Having recently reviewed Richard Griffin’s The Disco Exorcist, I initially mistook Dustin Mills’ Zombie A-Hole as having been a creation of the same team. They’re both firmly in the vein of low-budget (try $1000) ridiculous cheesy horror comedy, use the same dirty filter to make the film appear much older than it really is, feature over-the-top death sequences and characters, and the most gratuitous nudity you’re likely to find this side of proper pornography. Despite these similarities, where Disco Exorcist never took itself seriously with laugh-out-loud moments at every turn, Zombie A-Hole sets a somewhat more grim backdrop for the proceedings, scattering tongue-in-cheek humor and Bruce Campbell-esque one-liners in here and there.
Mills spins the yarn about a young man, Pollux (Brandon Salkil), who discovers a demonically possessed amulet while assisting with recovery operations in Haiti after the major earthquakes there a few years back. He dons the amulet and it begins to guide him down a darker path, ultimately leading him to prey on twin girls to collect their unique psychic energy to open a portal to the land of the dead somewhere near Portland, Indiana. His twin brother Castor (also Brandon Salkil) tries to end his sibling’s murderous spree by shooting him dead, but the amulet has other plans. Pollux returns as the zombie (also Brandon Salkil), and continues his killings, using his new undead status to make him nearly invincible. Still interested? It’s just as silly as it sounds.
Mercy (Jessica Daniels) -- one of the girls the zombie sets his sights on -- manages to escape his grasp with the help of her brother, Frank (Josh Eal), but she is disfigured in the process. Frank sets out for vengeance and to send the demon back to hell, and along the way crosses paths with Castor via the guidance of a shriveled up demon in a box that he bought from Voodoo Bob, played by Mills himself. The characters interact well, and the action sequences play out as best they can with the limited budget for effects and fight choreography. You don’t come to a movie like this with high-minded expectations of fine cinema. You come to munch popcorn, watch people get hacked up, and have a few laughs along the way. In that regard, the movie hits all the right notes.
There’s plenty of nudity early on, to the point that at times it teetered on excessive, but it’s tough to go wrong with adding more boobs to a movie like this. Some of the zombie’s executions are crafty, and his overall sense of style is a riot -- the pinstriped suit and fedora, white tie...he’s a pimp with a heart of rot.
The southern rock soundtrack stays consistent throughout, underpinning the consistently dirty, grindhouse theme of the flick. The effects that are here are meant to amuse, not offend. The dusty filter applied to the film seems a little more out of place here than it did in Disco Exorcist as that movie was technically set 40 years in the past, while Zombie A-Hole’s referencing the recent Haitian earthquakes puts it squarely in the last half-decade. Still, the cars used are practically vintage, and the nondescript rural setting (shot around northwest Ohio and northeast Indiana) gives it an “it could happen anywhere” feel. Having grown up in northwest Ohio myself, I know all too well that spread of forests and corn fields.
If you like boobs, blood, zombies, and horror-comedy in the spirit of Army of Darkness or Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, grab this disc and give it a spin. The retail release contains feature-length commentary and deleted scenes of a character (The Nurse) who was ultimately cut from the film. Fans of the genre will eat it up; if you came here looking for the next Schindler’s List, you’re missing the point.