Dir. Damon Lemay
Zombology: Unlike their legion of brethren, Zombie Town’s reanimated corpses are not the byproduct of military experiments, voodoo gone awry, chemical spills or alien flu viruses. Rather, these shambling cannibals have been infected with parasitic hookworms that latch on to their hosts’ spine, infecting them with a variant of the rabies virus that causes them to lust for human flesh (all conveniently explained in a lengthy block of exposition after Jake’s biologist ex-girlfriend dissects a single specimen). And as Rob reminded me, yes, that’s pretty much lifted whole from Night of the Creeps.
Shot on a hand-held camera, Zombie Town has a shaky, jittery vibe I’m not entirely certain is intentional because it doesn’t quite add a sense of verite to the proceedings.
The special effects, particularly on the spinal parasites, are rather impressive for such a no-budget outing. In one jail sequence, the (stop motion?) slugs squish their way across the room with an appropriately Jan Svankmajer squickiness. The non-zombie scenes tend to drag as the local sheriff acts way too blasé about a triple homicide, cannibal murder suspect and a tractor trailer accident that conveniently blocks the only road out of town and knocks out all the phones. Things eventually pick up once the zombies get all bitey on the local bingo parlor (“It’s like a goddamn grandma massacre in here,” local snow plow operator/bully/That 70s Show reject Randy offers). From that point there’s not a moment that isn’t painfully obvious to anyone who’s even fleetingly familiar with horror film convention, but at least it’s an entertaining orgy of chainsaw amputations, gaping rifle wounds and free-flowing buckets of tinted Karo syrup.
Zombie Town only sucks 35 percent as bad Hell of the Living Dead.