by dagger–by his own hand, but not of his own will. His heart later shows up on his boss’s doorstep.

Henchman #4: Death by razor blade–drawn across the throat of his voodoo doll.

"I said a hip, hop, the hippie to the hippie to the hip hip hop and ya don't stop...."

Henchman #5: Death by snakes. The zombies shut him up in coffin full of snakes. Non-poisonous snakes. Non-poisonous snakes that make rattling sounds without rattles.

Henchman #6: Death by asphyxiation. Choked to death by zombies on a table in a massage parlor.

The boss: Death by… quicksand? Okay….

The boss’s girlfriend: Taken as a prize by Baron Samedi to be his new bride.

My Netflix rating: It’s actually a fairly well-made hour-and-a-half diversion, but 2 stars (out of 5) seems reasonable.

–Tom Kapr

30 Days of Madness, Day 23: Fido

Fido (2006) Written by Robert Chomiak, Andrew Currie & Dennis Heaton. Directed by Andrew Currie. Starring Carrie-Anne Moss, Billy Connolly, Dylan Baker, K’Sun Ray, Henry Czerny, Tim Blake Nelson.

Dad likes a good funeral, as long as there is a separate head coffin.

Fido sort of picks up where Shaun of the Dead left things, with zombies being assimilated back into society as manual laborers–if Shaun of the Dead had ended in 1950s American suburbia. This film mixes two of my favorite things: it’s a zombie flick with a 1950s retro-aesthetic. And I love that the film opens with a schoolroom full of kids being shown a black-and-white educational short film reel about the “zombie war” and its causes and effects. It’s a clever way to bring the audience up to speed and set up the premise–a world where zombies are an part of everyday life.

Timmy’s father wants nothing to do with him and his mother gives him only the pretense of attention–she’s actually more worried about how his being bullied or his response to his father’s neglect affects the neighbors’ perception of her than about his feelings. Timmy also has a lot of questions about zombies that most seem afraid or embarrassed about. So when mom buys their first zombie, Timmy soon goes from seeing it as a thing to liking it as a pet to developing something closer to a human relationship with it. (It soon becomes clear that naming the kid “Timmy” is a Lassie reference.) Even Mom starts taking an interest.

I have to say that Carrie-Anne Moss is positively smoldering in this film.

Carrie-Ann Moss, Dylan Baker, Henry Czerny, and Tim Blake Nelson are all great in their roles as typical 1950s adults dealing with the usual 1950s issues of status, public intimacy, repressed emotions, corporate loyalty, and zombiphobia. And of course, there is Billy Connolly, walking (or maybe shuffling) the fine line between zombie and human.

My only quibbles with Fido are that the climactic scene at Zomcon headquarters needed to be more thought out–perhaps they were cramming to keep it close to a 90-minute running time–and that the child actors tend to be distracting, either not well-cast or not well-directed. Other than that, it’s a great movie and goes immediately into my zombie movie canon.

My Netflix rating: 4 stars (out of 5)

–Tom Kapr

30 Days of Madness, Day 20: Planet of the Vampires

Planet of the Vampires (1965) Directed by Mario Bava.

Planet of the Vampires is my second Mario Bava film this month, and just as Black Sabbath had nothing to do with the Sabbath, or particularly with the color black either, Planet of the Vampires has nothing to do with vampires. (It does, however, take place on a planet, so at least this time half the title is germane to the plot.) It’s closer to the definition of a zombie film, a pre-Romero zombie film (my second this month after White Zombie), in which the zombies are not mindlessly autonomous undead cannibals but undead bodies controlled by an external force. The twist on the zombie formula here is that there is an alien force involved.

Here are some of my notes on Planet of the Vampires:

–Hey, they’re wearing X-Men suits!

–The usual Italian-director habit of hiring non-English-speaking actors to mouth English dialogue then looping English actors’ voices in later, thus causing the dialogue to be mismatched to mouth movements. (This is true even of great films like the spaghetti Westerns of Sergio Leone.)

–The usual 60s-era sci-fi ridiculousness: the meaningless technobabble, the ostentatious brightly-colored props, the goofy sound effects, the women wearing lots of makeup and bouffants that can’t possibly allow them to wear their helmets.

–I’d swear that they’re making up this technobabble as they go.

–The planet’s gravity is irresistibly pulling the ship toward it, and this is causing everyone to be pulled irresistibly toward the floor of the ship?

"I feel like a villain in an opera wearing this ridiculous outfit."

–Typical 1960s-era Star Trek-level acting.

–Holy crap, could this scene be moving an slower?

–They can’t even turn their heads in those uniforms–one of many examples of the usual 60s-era (and especially Italian) habit of style over practicality.

–They don’t have spacesuits–they just put on helmets if they need to leave the ship on some strange planet.

–Again, typical for 60s-era sci-fi, the planet looks like a soundstage and the weapons look like plastic toys.

–Seriously, how did she get that hair in that helmet?

–When they’re not technobabbling, the script is actually pretty good.

–Nope, spoke too soon on the script. They’re looking for their disappeared shipmate, and the captain’s orders are “If anything moves, shoot first, ask questions later”? WTF?

–Well, that’s what happens when you leave a woman on guard duty. First sign of danger, they go to pieces.

–The ladies take off their helmets and their typical 60s hairdos are suddenly back to their perfect, ridiculously huge shapes.

–All this silliness aside, I can definitely see how this film could have influenced later sci-fi like Alien and such.

–Where are they getting these huge metal grave markers from? Do they keep a supply on the ship? If so, why would they do that?

–I have to admit at this point that the plot is intriguing, even if there’s a lot of silliness along the way.

Our zombies come plastic-wrapped for freshness.

–These giant alien corpses don’t match up with the size of their derelict spacecraft in which they were found. There is no way they’d be able to properly fit through the doors or sit at the tables.

–Women get hysterical so easily–why even bother to bring them along on these potentially dangerous expeditions? (All I can say is, thank God for Ellen Ripley or we might still have nothing but useless female characters in fantasy cinema.)

–Nobody trusts these two that were thought to be dead but suddenly showed up–yet nobody is set to guard them? Captain really is failing at this point.

–Why oh why do these monumentally influential sci-fi films of the 50s and 60s have to be so monumentally stupid so much of the time? They are almost always a mixed bag of really cool stuff and really, really stupid stuff. This one is a prime example.

–The End. That was a very frustrating film because of how much potential it had to be great if only it exhibited more intelligent characters, and more intelligence in the script and the way things happen. It really does have an interesting and unique plot, and I’d say it’s worth watching, even a must-see for sci-fi cinema enthusiasts, but gosh, there is just so much ludicrous stuff happening along the way.

My Netflix rating: 3 stars (out of 5) — due to its originality and the way it influenced science fiction cinema, otherwise I’d have given it 2.

–Tom Kapr

30 Days of Madness, Day 18: White Zombie

White Zombie (1932) Written by Garnett Weston. Directed by Victor Halperin. Starring Bela Lugosi.

[Editor's note: Rather than fall behind on the 30 Days of Madness project, and because I am doing something a little more ambitious with this review, I have decided to post this as is, in its unfinished form. Consider it a prototype of a more prolonged recap process.]

My second Bela Lugosi film this month with a color in the title that inspired the name of a heavy metal band. Thirty-six years before Romero’s genre-defining Night of the Living Dead, zombies in the movies were simply dead folks reanimated by sorcery to do the bidding of their master. Allow me to take you on a scene-by-scene tour of White Zombie.

The credits open to what sounds an awful lot like “Hooked on a Feeling” by Blue Suede, if the ooga-chakas were joined by, let’s say, a demo tape of Robert Plant testing intros for “Immigrant Song.” Credits were a lot simpler then, with a “story and dialogue” credit to writer Garnett Weston, and ten guys credited simply and broadly for “art and technical” stuff. Apparently, sound recording company Clarco has provided the movie audience with “An RCA Photophone Noiseless Recording,” which really confuses me, what with the chanting and wailing currently accompanying the credits. Fourteen people are credited as the “players,” which is plenty for a baseball team.

A bunch of people are burying someone in the middle of the road, when our assumed protagonists approach in a carriage, stop, learn from their driver what is happening, then proceed to drive through the funeral and over the grave. Those West Indians and their kooky customs are not nearly enough to slow us down–we’re white and we’re in a hurry, dammit!

–Tom Kapr

30 Days of Madness, Day 8: Zombies of Mass Destruction

Zombies of Mass Destruction (2009) Co-written & directed by Kevin Hamedani.

That tagline says, "A Political Zomedy."

This is the second movie I’ve turned off part-way through. While it is nowhere near as offensive as that other zombie movie I watched that I don’t feel magnanimous enough to give the distinction of calling by its title, I’ve pretty much decided at this point that if a movie makes me feel physically ill during scenes where it’s trying to be funny–like with hilarious stuff like a guy getting his face slowly peeled off or a little girl getting hit and dismembered by a speeding pickup (yes, these are the funny scenes)–I’m just gonna go ahead and hit stop and waste no more of my time on it.

I don’t feel up to going into another diatribe, especially since I said quite a lot in my review for that other zombie movie that shall not be named, so I’ll just share my notes with you. Here they are, word-for-word, as written in my notebook during my viewing:

“Another ridiculous caricature of a Christian preacher and church. Thank you! Nobody notices zombies walking down the sidewalk in broad daylight? Frida’s really attractive. [Editor's note: Boy howdy. I realize I'm breaking into my own writing here just to reaffirm actress Janette Armand's hotness, but... I'm a guy.] Holy Moses, this gay couple is annoying. So far the only characters that seem to be getting a fair shake are the Iranians. [Editor's note: I'm all for a fair depiction of a Middle Eastern Muslim family, but when they're surrounded by a sea of cartoonish white Protestants, it kinda loses its meaning for me, y'know?] Oye, that wallpaper’s tacky. I am sooooo boooored. [Editor's note: Yes, I counted the o's.] Are there any likeable characters in this movie? Gosh, these Middle East puns are hilarious. Graphic violence played for laughs. This is some of the worst dialogue ever. He kills his boyfriend’s mother before he knows she’s a zombie, and they’re both okay with it, and then he makes a joke. Then a little girl gets hit by a car and her arm rips off in Frida’s hand. Hilarity! And… I’m done.”

Making light of the horrific death of a little girl crosses a certain line for me. Funny anecdote: I heard this director on the Flick Fights podcast being very forceful about his obviously superior opinion of what is and is not a bad movie. Titanic? Terrible. Zombies of Mass Destruction? Awesome!

Here is the Netflix synopsis of Zombies of Mass Destruction: “Set in a paranoid post-9/11 America, this nerve-wracking horror movie offers witty social satire as well as an abundance of blood and guts.” Replace “nerve-wracking” with “headache-inducing,” swap out “witty” for “stale and uninspired,” and add “a cartoonish version of” between “Set in” and “a paranoid post-9/11 America,” and you’ve got my synopsis. I don’t know how I can be more clear than that.

By the way, this movie is already being remade–I assume with a bigger budget and a cast of name actors. I can’t wait!… to not see that.

My Nateflix rating: 1 star (out of 5)

–Tom Kapr

30 Days of Madness: Day 2 — Redneck Zombies

By Tom Kapr

 

Redneck Zombies (1987) Written by Fester Smellman from a story by Zoofeet & P. Floyd Piranha. Directed by Pericles Lewnes. (These names alone make me want to hurt someone.) Starring… honestly, a bunch of rednecks.

That’s right, everybody involved in this movie is a redneck. Fat rednecks, skinny rednecks, male rednecks, female rednecks, somewhere-in-between rednecks, hairy rednecks, hairless rednecks, white rednecks, black rednecks, rednecks, rednecks, rednecks. And not the fun, “you-might-be-a-redneck” rednecks. The kind of rednecks that give rednecks in general a bad name. In fact, calling them “rednecks” is an insult to our nation’s rednecks. Let’s use a more appropriate term for them. Let’s call them… I’m just going to go with “morally repugnant individuals” because some of the terms I really want to use are pretty strong and my mother might read this someday.

I have sat through some pretty awful movies. As a film critic, I feel duty-bound to experience the entire production before passing judgment. My personal tastes are pretty broad, so it’s usually not a big deal. I’ll watch almost anything, whether it’s for an article or a video review or whatever. But sometimes it becomes a real chore, and I have soldiered through some stuff that I would have turned off had I not felt professionally bound to sit through.

Wolf Creek is an extremely well-made thriller, and one of the most shameless exploitations of a genuine tragedy ever made. I had to turn it off halfway through because my insides just couldn’t take it. But I came back a half-hour later and finished it. One Million B.C. from 1940 features real lizards as forced-perspective dinosaurs, and these real lizards are really abused during the climax of the film for the sake of entertainment; since it was at the end, I made it through. Crank is traditionally my go-to title for “worst movie I ever saw” based on the fact that it finds some sort of entertainment value in a constant stream of sadistic and misogynistic violence; I almost walked out of the theater, but swallowed my disgust and stuck it out because I was writing a review of it for the county paper. Slasher films in general get their ya-yas out of the systematic brutalization of women, which is why I hardly ever give my time to a slasher flick anymore.

In one of the movie's few classy moments, a woman buys some toxic moonshine from an unwashed cross-dressing hillbilly and proceeds to bottle-feed it to her baby, which she keeps in the washing machine.

I say all this because Redneck Zombies is, I’m almost certain, the first movie I’ve ever refused to finish watching on moral grounds. I won’t go into much detail on the content because I feel like I’ve already given this piece of garbage way more consideration than it warrants. Suffice it to say that, following the triple-punch of 1) real stock footage of chicks (as in baby chickens) being tortured while a blood-soaked woman is being prepared for a butcher’s table; 2) a character undoing his pants because he desires to have sex with a half-eaten woman; and 3) the introduction of a live piglet to the story, the ultimate fate of which I didn’t want to imagine — a very real and visceral weight in my chest told me I didn’t want to see anymore. As my fellow podcaster Steven Moore, who was watching the movie with me, phrased it, I didn’t want to “see what could not be unseen.”

There are poorly made movies. Then there are supremely cheesy movies that are great fun to watch. Then there are just-plain-awful movies you wish you’d never given the time to. And then there is absolutely irredeemable trash that should be obliterated from existence. Redneck Zombies falls into the last category. What started as an extremely stupid and irritating movie that had me laughing at its awfulness while delivering some memorably stupid but hilarious lines of dialogue soon devolved into a revolting pile of sputum not too far off from a snuff film.

My Netflix rating: Unfortunately, you can’t record a rating any lower than one star, so that’s what I gave it, which is one star more than it deserves.

As for the following, it is completely unrelated but, I feel, entirely necessary:

 

Happy puppies! Yay!

 

Go to Day 3 — The Call of Cthulhu

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