Zombeak: Evil Most Fowl

Posted by Andrew Sneddon on April 05, 2010 in Blog tagged with

 

For some people I’ve heard it’s shoes. For others it’s bars of chocolate. For me, it’s those films one sees lurking in bargain bins, or shuffling cheaply towards the edge of horror or foreign language DVD displays. They’re impulse buys and I have to have them. I know it’s futile because ultimately all such pleasure is fleeting, but they make me happy for a while. Well, usually.

On this particular occasion my eye settled on a promising-looking schlock horror fantasy. It features a cast of gothic sub-culture stereotypes trapped in a labyrinthine house with a bunch of redneck clichés: a young, large-breasted blond waitress; a fascist Bible-bashing policeman and the aforementioned waitress’s store manager and boyfriend. Oh, and a zombified chicken possessed by the essence of Satan. I forgot that bit.

The plot, such as it is, is very simple. The Satanists kidnap the waitress intending to use her in a ritual. A chicken is to be sacrificed allowing Satan to take possession of one of the Goths who will then have sex with the waitress producing an evil progeny that will rule the world and stuff like that. However, the rednecks aren’t going to take the kidnap of the waitress lying down and arrive at the house eager to act on their ‘Christian duty’ to ‘kick some weirdo ass’. In the chaos that ensues the ritual is botched and Satan has no place to go but the corpse of the now ex-chicken (it has ceased to be). The zombie chicken then proceeds to run rampage throughout the house,  from which no-one can escape for some reason, and generally makes a nuisance of itself pecking out people’s eyes, impregnating Goth women and other mischief. You get the idea. We aren’t talking Citizen Kane here.

I have to confess that my original intention for this blog was to write something very po-faced about the film and sling it up as an April Fools Day wheeze. But, when I actually thought about it, the film is just so bad, so mocking of its own conventions, that I thought such a piece wouldn’t actually be very funny. I did, however, get to wondering what it is about the schlock horror genre that appeals to low budget semi-amateur film makers?

The answer, surely, is the knowing humour of ‘cheap’ horror itself. The entire logic of low-end horror is ‘we know this movie is really bad and you can tell the chicken is a glove puppet – but have a beer and play along, it’s fun’. And this is not a Gothic sensibility, at least not to my mind. I would say the same thing if pushed about most schlock horror films I can think of. They aren’t usually about experiencing fear directly or vicariously which might be a very, very loose way of making a distinction. Possibly. What do you think?

Oh, and in the highly unlikely event you want to borrow Zombeak let me know!

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