The Zombie King

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Samuel Peters (Edward Furlong) lost his mind when he lost his wife and made a deal with the dark god Kalfu (Corey Feldman) to bring her back, but in order to do so he had to unleash a plague of the risen dead first, and a small group of those that survived this onslaught aim to end the dabbling necromancer’s plans.

You may not know this, but zombies can eat things other than human and/or animal flesh. It’s not exactly well known since flesh, particularly human flesh, is the staple of any zombie’s diet, but we can and do eat whatever we want. Things don’t exactly taste the same once you’re dead, but it’s still nice to enjoy the sensation of eating the food you once loved. For me, that’s eggplant. I used to love me some eggplant, could eat tons of the stuff, and all you needed was salt, pepper, and some smoked paprika for it to come out awesome. Well, at least if you know how to cook it. Eggplant is really easy to overcook, and when you do, it becomes a mushy mess that’s damn near inedible and no amount of spices are going to fix it. That doesn’t mean people won’t try and skirt around the fact that they don’t know what they’re doing though, usually by using the culinary coverall known as cheese. It’s almost a guarantee that if you see cheese sitting on the top of an eggplant and it’s not part of a dish, the person who made that eggplant was hoping you wouldn’t notice how terrible it came out. I’m pretty sure by now you can already see where this is leading. Much like using cheese to cover up a bad dish, whenever I see a film use fallen celebrities to sell their flick, I know I’m not in for a good time. Still, I trudge along through these films anyways, awaiting the day when the insanity of a Corey Feldman performance does more than just make me feel awkward and sad. I guess I should get on with the review so I can go back to dreaming.

Samuel Peters (Edward Furlong) was a man that was madly in love with his soulmate, making her death all that harder for him to accept. With her body not even cold, Samuel begins studying the dark arts, eventually learning to conjure an ancient god name Kalfu (Corey Feldman). Kalfu has the power to bring back those that have passed away from this world, but his price is steep. Samuel must hold onto to seven recently departed souls for seven days as payment for his wife’s return. Should he succeed, he will become the Zombie King and live eternally with the love of his life, but while he waits for his trial to end, the gates of hell are opened and the dead of one countryside town are allowed to rise up and attack the living, prompting the military to close the town off and shoot anyone who tries to escape. This is bad news for the few people left alive who are forced to dodge not only the living dead, but the military as well. These brave few will have to find Samuel and put a stop to the man’s plan before Kalfu can fulfill his promise and plunge the world into darkness.

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{Is it just me, or is that zombie in the white tank top giving the stink eye to Furlong}

I have this really odd quirk where when a movie tells me someone is going to be in a starring role, I expect said person to actually be in a starring role instead of what amounts to a longer than average cameo. That’s why I was a little confused when I picked up a movie with Corey Feldman and Edward Furlong gracing a cover that featured nothing but their images, read a synopsis that only mentioned the two of them as if they were the film’s focus, and caught advertising that was nothing but accolades for their performances, yet watched a film that had very little of the pair. Between the two of them, they have less than ten minutes of screen time. The Zombie King is mostly just a group of regular joes talking too much with quick flashes of Furlong’s face staring off into the distance so the viewer doesn’t forget he’s supposed to be in the film. I’m not sure what he’s supposed to be staring at, but it must be really important because that’s pretty much his entire role. Feldman shows up in the end for a quick stint as Kalfu, turning his particular blend of overacting to its maximum level, to the point where you really miss when he was just a weird Michael Jackson impersonator, and is quickly defeated with the power of “woman berates him.” It’s rather difficult to find a dark god all that threatening when he backs down after getting yelled at. It’s really a shame that they got any credit in this movie because the real stars of The Zombie King are the mostly unknown actors portraying the survivors, and most of them aren’t half bad. The drunken priest was entertaining in his attempts to explain the gravity of the situation in-between sips of church wine, the milkman was hilarious, and the postal worker who took his job way too seriously was great comedy (I’ve never seen being a postal worker shown so dramatically), but the best actors from around the world couldn’t have saved what was a broken mess from start to finish either way.

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{I’m guessing the lettering on his face translates to “Please don’t yell at me”}

The viewing experience felt like I was watching bits from two uncompleted flicks that were squished together and stuffed with filler in an attempt to push out an hour and a half run time. There’s a standard film about a small group of survivors doing what’s implied in their description, and there’s a film about Furlong and Feldman showing the world just how far they’ve fallen. The two do not mesh together well. It’s really odd to be watching a group of people talk incessantly about what they were doing before the dead rose and suddenly there’s a close up of Edward Furlong’s face staring off and looking like he’s about to have the deepest thought this world has ever known before switching right back to more unnecessary conversations. That’s what you can expect the entire film, lots of talking, very little action, and a bunch of shots showing Furlong’s serious face before Feldman shows up unexpectedly to cackle and scream like he’s doing a parody of bad cosplay. The one redeeming factor was that at least the characters were fairly enjoyable, minus Feldman and Furlong of course, even if they do spend most of their time just talking, lots and lots of talking. The real testament to the acting talent, again, minus Feldman and Furlong, is that they were able to craft enjoyable characters from such utter garbage because the dialogue is absolutely atrocious. It’s full of predictable nonsense and people constantly stating the obvious. Expect to hear people explain exactly what you just watched at every turn. “Did you see me run up the hill, smash that zombie’s head in, and run back to the shed so I could grab the axe before I ran back here?” Yes, we all just fucking saw that you jackass, stop talking about it.

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{These are the real stars of The Zombie King}

It’s bad enough that the filmmakers didn’t try and make their two storylines more cohesive, but they also added quite a bit of obvious filler. Nearly every single person that’s introduced has a backstory of what they were doing before the city went to hell. By the time you get to the fifth person explaining what they were up to, it’s becomes painfully obvious that no one working on this thing knew what they were doing. What’s weird is that they could have used some of this time to finish the various subplots that pop up throughout The Zombie King, subplots that fizzle out without ever actually going anywhere, but instead spent the time adding in more and more filler. I have to wonder if the writers didn’t put together a bunch of old ideas they never got to do anything with and hoped the end result worked itself out. It was disjointed and it never felt like a whole movie with the various storylines bumbling into each other like a drunken day of bumper cars.

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{Or as Edward Furlong calls it, 11 AM}

Unless it’s a warning about the dangers of doing too many drugs in your teenage years, it’s probably time the cinematic world retires Corey Feldman (Edward Furlong still might have a chance). The guy has already been through enough and it’s not doing him any favors to keep throwing him into films just for the lookyloos like myself who will watch only because train wrecks are hard to turn away from. My suggestion, if you’re really jonesing for a Feldman film, go watch The Lost Boys again. There is no reason to check this piece of junk out.

 

The Undead Review

 

Directed By: Aidan Belizaire (The Sleeper Effect)

Starring: George McCluskey (Sturgess & Sturgess Lost & Found, Age of Kill), David McClelland (Everything But the Ball, Pandora), and Michael Gamarano (Backslasher, The Last Days of Edgar Harding)

Written By: Rebecca-Clare Evans, Jennifer Chippindale, George McCluskey (Sturgess & Sturgess Lost & Found), and Lisa Strobl (Pirates of South Carolina, Wideboys the Movie)

Released By: Northern Girl Productions, Templeheart Films, and Factory Film Studio

Release Year: 2013

Release Type: Straight to Video

MPAA Rating: Not Rated

About The Undead Review

When I was alive I was an asshole and after I died remained pretty much the same, if not a little worse. You’d think becoming a member of the walking dead would mellow a person out, no more worrying about awkward small talk with people, no more having to be politically correct, and the entire world is your upright, bipedal buffet. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun as hell to be a zombie, just somewhat irritating at times, especially those times you have to watch a lame movie or read a lame book. Thankfully, when I am forced to watch these films or read those books, I’ve got places like The Undead Review to bitch and moan to my heart’s content. {When he’s not devouring the living or sinking his teeth into a good film The Undead Review (Andy Taylor) spends his time writing his own stories or hunting down the paranormal. Oh, and did we mention his blind dog once saved the world?)
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