It’s that time of year again! Time to celebrate the Resurrection with a weeklong plunge into all things zombie! Here’s the history: In 2008, Dr. Girlfriend and I decided to spend a week or so each year marathoning through zombie films that we’d never seen before and I would blog short reviews. And simple as that, the Easter Zombie Movie Marathon was born.
Sometimes love is ugly and weird. Sometimes devotion means doing disgusting things. Sometimes success is bloody and raunchy and offensive. Atom the Amazing Zombie Killer knows love, devotion, and success. Atom the Amazing Zombie Killer is ugly and weird, does disgusting things, and is bloody, raunchy, and offensive.
In a good way. Maybe a great way.
Atom the Amazing Zombie Killer was directed by Zack Beins and Richard Taylor from a script by Beins, Taylor, and Tim Johnson and is the first feature-film from Bizjack Flemco out of Denver, Colorado. Do you remember that lascivious thrill you felt the first time you saw The Toxic Avenger? Or Class of Nuke ‘Em High? Was your brain warped at a young age so that now your favorite Shakespearean adaptation is Tromeo and Juliet? Or did you think Poultrygeist was borderline genius?
The story is deceptively simple. Atom (Mark Shonsey) and his bowling team get kicked out of an opportunity to go to a bowling championship in Hawaii after a brawl with rival bowlers Dario (Zachary Byron Helm) and the Slashers. His girlfriend, Emily (Lindy Starr) is kind of a bitch, but the cute girl at the bowling alley, Allison (Rionna Vigil) is interested. Unfortunately, Atom takes a blow to the head and all the mishmash of late-night TV, horror movies, sex, and fire and brimstone preachers that have filtered into his subconscious and he begins hallucinating a zombie apocalypse.
Yes, this is, as billed, a zombie movie with no zombies.
But Atom is determined to save everyone from the undead and proceeds to viciously murder everyone he comes across in amazing low/no-budget gore effects that would make Lloyd Kaufman proud.
In fact, Kaufman has a guest-appearance in here as Atom’s dead grandfather Grampa Abacrombie, from whom Atom inherited all of his bowling skills (and who was mysteriously murdered years earlier in a bizarre plot point that comes out of left field, but is welcome nonetheless).
There’s even a film within the film – well, two films, actually; a zombie film, of course, that features one of the most disgusting and hilarious birthing scenes I’ve ever had the pleasure to witness on film. Guys like Eli Roth wish they could do something as fun and gross as this. And then there’s also a “based on a true story” film version of what we’ve just watched.
If there’s anything that gives pause, it’s the fact that our hero is, in fact, a serial murderer, leaving a trail of twenty-some brutally mutilated corpses in his wake. Sure half of them are assholes who, according to movie logic, deserve it, the other half just happen to cross his path. At one point, the villain of the piece, Dario is kind of the good guy. Except he’s a horrible piece of shit, too. But he’s not a maniac, just an asshole.
Despite this, if you have a high threshold for offensive jokes, get that youthful thrill from enthusiastically-executed cheap gore, and like bowling, Atom the Amazing Zombie Killer might just be your new favorite B-Movie. As someone who would love to make movies, but finds every excuse in the book not to dive in, I’m impressed mostly by the fact that the film was ever finished at all.
According to interviews, the filming process was an endurance test, taking place over four years. The production had money problems, life kept getting in the way, they lost the use of sets as bowling alleys closed down, a main actor quit and chunks of the film had to be reshot. But they persevered. And that’s what you want to hear about from indie filmmakers. That you just have to keep pushing and pushing until you get the damn thing finished.
These guys and this film are the very definition of Shlock and Awe that inspired me to start this website.
And with that, the 2016 Easter Zombie Movie Marathon is a wrap.