Julien Neaves – Editor
Fans of obscure films may remember 2002 martial arts comedy Kung Pow! Enter the Fist which used footage from the 1976 Hong Kong martial arts film Tiger and Crane Fists but with new, dubbed-over dialogue to create a new narrative. Well Full Moon Features (the guys behind the Puppet Master franchise) has taken that approach to its latest “film” Corona Zombies as it mixed original content with dubbed-over footage of 1980 Italian zombie horror Hell of the Living Dead and scenes from 2012 American exploitation comedy-horror Zombies vs Strippers.
As you would guess by its name Corona Zombies is set during the current covid-19 pandemic and also splices in actual news footage of US President Donald Trump speaking about the issue, and also footage of young Americans saying that they will party despite the pandemic. Here is my spoiler-free (though there is not much movie to spoil here) review in three bites:
Bite 1: What is this thing?
Calling this one hour movie a “movie” is an overstatement. It is a weird meta-mashup satire dressed up as a film. Mind you, Corona Zombies’ director and Full Moon Features head Charles Band made a film in 2003 called Puppet Master: The Legacy which was 90 per cent a clip show from previous Puppet Master films, so this is on brand for them.
The original content (and there’s not much here) stars Cody Renee Cameron (El Camino, Death Camp) as your stereotypical dumb blonde who discovers the real-life covid-19 pandemic and then (not real-life) that the infected were turning into zombies. Her greatest concern, however, is the closure of nail salons and finding toilet paper. None of this stuff works and despite being brief the narrative lacks internal consistency or any humour. I did appreciate the film including actual covid-19 preventative measures as you can never have enough of that. Wash your hands people!
Bite 2: Something borrowed, something chewed
The Zombies vs Strippers footage seems just there to fill up the already brief run-time and to add some nudity and gore to the proceedings. The Hell of the Living Dead dubbed-over footage, though, actual has a few jokes that work including some feature meta-comedy. There is one scene where a guy is attacked by a zombie and screams: “This is not social distancing”. Good times.
But overall the writing for the dubbed-over segments is lazy and I was bored for half of it. And it goes on and on and on. Strangely I found myself wanting to check out the original film with its excessive gore and (I presume) bonkers storyline.
Bite 3: Can I get my hour back?
I believe the intention of Corona Zombies was to mock people who don’t want to social distance but that gets buried by the crappy original content and the uninspired use of the borrowed content. Now I am no film snob and I love so-bad-its-good horror films like Troll 2 and Birdemic and your good old low budget gore fest. But Corona Zombies is neither of these things. This is more trying to be so-bad-it’s-good while doing a poor man’s Mystery Science Theatre 3000 sans the film commentary.
Corona Zombies is such a stupid, messy, stitched-together excuse-for-a-film you kind of want to see it just to wonder what the hell these people were thinking or smoking. Or maybe they just went quarantine-crazy. Who knows.
Score: 2 out of 10
For a much better covid-19 horror film (and an actual movie) you can check out a review 19, a short film shot with a phone and a flashlight, by clicking here.
Julien Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. Also loves promoting Caribbean film, creating board games and is an aspiring author. Says things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”. Can also be found talking about TV and movie stuff on Instagram as redmanwriter and on Facebook at Movieville