Thursday, September 11, 2014


Now that ER #52 has been put to bed it's time to turn our attention to the flicks, zines, books and comics we were not able to get into the latest issue. Stay tuned to the blog as we'll be ramping up the pace with plenty of junk culture and fringe media reviews as summer draws to a close. Today's review comes courtesy of David Zuzelo (Tomb It May Concern) who took the plunge and tested the waters of the new Retromedia TV with the cool looking ZOMBIE PIRATES...

ZOMBIE PIRATES could not have been better targeted than directly at me. Let's see... a kick ass poster of (not surprisingly) ZOMBIE PIRATES? Yep! A description that includes a tribute to THE BLIND DEAD? OK, now I have to buy it. And gore? Oh, sure... there is some gore! What isn't to like? Well, I found ZOMBIE PIRATES to be an entertaining enough micro-budget film that looks sharp and contains a few nifty tributes to the undead Templar titans as well as a few good performances from the leads, though it has so much padding that I think long time trash cinema fanatics will feel like the original GHOST GALLEON plays as fast-paced as a fight from ONG BAK comparatively. While things meander a bit, and I feel like I could now close up a tattoo parlor, right down to changing the paper towels, I really liked it overall! So, recap time...

Linda (Sarah French/Scarlet Salem) is obviously one tough cookie. We meet her as she heads home with a bullet in her shoulder and a grimace on her face. Why? Well, it turns out she has robbed and killed a finder of artifacts (oh oh) and taken not only money, but some other things of mystical import. Enter the ominous, mustachioed Grant (J.C. Pennylegion), who takes a lot of time explaining that she has come into contact with a Necronomicon-esque book that contains the method to feeding flesh to undead pirates in return for silver and other treasures. AS LONG AS YOU DO IT RIGHT! Well, of course...

Linda gets forced into being said skin salesman or footage of her robbery will be sent to the police. She jumps right in, killing dudes left and right with a little seduction or even a sneaky kill a la the opening of HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY... and in comes the mossy maven of malevolence... CAPTAIN LASSARD (Eric Spudic). He looks cool as hell, though the HD video doesn't do the costume many favors in some ways.  This all continues until a bothersome officer of the law, Detective Knofke (Denman Powers) makes the scene and seems to have a fun obsession with using STAYING FOR COFFEE as a strong arm tactic. Make this guy a cup, even after he quits, because he has DNA evidence to hoodwink you out of, ladies. Pretty slick...

The Zombie Pirates have arrived!
But what happens when the cop gets hip, the sacrifice goes late and the ZOMBIE PIRATES lay siege to a rather nice little home on the water? Gore! CGI! FUN!

While it runs too long with many repetitive scenes as Linda drags her white-bagged victims out to sea, or folds and unfolds a chair in her bathing suit, there is a lot to like for the low budget fan. The monster suits are really nice and I was especially impressed by ZOMBIE PARROT as well as a tiny ship shot almost exactly like the Ghost Galleon that Amando de Ossorio forged for The Blind Dead. I think the tiny budget and extremely high quality video camera dents the atmosphere that they were going for when Lassard shows up at the door, but the boat sacrifices and nomnomming are very well done. It's hard to hang a movie on just those sequences however.

A Ghost Galleon by any other name.
Thankfully, the actors do a good job with the material. French pulls off her character's various moods and "take no shit" attitude nicely and her scenes with Powers as the chatty cop are great fun fodder. Something about cops in Retromedia presentations is always fun. While not going for comedy in most instances, the two gel nicely and even I wanted to smack the detective in the head.

Most notable for me is the score is a perfect example of keeping a film flowing even in the dead spots of running time filler. An electronic score that hums beneath the entire film, it's got enough creep to keep my attention even when it starts to wander. Director Steve Sessions knows how to shoot a zombie attack AND score it at the same time. I'm impressed!

Overall, it would take a seasoned micro-budget fan to really love ZOMBIE PIRATES, but it's a serviceable slab of schlock for Blind Dead fanatics to take a look at.

Zombie Pirate nomnoming on a victim.
Another thing of note: this was my first purchase at the launch of RETROMEDIA.TV, a new service from Fred Olen Ray's company. Available through Vimeo, the movies are available to rent (for $3.99 a week) or purchase. Never having tried digital purchasing through Vimeo, I was really pleased with the quality of the product. For $7.99 you get an MP4 file that looks incredibly sharp. While you can stream through Vimeo, it is currently not on the Roku that I use. I simply put the file on a USB stick and played through my blu-ray player. The service could be a huge boon to Funky Cinefiles ready to accept medialess purchase (I'm very hesitant, personally). With the promise of items like an uncut TOMB OF THE WEREWOLF ahead, I'm sure it will be something to watch.

While I can't comment on the DVD release of ZOMBIE PIRATES, I did notice that the Retromedia disc contains HORROR OF THE ZOMBIES/GHOST GALLEON as an extra. Now that is a great flick and will certainly help anyone befuddled by the main feature as to what the tribute mentioned on the box was all about.

Definitely a decent sign of things to come, the Retromedia empire is about to enjoy some digital dominance I hope!

Zombie Parrot says... OUTTA HERE. SQUAAAAAK!!! – David Zuzelo

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