Monday, 1 September 2014



Nothing to do with Marino Girolami's silly but passably entertaining Zombie Holocaust, this gory New Zealand splatter comedy plays strictly for laughs throughout, echoing early Peter Jackson and the less morally offensive output from Troma rather than serious horror films. It has a few digs at the genre movie industry, a sweetly clumsy romance, the occasional bit of genuinely gruesome bad taste horror (specifically a penis visual), and it is obviously trying. Sadly it doesn't entirely work.

Fresh out of film school, hapless but enthusiastic nerd Wesley is hired as a runner and general whipping boy on the set of a clearly terrible low-budget zombie movie. He is, of course, bullied and humiliated, falling in love with the catering girl in the process, while trying to get his own zombie movie script read by the tyrannical director. But all the low-budget movie fakery suddenly turns very real as genuine zombies turn up for unspecified reasons, surrounding the film crew with the actual walking dead....

The characters are all very broadly drawn, from the ridiculously muscular idiot lead and the ridiculously shouty director through to the ridiculously horrible prima donna actress. Except for Wesley himself, that is: his nerd-lite hero is closer to the bumbling innocent of Peter Jackson's Braindead than a frankly offensive depiction such as, say, The Toxic Avenger's Melvin (a characterisation of nerdiness that comes dangerously close to mocking the mentally handicapped).

It is intermittently amusing, and some of the gory highlights are suitably horrible. But just being intermittently amusing really isn't enough these days and making gags about horror movies is something you can only get away with in the context of a really good horror movie. Wes Craven's Scream can pull it off, while a piece of injoke laden hackwork like Hack! really cannot. Sadly, I Survived A Zombie Holocaust is a long way behind Scream: not completely at the other end of the scale, but too far away to really be able to get away with it. Not entirely terrible, but not really good enough.


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