Zombos Says: Good (but not my cup of tea)
From the case files of the League of Reluctant Reviewers comes this trashy horror, based on the Imperium Comics series, that will make you think twice before eating beef jerky ever again.
I remember it all
It came uninvited
in a small brown envelope mixed in with the mail, on a day when the leaves
tousled angrily on the limbs of dying trees, fighting against their inevitable
descent to lesser heights of vibrancy. An oily, pipe smoke fog, so thick it
choked the throat and chilled the soul, gamboled in the deserted streets, stirred
by winds playfully knocking off the hats of the few brave passersby hurrying
along the quiet streets.
Darkness had come
early this unusual day in October. I twirled my scarf tighter to ward off the
dampness. Or was it something else that made me shake uncontrollably as I
tapped the brass flamingo knocker against the massive oak door of 999 Transient
Bolton. Good to see you again," said Chalmers.
He took my
raincoat and scarf as we walked toward the Champagne Room, so named because of
the pale yellow light that reflected in sparkling shimmers from its large
Waterford crystal chandelier. Chalmers reached for the small brown envelope. I
instinctively held it tighter, though I was not sure why. He smiled and went to
hang up my coat.
I entered the
usual," said the unseen man sitting in the Chippendale wing chair facing
the fireplace. A lively fire blazed on the grate.
"Let me see
it," he said in a soothing voice.
I relaxed my grip
on the envelope and dropped it into the starkly white hand that appeared from
the left side of the chair. The envelope disappeared from sight for a few
seconds. A light chuckle came from the unseen occupant of the chair. "You
do bring the most challenging movies."
"Your drink is ready."
you," I said and followed Chalmers to another, smaller room, where a
polished Stiegel glass, filled with lightly chilled sherry, waited for me. The
cheery, paisley-tailed peacocks embroidered into the linen upholstery of the
settee I nestled into were very soothing, and the plump cushioned seat, along
with the sherry, had my cheeks on both ends glowing with warmth.
I drifted into
reverie while the League of Reluctant Reviewers did what few could do or care
to; there but for the grace of god and all that as John Bradford would say.
Within a short time they would have the review done to a crisp.
Done to a crisp. The very thought made me
jars against dark humor in this otherwise well done, to a turn, trashy-bin of
1950s comic-book-zombie spook terror with nods to Two
Thousand Maniacs! and John
Waters' pink flamingoed, filthiest person alive. Director Steven Goldmann and
writer Timothy Dolan squander their over-the-top playfulness by turning
sadistically nasty in overly long views of depraved victimization. I guarantee
you’ll break into a cold sweat whenever you see or hear the words "beef
jerky" after watching this movie.
(Nichole Hiltz) yearns for life away from the grungy trailer park she’s trapped
in, she’s spiritually crushed when her new boyfriend is impaled on a fence by
her redneck neighbors. She gets even after meeting Old Scratch (Trace Adkins)
who gives her a shotgun to blast away her troubles. Where the Devil goes,
damnation follows, and both she and Tophet Meadows, the trailer park she can
never leave now, wait through the years for stereotypical victims, sent down
stormy bad roads by grizzled, rustic strangers you would have to be a fool to
A van full of
dead-teens-walking is provided courtesy of Vertical Ministries youth rescue
service. After stopping at the local yokel diner and following the advice of de facto grizzled, rustic stranger
(Tracey Walter, no less), Pastor Lewis (Matthew Del Negro) and his misfit flock
collide with a derelict truck in front of Tophet Meadows. Being a certified,
script-necessary dead zone for cell phones, they can’t call for help, so they
head toward the cheerily-lit mobile homes in the trailer park.
Cursed Norma puts
on her happy face—she really does need to—and greets them with hard liquor and a
hard luck story of how her mother died in front of her.
After sending the
kids off to bed and doom, she gives a rousing private sermon for Pastor Lewis.
A flashback about her mother puts the brakes on the wicked-fun energy of the
story, which comes to a full stop by the time our wanderlust teens are
deep-fried, dismembered, and deboned.
Unlike Two Thousand Maniacs!'s absurd, quickly executed viciousness by
somewhat reluctant townsfolk, each scene of depraved cruelty here is overlong
and disturbingly, gorily, serious in its attention to misery, easily outdoing
scenes fit for an extended version of Hostel, not a satirical take on retro drive-in splatter.
Norma is joined in
the mayhem by the same yahoos she shotgunned years before—misery fosters
miserable company in horror movies I guess.
They’ve not aged
as well as she has: layers of ghoulish EC comics-styled decay makeup indicate
their dispositions; one even uses duct tape to hold himself together after
being blown up, but this kidding is kicked aside by unpleasant torture horror,
ill-timed and unnecessary exposition,
and a long song sung by a guitar-strumming, pot-smoking cadaver. The acting,
aside from the de rigueur stupidity
of the victims, sustains a moderate level of terror, or disgust, depending on
how you take it.
The beef jerky
scene stands out as an example of the most brutally-rendered and disgusting
excesses today’s horror movies are prone to, a seriously disturbing gore-fest
not for the squeamish. If stark close-ups of slow flesh peeling don’t make you
upchuck, by the time you get to the human french fry dunk into a bathtub of
boiling oil, you’ll either be gagging or nervously giggling to lighten the
The troubled teens—now
in trouble with a capital T—pair off with the decaying trailer trash still
living in the park’s mobile homes, and are scratched off the hit list, one by
Black) goes tripping and runs afoul of Roach (Myk Watford), who saws off one of
her arms for using his stash. When she comes down from her trip and back to
one-armed reality, she runs screaming into the mother of trailer trash
monstrosities, the repulsively grotund 'where's my meat?' Larlene (Trisha Rae
Stahl). Scratch one 'needs some salt' Tiffany off the list.
The only victim to
put up a fight is goth-minded Bridget (Jeanette Brox), who finds herself in a
demolition derby car crunch when she tries to escape.
I recommend you
watch the R-rated version first, sort of like dipping your feet in the pool
before jumping in head first. Then after you warm up a bit you can try the
Do not plan on
eating anything before or after if you do.
Better yet, invite
a bunch of friends over and hand out beef jerky. Give a prize to the last
person who can stomach it: the beef jerky and