So after the “true story” disclaimer, we are introduced to some of our main characters, as the film opens on the UNEEDA Medical Supply Warehouse (conveniently located next to a cemetery) on the 3rd of July. It just so happens to be Freddy’s (Thom Mathews whom also played “Tommy” in Friday the 13th part 6, following Corey Feldman’s stellar turn at the character in 4) first day, and he’s being shown the ropes by old-timer Frank (James Karen), as the boss Burt (Clu Gulager) is getting ready to leave for the holiday weekend. Frank imparts useful knowledge to Freddy such as all skeletons come from India, and the importance of keeping the inventory (corpses) fresh. That‘s foreshadowing, mother fuckers. Well, soon as Bert is gone, Frank gives Freddy the lowdown on the “special” containers in the basement.
Gentle reader, let me ask you a question. You know that movie, “Night of the Living Dead”? Did you know that that film is based on a true story? You see, the military came up with a chemical to kill marijuana, but it turns out that it also makes corpses sorta, jump around. What chemical? 245 tri-oxen. Now how do I know this? Simple. Typical Army fuck up. They got the orders crossed, and the tanks were sent to the basement of the UNEEDA Medical Supply Warehouse. In fact, Frank can even show ya, like he did Freddy.
So Frank being Frank decides to bring the kid down to the basement, show him the corpse in the tank. Freddy, being more rational, worries that the tank may leak, but Frank reassures him that these tanks were built by the US Army Corp Of Engineers (the same that brought us New Orleans levees) thus, they can’t leak. Unless you slap them on the side.
Thus, the chemical leaks out, and the fun begins. By the way, THIS is when the opening credits roll. A full fifteen minutes into the film, we finally get to the title, and the shit officially hitting the fan.
Now, besides the old timers that work at the UNEEDA warehouse, we are introduced to Freddy’s punk friends, whom are waiting for him to get out of work so that they can go party. With names such as Trash (Linnea Quigley), Spider (played by Miguel A Nunez Jr. from Friday the 13th part 5) and Suicide, you get dialogue like… “I like sex and death”…..”Yeah, so fuck off and die”.
So as his friends wait in a cemetery (Scuzz’s never been in one before), Freddy, and Frank, come to after being knocked out by the 245 tri-oxen. Problem is, they aren’t the only things that are “awake” now. From the butterfly displays, to the split dogs (sweet ass scene) , to the fresh inventory in the locked freezer that sounds “sore” as Frank so gingerly puts it, the two employees realize they may need to call in their boss for advice. NOTE: Look for the eye chart in the background with the hidden message.
While Burt is on his way to save the day, we go back to the party in the cemetery. What’s goin on in the cemetery? Well, basically, Trash decides to “take her clothes off again”, and do a fully nude strip scene on a tomb. Look below for pics of one of my favorite scenes in any god damned film ever. Seriously. Look at dat ass. Dem tits. Dat…fake prosthetic vagina? Yep. Seems that the director was unaware until filming that Linnea, a former stripper, had NO hair down there, thus her bottomless strip tease would never get past the censors due to too much pink. So what do they do? Make a fake pussy mound over her slit. Really, listen to the commentary. I can’t possibly make shit that good up. How did they stick it on? And who was the lucky fuck that got to do it?
So after this lil bit o’ niceness, we cut back to Burt trying to brainstorm with Frank and Freddy how best to deal with not just the animated body parts/animals in the warehouse, but more importantly the fresh inventory that is screaming to get out. Well, Frank and Freddy have seen their fair share of Zombie films, so they know to try a head shot. But what to use? Maybe a surgical drill? Nah, let’s use what we’ve got, a pick axe.
What follows is a hysterical scene of three doofuses (or is it doofi?) trying to kill a naked zombie that won’t die….EVER. It just gets worse and worse. And by the end of it, hacksaw and all, I have come to the conclusion that this exact same scene would NEVER get by the censors now, whether due to male nudity, or gore, this shit wouldn’t fly anymore.
Well, when none of their plans work, Burt decides it’s time to get a favor from his old friend (for like 20 years) Ernie, who works at the mortuary in the cemetery next door. Yeah, that’s right, though not pointed out, two of the protagonists are Burt and Ernie. But what can Ernie do? Well, see he has a crematorium, a gun, and lots of knowledge. Knowledge, such as the heart is the hardest part to burn, and rigor mortis starts in the brain. Brilliant. By the way, what could go wrong with burning a chemically treated zombie in a crematorium where all residue will be going up the smokestack? Hint, hint.
While Frank, Freddie, Burt, and Ernie are dealing with the zombie bits, we cut back to the party in the cemetery where people are getting bored, and Trash is still fully naked, as she will be the entire film. Seriously. She’s fucking full nude the whole time. SWEET!
So Freddy’s girlfriend goes to the warehouse to look for him, while the rest of the punks hang in the cemetery. Well let me tell you, the 245 tri-oxen wasn’t the only thing to get out of the tank. Seems the corpse inside did as well, and man, the “tar baby” as he’s come to be known is one of the coolest zombie’s I’ve ever seen. Fuck CGI. Look right for a sample of his appearance, but the motions and such by the man in the suit really bring this character to life.
While Freddy’s girlfriend is dealing with the tar-baby, Ernie is finishing burning up the corpse from UNEEDA. Well, Frank and Freddy have begun vomiting from the exposure to the chemical, so Burt and Ernie decide paramedics may be necessary. Seems Frank and Freddy are starting to stiffen up, get a chill, turn gray. Hmmmmmmmm…….
Well, guess what? Seems the chemicals in the cremated corpse’s body happened to get into the rain clouds above, and are now falling as rain in the friggin cemetery. Besides driving the punks to shelter, this also has the affect of creating “a hundred” zombies popping out of the ground.
These aren’t Romero’s slow walking brain dead zombies either. They run at full speed (nearly 20 years before “28 Days Later” “revolutionized” zombies by ripping this off), work as a group, and speak intelligently.
Yeah that’s right. These fuckers start talking. Whether for humor (“Send more paramedics”), for plot (a scene with a captured zombie torso/head explaining their motives like no film EVER before it, WITH great special effects), or for creepiness (when Freddy finally succumbs to the chemical, his dialogue with his girlfriend really strikes the creepy chord) the addition of dialogue for zombies would come off as lame 99% of the time, but damn does it work here.
As the living people in the cemetery/warehouse get picked off slowly many different (and as I said previously logical) attempts are made to get the fuck out of dodge. All are in vain, until the last solution which involves, logically, calling the number on the side of the original 245 tri-oxen tank.
Notice something there? Yeah, that’s right, no 555 bullshit. NOW that number is a phone sex number, but about fifteen years ago it was still a valid business listing that my friends and I called one night while drunk, leaving a voice mail message along the lines of “Oh shit,man the fucking zombies are everywhere. This is the number on the side of the tank. What the fuck do we do? We hit them in the fucking brain and they don’t stop! What NOW!!!!!!!!”
I wonder how often that legit business used to get that message having absolutely no idea what the fuck it meant?
Well, if you haven’t seen this film yet, I won’t ruin the second half, but trust me, it just keeps getting bigger and better, with lots of gore, lots of humor, lots of Trash’s tits and ass, and even good enough acting to actually make you give a flying fuck about these characters.
While some of the characters aren’t ever fleshed out well, like Jewel Shepard’s (in a rare non-nude role) character, the main 6 characters not only pass the test, but actually make you give a shit about their well-being. That’s saying a lot in a film that SHOULD just be tits, blood, and jokes. In particular, Freddy, Frank, Burt, and Ernie really come across as not just likeable, but believable characters.
Though O’Bannon’s script is great, his camera directing is….non intrusive I believe is the best phrase. Not overly “stylish”, his directing certainly gets the job done, and in fact I think the “non-artsy” (like say Evil Dead) works much better for the tone of the film.
His directing as far as relating the story and immersing the viewer in this world is absolutely incredible. From pacing, to shot usage, to getting the right performances from his actors Dan never fails.
One thing that I love is that this film got little credit when first released, yet now if you read reviews, you would be hard pressed to find anyone into horror that doesn’t not like this film. As someone that fell in love with not just Linnea’s ass, but Franks’ tragic death, and Ernie’s tough decision at the end of the film, I have to say, do yourself a fucking favor, crack open a few beers, and watch this fucking movie.
Please note, on September 11th, 2007 a special deluxe edition will be released, and believe me, I’m SO fucking buying it.
Beers consumed during review = 12 Red Hooks and 2 Bud Lights before review, 6 more Bud’s during movie.