With the recent UK releases of the high-budget 28 Weeks Later, the low-budget (but equally as effective) The Zombie Diaries, and the forthcoming return of George A. Romero’s Diary of the Dead, it seems that our good old flesh-hungry undead friends are back in fashion, so what better time for the return of zombies to Zombie Club. Zombies, man, we’ve missed you.
Tonight’s double-bill is a double-dose of zombie comedy (did someone say zombedy?), two of our favourite ingredients for a successful Zombie Club evening. The Argentinean film Plaga Zombie: Mutant Zone is the souped-up sequel to the 1997 original Plaga Zombie and promised much in the way of blood, fun and gore. Die You Zombie Bastards! was recommended to us by long-time reader Lupogirl and made it in on the strength of its title alone.
So, grab your popcorn brains and glasses of blood-red wine, and join us as we yet again brave the delights of bargain basement zombie comedy cinema. It’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it!
Tonight’s Zombie Club was brought to you by Rawshark in association with John West’s leotards and Dr Nefarious’ Enormo-Zombietron.
Plaga Zombie: Mutant Zone (2001)
Plot Max Giggs (a geeky mathematician), Bill Johnson (a failed medical student) and John West (a discredited ex-wrestling champion) find themselves quarantined in a small Argentinean suburb with a whole host of the living dead.
Rawshark Starting the film with what Jim called a ”decomposition montage”, Plaga Zombie: Mutant Zone throws the viewer straight into the action as our three nerdy anti-heroes find themselves dumped in the Mutant Zone and immediately into a battle with a whole horde of old-fashioned slow-moving ghouls. Cue some great Kung-Fu gore, fighting with severed arms, much laughter and zombie gut ejaculations. Oh yes – this film was most definitely right up our street!
Like an Argentinean Versus meets Bad Taste, Plaga Zombie has great characters to root for (Bill Johnson is the cool hero, Maz is the nerdy one, and John West is the fat guy comic relief) and lashings of over-the-top gore to please any fan of splatter and satire. There is a plot in there somewhere which concerns our trio’s attempts to get hold of an FBI computer disc which contains a map, and therefore an escape route out of the city, but really it’s the comedy, the fight scenes, the gore moments and the knowing winks to other zombie movies that you need to concern yourself with.
Chief of these moments is the John West theme song sung by John himself – ”John West, John West. He’s The Best. His arms are like steel, his legs are like titanium”, although Zomblee did quite rightly point out that ”in Portuguese, West doesn’t really rhyme with best, so it doesn’t really work”. Throw in a multitude of montages (”A Zombie Montage at Zombie Club!” - Jim), the appearance of The Gonk music, a ”Tom Savini Zombie!” (Zomblee) and you have a pretty damn good movie for lovers off all things ‘zombie’. Ok, so the film does lose a little of it’s pace towards the end, but for sure these innovative filmmakers know how to film a good fight scene, chuck in loads of great gore and, most importantly, make us laugh. And that’s more than good enough as far as we’re concerned.
“On the count of three, let’s get out of here”.
Jim Yeah, my sentiments exactly. Plaga Zombie had sat on my shelf for a couple of years gathering dust (there's a backlog of Zombie Club movies to get through, see) but when Rawshark mentioned he had Die You Zombie Bastards!, it sounded like a great accompanying piece. And it was, like Rawshark said we really dig splatter horror comedy flicks here at Zombie Club, and this is one of the better ones.
Starting with a boss man style mission briefing (just like Bad Taste) and then diving straight into the zombie bashing action (just like Bad Taste) the film has no pretentions about it's roots. But filmmaking is as kinetic as this (some of the camera work from Evil Dead II leaps to mind) it's hard to have time enough to think, and it soon becomes a pure thrill ride. As soon as the body bags are dumped off which the heroes jump out of (except one, which they amusingly just carry round for ages) we go in to a long fight sequence ("I love it when foreign language films don't have any dialogue for ages!" - Rawshark) with brightly coloured wild zombies everywhere, and before we're 10 minutes in we get a few cheeky decapitations, one zombie ripped in half and one zombie gets his arm ripped off only for crazy Max to use it on him as a nunchuka. Brilliant, eh? I'm actually jealous I didn't think of that.
Anyway, there's only so many ways to say this is one low budget comedy zombie fight seen after another so I shan't bang on too much about it, suffice is to say that Rawshark's earlier appraisal of this flick as being a cross between Versus and Bad Taste is spot on. The pace if frantic and the fighting is well choreographed (and, perhaps more importantly, well edited) and loads of fun is had by all. And when the action does slow down there's enough inventive comedy to keep you interested. Keep your eyes open for the computer disc shenanigans - which are great - and the other guy called Max who for some reason we all wanted to die ("Kill him Max, just fucking kill him!" - Zomblee), and he does ("He's kinda gone to town on him..." - Zomblee) at the hands of the first Max. Weird.
So what if our hero's name is unfortunate ("Doesn't John West do tuna in this country?" - Rawshark), it's great seeing a fat man in a leotard kill zombies. Now I might have to go back and watch the prequel to this, which comes on disc 2 with the DVD.
"Who died and made you King of the Zombies?"
Zomblee Not long into the running time of this little ditty, we are witness to a zombie who sprays shit with his intestines. Welcome to Plaga Zombie: Zona Mutante. This is low budget insanity of the highest order - a case of 'we've got no money so lets get creative' in the tradition of so many of the best horror movies which signal the arrival of new, raw, and lean talent like Raimi, Jackson, etc. If low budget fare puts you off in any way, then there is clearly something wrong with you, but watch this anyway if only to learn just how many ways you can kill a zombie. Believe me, some of the disposal methods displayed here will never had occurred to you.
That's because our 3 heroes are imaginative, resourceful young men: Max (nerd), Bill (medical student) and, saving the best till last, John West - not the tuna man but a pro wrestler. These three are basically left to fight a shitload of zombies in a small town when the government has refused to intervene. When you've got this much blood and guts flying all over the screen, who gives a shit about the plot, to be honest. Yep, this is one of those zombie movies that grabs you by your gore-lovin' balls and doesn't let go until the end. Watching this was even one of those occasions where Jim said, "I've noticed how we've all gone really quiet because it's really good." I'm not sure I remember that moment, Jim, but I do know that occasionally we stop talking, so it's probably true. My only complaint is some of the shitty incidental music done with cheap keyboards, and that's saying something, coming from a John Carpenter freak.
I guess it's a shame that we hadn't seen the first instalment, but I'd struggle to be convinced that it really matters - it's not like it's The Godfather II. It's what it is - a highly enjoyable, bloody slice of frantic zomedy pie, and I'm having me a piece.
"Zombies! I hate them!"
Director Pablo Pares and Hernan Saez
Cast Berta Muñiz
Runtime 100 mins
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Die You Zombie Bastards! (2005)
Plot The World's First EVER Serial Killer Superhero Rock'n'Roll Zombie Road Movie Romance.
Zomblee Introduced, for some reason, by the the recently deceased Hasil Adkins (originator of psychobilly music), the beautifully monikered Die You Zombie Bastards starts out weird, then gets weirder than Mr Weird eating a McWeird burger on weird night. Nothing could really prepare you for this movie, but read on anyway and hopefully we can give you some kind of primer for this most insane of viewing experiences.
Meet Red Toole. Red loves to kill hippies. He also loves his wife, Violet, so when she gets kidnapped by the highly nefarious Dr Nefarious (who looks a bit like Norwegian industrial metal oddball Mortiis), Red goes a-searching, and what an adventure it is too. Our murderous hero gets to meet loads of hot chicks in tight shorts ("They like to kneel down a lot. Which is good." - Jim), Orla the Cheese Demon, a fishman with a huge green cock ("They're gonna hammer his penis. His giant alien penis!" - Jim), and topless zombie babes. Talk about a guilty pleasure. Only occasional moments sag - for the most part, this insane ride into wierdsville never really lets up, pummelling you with atrocious, ridiculous gibberish at every turn.
This is dirt cheap, and the acting is ludicrous; even though lead actor Tim Gerstmar falls into this category, his furiously OTT delivery (and magnificent range of capes) started to hurt my tummy from uncontrollable laughter - "Is he awful?" (Rawshark) - "He's great at being awful" (Jim). And that pretty much nails it - DYZB is great. At being awful. You'll either love it or hate it.
"My blasphemous tube of pork will dance upon your tonsils!"
Jim I'm glad Zomblee mentioned the thing about being awful, because nearly all of the acting in this film is awful. Yes awful, but brilliant. It's an awfully brilliant thing. Or is it brilliantly awful. Or am I just padding because I don't remember much about the second film of the night, again. Could be, could just be.
Anyway, Die You Zombie Bastard! is one of those super shit riots that you stumble upon every now and again and, despite knowing full well that cinematically speaking it is of no merit at all, you can't help chuckle all the way though. The opening, when they cut to the nubile research assistants on the beach who pronounce that "It's too hot for research!" then take their tops off ("I'm so glad it's too hot for research..." - Zomblee) sets you up pretty well. But the guy in the fishman outfit with the huge rubber penis attached to the front being chased through the woods so it bounces from side to side still sleighs me every time I think about it. It's like an early John Waters movie but with Troma special effects, sensibilities and budget, and it just goes downhill all the way, or uphill depending on your point of view.
"This must be the serial killer and his cannibal girlfriend." pointed out Rawshark at their first scene, demonstrating good ‘back of box reading’ skills. Then there's a cannibal picnic, the green topless zombie chicks turn up, and it's kidnap city for the girlfriend Violet. So, like any other decent hero Red dons his costume and heads off to save her. You know how Leatherface makes face masks out of his victims? Well, Red's whole outfit is made that way, including his hero pants made of skin with some guy's penis still attached. Sick, but very funny.
There are a few cool montages (including a 'half coconut Jamaican montage' according to my notes), lots of gratuitous nudity and lots of laughs here. For once I actually wish I could remember more - like why we had a big conversation about Cumberland sausages, and why does Zomblee hate them so much. Ah, never mind, suffice is to say that Die You Zombie Bastards! is great and I've just ordered my copy.
"It's too hot for research!"
Rawshark With a title like Die You Zombie Bastards!, this movie has ‘CULT’ written all over it, and enough rudeness and naughtiness for some of those words to have the letter ‘L’ replaced with the letter ‘N’. It also has some of the most hilarious scenes you’ve ever seen in a low-budget movie, and a whole script packed with quotable lines of dialogue (”Jesus Christ, she’s nubile”, ”If you will not know me in the carnal way – be gone”, ”Back off – that forward-ramming male torpedo is mine”) and great character names (Coconut Head Face Man and Kid Fantastico being just two examples).
Perhaps coming across more like a TV sketch show than a proper film, DYZB! uses it’s low-budget-ness to its advantage, madly spiralling off in every which way you care to choose, constantly surprising with it’s surreal diversions. There are lashings of female nudity and lovelies in undies (who says green female zombies aren’t sexy?), lots of oversized male prosthetics and tasteless gore (the cannibal picnic being a memorable highlight), bad acting, cheap special FX, but most of all, lots and lots of laughs.
It’s been a while since all three of us were simultaneously doubled up in laughter whilst watching a Zombie Club film, but this movie managed to do that a lot. Whether it was Super Inga gorging on Cumberlands, Red’s superhero get up (”He’s going to put the outfit on – including the genitalia” - Jim), the dick-key and pussy-lock (needs to be seen to be believed), inflated breasts (”She’s got one massive boob!” - Jim) or the half-man half-fish amphibious guy, DYZB! is an absolute must for all fans of bad taste comedy, and it pisses all over anything Troma could possible dream up. Highly recommended.
“Cranberry… Feta… Feta… Feta…”
Director Caleb Emerson
Cast Tim Gerstmar
Jennifer K. Beal
Runtime 97 mins
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So there you have it, another Zombie Club that proves that even though we take many wanderings amidst Italian and Amercian 70s and 80s productions jere at Zombie Club, we’ll always return to the living dead. You can never bring a good undead dude down, and thanks to dead-icated (sorry) fans like us, the zombie movie is a genre that will never die.
Plaga Zombie rocked in a fantastically funny and cool visual way and we all really enjoyed the fight and montage sequences, and Die You Zombie Bastards! was the perfect Troma-like follow-up, especially with half of the alcohol consumed by that time.
Zombies man, you just gotta love them!
Coming Soon: Zomblee brings us a double helping of D’Amato sauce in the form of Erotic Nights of the Living Dead and Death Smiled At Murder.
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