Saturday, 19 October 2013

Nudist Colony of the Dead - review

1991 (USA)

2007 Pirromount Films DVD R(1)

Contains spoilers.

With an introduction and production notes from writer, rewriter, director, producer Mark Pirro (director) explaining how for this remastered 2007 release of his 1991 goofy horror musical comedy, such was the bad quality of the original footage he had to resort to extreme post-post-production make-over techniques and the use of rehearsal shots just to be in a position to release something he was willing to admit to, I knew this one was going to a bit of a slog. I'm also not going to pretend for one second it's a good film; the story is both absurd and infantile, the songs are irritating and chintzy, the acting b-movie cheesy and despite being a bit of a satirical side-swipe at Christian hypocrisy, it itself is more than little guilty of political incorrectness with Jews, Mexicans and the Japanese all the butt of crude racial stereotyping.

Yet for all its flaws, and a willingness to disengage all critical thinking and flow for an hour and twenty in the weird and corny waters of Pirro's mind it's actually impossible not to actually have some fun with it. The ridiculously exaggerated one dimensional and highly unlikeable characters somehow get under your skin, the story never really goes anywhere but ambles along without ever causing offence and you'll even find yourself humming 'inky dinky doo dah morning' long after the credits have rolled however much you hate yourself for it. I know it's a bad film, heck, it knows it's a bad film, it's just somehow managed to make me not hate it as much as I feel I ought to; which is a lot.

The Sunny Buttocks nudist colony has been forced to close by Christian do-gooders convinced of it's role in corrupting the innocent; you know, think of the kids. Unwilling to go down without a fight the last core group of naturists including the quite preposterous Rachel Latt dressed as an extremely elderly Mrs Druple with prosthetic boobies that hang down to her knees, agree to a suicide pact and a curse to rise from the graves to enact vengeance should any Christian visit the land. Five years later the camp is now called Cutchagussout and is available to hire. Cue, evangelical preacher Reverend Ritz (Dave Robinson) who persuading his parish that the fornicating youth need time away to repent as in his words 'they can't praise the lord with genitals in their mouths', gets a motley assortment of weird and wacky teens to the site where the fun can begin.

For a zombie film it was disappointing that they didn't play a prominent role. Really, other than for a few seconds' cameo here and there they're not really in the film for any of the first hour. The kids arrival at camp, their introductory banter and painfully slow exposition of each quirk that sets them apart from the others and defines their behaviour and dialogue is the focus. Whether it's Lou Jobee (Steve Wilcox), an annoying bible basher who misquotes scripture at every opportunity, Juan Tu (Peter Napoles) who is of Mexican and Japanese decent and is only present to make fun of his  mispronunciation of 'l's, or Fanny Wype (Heather McPherson) and her ever increasing mascara, the kids are painfully shallow with one trick pony jokes that get old very quickly.

The zombies curse proves true, though why they would enact their wrath on kids deemed un-Christian enough to send for lessons on scripture is a rather glaring narrative stumble. Pulling themselves up from their resting places they're surprisingly cognisant able to talk, high-five and prepare elaborate ways for killing the zealots, as they put it. There's no flesh eating or scratching on show with the blue/grey, surprisingly well-covered for a bunch of nudists, preferring knives, strangulation, cheese wire and cars as the method of dispatch. All I'm going to say about costumes, make-up and effects is whist there's a fair amount of originality and imagination on show the extremely low budget is also painfully obvious.

Nudist Colony of the Dead is a hard film to hate altogether. Mark Pirro had a vision and the argument of whether he should aside, he did see it through producing something daft, corny and stupid, but original and not bereft of all charm. Quirky, original, but one probably for quite the devoted must-see-them-all zombie film fans, Pirro's silly little low budget film gets an inky dinky doo dah 3/10... Arse.


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