They're tobacco chewin', gut chompin', cannibal kinfolk from Hell!
Year of Release: 1989
Rated: Not Rated
Running Time: 90 minutes (1:30)
Director: Pericles Lewnes
Lisa M. DeHaven ... Lisa Dubois
Anthony Burlington-Smith ... Bob
James H. Housely ... Wilbur
Martin J. Wolfman ... Andy
Boo Teasedale ... Sally
Darla Deans ... Theresa
Tyrone Taylor ... Tyrone Robinson (The Soldier)
William E. Benson ... Jed Clemson
P. Floyd Piranha ... Junior Clemson
William Decker ... Jethro Clemson
Pericles Lewnes ... Billy Bob 'Elly May' Clemson
Bucky Santini ... Ferd Mertz
When a clan of hillbilly dirt farmers turn a misplaced barrel of chemical waste into a whiskey still, going blind is the least of their worries as the toxic moonshine turns them into REDNECK ZOMBIES! Now they're ready to invite a group of wayward yankees to a down-home feast of southern-fried gore and mayhem that will turn your stomach and tickle your funny bone!
Redneck Zombies, remindin' us that just because you're takin' a serious, even-handed look at NASCAR's rise to fame, it doesn't mean you can't still have fun.
And speakin' of mankind's greatest enigmas, I finally solved the mystery of what happens when the dog catches the car - seems his face gets caved in like a panel of drywall at a halfway housewarming party. Course it ain't really fair to the dog, cause the dog doesn't understand that it's only ever gonna catch that car if the car lets it. For instance, say a deer jumps out in the road and the driver hasta stomp the brake to keep from gettin' gored through the gut bucket like Linnea Quigley in Silent Night, Deadly Night when its horns come crashin' through the windshield.
This prolly ain't makin' much sense, but, see, here's the thing - I been chasin' a car myself for the last... oh, 15 years, and the City Council *finally* listened to me and agreed to move the 4th of July fireworks display a few miles outta town instead of just launchin' 'em into the sky from The Gutter Bowl parkin' lot.
Buildins catch fire everyday around here so I was never able to get much traction on this until last year when Wilbur Carnagie was awakened to the sound of explosions and lights in the sky and ended up takin' a little trip back to Da Nang in his head and unloadin' his SKS into the neon sign in front of Rin Tin Minh's Crossbar Hotel for Wayward Housepets and Fine Vietnamese Cuisine. Personally I thought the guy did us all a favor, and if you've ever seen that buzzing abomination you know why, but apparently one of those rounds ricocheted off Minh's, went through a window at Hammertime Hardware and took out every bathroom light fixture in Plumbing Supplies. I guess Asa Morton threatened to sue until Wilbur finally agreed to complete that Hunter's Safety course with the rest of his Cub Scout troop.
Anyway, somethin' like this happens every year is what I'm gettin' at. But this year the City Council worked out a deal with Skunky Hernandez to host the display out at the Grime Time, where the worst thing that could possibly happen is burnin' down Skunky's house and increasin' the property values of everyone in the county by 3% - 5%. Incidentally, it really hurts that some of you people're goin' around sayin' I only got involved to put cars in the lot, and I don't mind tellin' you that you're the most despicable, unpatriotic excuses for Americans since our House of Representatives voted to ban lead shot for waterfowl huntin'. All I got outta the deal was the satisfaction of helpin' our local veterans get a good night's sleep, and 20% of the gate.
Besides, the night was a *huge* hit, with launches before, between, and after the double feature. Matter of fact, I can't remember hearin' that many "ooohs" and "ahhhs" since the night we showed Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women with Mamie Van Doren and half the cars on the lot were bouncin' like they were auditionin' for the jump competition at the Tejano Super Car Show in Odessa. Juanita sold so many hot dogs at the concession stand that night that New York City might finally have gained the upper hand in its war on the local rat and pigeon populations, just to give you an idea of the kinda success we're talkin' about. In other words - a good time was had by all... most everybody.
Just for the record though, I'd like to state that it wasn't *my* fault that Delbert Biddle saw fit to store 25 sticks of unregistered, unexploded ordnance in his shack. And it sure's hell wasn't my fault that Skunky hired one of his cleftskull cousins from Snoochflunk, Idaho as a pyrotechnics expert. I *told* Skunky the City Council was gonna scramble his huevos if he screwed this up, but he insisted Luca "Rockets' Red Glare-o" Guerrero had been makin' fireworks for years, and that anybody who'd interviewed for a gig as a demolitions expert for the Mexican mob would hafta have his stuff together. I tried pointin' out that Luca didn't actually get that mob job, but by then Skunky was already draftin' plans for a dozen badger BBQ pits, so the ship'd pretty much sailed.
I don't see what the big deal is anyway, I mean, nobody who's been tested since the shack reached orbit that night lost more'n 10% of their hearing, and as far as the hamburger shrapnel goes - that stuff washes right out with a little lighter fluid. Luckily, I was shielded by the projection booth at the time, but three or four of Skunky's cattle were havin' themselves a little siesta next to the shack when the pyroblast blew through the wall of the shack and hit the dynamite cache and... well, you get the idea. You'd think from all this hullabaloo nobody'd ever accidentally exploded a cow before.
Now, that's not sayin' I take a situation like this lightly, cause under no circumstances do I condone the senseless destruction of unprocessed, succulent T-bones. But I think it's pretty clear that this was an isolated incident, and we'd appreciate it if all you weirdos from Cattle Mutilations Monthly would go back to Wyoming and quit tryin' to sensationalize our misfortune to line your pockets. People start havin' doubts about journalistic integrity when these perfectly natural incidents start poppin' up in respectable publications as bein' somethin' paranormal.
It's times like this that I'm grateful for Troma Entertainment, cause when stuff like this happens Troma's about the only major film studio that can put your petty, personal problems into perspective. Troma's always there when you need somebody to say: "So you blew up a few Jerseys, big deal, at least you're not under attack by Radioactive Zombie Proud Boys," and suddenly your troubles feel silly and trivial by comparison (and Lloyd, if you're readin' this, you have my written consent to use that title - it's the least I can do after all you've done for the cinematic arts). I think the thing I like best about Troma is how I can review any of their flicks and feel completely guilt-free about givin' away the plot, cause with Troma, the title already does that. Whole dang review is completely superfluous, cause you *know* what happens in Poultrygeist, or Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell, or Rabid Grannies before you ever even put the tape in the player. Kinda takes some of the pressure offa me just thinkin' about it. But providin' the play-by-play of Redneck Zombies is not a responsibility I take lightly, and to prove it, I've fished three trophy-sized tidbits of unconventional wisdom outta the Tromaville outhouse to convince you fence-sitters why you need this one in your life, and why you'll be a lot more comfortable without that fence post stuck up your hinder. First, before turning on your Kenmore appliances, always remember to wash your children on the Delicate setting until the age of six. Doing otherwise could lead to permanent agitator-related brain damage, and the rejection of future warranty claims. Second, anybody tryin' to roll back regulations imposed on the craft brewing industry oughta be forced to down an entire six pack of Chernobyl's Best first. And third, confusin' the contents of mama's refrigerator for a special effects workshop is no way to get a callback from Hollywood.
The movie begins at the quack shack where some slobberin' goob is usin' his forearm for an ashtray while his doctors speculate about how he got this way and why they hafta film all their scenes in a nondescript hallway. Next thing, we're in the wilds of Hayseed Heights where this G.I. Joke is deliverin' a barrel of toxic waste to an Earth First protest to trigger some herbosexuals, only he ends up losin' the drum after burnin' his palm passin' a doobie to his alcoholic German Shepard, Buds McKenzie. To make matters worse, once the guy tracks down his missin' cargo some sun-dried potato from an Appalachian bumpkin patch (Ferd) runs 'im off with a scatter-gun, and is then robbed himself by Methro Bodine and his kinfolk who need the barrel to replace their old whiskey still on account of it lookin' like somebody used it to sight in their nail gun. Course, before they can get it into service Lil' Scabner hasta eulogize the old still and slap his sons around like Moe Howard, only once that's done he gets his most fabulous boy, Elly May, to hoist the drum like Andre the Giant suckin' the last bit of beer out of a keg and he ends up droppin' it and spillin' a buncha Nickelodeon Gak into the corn mash. Meanwhile, the humvee driver is back at the military base gettin' grilled by Sergeant Slobber, and he's told in no uncertain terms that if he don't get out there and recover the missin' drum the Sarge is gonna send 'im out to D.C. and make 'im the official umbrella wrangler to the president.
Too late though, cause while that's goin' on the Mason Hicksons're finishin' up their batch of Gak Daniels, and they send Elly May into town to deliver the goods while they get trashed on Blight Lightning and begin hallucinatin' in film negative vision and start seein' the world through some kinda psychedelic Pink Floydian filter til their faces turn into strawberry rhubarb pie. Elsewhere, a group of campers from the city (Wilbur, Lisa, Andy, Sally, Bob, and Theresa) are gettin' lit on a bag of Hoboken Tokin', and by the time mornin' rolls around they're so toasted they've forgotten they're in the woods and that it's not normal to see neckbeards with half rotted faces shamblin' around tryin' to hail a cab in the Pine Barrens. So around first light Sally gets up and heads out into the sticks lookin' for a place to squat til she finds the still where the rubes've been brewin' up their ghoul aid, and pretty quick Methro comes squishin' up behind 'er and pulls 'er apart like a pan of Domino's cheesy bread. Then Theresa goes lookin' for Sally and runs into Ferd, who starts turnin' on the charm in hopes she'll realize Ferd's the word, only it don't work and Ferd ends up havin' to give 'er to Methro so he can chew on 'er neck and regurgitate a couple pints of Hunt's spaghetti sauce (Traditional, not Garlic) down 'er shirt. Ferd makes it about 20 yards before his girth forces 'im to stop, and danged if he doesn't run right into the still and pound a jar of goonshine even though there're enough body parts layin' around to go into production on a Pieces remake. Eventually the rest of the campers wake up and go lookin' for the girls and find a coupla piles of bloody potato salad and hafta assume that either they're dead or the Jersey Devil has irritable bowel syndrome. It ain't long before our pampered campers start pointin' fingers at each other like anybody who's ever turned up in a photo with Jeffrey Epstein, allowin' Methro to get the drop on 'em and change Andy's shirt so it won't get ruint when his face gets the Hannibal Lecter treatment.
Then Wilbur chops Methro's head off with a shovel and they drag the body into a nearby mineshaft so Bob can autopsy the zombie to determine cause of undeath, only Bob secretly bogarted Wilbur's entire bag of Hashensack Premium, and so all he's really good for is recitin' lines from The Wizard of Oz and doin' Kirlian aura readins. You'd think it'd be impossible to find a solution just from rootin' around in a heap of craft service table leftovers, but in a testament to Bob's pre-veterinary science trainin', he eventually mellows out and discovers a weakness in zombie physiology that can be traced back to exposure to Sure Ultra Dry, givin' the group a faint flicker of hope in their quest to avoid becomin' Frito pie fixins. Meantime though, the soldier of misfortune's recruited a less subtle version of Corporal Klinger and an urban supremacist to help 'im retrieve the drum, only by this point Elly May's delivered several dozen mason jars fulla Defiled Turkey to the townsfolk and the army guys get torn a new foxhole by them zombie Duke boys. Then the entire town of Corpseus Christi surround the campers and more or less turn 'em all into the meatloaf special at Mack's Stacks of Manly Snacks except for Lisa who's able to get away because the director's been makin' Texas Chain Saw Massacre jokes for the last 75 minutes and needs her to recreate the famous Leatherface chase scene for the big finale. I'm gonna need to stop here cause it's downright exhaustin' tryin' to make fun of a movie that beats you to the punch every time you think you've got somethin' clever to say, but you'll wanna stick around for the exciting and unexpected zombie climax to the immortal, Redneck Zombies.
Alrighty, so you probably already know the score when it comes to Troma movies, but it'd be irresponsible and unprofessional of me to simply state - "it's a Troma movie," and just end the review, even though there's really no more concise way of summing up Redneck Zombies. Whatever you think of their movies, Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz deserve both credit and respect for doing things their own way for so long, and for being among the last of a nearly extinct breed of independent filmmakers. Roger Corman's still kicking around, occasionally releasing flicks direct to Syfy, and Charlie Band's still hangin' in there producing ultra low-budget fare frequently funded through crowdsourcing, but I can't help but think Troma will be the last man standing just for the fact that they're the originators of the "bad on purpose" genre of film. I've never been able to truly enjoy any movie that comes right out in the first few minutes and basically says: "look, we don't have the money to make a professional flick, so we're not even gonna try." Now, you could argue that with budgets this small (and make no mistake, Troma budgets are among, if not *the* smallest of any studio in the history of film) it would literally be impossible to make a serious film, and you may very well be right - it's just not my thing. That said, Troma has produced and/or distributed a few real gems, including the genuinely entertaining Toxic Avenger series, the Class of Nuke 'Em High flicks, Bloodsucking Freaks (which, despite not being a great flick, is absolutely one-of-a-kind), and the ultra bleak, yet morbidly fascinating, Combat Shock - you've just gotta wade through a lot of mediocrity to find them. Troma flicks are just too self aware for me to enjoy, because I've always been of the opinion that the best bad movies are accidents. And to my knowledge, Troma, regardless of how you feel about their offerings, has never made a movie that got away from them and ended up becoming something they were ashamed of. I realize that I'm rambling about the studio as a whole rather than going into specifics about this particular title, but Troma has, does, and always will have such a unique quirkiness that you can detect their trademark insanity 30 seconds into anything they've ever made, and for that reason, to review one is to review nearly all of their offerings. I guess you could say Troma isn't so much a film studio as a philosophy, with Professor Lloyd's musings oozing out into the dark corners of society frequented by various twisted misfits who then become so enamored with his teachins and style that they aspire to make their own films, eventually resulting in Guardians of the Galaxy.
Guess ya all know what's comin' now, and yes, I realize critiquing the production values on a Troma movie is basically the cinematic equivalent of breaking Godwin's Law, but you've gotta subject them to the same rules as anything else. To do otherwise would be a far greater act of dismissal/disrespect than giving them a free pass on the basis that they're "supposed to be" a certain way. Troma movies live and die by their entertainment value, so if you're a hardcore Troma fan who's screamed the words "he's missing the point!" at your screen 229 times throughout the course of the review, it's probably best to just skip this part. The plot, broadly speaking, isn't really any different from many beloved Horror titles, including flicks like Return of the Living Dead, and C.H.U.D., so I'm not gonna jump all over it for using the time-tested "chemical waste creates monsters" template. The movie's also got numerous callbacks to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre used for comic effect, and these scenes feature some of the funniest stuff in the flick - including the hitchhiking sequence where a lunatic barber slices up Elly May's arm with a disposable Bic razor. All things considered the premise is actually fine, with director Lewnes maintaining fluid pacing, even if the flick is largely an amalgam of successful cliches from movies past. The acting is, as you might suspect, extremely green, due to factors so obvious they really needn't be mentioned. The majority of the cast never acted again, and likely participated for no reason other than to help out a friend, or because it was a fun way to spend their weekends for 32 consecutive weeks. It should be said that Lisa DeHaven is actually not too bad an actress, and gives a pretty good performance during the speech where she loses it and chews out the two jackasses who're beatin' the stuffins outta each other. Martin Wolfman makes for an acceptable bargain bin Eddie Deezen and gets some of the funnier lines, and Anthony Burlington-Smith is pretty entertaining as the progressively shell-shocked Bob, but at the end of the day almost all these folks are non-actors, and there's no getting around that. The script helps out with suitable dialog, including the gems: "This place is beaver shit, man!", and "Maybe they're a coupla damn dykes. Sure wish I was a little Dutch boy," but yeah, it's generally unsalvageable.
Here's who matters and why: James H. Housely (Invader 1992, Twilight of the Dogs), William Decker (The Toxic Avenger II & III), Pericles Lewnes (The Toxic Avenger III, Shatter Dead, Fistful of Brains), William E. Benson (The Toxic Avenger II & III), Jeff Harris (Blood Diner).
The special effects are atrocious, if plentiful, and seem to consist of various food products slopped up to resemble guts, with unidentifiable crud smeared on people's faces to simulate gore in what could be considered an unforced error, given that most of these dead folks've only joined the recently deceased within the last 24 hours and don't really require any rot. That said, the movie that attempts special effects it can't afford is *always* more entertaining than the ones that refuse on the basis that you can't fail if you don't try, so I think they're due a little credit for making a go of it when some crews wouldn't have the guts, no pun intended. One thing you can say for Troma is they let it all hang out, and for that reason, they have never, nor will they ever, make a boring film. The shooting locations are alright, with the bulk of the exterior sequences being filmed in the bustling metropoli of Smyrna, Delaware (population 5000 at the time of filming), and Delmar, Maryland (population 1300, circa 1986). Despite being pretty small towns, the scenes in the woods don't really sync up if you're expecting rednecks from traditional redneck areas like the deep south, but the rustic houses are pretty authentic. It's also obvious (particularly with the exteriors) that the same paths are being used over and over, and at one point they end up inside a "cave" that's just blacked out room with no visible features, but I'll still give it a few points here, even if just for the toddler in the washing machine sequence. The soundtrack consists of a few goofy acoustic guitar songs (including "Redneck Zombie Blues") complete with suitable Country twang and amusing lyrics, as well as a series of synth tracks. The synthesizer tunes are the bulk of the score, and while they're a bit repetitive, they're passable. So nothing especially memorable here, but the soundtrack's worth a few points for the lyrical content of the opening "Love Theme." Overall, Redneck Zombies is standard Troma fare, with the added distinction of being the only shot-on-video movie in history to get worldwide distribution. As for whether or not you should see it - you probably already know the answer to that. If you like Troma flicks and somehow haven't caught it yet, by all means, check it out, you'll love it. If Troma isn't your thing, this won't be the movie that changes that trend.