January 2003

Biker Zombies From Detroit

What a pointless film that was.

Some voiceover demon floats around Detroit turning violent criminals into zombies for some unexplained reason. A whiney teenager (he does have a name, but I was too disinterested to make a note of it) with a dirt bike and his mother move into a suburb - Ill assume its a Detroit suburb. He immediately doesn’t get on with the local biker jocks – and then offends them by starting to date the local girl.

The zombies kill several people. No one notices. They kill the whiney teenager as well – the jocks see this but are too stupid to call the police.

The whiney teenagers mother and girlfriend are worried when he goes missing. The mother does what any parent would do in this situation… nothing. I imagine there was supposed to be some tension at this point - will the jocks be linked to the missing teenager; who is the myserious badly made up biker that the jocks keep glimpsing (I say keep glimpsing which implies that there might be an extended build up of tension - there isnt).

Fortunately the whiney teenager’s girlfriend works in a coffee shop, so she is friendly with the local police. She happens to mention that he’s gone missing and the local police go along - in one of the worst displays of police procedure Ive seen in a long time, if not ever - to ask a few questions. They learn nothing and, ignoring the suspicious behaviour of the jock next door, go home.

On a side note – if your budget doesn’t stretch to making a car look even vaguely like a police car, don’t show the car.

Eventually, the media notices that there are zombies in Detroit.

The end.

Biker Zombies From Detroit is dull from start to finish. There is no humour, no tension, and no characters that are worth caring about. It doesn’t have a resolution – in fact it doesn’t have much of a plot, either. We simply meander from scene to scene, alternating between huge dollops of expository dialogue, the dull life of whiney teenagers and some unpleasant but tame gore.

The acting was awful - although given some of the dialogue that the actors had to chew through, Im not convinced it would be possible for anyone to do a decent job.

The only thing I can say in its favour is that it is a thankfully short film.

Back Woods

The blurb on the back of the DVD case describes Back Woods as combining the vision of John Waters with the filmmaking skills of Ed Wood. If you hadn’t realised already, this is a film with its tongue planted firmly in its cheek.

The star and psycho-killer of the film is Luther (David Hayes). Born a genius with plans of world domination, he is immediately dropped by his mama and reduced to the intellectual level of ‘creepy redneck who appears in slasher films’.

We then meet the victims - a van full of teenagers heading into the woods for a last camping trip before finishing college and starting their fast food careers.

Inevitably, the teenagers encounter Luther’s mama – in their van at high speed…

This being a deliberately bad slasher film, the teenagers decide to pull the body to the side of the road and pretend the accident never happened.

Luther learns of his mama’s death from the Mangina – the bizarre hermaphrodite spirit of the forest. Betcha can’t guess what happens next.

If you said something along the lines of “puts on his mama’s dress and seeks revenge,” well done, you win a jam sandwich.

And if you think that strawberry jam looks a bit like blood, you may be fooled by some of the special effcts.

But before the killing begins, we meet the Odious Comic Relief (OCR). Helpfully, for a horror film, OCR is accompanied with a sitcom style applause and laughter track – which is pretty funny given the blatant inanity of his lines. Thankfully, and probably for the first time in horror film history, OCR doesn’t outstay his welcome.

Meanwhile the teenagers are setting up their tent and pairing off so we can play spot the victim…

Back Woods takes a very generic psycho-killer plot and imbues it with a heavy dose of self-aware humour. The film is packed with jokey references to its genre predecessors, great lines and blatantly cheap – and often deliberately revolting - gore effects.

Luther, the revenge-driven and Mangina directed nutter is both wonderfully over the top and comically inane – providing plenty of laugh out loud moments, even on the second and third viewings of this film. As for the Mangina, you really do have to see it for yourself,

In short Back Woods is a film for anyone whose watched one of the numerous eighties slasher franchises - or the attempted irony of their nineties progeny – and come away feeling more than anything that their intelligence was insulted. The film deliberately insults your intelligence in a manner that will keep you laughing out loud for the whole of it’s – refreshingly short – running time.