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(MICHAEL MADSEN & JOHN SAVAGE).
Nobody really made the celluloid nudie comedy until Russ Meyers came along. Many tried to make a nudie comedy, and while their efforts contained various degrees of nudity, they were almost never funny. No, it took someone like Russ Meyers, who was so totally committed to making both an over-the-top and to-the-moon sexy nudie AND an over-the-top and to-the-stratosphere comedy, that he was practically drowning in his obsession.
You watch Russ Meyers movies and you know that guy was obsessed. He was out to make a nudie comedy and didn't give a good golly damn about local "Social mores"; who got their ass on their shoulders or whose nose turned blue. Meyers crossed the line so many times even the people who drew it weren't sure where it was anymore. And there is nothing in a Russ Meyer movie that makes you think this is some adult artificially trying to offend you. His movies aren't confrontational that way.
Instead, it's like Meyers is yer kid brother or your five year old son peeking into the women's room. You told him and warned him about it, but the fear of punishment hasn't overcome his sense of curious wonder. Russ seemed to approach tits and ass with a wide-eyed sense of "Gosh!" which made his movies - as disgusting and politically incorrect as they could be at times - impossibly charming.
In his heyday, Russ was assailed by the liberal left feminists and the conservative right evangelicals and he blew his cigar smoke in all of their sanctimonious faces. Russ will always be The Man, as he did his thing in the 1960s and 1970s, when facing prison-time for smut was a significant possibility.
If anyone came along to take up the torch of nudie comedies it has to be Lloyd Kaufman. Like Meyers, Lloyd brings a high energy child-like wonder and enthusiasm to his movies. Except Lloyd is also out to make Horror movies. You can prattle on about how much money movies like SIGNS or THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE remake made, but fans will still be talking about, and buying THE TOXIC AVENGER, 25 years from now: long after you can buy SIGNS and TCM 2003 in one of those cheap movie 50 packs (however they package it a quarter century from today).
This brings us to Caleb Emerson and his movie DIE YOU ZOMBIE BASTARDS!.
In 2005, after four years of work and the help of his co-writer, producer, and brother in law, Haig Demarjian, Caleb released to the various film festivals across the world... This.
The movie starts with quixotic Rockabilly cult figure, Hasil Adkins narrating the opening. Seems back in 1970 on a place called Hell Island, while alleged Asians were in the field harvesting whatever, an alien spaceship crashed to earth. Some dark cloaked mysterious figure walks into the crashed spaceship and lifts alien technology!
Okay, enough of that. Now then. A husky bald guy goes walking through the night, brandishing a long handled scythe. You just know he's looking for trouble. And what should we see but a young couple getting it on, in their convertible, alone, in the woods! They don't even see the scythe wielding dude come up. This gal is so energetic I'm guessing that she can't possibly be a porn actress in real life (the kind Russ Meyers and Lloyd Kaufman would hire), because porn actresses are never this enthusiastic. The bald guy is just about to start hacking away when the girl says something to her lover that melts the maniac's heart, and he drops his blade and slides to the ground in starry-eyed sweetness.
Later he finds some dope smokers camping in the woods and hacks them to pieces. He brings the pieces home to his wife, Violet (Pippi Zornoza) and they feast upon the flesh. Such a romantic couple of cannibalistic serial killers. His name is Red (Tim Gerstmar) and you can tell by his bad teeth that he doesn't get paid much for working in movies. But some folks are just that dedicated to the art!
Okay, enough of that! On another part of Hell Island, three lovely young blonde Archeologists - or perhaps Paleontologists (this movie ain't too fussy about their titles) seek out the ancient fishman, also known by a host of other names, but fossil evidence suggests that he had a huge and terribly dangerous dick. The three blondes take a break and show off their bubbly butts, bodies, and general overall tan lines.
Meanwhile, the smiling gap-toothed serial killer comes home to his wife and they romantically and lavishly eat the flesh of his kills. No waste here. But then the cops show up at the door. They're doing a door-to-door search for the Maldanato sisters - the scientists who disappeared in the Pacific on Hell Island - their parents are worried for them. Why are the cops looking around New England for people who disappeared in the Pacific? They have to stay in their jurisdiction.
Officer Konash notices blood on Red's floor.
Officer Konash: Sir, what is this?
None other than the evil Dr. Nefarious (Geoff Mosher: CITIZEN TOXIE: THE TOXIC AVENGER IV, WINDCROFT) has captured the Maldanato sisters, who look entirely different than the women we saw on the island. Anyway, he turns them into zombie sex slaves and they hammer away at his schlong. That can't hold his attention for long as he watches a television game show that Red and Violet are on, and falls in love with Violet's husband's wife.
The next thing you know, Red and Violet are lovingly devouring a decaying human head with great gusto, when Red realizes that he forgot the champagne.
While Red is gone, Dr. Nefarious (using stolen alien technology!) and his zombies appear in a puff of blue smoke and capture Violet.
Red returns, sees his Violet vanish In A Puff of Blue Smoke, discovers a note from Nefarious lording his conquest over Red, and has to fight off a zombie. This doesn't bring his Violet back, but he swears beneath the blue sky that he will get his Violet back and when he does it won't be pretty. He levels a curse on all zombies when he shouts the movie title.
Thus begins Red's whacked out search and rescue for his wife.
He will swim any ocean, cross any landmass, even go to Sweden, to find his Violet.
Along the way he will meet Barundeb Dutta (Lon E. Plynton), Super Inga (Sandra Kennedy), the mysterious Stavros (Jamie Gillis: NIGHT OF THE ZOMBIES, DRACULA EXOTICA) - who isn't what he seems - and he seems to be many people. Red will also meet the Rock-A-Billy legend, Hasil Adkins, who just plays himself. Each one of these people provide some small amount of questionable use in Red's quest to find Violet, defeat Dr. Nefarious, and cause the death of all of the zombie bastards that keep popping up.
DIE YOU ZOMBIE BASTARDS! is just perverted knock-about fun. Bad and meant to be worse, this shot-on-16mm film took Director Caleb Emerson four years to make and the unabashed nutso factor is amazing. I really like ATTACK OF THE KILLER TOMATOES, but I'm nuts for DIE YOU ZOMBIE BASTARDS! It's gross -
Red: Violet! Say Hi, honey!
Gory and off the wall hysterical. Absurdity in cinema, even with low-budget indie cinema, is rarely this inventive. What's especially amazing upon second and third viewings is how Caleb and crew can make just single words, dropped without context, funny through nothing more than their delivery. Such perfect timing and imagination takes true comedic talent. For the kinds of fans that seek uproarious, theatrical audience interaction, this just might be the sleeper to win hearts.
And why not? In 1981 20th Century Fox, trying to repeat the success that was unwittingly forced upon them with THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW, flunked badly in their attempt to be corny cultish with the sequel, SHOCK TREATMENT (a testament to just how much Fox executives didn't and couldn't "get it").
Not ready to give up, they commanded distribution of the slightly better, yet sanitized studio offering of THE ADVENTURES OF BUCKAROO BANZAI ACROSS THE 8th DIMENSION! 25 years later, that try-so-hard-it-hurts flick still seeks relevance! It has its cool moments, sure, but it mainly has its long drags! Yet every few years, rotating teams of freshly hired marketing graduates re-discover that they still can't give that old multi-million dollar movie the kind of geek-cheapnis credibility that DIE YOU ZOMBIE BASTARDS! captures with apparent ease.
Five Negative Shriek Girls for being So Insanely Bad It's Great!
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