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Directed by Ken Dixon
After years of intense research, a solid conclusion can now be made. Genre video companies in the 1980s were very interested in making money. Strange, but true!
When you're in a bind for bucks, nothing yelps "buy me!" to a consumer like the promise of attention deficit sex and gore. The compilation tape was born. From the stomach turning Terror On Tape to obscurity buffet Screen Scaries , the 1980s were a fertile testing ground for this virtuous theory. Enter Wizard Video.
Zombiethon is the final omnibus in an epic VHS trilogy from Charles Band's Wizard Video and director Ken Dixon. First, there was The Best Of Sex And Violence , a 1981 stew of 70s exploitation trailers, bumper hosted by the eminent John Carradine. Next up was Filmgore , a 1983 release hosted by Elvira, featuring shorthand versions of gloopy hits like Blood Feast and Snuff. Finally, 1986 had dawned, bringing with it the splendidly titled Zombiethon. Zombiethon! The stoic compilation video tape in which a woman whispers, "If there is a secret to the universe, I know it was inside myself!" Yes. Either that, or it's amongst the dirty old man camera tricks.
Zombiethon compiles digest versions of seven Wizard-licensed zombie films (kinda), all fueled with loads of T&A and a bit of gore. Inbetween "features," a series of stylishly shot, five-and-dime zombie sequences all end up at the El Rey Theater in Los Angeles. That's where the clips are being projected to an audience of rubber masked zombies...by a zombie projectionist, even (ho ha!). That’s also where the horrid Universal Studios Theme Park soundtrack busts in. Secrets of the universe: solved.
Let's kick it! A woman in a prep-school outfit walks through a garden while being chased by a zombie. The camera darts up her skirt a few times. Clips from Zombie (Lucio Fulci, 1979) hang loose. A girl in a zebra print bikini lies out on the beach. Butt shots galore. A tuff-ass robot zombie chases her to the theater, just in time for Zombie Lake (Jean Rollin, 1981). A girl in a transparent gown waxes poetic to sub-erotica narration. She tells an undead suitor, "I want more out of life. Let's go the movies." A more perfect segueway to Jess Franco's Oasis Of The Zombies (1983) has never been spoken. For a change of pace, a zombie stalks a woman and her infant in an alley next to the theater (?!). Scenes from the impossible-to-find, non-zombie Fear (Riccardo Freda, 1981) unspool. Finally, the party in the theater takes off as The Invisible Dead (Pierre Chevalier, 1973, aka Orloff And The Invisible Man; also not a zombie film), A Virgin Among The Living Dead (Jess Franco, 1973), and Ted V. Mikels’s absolute classic The Astro-Zombies pull up the rear. The projectionist cuts off a finger. Double title screen, roll credits.
What more do you need to know? Thanks to Zombiethon, it’s now possible to watch Zombie Lake and Oasis Of The Zombies without falling asleep. The clips from Fear, which will surely drive you over the edge, are a blast to see. The connecting segments are seeped in brainless, cheapo nostalgia. If that doesn’t do the trick, you’re hopeless.
AUDIO AND VIDEO
Wizard’s tapes always seem to persevere through the years. This one is no exception. The picture quality is clear and sparkling, but the mono volume fluctuates between clips.
Not a one.
Zombiethon personifies a long gone era of home video entertainment, one that grows more hazy and attractive with each passing year. Although the girl-oogling and mindless repetition grate after awhile, this is still a decent party. So don't skip it.
Flows like feathers
This means business
It's lonely at the top
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