Hi, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab...
Yes... that’s right... Zombie Jesus. And Tom Savini. It’s that film again.
I saw a screening of the new Savini flick Zombiegeddon here in Pittsburgh, PA over the weekend. I've seen a few reviews on here, so I wasn't planning on writing in. Now having seen the film, however, I'm not sure any of them really captured the flavor of the movie... so, long story short, I'm writing in. Use it if you want, don't if you don't.
Okay, I think the reviews before kind of trashed the makeup. Let me say this: the make-up was okay. Not great, but okay. There were a few really cool looking zombies (Day of the Dead) and there were a bunch of half-assed looking zombies (Children of the Living Dead). The makeup wasn't great, but it wasn't too distracting. There were a few rather tasty scenes for us gorehounds out there, as well. Some were better than others. On the upside, there was a scene were two of the zombies fought over the flesh of Lilith Stabs. (Seeing as how she's incredibly hot, who can blame them, right?) One of the zombies actually bites the other zombie and pulls the flesh from the other zombie's mouth. Okay, sounds like every other zombie movie we've ever seen, right? Okay, but there is a lot of strange shit in this one.
(Spoilers ahead, so tread carefully, dear readers.)
For instance, the main characters are a couple of really bad cops. One of them is a big badass bald guy and the other is his gay partner. It's not really very believable that they do drugs and kill people throughout the movie, but it's fun and some of the scenes are hilarious shit. In the midst of a widespread zombie attack, these guys actually engage in a fistfight with one another, which I found particularly funny. There's also a humorous scene which takes place in a video store. I won't give it away, but it's cute. It kind of seems out of place, but it made me chuckle... These zombies are also a bit different from those of the Romero variety; one of them vomits in the face of a guy and they are also able to take on the appearance of regular human beings. It sounds strange, but it kind of makes sense in a silly way in the context of the film.
Okay, the acting... This is a mixed bag. There are something like twenty horror movie veterans in there, so it's interesting. Edwin Neal who was the hitchhiker from Texas Chainsaw Massacre delivers what is by far and away the best performance of the movie. It's a brief role - he plays God of all things - but he is magnificent, as is his monologue, which kind of explains why the zombies are here. Troma guru Lloyd Kaufman is also terrific. His scenes were very, very funny. In fact, I would have liked to have seen an entire movie focusing on his silly character. (He's a homophobic janitor.) Kaufman also calls the college where he works "Tromaville Community College," which I thought was kind of clever. I was hoping for a few more Troma references but, alas, there were none.
Okay, considering all of the hype the Savini as Jesus stuff has gotten, I've got to point out that he's not in the movie long at all although the film does begin with him humping Brinke Stevens. Although Savini's scenes were far too short, I have to say that this is by far his best acting work since From Dusk Till Dawn! Stevens was also pretty good. The toughguy bald cop who I've never seen before was a pretty tough hombre. He played this role to the tee and I almost wondered if he's like that in real life. Robert Z'Dar of Tango and Cash and Maniac Cop was also quite good. My only complain there is that he's not in the film nearly enough. He is very, very good as an undercover detective although is partner is kind of annoying.
Okay now the downside: Joe Estevez and William Smith... There's no really good way of saying this, but they kind of suck. Considering that William Smith has played a ton of bad mofos through the years in flicks of yesteryear like THE HAMMER, BOSS NIGGER, and EVERY WHICH WAY BUT LOOSE (I think it was that one, although I get that and ANY WHICH WAY BUT LOOSE confused), it's kind of sad to see him relegated to playing a zombie/devil character with horns and such. In these scenes these guys are just way over the top. Also bad is Conrad Brooks, but of course we expect this (and want it, don't we - why else would we pay to see him in anything?). Lilith Stabs is also pretty annoying in the movie as she pouts throughout her scenes and her voice is grating. (Imagine a cross between a weather alert siren, that annoying alarm clock that sends you scurrying to turn it off each morning, and a slightly-more irritating Joan Cusack and you've got her voice although she is very nice to look at.)
There were some cool voice cameos by guys like Jeff Burr who directed Leatherface and porno king Ron Jeremy, but it was kind of hard to distinguish which ones they were. (They were callers on a radio show.) Considering that the film was still in rough form and the sound wasn't yet mixed to perfection, I suppose this accounts for some of it. The director and some of the cast and crew members were onhand to sign autographs. The director explained that the film was still a little rough around the edges. He also said he feared that people were going in to see the movie with the wrong expectations. "Those high-budget horror movies they make now?" he said. "Well, this isn't one of them!" He said the whole film cost less than $20,000 to produce. Considering this, I think it was pretty good. I would rate it a B-. Considering that the film stars people like Conrad Brooks, Joe Estevez, and schlock director J.R. Bookwalter (Witchouse series), it's no surprise that it looks a little cheap. Nevertheless, it definitely holds up amonst that milieu. The film is infinitely better than the four or five Bookwalter films I've seen (those Witchouse things are the most boring films, sheesh!) and far better than anything I've seen featuring either Joe "I wish I was Martin Sheen" Estevez and/or Conrad "Plan 9" Brooks. All in all, it was fun and campy if not Oscar material.
By the way, thank you for the continued Kill Bill coverage. Keep it up, Harry. I can't wait till October 10 and I'm counting down the days until I get to see Uma kick some royal butt!
If you need to call me something call me Duke Gacy.
Thanks, man. Nice review.