Released 18th October 2010 by Optimum Home Entertainment
Director: Kevin Hamedani
Cast: Janette Armand, Doug Fahl and Cooper Hopkins
Script: Kevin Hamedani, Ramon Isao
It’s probably best not to settle down to a film titled Zombies of Mass Destruction expecting Citizen Kane. Or even George A. Romero, for that matter. But this admirably earnest little horror movie, not to be confused with the Red 5 Comics series of the same name, wears its left-wing stance on its sleeve, serving up a unique combo of political correctness and extreme gore.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of republican bashing, particularly when it’s funny. And as the undead infest Port Gamble, the comical situations our survivors find themselves in together represent the entire spectrum of democrat/republican disparities. Local Muslim girl Frida Abbas (Janette Armand) is accused of the zombie attack by a local redneck, while gay couple Tom and Lance (Doug Fahl, Cooper Hopkins) find themselves at the mercy of a local church community determined not to let their rapture be spoiled by a pair of sinful queers.
A more polished script and superior cast (though Janette Armand definitely deserves to do well after her debut here) might have been enough to make ZMD a cult classic à la Shaun of the Dead or Zombieland. The film isn’t without its fair share of genuinely funny situations , but the union of satire and doesn’t hit home as soften as it should. Evidently much of the film’s limited budget went into the impressive special effects than the acting. The gruesomely inventive death scenes are far more in line with the Tom and Jerry-inspired antics of Peter Jackson’s Braindead than most recent zombie flicks, and feature all the limb tearing and offal munching you could possibly ask for.
Romero’s Dawn of the Dead is now celebrated for its social commentary, but it’s easy to forget that the film also works as a simple horror movie. In Zombies of Mass Destruction, the leads might as well hold banners stating their political disposition. It’s also difficult to stomach the movie’s didactic tone when director Kevin Hamedani revels in the violence so much. Yet Hamedani, who in the DVD’s Making Of doc claims that ZMD is a reaction to his experiences living in post-9/11 America, should at least be commended for forging a horror comedy with characters that offer something beyond the vacant faces that litter other B-movies, even if they are essentially political demographics personified.
I went into Zombies of Mass Destruction with low expectations, but found a lot to admire in its awkward sincerity. That said, I can’t quite picture who this film will appeal to. The exceedingly gruesome special effects will cater to a niche audience of gore hounds, horror movie completists and stoned middle-classed students, but I have a feeling that everyone else will be either offended or embarrassed by the film’s forthright political overtones depending on a) whether or not they’re American, and b) who they wanted to win the 2008 US election.
Extras: A fun Making Of documentary and a trailer.