The Direct to Video Connoisseur
I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.
Saturday, May 14, 2011
Mutant Vampire Zombies from the 'Hood (2008)
A recent search of C. Thomas Howell on imdb and Netflix Watch Instantly turned up this potential gem. It just sounded too good to be bad, but we've seen these things go pear-shaped quickly on us, so I knew not to get my hopes up. Let's see how it went.
Mutant Vampire Zombies from the 'Hood! takes place in Los Angeles, where C. Thomas Howell is a cop looking to bust a big drug deal between rival gangs. They decide to do the deal in a nuclear medical storage facility, which protects them from a massive solar flare which turns most of the rest of the human population into flesh eating zombies. Now all of these sworn enemies must come together in order to survive and make it to a safe house in Santa Monica run by astrophysicist Greg Alan Hill and his daughter.
This wasn't bad, but it wasn't exactly the schlock-fest the name suggests. It had it's moments, especially at the beginning with the mock Superman opening credits. I thought for sure when I saw that that I was going to get an amazing comedic horror romp, but this tended to lose itself, like when it tried to come up with odd scientific explanations for zombies that were this kind or that kind of undead. It also didn't know when to just tell us or the characters something, which became tedious. Sometimes these movies just need to get after it and take the plunge into all out silliness, and while this pulled the trigger in some instances, it tried in others to stick to traditional movie elements that betrayed what could've been a really fun time. Overall, it was monotony broken up by a moment here or there of fun.
I still don't know what to make of C. Thomas Howell. Sometimes I wonder if he knows what to make of himself. I do like him in the camp zombie flick though, because he's great at playing it straight, and his playing it straight adds a level of fun to the camp that you might not get with someone else. I don't know, overall there's just something about C. Thomas Howell that doesn't click for me, and I guess this is a rare occasion where that works.
One guy I've always liked is Gregory Alan Hill, or Gregalan Hill as he was known on Baywatch. If you don't remember, he was the beach cop who rolled in on his ATV and cleaned up the mess for The Hoff and whoever else after the criminals were dealt with. I actually really liked him on the ill-fated spin-off series Baywatch Nights. He was great here as an astrophysicist with a white daughter, and I was glad to see him. Here's to you Gregalan Hill, you're one of the good ones.
This movie tries to amp up the zombie paradigm by making them not only starved for human flesh, but also sex starved for human flesh. It leads to a hilarious result with one of the gang members getting his member eaten off by a zombie chick, but was a little more disturbing when a woman trying to get into her car is attacked by two zombies that try to rape her, and after Howell and co. rescue her, she walks around in stunned shock, only to be raped and disemboweled later by zombies at the same time the gang-banger has his dick eaten off. I don't know, maybe they should've stuck with the zombies just want to eat people's brains, and left it more fun for the rest of us.
The first ten minutes of this film is opening credits featuring file shots of LA, including this McDonald's sighting. Always have to get the McDonald's sighting in. I've been to Hollywood before, which I think is where that shot is taken from, but I don't remember that McDonald's being there (I was there in August in 2001). I did have McDonald's in LA though, when I was there in 2009. It was in an underground mall downtown, I had an Angus Third-Pound burger before they were available nationally, and I remember being disappointed when they came out in New England, because I thought I was eating some kind of regional variant-- like the spicy McChicken in Colorado.
80 minutes, goofy zombie flick, Watch Instantly, but obviously if I'm struggling so much for a seventh paragraph that I'm recalling a trip to McDonald's in LA, it's not the greatest. It has its flaws, but for a bad movie night, it's not bad. I wouldn't do this one outside of Watch Instantly though-- or for free in another way for people outside the States who can't get Watch Instantly. You've seen plenty of these before, and you've seen them done worse, but you've also seen them done much better.
For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0970520/