or “Save the Patients! Burn Down the Asylum!”
Featuring: Mariel “See Arnold Run” Hemingway , Ethan “My Name is Earl” Suplee , LeVar “Roots” Burton
Director: Nick “Species: the Awakening” Lyon
Writers: Keith “11/11/11” Allan & Delondra “Ragin Cajun Redneck Gators” Williams
“I’m a pilot! I can fly it!”
When I woke up this morning, I stepped in a big pile of cat vomit on my way to the toilet. On my way to hose my foot off in the shower, I managed to smoosh my other foot into a wet cat turd that found its way out of the litter box. Bastet has that overwhelming cat ego too, so she doesn’t feel she should have to clean up after herself. Such are the perils of shacking up with a cat goddess. Joy. So, while I was hosing her various bodily excretions off of my feet, I thought that would be the worst part of my day and at least it was over with. Then, I watched Rise of the Zombies... I’d like to go back in time to this morning and hit myself repeatedly in the face with a wet toilet brush… which would actually have been preferable to watching Rise of the Zombies.
Random trivia: this is the first new review I’ve done since rebooting the Tomb where the writer(s) and director(s) are not the same person(s). Does this mean that movies with a singular creative force are superior to those diluted by divided duties? Need I remind you of Jeff Broadstreet? If any one person is capable of sucking on an apex the likes of which the movie fakers at the Asylum have set the modern standard for, it’s that forced fart of a human(oid). Jeff fucking Broadstreet.
On to today’s pseudo movie, this isn’t my first tragic tango with an Asylum production, but it may well be my last. I’m not a suicidal man-jackal. The irony of being a Death God with a death wish would just annoy me to no end. I hate irony. Alanis Morisette and dipshit hipsters ruined that particular literary device for me long ago. No, I’m taking Asylum off my dance card because I just can’t take their bullshit joke productions anymore. It’s bad enough they intentionally put out direct-to-disc concentrated dumpster juice with titles ripping off blockbuster movies to target Bill and Jill Shit-for-Brains, who go to their local Red Box kiosk, brimming with ignorance and confusing A Haunting in Salem for Rob Zombie’s The Lords of Salem, Atlantic Rim for Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim, or Sharknado for Steven Spielberg’s Shark Storm. It’s his Jaws reboot that’s since been shelved due to unfounded rumors of Spielberg’s renewed interest in his quest to uncover a legendary bunker of Nazi gold hidden by Oscar Schindler in the final days of WW the Deuce. It was his whole reason for making Schindler’s List. Look it up. I dare you.
Back in the waning days of my original site, The Asylum was putting out new nose hair pullers at the rate of one-a-week, which is on par with the average rate of actual bowel movements someone hooked on painkillers would pass in that same time period… not that I’ve ever been hooked on painkillers… which is surprising given the toxic level of shin-shatteringly insufferable sinema I’ve shot directly into my brain stem over the extent of my (current) lifetime. Such confuse-a-consumer classicks as Transmorphers, Death Racers (the “rs” makes it okay!), AVH: Alien Vs. Hunter, Universal Soldiers (it’s plural! Not the same movie!) and Snakes on a Train, have since cited some major studios to not only take note of the company’s septic scheme to hornswaggle their own films’ would-be audiences with this blatant (to people of average-or-greater intelligence) title theft, but to take legal action against them… when combustible action would probably be much more effective. Most notable example? The Asylum was making a Hobbit knock-off in preparation for the release of Peter Jackson’s new furry midgets trilogy. Three different companies involved with The Hobbit said “FUCK THAT SHIT!” and went into action. A judge decreed that this ipecacal epic (or “epicac” as I’ve just now coined the term) would not be allowed for release under its title “Age of the Hobbits”. Instead, Asylum left the entirety of the movie intact and changed the name to… Clash of the Empires. Too late to attempt a cash-in on Clash of the Titans, too little to make money off of any Wrath of the Titans confusion, but they still went with their instincts and tried to rip off somebody. At least they’re consistent with their dirtbaggery.
Well, as much as I’d rather have Isaac Yankem give me a root canal or Dr. Giggles do my vasectomy, I knew I’d have to get to the actual reviewing part of this review sooner or later. Pass me my cigarette and blindfold so we can get this over with.
Rise of the Zombies isn’t the failed mutant clone fetus of any specific zombie movie, which makes it an oddity among Asylum productions. It’s just another extremely generic walking dead flick, of which there are a dozen or so released into the wild every month. In an unholy alliance that somehow didn’t result in the Apocalypse, SyFy paid the Asylum to create this entirely unoriginal Original. There’s one moment where I think they might almost be trying to bite (no pun intended) off of a scene from the World War Z trailers, but we’ll trudge that river of Ebola sludge when the time comes. No sooner.
We open in San Francisco, where a zombie outbreak is either just starting or well into its “humanity is doomed” throes. It’s not really clear… or I just don’t care enough to go back and look. I’ll try anything twice – once to see if I like/hate it, twice to make sure. I’ve already used my allocation of RotZ viewings. I’m not watching it again. As for that acronym? Fitting as hell, cuz this movie rots the goodness and charity from your heart. I’m now going to kick the next homeless person I see and steal their shoes because of prolonged RotZ exposure. Send your hate emails to The Asylum, care of their COO Paul Bales at email@example.com, with the subject title “Don’t the homeless have enough problems already?” Erase the hate. Give a hoot. Crack is whack. No means no.
As I was saying, San Francisco. City of 49ers and 69ers. Do to some shenanigans at a major water treatment plant, 99% of the populace is doing the undead waltz. Some kind of parasitic bacteria has chosen to colonize with mankind as their carriers, transferring their population boom through, as always, bites. So, they infect their hosts, multiply, then take over complete control of the bodies to set forth their own zombie plague. Kinda cool for a concept, right? Reminds you of that freaky ass Brazilian fungus that takes over ants, or the Costa Rican wasps that ‘jack spider brains. Even spookier? This mystery bacteria doesn’t just infect the brain, it infects EVERY CELL. The stupid part? These zombies are subject to the Romero Principal – kill the brain and you kill the ghoul. Yep, they actually had an interesting concept that should’ve resulted in nigh-unstoppable O’Bannon Returners, but decided to completely contradict themselves and go with the more popular Romero Post-Lifers, because casual horror fans get mental yeast infections when anybody makes a zombie movie where the munchers can’t be stopped when you pop their top. You know what they should’ve done instead if they really wanted to appeal to horror fans? Not make the fucking movie in the first place. Who didn’t see that joke coming from a mile away like Dr. Manhattan’s giant blue Vietnam dick? Now THAT is how you stop a war!
Speaking of penises, back to San Francisco. We know it’s been long enough that the dead outnumber the dead-to-be, and there’s no police or military left… or they haven’t gotten there yet… I don’t care.We watch a group of hopeful survivors trying to escape the city in a bid for refuge on Alcatraz. Nothing seems safer during a global ghoul riot like a fortified island, right? Makes sense. So, packing into their SUV, they run down a modicum of mortuary escapees until their leader decides to fulfill his childhood dream of being a stunt driver and takes SF’s infamous Lombard Street doing 60. Half way down he rolls the beast… which continues its roll down the other half of the street, including roll-navigating EVERY TURN… My fingers feel like they’re getting cancer just typing this. My fingernails are starting to splinter and turn a sickly black. It’s gross. Well, the crash kills the driver and incapacitates the rest of the passengers, making them instant brunch of the living dead for a group of ghouls who materialize seemingly from nowhere. The only one to escape is a pregnant woman, because the writers have a very important role for her to play later on…
The real cast is a group of survivors already holed up in Alcatraz. They’re a small gathering made up mostly of fodder, with the members of significance being Lynn (Mariel Hemingway) – the tough lady scientist who will fight to her last breath to help find a cure; Marshall (Ethan Suplee) – the Christian Air Force pilot(?) who still has faith in a god who would let something like this movie happen… funny cuz Suplee’s a practicing Scientologist… which is the only explanation for why he can still get work; Dr. Halpern (LeVar Burton) – another scientist who is trying his damnedest to study the infection and try to find the previously mentioned cure, no matter how many rainbows or final frontiers he has to explore; Captain Caspian (Danny Trejo) – former Army man whose ability to shoot things in the head will come in handy; and Ashley (Heather Hemmens) and Kyle (Chad Lindberg) – a young interracial couple brought together by the OkCupid nightmare that surrounds them, despite Ashley being black and Kyle being the kind of white trash who would show up to one of her family dinners wearing a white sheet… and not because he was pretending to be a ghost. Naturally, this being a zombie flick, just because they get a higher billing than the rest of the cast doesn’t mean all or any of the aforementioned are guaranteed to see the end credits, they’ll just have more screen time.
When a siege of zombies swims (yes, SWIMS) the entirety of the San Francisco Bay to attack their fortress en masse, the hitting of the fan with shit commences. Once the horde’s been finished off, the remaining unturned decide it’s time to fuck off from this penal system paradise, with half opting to go to an evacuation point in nearby *cough*Ididn’tpayattentiontowheretheyweregoing*cough* while the others seek out Dr. Arnold (French Stewart) – yet another scientist, this one seeking a vaccination for the disease rather than a cure. Meanwhile, Dr. Halpern stays behind to continue his own research, what with all the new fresh specimens and captive test subjects to play with. Escaping on their giant rubber raft (on which they’re attacked by MORE SWIMMING ZOMBIES!), the groups reach land and head their separate ways. The evac team (Caspian, Kyle, Kyle’s uncle, and some old lady) stop at a house to pillage some supplies, and Danny Trejo is immediately killed! Not only does he die, but he’s killed by a female zombie who only has the use of ONE arm, who he makes NO attempts to fend off! In fact, he puts his arms around her and hugs her to him, then slides down a wall while still fully embracing her, HELPING HER BITE HIM! The guy’s on the fucking COVER of the movie, and not only does he die in the first 35 minutes, but he dies the King Bitch death of bitch deaths! It’s such a bitch death, that it brings into question the bad ass legitimacy of Trejo’s other film roles! I’m supposed to believe THIS GUY is MACHETE?! Blart me in the blart! BLART! Somebody tell Robert Rodriguez to rein Trejo in before shitty roles like this start retroactively ruining all of his back catalog too.
While Kyle is the only one to escape his group alive, Lynn’s group fares much better. They make it to the Golden Gate, littered with abandoned cars, where they’re attacked by more zombies. Special zombies. How special? They scale the broad steel of the bridge’s supports… with their bare hands… Holy Nefartiti’s titties, you heard me right – zombies scaling the broad face of a steel bridge with their bare fucking zombie hands. If ever a moment required an atomic smh (smack my head) the likes of which would leave the entire population of Argentina with their heads impaled on their own arms, it’s FUCKING ZOMBIES SCALING A BRIDGE! THIS is the big moment that I feel they lifted from World War Z. Instead of spending the graphical resources to computerize swarms of zombies crawling over each other to scale the sides of the bridge (as they did the walls around Isreal in WWZ), they realized they couldn’t afford that level of hardware and, having written themselves into a corner with this entire “zombies scale the sides of the bridge” movie moment, they threw all sense out of the proverbial window and just went with zombies FREE CLIMBING UP NAKED STEEL! If this wasn’t the only remaining functional computer left in The Tomb (I went through the others during my Night of the Living Dead 3D: Re-Animation review), I would smash it against my wall right now, pack the remains into a box, and mail it to The Asylum with a note that read “This is your fault. Fix/replace it”. After making me look at these undead pseudo Spider-Men, I think they’d agree it’s the right thing to do.
After Lynn kills all of the zombies (and one of her own people…) with a single hand grenade, they find the pregnant woman from the movie’s opening hiding in an ambulance. I told you she’d be back. Wanna know why she’s so important to the movie’s writers? Well, it turns out they really liked that zombie baby from the Dawn of the Dead remake, and wanted to rip it off for their own movie. Yep, preggo is saved for the singular purpose of having her get bitten AS SOON AS SHE STEPS OUT OF THE AMBULANCE. Begging them to save her unborn child, it’s cut from her guts, turns zombie, and gets its cheap rubber doll body stomped to death by a freaked out Ashley. The same reason people don’t ask me to hold their own suckling little mutants… anymore.
Oh, and this bridge sequence has another thorn to ram into my balls (in addition to the fact that the railings are obviously painted wood and not steel) – Marshall finds a stray dog in an abandoned car, and we learn that these reckless, psychotic ghouls who will throw themselves at moving cars and groups of people firing at them with high caliber boomsticks, are scared of barking dogs… so a team of sheep dogs could have easily rounded up the zombies into a single holding pen in the early days of the plague and pretty much saved humanity? Yep, I’m done. It’s over. If you really want to know what happens with the rest of this movie, watch it yourself. This is only about half way through, and there’s plenty more stupid bullshit after this. I really don’t wanna see if I can survive talking about French Stewart at this point either. My defenses are already bottomed out as it is. If you think you can stand it, go right ahead. In the words of Chief Clancy Wiggum, “Heck, it’s not my job to talk people out of killing themselves.”
Alright, having cut this Golgotha shit beast in half, let’s address the other crimes RotZ has been charged with here today in Judge Anuby’s court. I’ve already run down the majority of its story infractions, so let’s get to the misdemeanors that most made-for-TV movies find it impossible not to commit – special effects and acting.
The makeup for RotZ is competent. It’s about the only thing is does right. There are a few moments of crushed heads that get the job done surprisingly well. This makes the next part all the more disappointing. Miserable digital gore and electrocutions that make The Dead Hate the Living‘s look brilliant by comparison not withstanding, as with WAY too many plague movies these days, hiring hundreds of poorly paid extras in slap-dash monster makeup isn’t even a viable option when shitty computer generated ones are the far easier traveled road. Foregoing any sense of realism in favor of muddy, stiff, plastic looking pieces of visual garbage whose only achievement is reminding me of the harm computers have done to movies after the fantastic lies they told us in Jurassic Park. Someone needs to build SkyNet and put it in charge of the cgi for all movies. ALL movies. At least their fake humans look believable. You know those little plastic Candyland game pieces? The flat plastic gingerbread man standies? You know what they look like when you send them airborne with a flick of your finger? The digital dead in RotZ look like that when you hit them with a car. I shit you not. No shittery here. And “The Digital Dead” sounds like a fucking gnarly title for a modernized remake of The Video Dead. Somebody make this a thing. Just not The Asylum.
Now, the acting. As you might’ve guessed, it all sucks. ALL of it. What isn’t bland is tantamount to everyone making mouth fart noises. Most notably, Chad Lindberg should change his last name to Hindenburg, because even in a cast of cut rate actors just there for a paycheck, he’s a human disaster. Every spoken line makes my ears want to vomit. I mean, NONE of the cast makes me think they could cut it in a community theater production of “Dude Where’s My Car?!”, let alone should they be allowed in front of a movie camera, but the ambivalence with which they drown me is better than the reaming Lindberg’s acting forces on us. He should be arrested for assault and director Nick Lyon should be charged as his accomplice, with the casting director brought in as an accessory.
There you have it – Rise of the Zombies. The first irredeemable movie on the new Tomb’s death row. The first flick to serve as dinner for Ammut, and subsequently, her first bowel movement too. That’s about the best bit of prominence it could ever hope for, and I almost hate doing it, just because it deserves NO prominence. It’s lazy, miserable, and a waste of the viewers’ time. It serves no purpose beyond making others suffer and inspiring people with no discernible skills to watch it and think they too can make their own shitty movie. Speaking of making others suffer, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go take a massive dump in Bast’s shower before she gets home from work. Then I need to start thinking up the fake name I’m going to register under when I stay at a motel tonight, since I can’t use “Carlos Danger” anymore. Thanks Anthony Wiener, you dick. *RIMSHOT!*
Moral of the Story: I’ll leave this one up to the movie’s final lines of dialogue, which reflect what I imagine would be the sole budgetary meeting between SyFy and Asylum for this movie –
“Anything is possible! Anything and everything!”
“Or nothing at all…”
Danny Trejo looks so different since shaving his mustache…
“Thanks to everyone for the well wishes on our marriage. She may not be much to look at, but at least she didn’t make me sign a prenup!”
Damn it, they bought green latex pants for this shoot, and they’re gonna use ’em!
“I’m sorry I couldn’t find a cure for the zombie virus, but I can recommend some good books you won’t wanna miss. But you don’t have to take my word for it!”
Gah! Look at that hideous zombie! Oh wait, it’s just Danny Trejo. Never mind.
Really? You kill zombie Danny Trejo and you can’t even use a machete to do it?! HOW DO YOU MISS SUCH AN OBVIOUS GAG?! Morons! Morons all of you!
“Ha ha ha! You dumb bastard. It’s not a schooner, it’s a sailboat!”
(Am I the only one who remembers Mallrats?)
Those zombies were all bitten by radioactive zombie spiders.
“I keep telling you, my name’s not Daryl Dixon and I’m sure I’ve never killed any of your friends! Just leave me alone!”
Mothers, THIS is what happens when you don’t breastfeed your kids!
Coming this summer from The Asylum, the SyFy Original
Super Trolley Vs. Mega Bus.
“Special” effects courtesy of decorative “electricity ball” orbs from Spencer’s Gifts.
Anubis will return next time in
“From Beyond the Mat”
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