After 30 years of watching and writing about trashy horror movies and violent action flicks I've adopted some definite maxims. One is that if you can't tell me your story in 90 minutes or less I probably don't want to hear your story. Another is that every movie would probably be improved by sticking some zombies or zombie-like creatures in it.
For example, I love NIGHT OF THE CREEPS but without the slug-infested frat boys it's just another teen sex comedy with a depressing sub-plot about some local cop who killed himself. DEMONS? Take out the titular creatures and it's an Italian arthouse flick. RE-ANIMATOR without Dr. Hill and his sexually aggressive head is just one in a long line of med school dramas. No thanks!
Luckily, the producers of THE ZOMBINATOR realized that the world did not need yet another documentary about the Youngstown, Ohio fashion scene and decided to amp up the proceedings with an improvised docudrama-cum-horror flick featuring a Schwarzenegger impersonator who looks like Steven Seagal and NFL coach Gary Kubiak had a big trenchcoat-wearing baby.
Sure, that'll work.
Set in the aforementioned and horrific-looking Youngstown – in the news recently for this hysterical story – THE ZOMBINATOR begins as an excruciating faux fashion doc filled with local fashionistas blabbing about stuff. And fashion. At a wake for Bobby, a local serviceman who lost his life in Afghanistan, they stand around, talk about projects and going to "the city" (Cincinnati? Pittsburgh? Dayton?!). Also in attendance is The Colonel (co-producer Patrick Kilpatrick), a no nonsense military type who brought Bobby's ashes back from the Middle East and remarks – with a straight face and not a hint of sarcasm – how these numbskulls are the greatest generation.
When a set by Youngstown's finest zombie metal band is interrupted by a little undead girl, THE ZOMBINATOR finally begins morphing into the zombie outbreak thriller we were all hoping for, though director Sergio Myers punishes us by maintaining the reality show/documentary conceit until somebody finally blurts what we're all thinking – "why are you guys still filming this?!".
Oddly fascinating and surprisingly entertaining in a "how did this get made?" way, THE ZOMBINATOR eventually takes over its host and turns into a full-blown rip-off of a low grade, straight-to-video Seagal flick, complete with government conspiracies and a mano-a-mano showdown between The Colonel and The Zombinator (Joseph Aviel).
Filled with eye-rolling improv, metalhead ghostbusters, smoking priests and thick legged fashion gals in short skirts, THE ZOMBINATOR clocks in at a relatively painless 81 minutes. I guarantee your mileage will vary with this one. – Dan Taylor
THE ZOMBINATOR is available from Amazon and as of 10/9/15 is currently streaming free as part of Amazon Prime.
Dan Taylor is the editor and publisher of Exploitation Retrospect and makes no apologies for liking THE ZOMBINATOR at the same time he hates RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD. For more head scratching sinematic admissions visit our website, follow ER on Facebook and like us on Twitter.