Wednesday, February 27, 2008


One of the many shot-on-video duds produced by J.R. Bookwalter in the early '90s (presumably to squander the goodwill he earned with THE DEAD NEXT DOOR), 1991's ZOMBIE COP is a simplistic, one-note bore that tries to mine fresh ground in the zombie field, but doesn't have the necessary script or money to pull it off.

Michael Kemper stars as Gill, a blond-mulleted supercop cursed to undeath during a ridiculously feeble standoff with a voodoo-practicing serial killer (must be a tight city budget, since only two cops get sent to a hostage situation). The killer is named Dr. Death who not only sports the worst Caribbean accent ever attempted--I c'n do betta dan dat, mon--also keeps snacked-upon body parts in his freezer, a detail no doubt inspired by the then-current Jeffrey Dahmer case. Once returned as a zombie, Gill and his partner try to track down Death in as dry and uneventful manner as possible.

Even if ZOMBIE COP wasn't shot on a budget that couldn't get a family of four into Disney World, I could overlook that, but Bookwalter (hiding under the alias Lance Randas) lets so many problems slip through that a lack of funds is the least of his worries. The actors are predictably limp--pay special attention to Bill Morrison as Buddy, the worst actor out of the last 109 films reviewed here thus far--which is at least consistent with the flat, Point-A-to-Point-B storyline; at least DEAD HEAT attempted a little mystery.

Bookwalter also throws in some extremely boneheaded touches, like swathing Gill in bandages, Invisible Man-style (to keep him inconspicuous, no less), and the crappiest convenience store hold-up ever shot (complete with a hideously phony and offensive Hindi clerk), before heading to the woods for a climactic car chase about as removed from BULLITT as you can get. If you like watching community theater washouts hamming it up on the roof of a car as the background slowly lumbers by, ZOMBIE COP will be a little bit of heaven (actually, you'll probably hate this crude, boring mess as much as the rest of us).

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