Archives for posts with tag: biological warfare

Zombinator

The filming of a fashion documentary furnishes the pretext for a film crew to follow a group of college students around Youngstown, Ohio, on what turns out to be night the city is hit by a zombie plague. Unfortunately, those lured by the inviting sight of the zombie cyborg featured on the cover of The Zombinator are bound to be a bit disappointed, as no such creature actually appears in the film.

The title character (Joseph Aviel) is an Afghanistan veteran trying to save Youngstown and the United States from a military-industrial undead plot being executed on the ground by “war hero” the Colonel (Patrick Kilpatrick) and his team of greedy mercenaries. The young people, meanwhile, spend most of the movie whimpering, cowering, running, and trying not to get bitten.

The film crew’s presence in the story suggests a postmodern self-awareness on the part of The Zombinator‘s makers, but it also presents some puzzling questions. They seem to be an unusually caddish lot, even for movie industry professionals, considering that they continue to shoot with apparent indifference as their associates are attacked, neither lifting a finger to help during combat nor even alerting a group of sleeping girls as the zombies sneak up on them.

The Zombinator achieves an adequate level of suspense, even if the zombies and story are nothing new or particularly special; and occasionally bathetic humor offers a welcome break from the scenes of horror and mediocre action with CGI blood and fake gunfire. Shame on The Zombinator, though, for baiting the audience with the tasty prospect of a zombie-Terminator hybrid and instead delivering a regular old hungry carcass flick.

3 out of 5 stars.

[WARNING: POTENTIAL SPOILERS]

Ideological Content Analysis indicates that The Zombinator is:

9. Anti-tobacco. A cigarette is a “cancer stick”.

8. Racist! A horny black dude stupidly opens a door for some zombie sluts. Paranoid and self-absorbed congoids are apt to assume that even the basement of a Catholic school might be a secret hideout for the KKK. End credits feature a vicious ghetto zombie in a hoodie.

7. Anti-family. Marcus (Justin Brown) was abused by his father.

6. Class-conscious. The 1% gets name-dropped, as does the gentrification neighborhoods of Youngstown are said to be experiencing. “It’s more like civilized murder now.”

5. Anti-Christian. The Zombinator is generally irreverent toward Christianity. A rotten-faced rock singer wears a clerical collar; one Youngstowner recalls seeing a bullet hole in a church bathroom; and priests (one of whom smokes) are ineffective at thwarting zombies. God, meanwhile, is “the one who’s got the biggest dividends.”

4. Anti-Y. Generation Y appears as a wimpy, idiotic, and superficial lot, the Colonel’s suggestion that they are truly “the greatest generation” coming across as masked sarcasm.

3. Anti-cronyism/anti-Obama. “But what about change?” cries a stupid liberal on learning that she and her friends are guinea pigs in a government bio-terror scheme. “What about what everybody voted for, against big corporations?”

2. Antiwar. America’s rulers preside over an empire, not a progressive wonderland, and ignorant young people’s mindless mouthing of patriotic admiration for soldiers rings unmistakably hollow. Afghanistan is a testing ground for biological agents, with soldiers used for deadly experiments.

1. Anti-state and N.W.O.-alarmist, promoting those darned conspiracy theories. “This is government shit, dude,” suspects one of the filmmakers. “If the world doesn’t see this, this is gonna happen everywhere else, too.” Later, the Zombinator explains that, “They have a cure, but they will not use it until it gets so big, after Youngstown is gone, and then they’ll present it on the market and make billions . . . billions and billions on your corpses.” So forget that crap in Contagion (2011) and World War Z (2013) about the valiant public servants over at the CDC and the WHO. This is the real deal.

Nazis at the Center

From They Saved Hitler’s Brain and The Frozen Dead to The Boys from Brazil and, more recently, the gotterdammerung-awful Iron Sky, B-movies have gotten a lot of mileage out of the notion of the Fourth Reich – a return to power by fugitive Nazis who, during the decades intervening since their defeat in World War 2, are supposed to have been plotting and building their organization in some secret hiding place.  Just so that the movie industry can reassure itself that all of the possible bases of Nazi resurgence are covered, Nazis at the Center of the Earth opts for the opposite approach from its cohort Iron Sky, positing that the inevitable Nazi invasion will come not from outside the Earth’s atmosphere, but from within, under Antarctica’s frozen surface.  As in The Boys from Brazil, the infamous Dr. Josef Mengele (Christopher Karl Johnson) is the mastermind behind it all.

Nazis at the Center of the Earth, unfortunately, fares little better than Iron Sky; whereas that one groped for laughs with zany, unhumorous humor, Nazis at the Center of the Earth feels like a comedy with all of the jokes removed.  What funniness there is to be had from it derives from the premise, situations, and visuals: graphic but comfortingly absurd gore scenes and even a cyborg Adolf Hitler (James Maxwell Young), or at least the Fuhrer’s sneering head encased in a terrarium planted on top of a CGI robot body.  With the exception of Jake Busey’s singular turn as Antarctic bacteriological researcher Dr. Reistad, however, most of the actors play the material straight, with the result that the film has an uneven tone, ranging from the ridiculous to the incongruously serious.

Jake Busey, both physically and in his screen presence, is very much a chip off the famous old block, and one wishes he had more to do here than standing around looking odd, as Busey is easily Nazis at the Center of the Earth‘s greatest asset.  Basically competent technically, the film still comes up lacking in the entertainment department.  The gore effects are good, but not sufficiently plentiful to carry the day for horror fans; and whatever suspense is generated during the first half hour is dissipated once it becomes clear the story is going nowhere novel or fun.  The wax flake snow, the pedestrian score, the boring moralizing, and chintzy effects all might be forgiven if only this cheap exploitation effort had acknowledged its roots and gone for the throat with the gore or included some sexy material – or, better yet, some humor in the form of one-liners or comedic characters instead of a generalized, intermittent, and anticlimactic absurdism.

2 stars.

[WARNING: POTENTIAL SPOILERS]

Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Nazis at the Center of the Earth is:

7. Conspiracy theory-friendly.  All those kooks who wrote those books about Nazi flying saucer experiments were right!

6. Euthanasist.  The unfortunate Dr. Maynard (Adam Burch) is kindly put out of his misery by one of his colleagues after being discovered with all of his skin removed.

5. Pro-life/anti-slut.  Dr. Reistad, learning from his girlfriend that she is pregnant, knocks her out and extracts the embryo for its stem cells, which are used to revive the Fuhrer’s head.

4. Zionist.  Dr. Blechman (Andre Tenerelli), captured by the Nazis and identified by Mengele as a Jew, denies this, saying, “No, I’m not religious.”  He is vaporized anyway, having failed to understand that the Nazis and probably WASPs and other gentiles generally hate Jews not because they practice Judaism, but because they are Semites and a biological abomination.  Implicit in Blechman’s punishment is a validation of militant Jewish vigilance.

3. Pro-marriage.  Dr. Morgan (Dominique Swain) accepts when Dr. Moss (Joshua Michael Allen) proposes to her.

2. Anti-Christian.  Hitler seems to be the most religious person in Nazis at the Center of the Earth.  “The Lord of the Universe has been so generous to us in recent years that we bow in gratitude before a Providence that has permitted us to be members of such a great nation,” he proclaims after coming back to life.

1. Anti-racist/anti-fascist/anti-eugenics, etc. (i.e., pro-yawn).  “Bomb every non-Aryan country!” Hitler commands, intending to wipe out the untermensch with flesh-eating bacteriological warheads.  “We are about to start a New World Order where only the strong will survive,” Dr. Mengele explains.

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