Them Damn Zombies! (2002)
Director: Andy Koontz
Beaver Falls (nice name) is being overrun by a mosh pit of hungry zombies. Will the cocky reporter, the obnoxious chicks in cut-off shorts and the gun-taunting rednecks become TV dinners for the undead? Order the chow, call the homies, get the kegger, put the easy ladies on hold and find out.
I should state that I’m not really into “ultra low budget” productions, most of them are hand held camera shot nightmares, with lousy made gore and badly lit night sequences. But I had a feeling about “Them Damn Zombies”, so I decided to check it out.
The tape starts off with director/producer/writer/make-Up dude Andy Koontz and his partner in gore cameraman/producer/editor Scott Phillips standing in front of a “Them Damn Zombies” poster gabbing away like dudes on speed (that’s a compliment). These kool mofos fool around for the camera, kiss each other’s asses a bit and then the films roll on. Yes, I said "films". Before “Them Damn Zombie” kicks in, we get a little treat called "Zombie Dawn".
"Zombie Dawn" is a 5-minute Zombies vs SWAT “pow-wow” match that is set in a claustrophobic setting. We get lots of kool shots, strobe lights galore, red wet gore, a Zombie dog (nod to "Resident Evil", I assume) and I for one have never seen so many gun shells fall on the floor in one sitting. That’s a good thing! The only prob I had with this 5-minute short is that the heavy metal riff accompanying the blood and bullets became very redundant after a while, it’s just the same tune being repeated over and over and over. Isn’t that how the Vietnamese tortured their POW’s? Also, the word “motherfucker” was a tad overused so it lost some of its oh so lovely charm. But other than that, it was a gnarly 5 minutes of stylishly directed mayhem that I appreciated and a slick way to begin the show.
After that little energetic appetizer, we move to the main course which is "Them Damn Zombies". This 40 minute, tongue in ass, zombie on the loose spasm is actually quite simple. Zombies are running amuck and folks have to survive. Unfortunately, you won’t find much of a story here, there’s no surprising plot twists or anything else to engage us on a narrative level. Character-wise, everybody is a wacky cartoon and on the plus side, it’s sometimes hilarious (loved the reporter’s antics) and hides the bad acting. On the minus side, I didn’t really give a fuck about anybody in this petting zoo so that nixed any potential for suspense the film could’ve had.
But “Them Damn Zombie” wound up somewhat making up for its lack of substance, tension and drawn out characters with its slew of rotting, slow walking undead, staggering around with bad wigs. If you dig your flesh-craving zombies on an "old school" slab, you’ll have a blast here! And then there’s the main meal: the impressing gore effects. GOOD SHIT HOMBRES! I was actually grossed out a few times by the heavy, chunky sauce, and the ripped flesh. For a movie with such a low budget, pulling these effects off was quite a feat that required talent. Remember the gore in "Dawn the Dead" or "Day of the Dead"? Well, these bad boys were aiming for that same jive here and they mostly succeeded. Couple those goodies with the sharp lighting (especially for a film of its budget), slick camera angles, a couple of witty lines and a semi-gnarly action scene involving hottie Chris Koontz a machete and RIP walking targets and you get: EASY HORROR CUMMING!
Overall, I derived simple pleasure from “Them Damn Zombies”. It’s well shot, high on gore and has no pretenses in regards to what it is: a slutty genre blow-job. Sure, I did find the film to be much like my ex-girlfriend: too short, too low on intelligence and occasionally lacking energy, but when all was said and done, unlike my tramp of an ex-girlfriend this one got the job done. With a film like this, that’s all that matters really. Let’s flip a coin…heads you have to drink Tequilla while watching this flick, tales you have to hit the bong…fuck that…do both!
It’s a party of Karo syrup and sausages in this factory! We get severed limbs, guts aka wieners being pulled out of people and mooched on, some machete mayhem, a head snapped off, tumbling limbs, nasty Zombie bites and more. This is the film’s main raison d’etre…BLOOD!
Doug Stanley (Red) does his hick shtick very well and is funny at times-- I bought it. Chris Koontz (Jessica) has a so-so delivery but her good looks and machete scene made up for it. Reagan "R.O.S." Walters (Peter) stole most of the scenes he was in and nailed the whole flamboyant, assholish part. Ami Renner (Tiff) doesn’t have much to do but run and scream-- she does both well with able support from her cut off Jeans shorts.
T & A
Somebody didn’t get his lead actresses drunk…we get NATHING!
Koontz did his pre-prod and it shows. The shot compositions are bang on, I loved his use of voice over, slow motion and was impressed by the machete POV shot. He does overdo it in the “moon” insert shots though and fails to generate tension.
The score is surprisingly pretty good, accompanying the wet action to a T.
This is a six-pack and pizza movie if I’ve seen one. For a movie shot on DV, you have to respect the attention to detail, lighting, shot composition and quality special effects. Yes, the characters, the plot, the short clock time and the sometimes lack of “oomph” played against it, but I still enjoyed it. Give the horror loving nut behind this baby a more drawn out screenplay/a real budget and I’m sure they’ll kick genre ass hardcore. “Them Damn Zombies” gave good head while solely relying on two tongue techniques: gore and cheap laughs. If you’re craving those two party favors like Dennis Rodman needs a violent baseball bat beating, hit it. As simple as a Mexican titfuck on a kitchen table!
The flick was recorded on a Panasonic DVPRO camera. The budget was $3000 clams.