Zombie films are as formulaic as they come. You kick things off with some half-assed explanation as to why the dead are rising, and then you spend the rest of the movie showing a group of survivors running from place to place (or fortifying a single location) in hopes of survival. Top it off liberally with blood and gore, throw some makeup on the extras to transform them into flesh-hungry ghouls, maybe even throw in a little nudity for the guys in the audience, and you have yourself a traditional zombie flick. It's not a hard formula to conquer, but damned if there isn't a market for these movies. Sometimes, however, sitting through that silly little thing known as the plot just to get to the good stuff is a tough feat. We've already seen this story play out countless times - why do we want to see it yet again? All we really want to see is the blood, the dismemberment, the zombies, and yes, a pair of titties would be nice. Zombiethon is one of those classic Wizard Video compilation releases that attempts to appeal to the horror fans sharing in this mindset.
Review by Chad
Added: October 10, 2010
How do they work, you may ask? Well, it's simple: there's a wrap-around story (and I use the word "story" loosely here) which involves scantily-clad young women running from zombies and into a movie theater. That's the extent of the story: we see a woman in a schoolgirl outfit, a bikini, or some other type of tantalizing clothing, a rubber-masked zombie appears, the lady in question runs to the theater and sits down with a pack of zombies. The real meat of the movie is what these women see in said theater, that being the highlights from seven different zombie flicks. Included are:
Zombie Lake (1981)
Oasis Of The Zombies (1981)
Murder Syndrome (1981)
The Invisible Dead (1971)
A Virgin Among the Living Dead (1973)
The Astro-Zombies (1968)
With the exception of Fulci's classic Zombie, that may look like a terrible lineup for a movie like this, but surprisingly, it's a decent batch of movies. The films themselves may range from "trash" to "mediocre", but given the highlight treatment, they're actually pretty fun. The films are stripped of all the silly little plot, dialogue, and acting sequences that made the films hard to sit through to begin with, and what we get are the streamlined goods: the zombie effects, the gore, the T&A, and any memorable lines. Zombie Lake was a horrible film, but it had enough nudity to keep even a teenage boy happy, while Oasis Of The Zombies was just as bad but featured some nifty action sequences. Neither of those perks were enough to save their respective films, but cut down to just those perks, they were pretty fun to watch.
In fact, I only had qualms with two of the selected films here. For starters, Murder Syndrome simply didn't belong. I've never seen the actual film, but based on the clips I saw here, it really did not fit in with the theme. There are no zombies, and while there is a bit of nudity, I would imagine that the filmmakers had access to dozens of other films featuring boobs that would have at least been more entertaining to watch. A Virgin Among the Living Dead is the other oddity, as it features neither zombies nor nudity. I guess it fits based on the title, but that's sort of stretching things. The Astro-Zombies is as cheesy as they come, but it gets a pass for at least trying to stick to the theme and for the sixties-era camp value that it brings to the table. Oh, and for the nitpickers out there, the VHS box cover proclaims that White Zombie is included in the lineup, but that is a bold-faced lie as it is nowhere to be found.
Overall, I'm giving Zombiethon a thumbs up. Any highlight reel that can make Zombie Lake and Oasis Of The Zombies look like must-see attractions scores big with me, and getting to relive all of the classic moments from Zombie was just icing on the cake. The Invisible Dead and The Astro-Zombies beefed up the camp value for me, and even though the wraparound story was weak at best, it at least showed that some degree of effort went into producing this release. Zombiethon is not required viewing even for fans of zombie movies, but if the idea sounds intriguing, you'll probably enjoy this one. 7/10.