Such a crap movie.
When I saw the cover, and saw it starred Corey Feldman and Edward Furlong, I knew I wasn’t going to get THE SEVENTH SEAL. A zombie movie featuring John Connor and Edgar Frog? Could be good for a few laughs to go with a few beers and some pizza.
Well, the beer and pizza was good, anyway.
It opens in the British countryside, where a local milkman (David McClelland), a postman (George McCluskey) and a traffic warden (Michael Gamarano) end up encountering each other while running away from an unseen, unidentified threat. After a while, we get to see the threat: some people, walking slowly. Um, our zombies? Or some overly-medicated people who financed this? Maybe they just died, like say seconds ago, but they’re indistinguishable from the living. Nor do we see any gut-crunching to make them stand out.
We then flashback (Forward? Sideways? We’re not told) to a bedroom, with a tearful American named Samuel Peters (Furlong) watching over his dying wife, while a doctor assures him that they can do nothing further to help her. I have no idea how this ties in what we have been watching so far, and if I hadn’t read the back of the DVD cover, I’d swear it was footage taken from another movie entirely.
Back to our trio, who are desperately trying to invoke the spirit of SHAUN OF THE DEAD as the milkman launches empty bottles at the undead and bicker with each other over what’s going on. They make it back to their village in time to meet some more survivors, who exposit that the Army (unseen, as the budget couldn’t allow for even stock footage, apparently) has surrounded and quarantined the area, and is shooting anyone who tries to get out. So… they return to the zombie-filled countryside, rather than find a house with a cellar? Have they not seen a better zombie movie than this?
We jump back to Furlong, and the tone and look of the movie changes again. And I’m beginning to understand what’s going on. Despite the prominent names of our “stars”, it’s going to be another case of their appearances being more like guest appearances or even cameos (I’ll be proved right; I didn’t make an accurate count, but it looked like Furlong had only ten minutes’ screen time out of a ninety-minute movie, and only gets to interact with the others at the finale. Now, credit to Furlong, he sells the touching scenes of a man about to lose his beloved, but they jar in a movie where zombies are dispatched with milk bottles. As for Feldman? I’ll get to him in a minute.
Back to our survivors, we get some obligatory running about, arguing about where to go and what to do, yadda yadda. It’s not until we get to the local church and meet drunken father Lawrence (Jon Campling, THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UNDEAD, HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS) that they learn the cause of the outbreak: it seems that in an attempt to bring his wife back from the dead, Furlong’s character has raised a voodoo god named Kalfu – played by Feldman.
Because when you think voodoo god, you think of Mouth from THE GOONIES.
And his appearance must be seen to be believed: looking like Edward Scissorhands after his first self-haircut, dressed like a Cenobite on a Pride march, with a face that is slightly less scary than that of the Sesame Street Count and a threat level approximating Captain Hook, Feldman gets his teeth around the scenery and chews like a dog with a bone, and though his appearance in the movie is a measly three minutes, to give him credit he makes the most of it. I’d love to have been on the set with the two of them, bickering about the English weather and the courses their respective careers had taken them, to lead them to this crappy British horror-comedy movie.
And THE ZOMBIE KING is a crappy British horror-comedy movie. Maybe it’s not at Asylum levels, it’s doesn’t fulfil the promise of such a premise. The zombie makeup and gore is minimal until the final battle, as is the action, and the threat. There are a few amusing lines, mostly in the interplay between the first trio of survivors we meet, but nothing on a par with SHAUN OF THE DEAD.
I’ll give it credit, though, both for the voodoo premise making a change from the usual viral infections that start these things (though it does get convoluted with talk of seven souls, seven doorways, seven brides for seven brothers etc, and the voodoo element doesn’t really come into play until the final third of the movie) and for the inclusion of Jon Campling’s over the top performance as the ever-drunken Father Lawrence, standing out from the large, mostly generic and undefined cast. There are also some nice night-time shots in the local graveyard, as the dead rise, but not enough to save it. Keep an eye out COCKNEYS VS ZOMBIES (My review here) for a better successor to SHAUN OF THE DEAD.
In the end, I would only recommend this only for the die-hard Furlong or Feldman fans – all eight of them. There’s a trailer below, and I’m including it even though it’s in German, as it only increases the entertainment value of it. Remember its name, so you don’t accidentally purchase it.
Director: Aidan Belizaire
Plot: 1 out of 5 stars
Gore: 2 out of 10 skulls
Zombie Mayhem: 2 out of 5 brains
Reviewed by Derek “Deggsy” O’Brien. The D is silent. It still can’t believe they’ve made five SCARY MOVIES