Seymour Mace - Johnny Hellfire
Warren Speed - Pervo the Clown
Victoria Hopkins - Skye Brannigan
Victoria Broom - Rachel Brannigan
Marysia Kay - Red Zander
Peter Bonner - Zeus
Kate Soulsby - Harmony Starr
Bill Fellows - Henry Zander
Gillian Settle - Blue Zander
Christian Steel - Tycho Zander
Genre - Horror/Comedy/Zombies/Indie
Running Time - 85 Minutes
Have you ever wondered what type of women Satan is attracted to? I mean, does he fancy model-esque women, like Gisele Bundchen or Heidi Klum? Does he like bigger women, like Mo'Nique or Kirstie Alley? Maybe he likes men who dress like women, like RuPaul, who knows? What do you think?
Wait...you've never asked yourself these questions?
Do you want to know why?
Because NO ONE GIVES A BLOODY FOOK!
And neither do the creators of ZOMBIE WOMEN OF SATAN, where Satan doesn't even make an appearance or get a slight mention, even though his name is plastered to sell copies of this independent horror film from the great United Kingdom. You know what else the creators don't give a bloody fook about? A decent script, direction, or even entertaining its audience.
That's right, everyone. It's one of those reviews. The WTF? Vault is back after a six-month hiatus, ready to bite into this piece of zombie crap! God save the Queen...and my sanity!
A group of traveling burlesque performers [Johnny Hellfire (Seymour Mace), Pervo the Clown (Warren Speed), Harmony Starr (Kate Soulsby), Zeus the dwarf (Peter Bonner), Damage (Joe Nicholson), and singer Skye Brannigan (Victoria Hopkins)] grab the attention of a really weird family, who seem to be inviting naive ladies to drink their Kool-Aid. The son, Tycho (Christian Steel), hosts an internet TV show and wants to interview the group. Unfortunately, things at the cult are taking a turn for the worse. It seems Tycho's father, Henry (Bill Fellows), is doing some experiments on these cult girls, turning them into zombies.
It seems that someone spiked the Kool-Aid with the zombie serum at one of the cult parties that occurred during the TV interview, turning all the cult members into blood-hungry zombies. Warned by his sisters Red (Marysia Kay) and Blue (Gillian Settle), Tycho locks the burlesque group inside the studio while he and his sisters deal with the problem. Unfortunately, Skye recognizes her long-lost sister Rachel (Victoria Broom) as one of the uninfected cult girls, giving her motivation to kill these zombies and rescue Rachel. The other members just try and survive while making the lamest jokes ever.
Where's that bomb from THE RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD when you need it? It would have saved me 85 minutes of my life.
I have three words for ZOMBIE WOMEN OF SATAN:
WHAT THE FUCK!?
ZOMBIE WOMEN OF SATAN is a low budgeted horror film that was made by people who wanted to make a film for themselves and their friends, forgetting that an actual audience with some level of taste would be watching also. It's even more frustrating when the film has such a cool title and a concept that really is sure-fire for success, budget or not. But when you have incapable filmmakers behind-the-scenes, it all goes to poop.
The biggest culprit is the screenplay. I really don't know where to start because there's just so many things wrong with how the narrative is presented. I guess I can start with something positive and say that the narrative moves from a point A to a point B without confusing its audience. After all, ZOMBIE WOMEN OF SATAN is pretty much a movie where a man, thinking he's God, creates zombies who want to feed on innocent humans who'll kill them to survive. You really can't screw that up. Fortunately, Seymour Mace and Steve O'Brien make the main plot of the film understandable enough that we understand what's going on and accept things in context of the story. Unfortunately, that's as far as the plot development goes. The surface is fine, but there's no depth or meat to make anyone want to care what they're watching here.
One of the reasons for this is lack of character development. On paper, all these characters sound great. Pervo the Clown is a perverted clown who loves banging women. Skye Brannigan is an edgy rock singer who kicks ass once she learns her sister is still alive. The Zander family are a bunch of kooks who run a cult and uses their members as lab rats. Just typing that makes ZOMBIE WOMEN OF SATAN sound more interesting than it actually is. We know nothing about these characters because we're given nothing. Yeah, they all do things within the film that makes them stand apart from each other in a stereotypical fashion, but all horror films do that. We get no back stories for these characters. They don't really change from beginning to end. They do things that leave me bored, uninterested, or confused because they come off as one-dimensional rather than actual people. Most zombie films work well because the protagonists are colorful, fleshed-out, and actually behave in ways that we can understand and relate to them. Since I have no opportunity to know these characters on more than just a superficial level, why should I, or anyone else, care?
The lack of character development stems from the fact that nothing is really explained in detail. Henry performs these experiments on these girls behind Tycho's back. Why? What is his purpose for doing this? Is he trying to bring a loved one back to life? No. Does he want to play God? Not sure because nothing in the film is able to answer that. It's there because it has to be there for the story to work. Why are there zombies? Because Henry is making them. But I couldn't tell you why.
Same goes to the rest of his family. The Zanders are a really kooky bunch, and if they were three-dimensional, they could have been great characters. The problem is that we don't know why they do the things they do. Why is Tycho running a cult when he seems to be pretty made as a TV internet host? Yeah, he's banging all the girls in the cult but what else is there? Why is his mother chained to a wall in Henry's lab? She's obviously insane, but was she like that before being the family's prisoner? Did Henry do that to her in an experiment? All I know about this woman is that she lost more than few marbles, begs Henry to touch and fuck her [I'm not kidding - she does this on more than one occasion to an annoyingly degree], and enjoys kissing her son while watching him bang a zombie, which was filmed on a video camera by his father, Henry. And I won't go into Red and Blue, who just seem indifferent about the whole incestuous situation as if it's normal. These are all interesting developments in a screenplay, but they're nothing without any sort of explanation behind them. I'm not supposed to take things for a grain of salt. I'm supposed to understand why things are happening the way they're supposed to in this film by a good screenwriter explaining to me through well-developed scenes and/or dialogue.
The other group of characters are no strangers to this either. Pervo the Clown brings women to his hotel room, plays Twister with them, and supposedly sleeps with them. Johnny Hellfire is annoyed by Pervo's behavior, yet takes one of his girls to his room. What does he do with her? Ties her to a chair as he duct tapes her mouth, while two other women wearing gas masks are sitting and watching the show.
What the fuck am I supposed to do with that??? What does this mean? Why are these characters doing this?
Also, it seems Pervo has a thing for Johnny, as he actually masturbates to a photo of him after an argument, trying to convince himself that he isn't gay. Not once was this subplot ever brought up beforehand or even played out in a way that it comes off as natural rather than a joke that misfires in every single way. Having just the punchline doesn't make people laugh. It just pisses them off.
Speaking of a shitty joke, there's literally a close to ten minute sequence of Zeus taking a dump in the woods as a zombie chases after him. I'm not kidding. He takes two minutes to find a damn spot, and then another five or six to push it out. And of course, we get all the poop sounds for those without the benefit of being deaf or dumb. And did I forget to mention that the last moment of this sequence is actually seeing his poop steaming on the grass in a close-up? It's not funny. It doesn't move the story along. It's not like DATE MOVIE, where Jinxers the Cat takes that massive dump in the toilet. That's funny because it's a puppet cat, it's out-of-the-blue and gives the cat some character [as juvenile as it is], and doesn't last ten fuckin' minutes! I could see something stupid like this in a spoof film. This type of filler doesn't belong in a zombie horror film.
Hell, most of the film is filled with jokes like these. Some might make you chuckle slightly at how stupid they are, but most of them will just make you make you wish you were watching something else. Oh look at Pervo wearing nipple tassels on his ass while he takes a pee! Are Pervo and Johnny making fun of each other with the unfunniest disses ever? Awesome! Golly, how funny is watching the characters playing with the zombie's boobs rather than killing her? I'm dying all right, but it isn't from laughter. The funniest part of the film was watching a zombie go after a victim in a wheelchair. At least that was memorable for all the right reasons, unlike 95 percent of this film. I guess I sold my sense of humor to Satan to watch this movie. I'm definitely asking for a refund.
As for the dialogue, let's just say that I almost thought Rob Zombie had written it. If there was a drinking game for the number of F-bombs that were dropped during this movie, I'd be dead from alcohol poisoning. And they're used just because the word "fuck" is edgy and dangerous, man! I also "love" that Skye's battle cry after each kill is "You bitch!" How clever.
Look, I'm not looking for David Mamet here. But every filmmaker should put some effort into their script. Just because you have a small budget doesn't mean you should have a small script. The screenplay has to be the best thing about this type of film. Unfortunately, it's the worst thing about it, which ruins the entire experience. If there was some actually care and polish during the writing process, this film could have been pretty great because there are actual moments here that could have led to really effective and memorable scenes. But I guess since the filmmakers figured that cussing and displaying boobs every three minutes would make up for that. Silly me.
Speaking of boobs, ZOMBIE WOMEN OF SATAN is full of them. At least this distracted me from being completely bored. I have to thank that one zombie whose fun bags were so huge, that I'm surprised she didn't knock herself out while running. Her children will be so lucky when they're born. Sure, it's a bit sexist since [besides Pervo, who is shirtless and has an ass shot] pretty much all the zombie women are nude to some extent. But that sexism is the only thing that doesn't feel forced in this film. So I'll take it and enjoy it as little as I can. How do you think I managed to watch this film for 90 minutes? The story? Psh!
The gore isn't great, but there's a lot of red stuff here. Unfortunately, the FX isn't all that convincing and most of the deaths take place off screen. As a matter of fact, most of these zombies die to massive blows to the head. And when we do see them die in other ways, you can clearly tell it's a mannequin getting it. It's a low budget, so that's understandable. But that's why a stronger script was needed here. This only adds to how bad this film really is.
The direction by both Steve O'Brien and Warren Speed is unimpressive. The camera work annoyed me more times than I could count. It shook a whole lot during the fight scenes. The editing is terrible. There were a lot of shots from the ground that, I guess, was supposed to create some sort of creepy effect, but it just comes off as amateur. Slow motion is also used here, but it's done in unoriginal ways. Even the timing and pacing is off. Not a visual masterpiece, that's for sure.
The acting was okay. I won't get into everyone, but they all did fine with what they were given. I thought Seymour Mace, Warren Speed, Christian Steel, and Victoria Hopkins were the better actors here for all different reasons. It would have been nice if they had better material at their disposal, but apparently these Zombie Women don't believe in that.
THINGS I'VE LEARNED WHILE REALIZING THAT THE ONLY SATANIC THING ABOUT THIS FILM ARE THE 85 MINUTES OF HELL I SACRIFICED WATCHING IT
- Henry's wife constantly begged him, "Touch me! Touch me!" Ew, she is no Samantha Fox! Still, "Naughty Girls Need Love Too".
- Pervo the Clown, The World's Greatest Knife Thrower, didn't throw any, taking his assistant, Harmony Starr, away instead. I guess he'll feed her his sword backstage then...
- Tycho renamed one of the cult girls "Zed". Well, she does make his "monster" grow...
- A bunch of girls turned into zombies after drinking some spiked Kool-Aid. Next time, more sugar and less Trioxin. Oh yeah!
- Tycho used golf club to kill a zombie. Before you swing and score, you must yell "Fore!" before nailing that whore. Tiger Woods would be proud.
- Tycho screwed a zombie while his dad videotaped it for Tycho's mom. Incest AND necrophilia - looks like this family tajes the game of Taboo a bit too seriously...
THE FINAL HOWL
I watch films looking for the good rather than the bad. This is especially true for low budget horror films. But doing that for ZOMBIE WOMEN OF SATAN is pretty much an impossible task. It's not the worst film I've seen, but it's pretty close. I can forgive the cheap looking gore and special effects. I can forgive the really campy acting. But I can't forgive a horrible script, which should be the main focus for any low budget movie. And with terrible direction as well, I can't recommend this film to anyone at all - unless you like really lame, juvenile humor and a dwarf taking a dump for 10 minutes. If you want to watch a true zombie-comedy from the UK, stick with SHAUN OF THE DEAD. I'm sending ZOMBIE WOMEN OF SATAN to the WTF? Vault, where it can rot for all I care and...
0.5 Howls Outta 4