Friday, 17 April 2020

Plague Times Diary (12) - Rod Bishop discovers Charles Band's CORONA ZOMBIES (USA, 2020). You can't keep the exploitation sector down for long.

How to make a horror film about Covid-19 in a world of social distancing?
Veteran schlocker Charles Band has solved that problem. Shoot five minutes or so of an LA bimbo called “Barbie” - the humour doesn’t get much better than that - at home watching TV and hoarding toilet rolls. Then cut it together with copious amounts of redubbed footage from Bruno Mattei’s Hell of the Living Dead(1980) and Alex Nicolaou’s Zombies vs Strippers(2012). Mix in a few Trump TV pressers and news grabs of millennials talking about partying on until they get forced into isolation and hey, presto you’ve got the world’s first Covid-19 zombie comedy.
Band’s inventive narrative mash-up is certainly this one-hour film’s best feature. Everything goes downhill pretty fast. 
The plot surrounds a bat soup created by Scambell’s Soup Factory that – you guessed it – turns common-or-garden folk into zombies and they start eating up the rest of the world’s population at an exponential rate. A paramilitary Corona Squad and a TV reporter in “the jungles of Baltimore” are chasing down Franϛois, a toilet paper hijacker who has turned to crime after losing a Matt Dillon lookalike contest.
The paramilitary machine-gun zombies and tell them: “That’ll teach you for not washing your hands”. Other humour is at the level of: “Haven’t you seen any George Romero? You shoot them in the head” or “Your mama is so fat, her belly button gets home 15 minutes before she does” or “you look like Barbara Bush on meth”. The warning to stay away from the Tits and Nickels Strip Club– decimated by the corona zombies – is “Stay at home and help flatten the curve, no matter how desperate you are to see a naked woman”.
68-year-old Charles Band has directed 43 features and has producer credits on over 290 films. If his work has improved with age, I’d hate to see - in Woody Allen’s words - “his earlier funny films”.

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