I’ve never heard of Mark Polonia, but apparently he’s been directing, writing, producing, acting and probably catering his own movies since 1986. And he’s made dozens of them, none of which I’ve heard of either, though their titles will remind you of others – which I suppose is the intent. If you’re a low-budget filmmaker, or even a no-budget filmmaker, sometimes you have to ride on the proverbial coattails of bigger films (I’m looking at you as I’m writing this, The Asylum).
And the list of his films is impressive. Well, the titles are: AMITYVILLE DEATH HOUSE, SPLATTER BEACH, RAZORTEETH, PETER ROTTENTAIL, PREYLIEN: ALIEN PREDATORS, BLOOD RED PLANET, FEEDERS 2: SLAY BELLS… you get the idea. Fred Olen Ray and Mark could probably meet up after work in a bar and talk over the wildest titles they’ve produced to fill up DVD shelves.
It’s a bit disconcerting, to find someone who’s been in a business you thought you were pretty knowledgeable about. It’s like finally talking with the guy who’s lived three doors down from you all your life, and only now you’re finding out he was a former glam rock star or Nazi hunter, or a glam rock star Nazi hunter. Now, it could be that my lack of knowledge is simply because maybe only five or six people have seen his work.
Except that in 1996 the alien invasion film FEEDERS was picked up by Blockbuster in the aftermath of the commercial success of INDEPENDENCE DAY, and became Blockbuster’s Number One independent-film rental for the year. Mark Polonia had a twin brother John, and both of them have written, directed and produced over forty feature films, mostly in the genres of horror and sci fi. John Polonia died suddenly at the age of 39 in 2008. Mark Polonia continued to make films with childhood friend and longtime film collaborator Matt Satterly, through their production company Cinegraphic Productions.
Mark’s latest effort, BIGFOOT VS ZOMBIES, certainly has a decent poster for it, but of course if I was the sort of rube who took a movie poster at face value, I’m sure there’s a Nigerian prince in my life somewhere… and I’m sure Scott can appreciate a good Bigfoot movie.
Well, this isn’t a good Bigfoot movie. It’s not even the best movie released this week with a V in its title (you know the one I mean: the one with the two angry orphans bitch-slapping each other, only not really). It’s set on an FBI body farm, where a scientist, Doctor Peele (Jeff Kirkendall) has as a hobby created a toxin of chemicals to reanimate flesh, and of course some of it has leaked into the local groundwater to affect the bodies buried there, and as the IMDB Summary puts it, “Raises a small army of flesh-eating zombies”.
A small army of flesh-eating zombies. And by “small army”, they mean four. And by “flesh-eating”, they mean “doing the mime grab without actually showing anything approaching flesh eating”. And by “zombies”, they mean some are painted grey, some have Halloween masks on, some just stand there, some do the magical thing where they appear out of nowhere when a character turns around despite being out in the open and there’s no way they could sneak up on them”.
Ahem. Anyway, there’s a couple of goofballs bringing in some more bodies, a security guard who looks like Lee Majors, a female scientist (Danielle Donahue)… and of course, Bigfoot (Steve Diasparra), who is kept in fleeting glimpses for the beginning of the film. And with good reason: once he’s out in the open, helping our heroes with dealing with the hordes, you can see that it’s probably one of the worst-looking Bigfoot suits you can imagine. Picture a moth-eaten gorilla costume that came to life when a bolt of lightning struck it and activated the sperm left inside from a furries convention…
As you can imagine, this is a dire movie. The “threat” from these creatures is so minimal a tortoise without his shell could evade them. The doctor’s lab is set in a house. The headshots are quick CGI. The zombies are few and far between. The hero has a mullet that Billy Ray Cyrus thought was a little over the top. The Bigfoot is shorter than most of the actors (even with the Cher wig attached to it).
Now, is it all bad? Actually, no. There is a sense of fun to it all. The camerawork is quite decent, with some inventive shots and angles, and the overall look of the film is better than you might expect for a film that conceivably could have cost about a thousand dollars.
And the last act in the movie takes place at night, which hides a lot of the movie’s shortcomings considerably, including the paucity of zombies and the awful Bigfoot costume. Had Polonia kept most of the movie set at night, my assessment of it would have been higher.
Sorry, Scott, I know you’ve been waiting for a movie to combine Bigfoots (Bigfeet?) and zombies, but this isn’t it. The film is available in various formats, and the trailer is below.
Director: Mark Polonia (also writer)
Plot: 1 out of 5 stars
Gore: 2 out of 10 skulls
Zombie Mayhem: 2.5 out of 5 brains
Reviewed by Deggsy. You know what they say about men with Big feet…