Astro-ZombiesReviewed By David Cornelius
Posted 05/27/07 19:11:34
Ugh, spelled with a capital crap.Everything about “The Astro-Zombies” sounds like it’d be brilliant Bad Movie fun. Mad scientists, brains in Tupperware bowls, secret agents with enormous breasts, a plot that defies the tiniest bit of logic, a doddering John Carradine. Even the title’s goofy enough to earn a smile. So why is this film so completely un-fun?
Yes, this one’s a thoroughly unpleasant chore to watch, but what else did I expect from schlockmeister Ted V. Mikels, he of “The Corpse Grinders,” “Blood Orgy of the She Devils,” and “10 Violent Women,” just to name a few unwatchables? “The Astro-Zombies” is perhaps his most famous stinker, but that’s mostly on reputation; most who have actually bothered to watch it agree that it’s best left unseen. (I marvel at those who have seen it and claim to enjoy its badness. I couldn’t even make it that far, and I own “Firewalker” on DVD.)
The story itself lends itself to Bad Movie legend, but figuring out said plotline is an entirely different kind of flying altogether. Here’s what I could piece together: Dr. DeMarco (John Carradine, for whom no paycheck was too small) was hired by the government to study mind control via radio waves, only he’s taken his work and become a rogue scientist, using spare body parts that were Frankensteined together in order to create - you guessed it - Astro-Zombies! Seems the guy built one, but it’s broken free and is on a rampage of, as the banner headlines call it, “mutilation murders.” As opposed to, I dunno, “mutilation Wiffleball.”
The CIA, an agency which consists entirely of five guys in a room, is busy looking for both DeMarco and the Astro-Zombie, who looks like a Mexican wrestler wearing a Century 21 blazer. From what I could tell, the CIA men are only half-assing it, spending more time hitting on sexy lab assistants and such. This allows for busty Tura Satana (she of “Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!” infamy) to make her move; she’s playing some kind of secret agent/criminal kingpin/whatever who’s looking to steal the Astro-Zombie and use it for her own diabolical means, which I think involved an army of supermen, but I wasn’t really listening because her breasts were blocking out all the verbs.
Meanwhile still, DeMarco and his mute assistant (William Bagdad, managing to win the movie’s prize for weirdest performance) are tinkering away on a second Astro-Zombie, which is better than the first because this time, they’re not using the brain of a psychopathic killer. You’d think they would have figured that one out on the first try, but what’re ya gonna do. They also, for reasons known only to the editor who left the exposition on the cutting room floor, have a leggy bikini-clad girl tied down on a nearby table as part of a second experiment for which they never have any time. I think she’s there for leering purposes.
That’s just my guess, however, for after all that movie watching, I’m still not sure what happened in this film 95 percent of the time. I do know there’s a scene in which the Astro-Zombie loses his battery pack and must shine a flashlight into his head lest his solar-powered brain shut down, and hot damn, if that ain’t a sight.
It’s the only sign of silliness in an otherwise gawdawful mess. Between the horrid acting, the painful-on-the-eyes production values, and the wretched absence of any known reason regarding anything (cripes, the credit sequence consists of shots of toy robots and tanks!), I’m surprised the story had any time to suck as much as it did. But it did, and what sounds hilarious in theory is in reality a dismal wreck. Hardcore Bad Movie freaks might find some laugh potential here, but you’ll probably have to be royally loaded first.By the way, this thing was co-written and produced by Wayne “Trapper John” Rogers. I have no joke for this fact, and so I end my review merely by weeping silently in the dark.
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