5 November 2006 | ReelCheese
Cheap And Stupid, But...
Never before have so few words so fittingly summed up a film as the VideoHound Movie Guide's entry on ZOMBIE NIGHTMARE. "Cheap and stupid" were the key words in its evaluation of this (extremely) low-budget, Canadian-made horror flick. But what our friends at VideoHound forgot to mention is that ZOMBIE NIGHTMARE is also occasionally (and unintentionally) hilarious in the tradition of awful movies from yesteryear.
Jon Mikl Thor plays a muscle-bound lunkhead who heads to the corner store for Momma one fateful night. After heroically fending off two would-be robbers, our good ol' boy is fatally struck by a car full of bad ass punks who speed away from the scene. Rather than call an ambulance, the store owner does what any of us would, loading the corpse into a car and dropping it off to Lunkhead's fretful mom. Having already lost her husband to punkery, Momma calls in the friendly neighborhood voodoo practitioner to turn her son into a modern day Lazarus. Soon the goon is up and around once more, only he's not nearly as friendly as he now screams a lot and clobbers the hit-and-runners with a baseball bat.
ZOMBIE NIGHTMARE is like PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE in that everyone will have their own favorite example of its ineptitude. For this reviewer, the hands down winner is Shawn Levy, who is inadvertently uproarious as Jim the head punk. It's positively priceless to see Jim, he of blow-dried '80s hair and preppy clothes, recant how he actually enjoyed striking Lunkhead. "Christ," he says in what was intended as a creepily dramatic moment, "it was so easy." And who could forget the moment when Jim, in a fit of uncontrollable rage, hurls a handful of cold spaghetti at his nagging mom? You just know this dude and his cohorts would last about 10 minutes in a real high school.
Of course there are other highlights (lowlights?). There's never been a less frightening zombie than Thor. I'm sorry, but big muscles, long hair and short sweat pants exude stupidity, not fury. The zombie's appearance becomes increasingly ridiculous as the film progresses, going from Lunkhead to some Munster-looking dude with short black hair. ZOMBIE NIGHTMARE also attempts some humor, most notably with Jim's frequent non-success with the ladies. But it's all so lame you end up laughing AT the movie, not WITH it. Then there's the Adam West factor. You just know that any film that has to misleadingly give top billing to the former BATMAN star is doomed. That said, there is a certain perverse pleasure in seeing a man we all know and love from childhood being dragged into the cruel depths of hell by a born-again corpse.
It's quite stunning that that something like ZOMBIE NIGHTMARE was able to clear all the hurdles involved in seeing a a film come to fruition. It's amazing someone thought of it. It's more amazing that someone had enough faith in those involved to fund it. Our amazement continues to escalate when we think that real people -- presumably those interested in careers in the motion picture industry -- would allow their names to be attached to it and that a company, no matter how desperate, would release it on video. No wonder they say truth is stranger than fiction.