• A Review Page For Those Movies You Watch At Home!

    Couch Potato Movie Reviews is, obviously, a blog that exclusively reviews movies. What makes this blog different is the fact that all of the films we are reviewing are all movies that are available on home movie rental companies such as Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and your quickly disappearing neighborhood rental store. This blog is designed to take a more detailed look at those movies that either were sent straight to DVD, received a very limited release in the theaters, or were distributed through the art house or film festival circuit. We will also review those big Hollywood films, but only after they are available for home viewing.

    All the reviews are written by fans of the great art of film making rather than some newspaper reviewer or stuffy film student. We don’t know everything about film but we do know what we like, and we are more than happy to share our opinions with you. What you do with those opinions are totally up to you, although comments are welcome and encouraged.

    Each film review has a one to five star rating at the end of the critique. Here is what those star ratings mean for you couch potatoes:

    * * * * * : Five stars: go and buy this one, don’t just rent it!

    * * * * : Four stars: put this at the top of your rental list.

    * * * : Three stars: average, not bad just not great either.

    * * : Two stars: only rent if you have to see everything.

    * : One star: don’t waste your time with this.

Redneck Zombies

TITLE: Redneck Zombies

YEAR: 1989

GENRE: Horror and Comedy

Troma Studios is best known for its 1980’s offerings especially The Toxic Avenger and Class Of Nuke ‘Em High, but they also deserve credit for being an innovator in the film industry in terms of the advancement of independent cinema. Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz were instrumental in distributing numerous films to this day that became cult hits such as Surf Nazis Must Die and Rabid Grannies. Kaufman and Herz also brought new ideas in creativity and technology that were ignored by theHollywoodmachine that now are fairly standard in the low budget cinema world. One of those historic films that changed independent cinema is the zombie comedy Redneck Zombies, which was the first film with major distribution that was exclusively shot on video. This is not Troma’s best offering, but Redneck Zombies is a remotely entertaining project that is more comical than scary.

Redneck Zombies starts with traumatized teenager Lisa Dubois (played by Lisa M. DeHaven) in a mental institution telling the story of the undead cannibal kinfolk from Hell. A barrel of radioactive toxic waste disappears in the rural South, and military man Tyrone Robinson (Tyrone Taylor) is commissioned to find the 55 gallon drum and bring it back safely to his Army base. Unfortunately the steel drum is discovered by dim-witted career moonshiner Jed Clemson (William Decker) in which he turns into his new still. Jed’s sons distribute the white lightning to his clientele, and upon consuming the green hooch the hillbillies turn into blood-craving zombies. A group of college students go into the woods to go camping and discover the redneck zombies, and the battle for survival begins.

The production values for Redneck Zombies is quite lacking, the makeup and gore effects are amateurish, and the script can be plodding at times, but the bizarre characters throughout the film do make the movie interesting and entertaining. The Tobacco Man (William E. Benson) is a creepy guy with a blood-soaked rag over his cancer ridden face selling chewing tobacco out of the back of a pick-up truck like ice cream and is one of the weirder characters in any Troma movie, the mental patient burning holes in his arms with used up cigarettes was outlandish, and the cross dressing redneck Billy Bob “Ellie Mae” Clemson (Pericles Lewnes) is especially interesting, over the top at times, and probably the best actor in this production. The untimely deaths of some of the teenagers will also generate a laugh or two: one germ-obsessed college student tries to apply Bactine to his obviously fatal wounds just before he dies, and another one drinks himself into a stupor as he battles the undead with his empty liquor bottles. Redneck Zombies also has some psychedelic moments that look straight out of the 1960’s when the good old boys drown themselves in the moonshine which has some mixed results as most of the time these effects are more annoying than effective. Dubois telling her story from a psyche ward is also not very creative as quite a few slasher films of the 1980’s used this setting.

Director/producer Pericles (who also played Billy Bob) surprisingly made his movie career mostly in special effects, doing the makeup for two of the Toxic Avenger films as well as the late 80’s TV show “Monsters”. Although not a high quality production, Redneck Zombies did pave the way for hundreds of film makers armed with handheld cameras that could not afford the expense of 35mm film and made a project that did receive a limited theatrical release and has been in print for home viewing for over 20 years. Since most straight to DVD/Blue Ray films are now produced on more modern versions of video or digital tape instead of film so a project like Redneck Zombies does deserve a mention in the annals of  low budget film history for trailblazing that path. In this respect Redneck Zombies does deserve a viewing to show how far the technology of indie film making has come. The characters in Redneck Zombies are more creative than most indie zombie films, and this does make the end result more tolerable. Not Troma’s best film by a long shot, but it is one of the more memorable ones.

* * *

–Mark

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: