Thursday, 27 June 2013

Chopper Chicks in Zombietown - review

1989 (USA)

Contains spoilers.

I'll admit I approached this film the same way a desperate survivor would approach a desolate gas station on the edge of a ruined city. Expectant there would be something useful inside, even hopeful I could find real value but at the same utterly terrified and the real sense I should probably just leave it alone and move on.

The opening 'Life's a bitch and then you die, maybe' with maniacal laugh then lively punk soundtrack and eighties tv film feel didn't do much to alleviate these feelings.

Anyway, meet the cycle sluts; an all girl biker gang full of big hair, denim and bitchy attitude who have stopped for some 'meat' at the small desert town of Zariah.

Cut to a young boy looking for his dad in an old mine shaft on the edge of town. Finding a closed unbolted modern door set inside he decides to investigate getting only to get himself killed and free the zombies within! Cue some of the cheesiest music I've heard to date with more maniacal laughing and poor-mans Zappa-esque lyrics about marching into town to have some fun, with I kid you not, a swallow whistle interspersed. This is B movie territory with a capital Buh. I just hope every time the zombies are in shot we're not going to have the same song/jingle... Oh we are.

So the zombies begin their incredibly slow shuffle to town (hi ho away we go), the girls take advantage of the weak will of many of the towns men until a confrontation with the elders ultimately sees them run out to the edge of town. Anyway we're now about 45 minutes in and the zombies have finally made it the 5 miles to back to Zariah and begin causing mischief. The girls deciding they're not done with the town, head back in to look for the gang members that didn't make it out and begin to realise something is seriously wrong (though they don't question it). On the way they team up with a bus full of blind orphans, rescue a baby, fight a horde of undead, and find out from the evil professor/town under-taker's dwarf side kick that the cause of all the trouble is the evil-professor who was reanimating the towns dead to mine radioactive waste left by the military. Got all that? That's the plot.

I've mentioned before that some films are so bad, so utterly terrible they actually have a kind of charm and reading many reviews I can see that this film to many has achieved this cult status. If I'm brutally honest though I just can't see it; in my mind it's just a terrible slow rambling incoherent mish-mash of ideas obviously put together on a shoe string. It has neither the style, originality or humour of The Return of the Living Dead which came a few years before nor the bad taste and over the top effects of Dead Alive (Braindead) which came just after.

The zombies are just regular extras staggering with their arms out-stretched groaning and flouncing about woodenly. The characters are all single-dimension and the acting extra hammy throughout. Even Billy Bob Thornton in one of his early roles does nothing to save the whole shebang. And also while I will admit to the odd smile, and recognition that some thought and originality had gone into certain scenes they're all too few and far between and it takes way, way too long to get going.

I really want to say this is the worst Zombie film I've seen but I fear that title will reside with Osombie, for the foreseeable future, and maybe if I'd have been drinking (heavily) I'd have found more of the humour that I'm sure was supposed to be there, and others saw. It really set out to be a stupid bad b-movie but it ended up placing a bit too much emphasis on the bad. By the end I'd had enough despite the last 20 minutes being the best part with ludicrous action, effects, and zombies galore.

I should add my feelings weren't helped that this DVD had a bad transfer with warbling the sound and occasional interference that made me think I was actually watching on VHS at times.

I won't totally slate this. If you get a few mates round, a lot of beer and deliberately want a really bad film night you could probably have great time with it, but other than like this I can't really recommend it with any kind of clear conscience, 3/10.


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