Monday, November 12, 2007


I know it's considered poor taste these days to use the word "retarded," especially in the pejorative, but when it comes to incompetent filmmaking, the word works beautifully as a description. In the case of the 2005 shitburger DIE YOU ZOMBIE BASTARDS!, "retarded" merely scratches the tip of the imbecilic iceberg.

Director Caleb Emerson--no relation, though I'd never admit it if there was--desperately wants his movie to be a cult classic with the same punk-rock anarchy of a Troma film, but instead manages the shrill obnoxiousness of a bunch of screaming brats at the local Wal-Mart. Confoundingly, Emerson cut his cinematic teeth on TOXIC AVENGER IV, yet never bothered to learn what made those films so uniquely entertaining (judging from the leering way he aims his camera on his actresses' nether regions, I'd say he was too busy ogling Tromettes to pick up any movie-making techniques).

The movie's chaotic plot defies a simple synopsis, since it tosses out a new premise roughly every fifteen seconds, but the central storyline concerns Red, a scythe-wielding white trash serial killer played by Tim Gerstmar in what has to be the single worst performance ever captured on camera (seriously, Tim, I want you to promise never to act again--ever). When his beloved Violet is kidnapped by the alien Baron Nefarious (Geoff Mosher, who might've also been a candidate for Worst Actor Ever if I could've understood a word he said), Red dons his superhero costume made of human skin (complete with flopping phallus, just one of the unending dick references this move makes) and embarks on a frenetically meandering quest to save his girl.

To say the plot makes several digressions would be charitable (a more accurate way would be that it makes HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES look focused and streamlined). Red journeys from Sweden to West Virginia, encountering everyone from the late rockabilly singer Hasil Adkins to porn legend Jamie Gillis, in a series of vignettes with all the subtlety and nuance of a frathouse initiation. With its cheesy special effects and allusions to various monsters, it's clear Emerson wanted to pay homage to the schlock sci-fi films of yesteryear, and he would've pulled it off if, say, Ed Wood was a mentally-challenged 10-year-old obsessed with nekkid titties. (And speaking of obsessions, why does every creature in this movie--from the stop-motion Kraken to the rubber-suited fishman--have a monstrously oversized penis? Maybe I wouldn't have minded if it was done to some degree of comedic effect, but this detail, um, pops up so frequently I can't help but think ol' Caleb's as hung as a stick of Juicy Fruit.)

Oh, and the zombie bastards mentioned in the title? They're in there somewhere, normal humans turned slaves by Nefarious's zombie ray-gun, but with so many balls in the air--literally, at times--Emerson never really gets a chance to give them much screen time.

Loud, crass, and juvenile, DIE YOU ZOMBIE BASTARDS! should only be inflicted upon masochists, insomniacs, and immediate family of the cast. Let's hope that Emerson refrains from delivering the follow-up installment threatened at the end of the film.

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