Sunday, May 29, 2016

Short Film: Meat Me in Plainville (USA, 2011)

OK, here a low budget film that could possibly be described as a black comedy were the ending, well, not so black. We found it on io9, where they explain "[writers & directors] Greg Hanson and Casey Regan channel an older B-movie aesthetic for their short horror film Meat Me in Plainville. After all the livestock in America die off, cannibalism becomes legal with unexpected consequences. Despite being apparently set in the 'future' year 1994, Meat Me in Plainville debuted in 2012 at the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival.* It takes its conceit and turns it into something akin to a zombie movie where anyone could be a flesh-craving monster."
OK, so let's place the film in an alternative reality where, well, the government can't be trusted. (Wait! Isn't that our reality, too?)
The acting is variable, the story effective and well thought-out, the ending an open and bleak downer. We liked it, and so will you. Enjoy.
* Puchon aka Bucheon — it's in Korea (South).

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Zombie Honeymoon (New Jersey, 2004)

A low-budget film that gets an A for effort, Zombie Honeymoon is not for everyone. One thing for sure, steer clear if you think that, due to the film's slightly ridiculous title, what you have in your hands is some sort of zomedy like, dunno, Fido (2006), Zombieland (2009), Dead & Breakfast (2004), Idle Hands (1999), Dead Snow (2009), the sorely underrated Dance of the Dead (2008), the sorely overrated Doghouse (2009), or even Zombeavers (2014).

True, there are few dryly humorous exchanges and situations — our biggest laugh was at the great outfit worn by the travel agent Phyllis Catalano (Maria Iadonisi), which once upon a time (the 80s) was LA high style — but Zombie Honeymoon is not first and foremost a comedy. And if you're expecting one, the movie will sorely disappoint you and you could well fall asleep while watching it (as, indeed, did one fellow watching the movie with us).

So what is Zombie Honeymoon? Like, duh! It's a zombie flick! Independently made, of course. And, on a plot level, it's fairly easy: on their honeymoon, a young couple is attacked by a zombie and as the vegetarian husband Danny (Graham Sibley of Robotropolis [2011 / trailer]) slowly transforms into a gut-muncher, the concerned and loving wife Denise (Tracy Coogan of Dark Woods [2010 / trailer) has to come to terms with the changes in her husband.
Within this simple conceit, director David Gebroe (who also wrote the flick) touches upon a variety of themes, including that of how (to quote Robert Burns) "the best laid schemes o' mice an' men gang oft aglay". (Really: if you have dreams of one day surfing in Portugal, of getting stoned alongside a canal in Amsterdam, eating a pizza in Napoli, or whatever, do it now 'cause you really could be dead tomorrow. [A side note: considering how many people we know who have died this year, we concur heartily with this concept — which is also why about this time next year we'll already be living on Mallorca.])
Another theme present is that which is echoed by the closing song of the movie, a cover version of Tammy Wynette's classic love song Standby Your Man: to what extent do you stick with your man when you love him? Personally, we are of the opinion that, in Zombie Honeymoon, Denise sticks to her man way too long — as did most of the women you read about if you ever decide to look up "couples who kill" or read Carol Anne Davis's already out-of-date book of the same name. If you get down to it, Danny might not be the one doing the killing — at least not most of the time — but her compliance to the act, her decision to stand by her man, her inability to overcome her love for her husband, also plays a huge role in the eventual death of multitudes of people, including some good friends.
In the end, Denise might be way better looking than, say, Myra Hindley, but her hands are just as bloody with death as Myra's and/or Danny's. (Literally: she not only cleans a blood-smeared bathroom before guests arrive, but she plays a hand in the killing of the travel agent). Naw, sorry, when it comes to standing by your man (or, as the case could possibly be, woman), our sympathies definitely didn't lie with Denise when we caught this flick. Understanding her would be like siding with the beaten women who stays with the wife-beating man — and we can't do that. Hello: things won't and don't get better.
True purists of zombie lore, be it of the quick or the slow, might take some umbrage at the liberties taken in Zombie Honeymoon. The infection, for example, is not "death = quick transformation" but rather a slow conversion, and the infection is not transmitted through body fluids (like spit and sperm) but, as in the "demonic zombie" flicks Demons I (1985 / trailer) and II (1986 / trailer), through zombie-upchucked bile. Others, like us, might find the relatively groovy surfadelic music by the MelTones totally incongruent to most of the scenes in which it is used, regardless of how good it might be.
Not from Zombie Honeymoon,
but by The MelTones —
Return of the Surfin' Headhunters:
We had a few other bones about the movie, but before we slag off too much, it must be said that if the movie works at all it is because of the acting. True, the opening scenes are a bit clumsy, but as the film progresses Tracy Coogan does as amazing job portraying the emotionally-torn Denise, while Graham Sibley as the slowly zombifying Danny, in turn, also manages to do a good job at remaining likeable as the movie progresses. His part, however, never demands an as convincing exploration of emotional depths as does Coogan's; one could easily image her going on to bigger and better things, were Zombie Honeymoon not already 12 years old.

But the good acting aside, Zombie Honeymoon is, in our humble opinion, a movie destined to be forgotten and probably never rediscovered.