Sunday, July 29, 2012

DEATH METAL ZOMBIES (1995)

As real as it's been to get triple the number of hits per entry, I think it's time to put the softcore porn to bed and get back to basics with this blog.  If only there were some way to keep reeling in those new viewers (TITS BLOWJOBS 50 SHADES OF GREY EBOOK DOWNLOAD SEX — can't wait to see my traffic stats!).  October is (63) days away, so there's no time to get into some depthy investigation and I think I'm going to burn away the time by focusing on heavy metal horror.  It's a little-loved genre with a few real semi-gems to adore!  If you haven't already, you really need to listen to the NOTLP episode about BLACK ROSES, as it's a fine icebreaker about the honey and vinegar found in devil rock shock films.  
I know I've written about DEATH METAL ZOMBIES for print 'zines.  It's one of the first "SBIG"/good-on-accident films that I probably ever saw.  I mean, I'd seen real crap like DEADLY EYES or whatever, but DMZ is the first time that I can recall loving a movie because of how bad it was.  This is the "10th Anniversary Edition", which boasts Extras (srsly not even 1 minute in length), new footage, and a new ending.  I am trusting my faltering memory to recognize the new stuff, but take this with a pillar of salt.  Before we get started, let me say that I recently saw this movie for sale at a horror con...on VHS.  It wasn't a used copy from some kaput video store, either, it was brand new and truly expensive.  You could MAYBE make a case for vinyl as a format, but there is no reason to opt for VHS instead of DVD or Blu-Ray.  Apart from sheer hipster/snowflake desires, that is!  I can't wait for bands to start issuing music as MIDI files because it's so much more authentic and real!  Then some bearded asshole can incorporate the MIDIs into the version of Skyrim that he has developed a text-based IF game.  Let's replace all the penicillin at the hospital with witch-blessed leeches next, you guise!
So DEATH METAL ZOMBIES starts off with a guy in a Nixon mask killing some other guy in the woods by snuggling him to death.  Then he kills some ladies who just finished watching EVIL NIGHT.  That's all the info the movie gives me, so that's all you're gonna get.


Now we meet a completely different set of characters!  They're metalheads from the 90s!  Dusky Kathy showers while Johnny plays a drum solo (metal!) and Brad reads (not metal!).  There's also Tony, who's SO WACKY AND COMIC RELIEVING BY THE WAY DID YOU NOTICE THIS.  The movie tries hard to get you to laugh at Tony, but it's entertaining despite this.  Look, one of the gang has a job!  That would be Angel, whose cute awkwardness endeared me to her immediamente.  Look at this GIF of her headbanging about 5:00 happening!  This is literally me every day!


DMZ is one of those weird horror movies that is much better when there's no horror happening.  The dialog in the first part of the film is fucking golden, like so...

BRAD: One day, man, we're gonna party with ALL the death metal bands!

They like death metal, despite having posters and shirts of Hot in the Shade-era KISS, so.  Brad is obsessed with this band Living Corpse, so when there's a shitty contest announced in which you can win an exclusive Living Corpse song, he gets so excited that he stutters hilariously.  These scenes really made me lose respect for myself as a teenager.  They are clearly meant to be comedic and yet 15-year-old me thought that this was just some inept thing.  I mean, the radio announcer blatantly stalls for time while Brad grabs a pen, then reads off the address for the contest!  Genius!


I go back and forth about whether the people who made the film were actually metalheads.  Relapse Records and their roster at the time get pimped pretty heavily, so maybe it was a case of sponsorship leading the way.  But, on the other hand, some aspects of 90s metal culture get nailed here.  Like metal girls tucking their shirts into mom jeans!  And Brad saying about his tape, "It better not get lost in the mail!  I don't know how many times that's happened to me!"  Don't order from Seraphic Decay, bro, they are a rip-off!!! (Parenthetical thing I just found: 
"it also did not help SDR that the catalog numbers where "SCAM-01, SCAM-02, SCAM-03" etc. because people thought it meant SDR was scamming bands.
which SCAM was taken from (S)ERAPHI(C) DEC(A)Y (M)USIC")

Another piece of authenticity is the appearance of Angel (Lisa Cook).  I dated metal girls who looked pretty much like her in this movie (same makeup, blond, terrible office jobs), so I get nostalgically excited whenever she is on screen.  Totes gorgeo.  Sorry, director Todd Jason Cook, but I am stalking your sister/wife/adopted daughter in her 90s form!  AND I am going to watch EVIL NIGHT just to see Lisa Cook as "Blonde Bimbo", so there.


Okay, back to the plot.  It turns out that Living Corpse, the most popular band in the world, is just a front for a horde of demons, which is bad news for Brad since he wins the contest and plays the tape.  Upon doing so, he, Kathy, and Tony are possessed and turn into DEATH METAL ZOMBIES!  They go out and kill all 23 people who live in their town!  


Even the black ones!  Wow!  This scene is one of the giveaways that DMZ was not intended to be a serious masterwork.  The guy with the arms below is emoing out over some girl who doesn't want him while being consoled by a smaller black guy and a black lady in MOM JEANS OMG.  Zombie Brad shows up and an ass gets stabbed.  Goliath here shrieks like a girl and then runs away like one.  


Sadly, the second half of the film isn't as full of kicks as its antecedent.  I did adore the husky jogger, the thief  (in Relapse shirt tucked into mom jeans!) who brings a boy-sized saber on her housebreaking jobs, and the debate about whether a machine exists that can play tapes backwards.  But, like I said, once the zombies show up, it's mostly zombies walking around, like you've all seen before.  Even so, DEATH METAL ZOMBIES is a solid fun time just waiting for you to watch it!  I laughed 50 more times at this than at MOONRISE KINGDOM, if that tells you anything.  I'd probably rank this with the more effective Troma films of the pre-TROMEO era.  Yes.


Okay, and new stuff.  If you already had DMZ on VHS (grrr), you might want to pick this up for the new epilogue, which occurs "10 years later" and is all about the file-sharing.  It's 10 seconds longer than the "special features" combined!  Looking forward to the next iteration of the movie, which will probably have characters debating about Spotify and Living Corpse being snubbed by Devin Townsend fans in decorative scarves.  \m/