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.
Back in 2014, I reviewed Murderdrome, an Australian roller derby girls fighting demons film and loved it. Then, earlier this year, I wrote up a piece on Australian horror which again highlighted the work of that film’s writer/director, Daniel Armstrong. At the time I hadn’t had a chance to catch up with From Parts Unknown: Fight Like a Girl, but now I have and the 2017 Easter Zombie Movie Marathon is the perfect time to say some things about it.
But first, some backstory!
Originally titled Fight Like a Girl, Armstrong began shooting his wrestlers vs zombies extravaganza back in 2006 with a budget of under $5000 bucks, no director of photography, no editor, no composer, no sound designer, and no post-production facility access. Essentially, this was every first-timer’s situation. You have no money. You have no connections. You have nothing going for you but the drive to get your film made by whatever means necessary. And that means that whatever you manage to get on film is probably going to suck compared to even moderately-budgeted films from any studio in the world.
But that doesn’t mean shit.
Fight Like a Girl suffered from money problems, technical problems, and personnel problems. It was put on a shelf until everybody could get their shit together, and then after the filming and release of Murderdrome Armstrong went back and recut the film from the source footage and set it loose upon the world last year.
I’m not gonna sugarcoat it for you; the film is rough. There are problems with the sound from start to finish as the location audio was fucked, but when you have no money, you roll with the punches. If you’re not in love with no-budget film, you’re probably gonna be a dick when you watch this film.
Don’t be a dick.
From Parts Unknown: Fight Like a Girl is the tale of Charlie (Jenna Dwyer), who after seeing her father die in the wrestling ring (beheaded, of course), has set out to become a champion wrestler in his memory. However, her boyfriend is having none of it, so her wresting is on the sly. At the same time, Charlie works a day job at a big nebulously-defined corporation that is getting ready to release a video game system that uses nanobots to allow users to feel like they’re actually wrestling (because their big game is From Parts Unknown, a wrestling sim). The nanotech is, naturally, stolen from the military (or something like that) and a freak accident causes the boss lady, Roz (Elke Berry) to be infected and turned into a homicidal maniac who can also control other infected people, turning them into twitchy, kill-crazy monsters.
Honestly, without an outline like that, you may have a hard time following what exactly is going on. But it’s totally beside the point.
Fight Like a Girl isn’t a film you’re going to watch because you love cinema. It’s a film you’re going to watch because you love lo-fi, B-movie insanity. It’s amateurish, but it’s sincere. When a character spouts Bruce Campbell’s lines from Army of Darkness, it’s cheesy but it’s from a place of love. Plus, Dwyer is equal parts kick-ass and adorable as Charlie and her ring persona, Daddy’s Girl.
And if all of this sounds like I’m making excuses, then fuck you. You don’t understand how difficult it is to get a film made. From Parts Unknown: Fight Like a Girl may not be the best film you’ve ever seen, but goddammit, it’s got heart. It’s not a soulless cash-in that adopts ideas endorsed by the marketplace. It’s about women wrestlers, for fuck’s sake, on the Australian indie wrestling circuit!
What the hell more do you people want?
There are other films in this Easter Zombie Movie Marathon that are better made, but are far less enjoyable than From Parts Unknown: Fight Like a Girl. This is exactly the sort of film I wanted to champion when I founded Psycho Drive-In and it’s exactly the sort of film that people all over the world need to see when they think making a movie is impossible; that it’s something they could never do.
So once you watch this, go and watch Murderdrome, too. And then hopefully we’ll be able to see Sheborg Massacre sometime soon. And then, what the hell, go out and make your own damn movie! Let’s flood the market with our dreams!