Ok I didn't come at this low budget zom-com with high expectations but from the cover I at least expected a daft zany riotous zombie spoof with an abundance of gratuitous and unnecessary gore and blood, albeit to make up for lacklustre narrative and barely adequate acting. You know, looking at the cover, there's crazy demon-esque zombies and the diner's on fire, so something along the lines of Trailer Park of Terror or even Plaga Zombie; nothing that would blow me away but ninety minutes of leave your brain at the door indie fun. Well, I can definitely attest to the latter as director / writer Patrick Horvath's zombie cum serial killer / slasher is certainly light on the story side, and if I'm being kind the three leads just about get away with it, but as for the rest, well, it's another oh-so-familiar case where redesigned cover and choice quotes don't necessarily match what's actually in the box.
KFZ: Kentucky Fried Zombies is neither riotous, zany or funny, and it's neither gratuitous, gory or particularly bloody. If I'm allowed to cut to the chase, it's a slow, rambling, occasionally mildly amusing, dry little amateur art project that never really goes anywhere and even unfortunately manages to bore the viewer on the way. I would normally stop at this point to point out despite the purported $500k budget and mere eight nights of shooting there was obviously a lot of good intention and the directors ambition and vision does manage to bubble to the surface here and there, but really here it's quite the opposite. Whether it's the performances, the script, the story, the action, the make-up or the direction, it feels the benchmark was set to merely adequate early on and there was never a drive in any aspect for anything more. Even for a low budget b-movie everything manages to feel cheap and rushed, scenes that are mostly superfluous and could easily be dropped, linger, sequences are repeated unnecessarily and the story runs out of steam well before it even gets going.
On paper there's not a bad little yarn. Ken (Joshua Grote), a serial killer picks out an off the beaten track diner in the middle of night to have some fun with its staff and passing customers. After dispatching the waitress Rose (Maria Olsen) and cook Fred (Jorge Montalvo) he's forced to impersonate a new member of staff to avoid undue attention from love-troubled couple Kathy and Rob (Liesel Kopp and Parker Quinn) and Duke, the local Sheriff (Larry Purtell). As if pouring coffee and being faced with having to make a house salad wasn't enough, Ken is suddenly, without warning, faced with the additional problem that everyone he's just killed has reanimated and is hungry for flesh.
As said, it's not a bad little set up and an interesting survival dynamic in the making, with really enough for Horvath to sink his proverbial teeth into, except he never really does. The zombies are dealt with, Ken reveals and asserts his position as alpha-one by gun point and over extended over indulgent monologue and lecture, then Kathy and Robb manage to over power him allowing Horvath the opportunity for the first of two quite baffling dream like sequences supposed to in some way take us back to Ken's childhood and why he is the way is. I'll admit my attention was drifting somewhat by this point but if there was some intelligent and important insight that helped make sense of his one dimensional sociopathic character I missed it. Like the story I'm sure some thought had gone into it and the many meandering encounters and drawn out dialogue that made the rest of the film, but it always played out slow, stale and safe, and was never as interesting or dramatic as it really could have been.
The zombies too are merely adequately made up with just enough make-up and blood substitute to differentiate them from everybody else. They're slow, they groan, they bump into things and when they do attack it's always telegraphed and always a bite to the neck with the same token of flesh ripped off. There's also plenty of the low budget, cut to anything else, trick, when the action looks like it might get a little tasty. Also, the zombie origin story is never really explained, as with the rest of the film I don't think Horvath really cared enough to think any of it needed to make sense; after all it's just a zombie film and us zombie fans will simply lap up any old shit, won't we...
KFZ: Kentucky Fried Zombies is a turgid, incoherent amateurish bit of cinema that plods along happily wallowing in its own tedium and averageness, never pushing itself to try just a bit harder. None of the little semi-interesting narrative plots get explored or developed, the easy option is grasped at every opportunity and it all stumbles to an obvious and abrupt conclusion that comes across as if someone on the eighth day looked at their watch and called for the film to be wrapped whatever state the story was in. Best avoided, 2/10.