Bad Movie Night continues with three more low budget gore fests in Aaah! Zombies!!!, George Romero’s Survival of the Dead and recently closed Low Budget Pictures’ Teenape Goes to Camp. Now the first two can be found on Netflix, but Teenape Goes to Camp is no longer available through their streaming media option.
Released in October of 2010 under the name Wasting Away, Aaah! Zombies!!! is unique in that it focuses on a plot from the perspective of the walking dead themselves. While working “league night” at the local bowling alley, four friends mix beer and ice cream not knowing that a secret military toxin had leaked inside, unknowingly turning them in to zombies. Whenever the four approach other humans, they usually tend to freak out and run away unless they’re drunk. They also don’t understand why they like to kill animals, can take a shotgun blast to the chest or like the taste of brains so much they mix them in to margaritas or prepare them as a taco. While the four talk amongst themselves, the movie is in full color, but once it switches to a human’s perspective the color shifts to the classic Night of the Living Dead black and white. I thought this added a nice touch to the cinematography but the film fell short of being anything but a good premise written down on paper. The jokes often missed the mark and even for being advertised as a horror-comedy film, it just felt like they were trying way too hard to be funny. It’s like watching a halfway decent stand-up comedian tell zombie jokes for 90 minutes. If you’re looking for something different in a zombie film, give Aaah! Zombies!!! a fair shot, but I wasn’t impressed at all.
The Verdict – D-
Survival of the Dead is George Romero’s 2009 pseudo-sequel to Diary of the Dead, following a group of AWOL military soldiers as they hijack a boat and head for the only “safe” place in America – a tiny island off the coast of Delaware inhabited by zombie sympathizers. There is a bit of a back story to this island where one group of people wanted to brain the zombies before they can harm anyone, and the other group wanted to chain them up, teach them to eat something other than human flesh and wait for a possible cure. Eventually the zombie killers are exiled off the island and the captain hitches a ride with the AWOL soldiers to reach the island again and find his daughter.. who decided to stay when her father was exiled. Honestly, this is a Romero zombie film. I shouldn’t have had to write this much about any sort of plot, especially when it focuses on a group of people that you can’t wait to see get eaten alive by hordes of the undead.
Romero’s Dead films typically focus on a group of people surviving the night under dire circumstances, but when the gore is so pathetically CG that it looks straight out of a made for TV SyFy film and the party in question is a group of selfish, money hungry, well armed military soldiers, I couldn’t help but wait it out and hope that something would eventually swoop in and save this film. That didn’t happen. The worst part of the entire situation is that Romero has confirmed that he would like to make two more Survival of the Dead films. Seeing as how this one had an open ending with a few of the survivors sailing off with over a million in cash, there is definitely room for additional films, but I’ll be in no rush to see them. The name Romero speaks greatness in the zombie sub-genre of horror films, and I still hold him in high regard, but Survival of the Dead is nothing short of a terrible film that should be buried and burned.
The Verdict – E
For 20 years Chris Seaver and his misfit entourage of actors developed a cult following with their Troma-esque (Sorry for the comparison, Chris) Low Budget Pictures label. For a brief period of time, Netflix streamed 10-12 of their films like Mulva: Zombie Ass Kicker, Mulva 2: Kill Teenape & the Twilight spoof, Taintlight. Sadly, after gifting their fans with a crew of memorable anti-heroes, Low Budget Pictures closed their doors early in 2011. Teenape is the most iconic of the LBP reoccurring characters and watching Teenape Goes to Camp is a marriage between Ernest Goes to Camp and Salute Your Shorts on bath salts. This film is chock full of great characters, hilariously obscure pop culture references, a native American obsessed with Dio and nudity of the fake penis variety. What starts with Teenape being invited to Camp Anawana as a counselor eventually turns in to a game of cat and mouse when all of his fellow campers break the bad news that they’re all there to kill him for a cash prize. It’s 60 minutes of toilet humor, sexual innuendos, one liners, gore and ska-filled montages while Casey Bowker wears an ape mask and talks about pussy. It’s not for everyone, but if you’re a fan of gore, pop culture and laughing at things you probably shouldn’t, Teenape Goes to Camp is my all-time favorite Low Budget Pictures film (next to I Spit Chew on Your Grave & Ski Wolf) and I couldn’t recommend it enough.
The Verdict – A+
That’s all for this week! I’m trying to keep this section of the blog up and running every Saturday and next week is Triple Troma Week with Tromeo & Juliet, Class of Nuke Em High and Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead! Toss your recommendations my way (especially if the film is on Netflix) and I’ll prioritize them to the top of my queue.