Year Released: 1999
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 85 minutes
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While the title “Zombie Doom” certainly gives a decent idea of the plot of Andreas Schnaas’s latest splatterfest, its international title still wins the “Truth in Advertising Award.” If asked to give a speedy summary of the film, I would say that the plot was pointless, the acting was horrible, the direction was atrocious, but that there was all sorts of violent shit which came darned close to making the movie worth watching. “Zombie Doom” shows Schnaas to be a filmmaker without the slightest concept of what to do with the camera or how to write dialogue or amusing characters, but it also shows him to be a downright twisted man.
The plot of “Zombie Doom” (which, from what I understand, is, alas, the final chapter in the “Violent Shit” trilogy) involves a group of three sailors marooned for no obvious reason on an island. The island is run by Karl the Butcher, a deformed barbarian who serves as a mouthpiece for an all-powerful old man known as “The Meister.” With the help of mad Doctor Senius (one part Mengle, one part Hitler), Karl and The Meister are raising an army of zombies to take over the world if they can ever get off their island. Of the three stranded sailors, one is killed and the other two are sent off into the forest to be hunted by Karl and his soldiers. It’s like “The Most Dangerous Game” only written by a subliterate. The soldiers are joined by a young Asian lad who has been cast out from the legion of doom. And soon they meet up with two totally random ninja warriors who also want to overthrow the Meister.
It almost seems petty to mock “Zombie Doom” for being as blatantly idiotic as it is. The film has been transferred to DVD in widescreen, which is totally irrelevant since Schnaas seems to have no awareness of cinematic framing. Every shot is ugly, though every once in a while the film shifts to a grainy, documentary-style 8mm. I doubt Schnaas could explain his reasons for switching film stocks. There’s occasional accidental resonance with televised images of the Vietnam War, but I can’t begin to believe that Schnaas intended that. Although “Zombie Doom” relies on ninja warriors for its fight scenes, Schnaas doesn’t know how to shoot action and despite the best efforts of the able actors, the martial arts scenes are painful. Let’s get this straight: Andreas Schnaas may be a fine gentleman, a good checkers player, and a superior knitter, but he has problems directing movies.
Shock-O-Rama has done Schnaas no favors with the dubbing here. It sounds as if one person recorded all the characters in nearly the same tone (except for the hideous mincing Asian voices) in an echo chamber. And that one person is reading translated dialogue like – “The world’s full of puke and shit and now a horde of ten masked assholes puked in our faces filled with shit” and – “I feel so scared I could puke — buckets full.” Arthur Miller, this ain’t.
But you don’t get “Zombie Doom” expecting “Death [and Resurrection] Of A Salesman.” The film’s only purpose is to make viewers want to puke buckets themselves because of Sven Peterson and Andrea Pollack genuinely disturbing special effects. The film’s major gory gimmick is that Karl the Butcher really likes to tear people to pieces with hooks and it doesn’t matter how many times the film uses the same basic M.O., it keeps being endearingly disgusting. Four tiny hooks pull apart chests and faces and by the time a character has his backbone pulled out of his ass, you may be hooked (sorry, had to use the pun) on “Zombie Doom,” no matter how bad it is otherwise. The film’s most disastrous scene is a Super 8 flashback to a hideous rape and encounter with a bloodsucking little creature. The creature is rendered with some of the worst stop-motion animation I’ve ever seen, but that doesn’t make it any less sick.
So “Zombie Doom” delivers where it counts. It’s a badly-made self-serious mess of a movie with really warped effects. And that’s nearly what counts as a success.
Posted on September 25, 2002 in Reviews by Dan Fienberg
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