Sunday, February 20, 2011

DVD Review: The Walking Dead Girls!

Text © Richard Gary/FFanzeen, 2011
Images from the Internet

The Walking Dead Girls!
Directed by Tyler Benjamin
Cheezy Flicks
70 minutes, USD $14.95

There has been a rash of zombie-related tribute films of late, such the cartooned Night of the Living Dead: Reanimated, and Nicolas Garreau’s Fan of the Dead (both of which have been reviewed on this blog). Now there is the new 75-minute documentary, The Walking Dead Girls!, which further celebrates the newly coined term, “zimbie” (equivalent of zombie bimbo).

There are some interesting interviews here, conducted on the fly by actress Luna Moon (who also hosted the episodic soft-core Vamp Vixens). Let’s start with that…

It would almost be pointless to have a documentary about zombies in any fashion without interviewing the man, himself, George A. Romero (even though this is supposedly about women zombies). He appropriately comments how none of his films are actually about zombies, but the humans who are put in the extraordinary circumstance of being surrounded by the creatures, and how the living interact socially. It’s been documented how his flicks, such as The Night of the Living Dead series, have a strong socio-political bent (consuming ideology, consumerism, fascism, etc.). As always, he’s a master talker, and his brief comments are interesting. It just amazes me that he’s getting old, because it means I am, too…

Another interview is with Lloyd Kaufmann, who created Troma Films. Though most of his films are not zombie related (e.g., Toxic Avenger [and the sequels], Class of Nuke ‘Em High, Tromeo and Juliet, and Terror Firma), he did direct Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead. No matter, the admirable Kaufmann, who refers to himself here as “a married gay man” (he is hitched to Patricia Kaufmann, Film Commissioner of New York State; they have three children) talks about how he went to Yale with Oliver Stone and George W. Bush, and goes on to discuss how hard it is now to get his (and other indie) films distributed in theaters and television, since the Clinton media deregulations. Oh, and though not mentioned here, his book, All I Need to Know about Filmmaking I Learned from the Toxic Avenger, is worth looking up.

There is a talk with one of the original ‘80s “scream queens,” Linnea Quigley, who’s short, butch haircut is a bit of a shocker. Though looking her 50+ years, it’s an improvement over her nude, apparently stoned preview for Jesse Franco’s Blind Target. She explains how hard it was to play Trash in her breakout Return of the Living Dead (and how much she is happy having done it), and her role in both Night of the Demons. I had a chance to meet her at a Chiller Theatre convention in New Jersey in the late ‘80s, and she was really sweet and charming to me and the rest of the nerdboys.

Evil Dead is given a couple of nods, despite it not actually being about zombies. There’s a brief but very humorous interview with the very-underrated Bruce Campbell, talking about his early career. Also, there is a reunion of the three women from the first film, Betsy Blake (who does her demonic giggle), Ellen Sandweiss (who was attacked by a tree in the film), and Sarah York (was credited as Theresa Tilly). They look a bit matronly now, but prove that they can still scream quite effectively. It was a joy.

Some of the other interviews include Martin and Day of the Dead’s John Amplas (who is now an Associate Professor that teaches acting in Pennsylvania), Terry Alexander, the Jamaican pilot in Day, and Boyd Banks, a stand-up comic who appeared in some of the later Dead films and remakes.

We are shown some shots of a couple of conventions (where many of the interviews took place), such as ZomBcon, held in October 2010 in Seattle, and Portland, Oregon’s very humorous Zombie Walk, performed that same month (just coz it’s zombies, does all of them have to have a Thriller dance? Sheesh).

As a connecting thread (threat?) to all the interviews and conventions, we watch the shooting of a zimbie cheesecake calendar, which is shot in pretty straightforward poses, other than the models being made up to look undead (post-dead?) We watch seven of the month’s models as they arrive (i.e., “before”), are made up, their shoot, and on their way out of the studio. Luna gets to ask some Q&As, including asking the participants whether they prefer “slow or fast zombies?” and “brains or flesh?”

The mannequins’ occupations vary from, well, models, to adult actresses and exotic dancers, with ages ranging from 21 to 34. Some come across as kinda vacuous, but others are pretty sharp, with monikers like Mandy Apple, Sexy Lexi, Dara Davey Lilith Eve, and Natasha Timpani; others just use first name only. While none of them inspired me to desire buying the calendar, it was interesting to see the process from beginning to end.

There’s not a lot of social value to this documentary, but hey, we’re talking about zombies, so the point is the fun quotient, not whether this will inform us about world hunger (unless they desire human flesh, of course). It’s a cool breeze way to enjoy an afternoon with fiends. And as for me? Flesh over brains (as food) because it’s less work and quicker to be eating; I like chicken over lobster for that very reason.

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