[originally published October 15, 2012.]
Story: In the wake of a solar flare of unusual properties, a mismatched group of inner-city survivors must put aside their animosity to escape a Los Angeles now free of gang-bangers, but infested instead with blood-sucking zombies.
Director: Thunder [Can you believe it’s his real name?] Levin
Writers: George Saunders, Thunder Levin
Stars: C. Thomas Howell, Tyshawn Bryant, Rachel Montez Collins
I came across this 2008 title and had to rent it immediately. I mean how fabulous and hysterical! Variety says, Titles like “Mutant Vampire Zombies From the Hood!” dangle a small hope that the movie itself won’t be duller than its eye-catching moniker. Here, that hope is rewarded: Thunder Levin’s feature is a fleet if forgettable low-budget romp through familiar genre terrain.
I posted the title on Facebook and my friend Iain said, “Zombies who are also vampires? That’s just greedy. What do they do, suck the blood out of your brain?” Yeah really – I had to know.
In the film everything is explained and it is a drama, any comedy to be found is from a viewer who is familiar with the horror genre. One of the characters notes that unlike usual, the vampire zombies can walk in the daylight. Another character replies that these “are not movie vampires.” (They obviously weren’t familiar with the Twilight vamps) So you have a film commenting on film. Fabulous.
Basically, these two cops are on a stakeout for a drug deal going down. All are in a leaded warehouse and so they are protected from the solar flare. The solar flare makes most people mutant vampire zombies. The gangs who are opposing factions and the cops must form an alliance against the vampire zombies. The story is how/if they survive. In the tradition of many horror films there is blood, violence, action, mystery, sex (“Apparently being undead does wonders for your libido.”) and hot, scantily clad women.
The site Bloody Good Horror says, It’s pretty hard to pass on a movie called “Mutant Vampire Zombies from the Hood” when the DVD features an undead, grill-wearing gang member and a tagline (“It’s the end of the world, yo!”) that’s as moronic as it is stupidly funny…
You can’t deny the allure of C. Thomas Howell wielding no less than two handguns while staring wildly at something we cannot see. How writer/director Thunder Levin managed to lasso Howell for this admittedly wonky production is a mystery, though I’m sure it has everything to do with the former heartthrob’s involvement in a little movie known as “Soul Man.”
C. Thomas Howell “as a gnarled, justice-dispensing detective with mad martial arts skills” is a strong draw for this film. He starred in the films The Outsiders as Ponyboy Curtis and in The Hitcher as Jim Halsey. He was in The Da Vinci Treasure, Red Dawn, Secret Admirer, Gettysburg, H. G. Wells’ War of the Worlds, The Day the Earth Stopped and Gods and Generals. He appeared in 2012′s The Amazing Spider-Man.
There is a gore-factor here but is not excessive for the horror genre. The makeup is good, and associated effects like dangling entrails are also good. The solar-flare effect is a bit cheesy.
On Rotten Tomatoes Eric Belanger says, “A gripping plot doubled with excellent effects and a unique storyline makes for the best film in mutant-vampire-ghetto-zombie film history.” Ha!!!
This is B-Movie excellent trash. Rent it with your friends, have beer and junk food, know what you’re getting into and enjoy.