★★.5 out of ★★★★★
Directed by Charles Band.
Part joke. Part satire. Part experimentation. Part loving homage to the Grindhouse era. A dash of RiffTrax. ALL Full Moon and Charles Band lunacy. Corona Zombies has many of these things and weirdly more.
If you’re looking for “elevated horror” shut the door, turn around, and get out of this house! Corona Zombies is anything but elevated. It’s a beer soaked laugh-fest that’s hell bent on making fun of damn near anything and everything. Including Covid19.
Now that we’re slowly easing our way of the pandemic (don’t be a crybaby just get a shot) we can look back at the spring of 2020 as a quaint and more simple time. Our biggest concerns were toilet paper and whether we’d have enough time to watch all 10 of the Children of the Corn films.
The brainiest of brain trusts over at Full Moon Features had a wonderfully delicious idea to mash up a little bit of Italian gore from 1980’s Hell of the Living Dead (AKA Virus) with 2012’s Zombies vs. Strippers. Thrown in the mix for good measure are a series of news reels and a handful of impossibly dumb clips from former President Trump.
While the bulk of the Corona Zombies pulls directly from Hell of the Living Dead, the film manages to neatly tuck in some prescient gags about Corona beer, toilet paper shortages, and the fact that we’ll all get a couple weeks off work.
The mash-mash of these disparate films, styles, and clips is really an ingenious concept. The problem, however, is that it’s not quite smart enough. It’s close, but not quite there. The connective tissue that binds all the different film types is a bit too tenuous and not clearly defined from scene to scene. With a more care and editing, some thoughtful selection of additional news clips, and a bit more exposition around the Barbie element of the film, Corona Zomibes could have been a truly inspired bit of business.
As is, Corona Zombies is a fun trip down memory lane and a chance to take in the best elements of the truly gory Italian zombie fete Hell of the Living Dead. Seriously, if you’ve ever wanted to see a zombie punch their way through someone’s head, stick around to the end. You’ll definitely be offended, but you won’t be disappointed.
This collectivist approach to filmmaking is nothing new, but taken together in this rather specific zombie-filled way is something that’s never quite been accomplished. Coupled with the fact that this entire mondo editing project was thrown in a blender at the onset of of THE global pandemic.
Make NO mistake this is not high art. It’s no Fellini. It’s no Kurosawa. Again, it’s beer-soaked garbage on the lowest filmmaking rung. That said, it’s got a great poster and a run time of just over an hour. Taken together all these things will guarantee you crack a smile. And for our money that’s a pretty good way to remember the travesty of a global pandemic.
Corona Zombies is Rated R and streaming on Tubi.