Halloween always means an extra influx to my horror collection. Let's face it; August through October is an absolute tidal wave of releases both new and old. Originally I was planing to write about the 650th addition to my treasure trove but not only is the Mangler not here yet, I've found something so much more important with number 647. Join me wont you?
Flesheater is the brain child of Bill Hinzman. Bill's biggest claim to fame is being the first onscreen zombie in the original night of the living dead. Most of his career past that point consisted of more bit parts in Romero flicks or just riding the fame of being such a noteworthy minion of the damned. Eventually the old boy got the idea to start making movies of his own. First up was the Majorettes, which I have yet to see though you'd better believe it's on the “to-watch” list, then he decided to revive the undead act and...my god.. it's beautiful. Not in the way of sunsets or your favorite memories. No, it's beautiful like early nineties USA network. If you've ever seen Up All Night I expect you to be hopping with anticipation by now.
The credits set the scene perfectly with the animated Hinzman snarling at us along with the only musical arrangement in the whole damn movie. Hope you like it, cause it plays on an endless loop. After that we open on Halloween afternoon as four couples take a hayride out to spend the night in the woods drinking and screwing. It's a mostly forgettable lot of zombie fodder which is fine since only a couple of them live past the half-hour mark. Don't think of that as spoilers. The whole movie is just a gravy train of new people for the zombies to chew on.
Anywho. While the kids get settled for their night of debauchery, old man farmer works on removing a tree stomp from his property, under which he finds a warning sign about the evil buried below. He complains to no one that this better not be some joke. A completely understandable statement when you think of how many prankster excel at burying things under old tress in the hopes of pulling a fast one on aging farmers. Ignoring the warning, he continues to dig and opens a coffin to reveal Hinzman who's quite hungry. Farmer goes down only to wake a few minutes later as a zombie.
Not far away we are treated to one of the least captivating love scenes I've ever witnessed. The girl (if she is indeed a girl) has the voice of a Tennessee trucker and the hands to match. Lucky for us, Hinzy breaks up their fun right quick. After that we get a few scenes of the kids figuring out what's going on and being attacked which leads to them hiding in an old shack and calling the cops. Their last stand for survival is mercifully short as they get devoured in short order except for the two that were forced to hide in the cellar.
Next we move on to a nice house where a girl showers for us in order to break up the scenes introducing some family. None of them last more than ten minutes. Of course Hinzman gets to attack the shower girl, and rip her towel off in the process. Ahh, the perks of being a director. While this is going on we get a few scenes featuring the local police force and their shining star Harv. Harv is the straight up shit. Most of his dialogue was recorded after the fact allowing him to talk like some smooth radio DJ from an easy listening station. Sadly, as with everyone else, his time in the sun is short lived before he bites the dust, though not before taking a few deadheads with him.
Next we met a new couple (what'd I tell ya?) who take in the two survivors from the initial group of kids. Can you guess what happens next? Maybe a zombie attack? Ten points! Good for you! The two survivors, whom I suppose you could call the main characters by this point run off to another local, and man did they ever save a good one for so late in the game.
There's this lame duck college party being held in an old barn. The attendees are some of the most delightfully sad creatures ever to walk the earth. The king of them being the kid dressed as a vampire who is struggling to pretend he's drunk. Meanwhile girls complain about the guys checking out other girls and some other dingbats hook up. Possibly the best line of dialogue is uttered here which goes along the line of, “my friend told me not to come here. Said you boys would just get drunk and rape us girls.” Imagine this being said playfully before a make-out session. Wonderful, isn't it? So the two main kids show up looking for help, followed closely by the ghouls and yet another blood bath ensues! Some of the biggest effects were saved for this one. Of particular note is when Hinzman shoves his hand through a girls chest.
After that we switch focus to the local mob that's formed to kill the zombies. We spend about a good ten minutes watching people walk around an old farm, shooting the creatures which really just means we get to watch the whole cast get murdered again! I won't spoil the ending for you. That's something reserved for those with the pain tolerance to watch the whole flick.
I bet you're wondering why I'd speak so glowingly of something that's obviously crap. Indeed it is crap of the highest order. This lil gem is going to sit alongside the titans of garbage cinema like The Room, Troll 2, Birdemic, and Ninja 3: The Domination. It's a testament to the power of shit. All the more it serves as something of a dictionary entry for describing what a zombie movie is. There is nothing pretentious, meaningful, or unique about it. It's just straight up simple filth that brought a bigger smile to my face than I've had for a while.
A huge part of it's success is the atmosphere. There's an undeniable charm to the cheap honesty of the production. From plastic pumpkin pails to home made costumes. Nothing is ever too outlandish or high brow. Combined with obviously improvised dialogue and a storyline that never goes beyond zombies eating people, it always feels like watching a Halloween flick you could have made with your friends and god help me I love it.
If you've got ten bucks handy, really just want to get trashed with some friends and watch some dumb seasonal fun, I can't recommend this enough. I'll even throw in a drink tip. Mix Pinnacle Caramel Apple Vodka with Coke, and maybe garnish with caramel apple Twizzlers if you're feeling extra destructive. Both the movie and the drink greatly resemble the party within said film. We've all been to that bash. It's gross and unhealthy but we'll never forget it.