Okay, if you've seen Richard Elfman's brilliant slab of cult film cheese "Forbidden Zone", don't be expecting the same level of quality from this film. The fact that Richard didn't write this one is probably the main reason for that, but the direction, too, is merely workmanlike, for the most part. Don't be expecting the wild stylistic flourishes seen in "Zone"'s tribute to 1930s cinema.
This (1994) film does sort of seem to be a tribute to low-budget 1980s cinema, but this may have just been because the film had been in development since then. Or maybe this was due to the hand of schlock horror producer Charles Band, who probably wishes that the 80s had never ended. (But schlockmeister though he may be, he does deserve some credit for keeping Richard Elfman off the streets.)
As a more-imaginative-than-average B horror flick, this movie does have some things going for it. First off, the premise is indeed enjoyable for its sheer ridiculousness. I think the film would have done well to get into this good stuff much quicker than it did. Pretending to be a non-supernatural "kids in a tough neighborhood" film for the first half hour was pretty pointless, although anyone coming across the movie on TV and not knowing what it was about would be in for an amusing shock at the end of the first act when the "how will our heroes get out of this one?" moment arrives and they _don't_ (or at least, not exactly).
Other things to recommend the film include the wonderfully twisted idea of living dead zombies who are doomed to clean up litter in back alleyways, the hot little piece of jailbait ass portrayed by Rebecca Herbst, the Danny Elfman theme, the inspired use of a mostly instrumental remix of Oingo Boingo's "No One Lives Forever", and, as someone else mentioned, one of the most circumstantially hilarious instances of the ubiquitous ripping off of Elfman's "Edward Scissorhands" theme.
I just wish the filmmakers could have gotten Julius Harris to fake a Haitian accent (even a shaky one would have done). This would have lent a smidge of credibility and would have made Sumatra's oddly flowery dialogue go over better.
Someone else said to run away if you see this flick on the Sci-Fi Channel, but I'd say if you have a taste for this sort of entertainment, _seek_it_out_ there, as this film is out-of-print on video and is hard to come by. Indeed, Sci-Fi Channel's "Elvira"-derived "William Shatner's Full Moon Fright Night" horror film festival series made a good platform for the film, though the cuts to clean up the R-rated gore were somewhat jarring.