Die You Zombie Bastards!Reviewed By David Cornelius
Posted 12/28/07 04:17:43
I grew tired of "Die You Zombie Bastards!" by the fifth minute. By the tenth, I completely hated the thing. And then I had ninety more to go.At least the title's fun. "Zombie Bastards" is inspired by a couple decades' worth of Troma movies, most notably the underground studio's run during the 1980s of cheapjack splatter comedies that earned them their reputation. Which makes sense: writer/director Caleb Emerson, co-writer Haig Demarjian, and a handful of cast and crew were all cast members on Troma's "Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV," and Troma honcho Lloyd Kaufman drops by for a voice-over cameo. The only thing keeping this from actually being a Troma movie is the little fact that Image, not Troma, is releasing the thing.
But here's the problem: only a very tiny selection of Troma movies (and their imitators) are actually any good. The rest are slapdash comedy wannabes, with buckets of gore and a parade of naked breasts filling the screen while some schmuck cracks too many unfunny jokes. The kind of goofball kitsch Troma's best works achieve is a delicate balance of potty humor, insane horror-comedy, and winking good nature that's often too hard to reach, leaving the rest ranging from honorable failures to unwatchable messes.
"Zombie Bastards" ranks among the latter. Emerson and his merry gang try hard to achieve everything, throwing every conceivable gross-out comic idea at the screen, figuring something's gotta stick. It turns out the screen is pure Teflon, as lowbrow joke after mistimed gag after horridly unfunny hamminess flops to the ground, no matter how much energy the filmmakers inject. The film is little more than a string of comedy ideas that fail to work on their own; pasted together haphazardly as it is, they fail even more, as they create a painful mishmash that seems to stretch on forever.
The film is billed as "the world's first ever serial killer superhero rock n' roll zombie road movie romance," which is a good place to start, plot-wise. Red Toole (Tim Gerstmar) is a redneck serial killer madly in love with cannibal girlfriend Violet (Pippi Zornoza). Alas, Violet is kidnapped by guy-in-a-cheap-Halloween-mask Baron Nefarious (Geoff Mosher), who wants to turn everyone into zombies (or, it seems, people painted green), and, um, he's horny or something. And so Red dons a supersuit - including cape made of human flesh - and travels the globe in search of his beloved.
Along the way, he meets a Rastafarian in a bathtub, a buxom Sweedish bartender, and porn icon Jamie Gillis, seen here in lederhosen. There's also a scene that plays out as a classic Santo adventure (guest starring "Kid Fantastico"), a story about a cheese demon (a cheese demon that attacks nipples, no less), an unintelligible intro from rockabilly lunatic Hasil Adkins, and, of course, several scenes in which three babes run around topless.
Some of you may be thinking, "Ho ho! Cheese demons and nipples, eh? Must be hilarious!" I remind you now that it is so very not hilarious. The whole thing reeks of one writer coming up with a wacky idea ("Ooh! We should do a scene where naked zombie chicks hit Nefarious' oversized penis with mallets! That'd be, like, awesome funny!"), and then nobody really bothers to do anything else about it, yet they still find a way to drag the scene out beyond reason. They top it all off with this dreadful sense of intentional camp, which in the wrong hands can be unbearably dull, and here, it's in the wrong hands.
The cast consists of non-actors (read: women willing to get naked on camera who can also memorize sentences and repeat them mostly in order) and straining cut-ups (read: guys who find it uproarious to overplay every line). Putting the two together results in plenty of pain, as neither type is capable of delivering the slightest bit of actual comedy.
There is, of course, an audience for "Zombie Bastards." You know who you are - after all, you've read the whole review under a bluster of "aw, man, he just doesn't get it." And maybe I don't. After all, Troma-esque flicks like this aren't supposed to be good. They're supposed to be crazy, wild, all over the damn place, overfilled with intentionally bad jokes and obviously fake violence and enough T and/or A to make the whole stupid thing worth it. But even on that level, on that lowered-expectations rung on the dumbass splat-com ladder, "Zombie Bastards" fails in a very big way, because it commits the biggest sin a movie like this can: it's boring. It's a bunch of guys who think they're funny struggling to be so, and for much longer than they should. At best, the zombie bastards won't be dying. They'll merely roll their eyes, check their watches, and yawn.Reprinted with kind permission from DVD Talk.
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