Sunday, 9 May 2010

Zombeak

2009
Dir. Sam Drog

A motley crew of bumbling Satanists kidnap a sassy waitress to offer her up as a bride to the Devil and to become the mortal mother of the antichrist. However, her mechanic boyfriend and his fascistic, no-bullshit Highway Patrol Officer brother have other ideas and set out to rescue her and give the Satanists an ass kicking of Biblical proportions.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Skip to the part about the zombie chicken!!

Unfortunately, their ill-planned intervention merely serves to botch the unholy ritual in progress and all the power of hell is inadvertently transferred into an unlikely host: a recently departed sacrificial chicken. Now, as the forces of good and evil battle it out between themselves, a demonic, flesh-eating barnyard animal is threatening to engulf their very souls and recruit them in its growing army of the living dead!

Dear reader, is it possible to imagine anything more fearsome and terrifying than a Satanic Killer Zombie Chicken? Thought not. Just in case you’re not sure what is going on here, allow me to spell it out. An undead chicken, possessed by the devil and intent on killing innocent human victims. As incredible as it may sound, a Satanic Killer Zombie Chicken is just one of the many horrors in store for viewers of writer-director Sam Drog’s debut horror-comedy, a delightfully grim and really rather trashy (No! Really!?) tale of abduction, devil worship, human sacrifice and, well, poultry. Ahem.

Murder most fowl…

Believe it or not, Zombeak was actually the first of several similarly themed movies to feature a rampaging and murderous chicken. Poultrygeist and Thankskilling ('Gobble Gobble, Motherfucker') also boast chicken-caused-carnage, but it is Zombeak that can lay claim to being the world's first satanic killer zombie chicken movie. Huzzah! That Sam Drog fellow is one hell of a trail-blazer. So with a premise such as this, Zombeak promises much trashy mayhem and bargain basement guffaws. But can it deliver on its potential? Fuck yeah.

Obviously one doesn’t watch a film called Zombeak expecting a life-altering experience. One usually watches a film like Zombeak surrounded by pizza, wine and friends (or whilst lying on the couch surrounded by the deluge of the night before, wondering what has happened to your life) and the assumption that bargain-basement goodness is about to unfold. Thanks to a remarkably low budget, the special effects, acting and script are pretty much what you’d expect from a cheap movie about a Satanic zombie chicken – in other words, they don’t disappoint.

The (maybe not) surprising thing is that Zombeak is actually still a pretty lively, rollicking and really quite endearing film. It doesn't take itself seriously and at a mere 70 minutes, doesn’t outstay its welcome. Much fun is garnered through the flamboyant characters and sideswipes at Goth/Emo culture. The colourful characters picked off by the zombie chicken (words I never thought I’d type) are memorable and funny for all the right reasons. Egocentric leader Leviathan (Daryl Wilcher), committed high priestess Vascara (Tracy Yarkoni), timid Goth boy Gideon (Adam Morris) and mother-obsessed brawny psychopath Samuel (Barry Bishop) are the bumbling Satanists, whilst the ‘good’ guys consist of corrupt cop Fasmagger (Nathan Standridge), dim-witted mechanic Bobby-Ray (Jason Von Stein), blousy waitress Melissa (Melissa K. Gilbert) and her assistant manager Max (Jimmy Lee Smith). The actors all throw themselves into their roles and spout their cheesy, one-liner laden dialogue with gusto.

A number of moments warrant various characters a slow-mo walk through the limited sets accompanied by cool rock music whilst sporting shot guns and looking tough. The combination of traditional effects and some really low quality CGI (when Satan puts in an appearance pre-bird possession, he is a red light that mutters angrily to itself), often raise a smile too as everything is just so charmingly cheap and good natured. The death scenes are hilariously OTT as the actors throw themselves around ‘wrestling’ the chicken puppet… Director Drog never pauses for thought and events blunder excitedly along to their gore-soaked climax that features the expected one-liner pay-off, cathartic bloodbath and obligatory set up for a sequel.

Zombeak is a cheap, gore-laden journey into the darkest realms of the imagination that proves evil does, indeed, taste just like chicken.

Enjoy with wine. Lots of wine.

Zombeak (cert. 15) was released on DVD (£5.99) by MVM on 1st March 2010.

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