Zombie Babies (2012)
Kaylee Williams as Leah
Eamon Hardiman as Kevin (as Trent McElvin)
Ruby Larocca as Veronica
Brian Gunnoe as Burt Fleming
Rob Cobb as Teddy
By James “Crypticpsych” Lasome
Burt Fleming (Brian Gunnoe…it’s an Eamon Hardiman movie, of course this character is present) and his assistant/underling/minion/manservant Teddy (Rob Cobb) run a discount abortion clinic in a dilapidated hotel. One day, as part of a scheme to increase revenue, they decide to send pregnant couples fliers for their “abort-a-thon”, advertising dirt cheap abortions combined with a vacation in their scummy hotel. They attract four couples including a high-roller named Jackson (Dean Stark) and his prostitute Jami Lynn (Missy Dawn), a baseball star and his girlfriend, a tattooed redhead named Veronica (Ruby Larocca) and a large fat nerd (Shawn C. Phillips), and a seemingly average girl named Leah (Kaylee Williams) and her boyfriend Kevin (the director, acting under the name Trent McElvin). All except Leah decide to go through with the procedure with the… remnants… being stored downstairs in Burt’s fetus pile next to his special moonshine still. Unfortunately, the still is a little unstable as it’s used to manufacture Burt’s special immortality shine (he’s over 100 years old). As the still boils over and reacts with the fetuses, they reanimate and head out to kill their former parents. As the body-count rises, it’s up to the survivors to perform an entirely different kind of procedure on their undead unintentional offspring.
Remember back when I reviewed Wound last year? I decided the only appropriate thing to do for part of the review was to show just how the movie was affecting me while I watched it by presenting a selection of comments I tweeted while watching the film. I’d like to do it again with Eamon Hardiman’s Zombie Babies. After all, I intentionally watched this and specifically requested to be given the chance to review it sight unseen and based solely on its awesome-sounding premise, so what better way to show what I got myself into than to present my own unfiltered thoughts:
(over two tweets) “I have decided to double-check. *ahem* [Zombie Babies] has: 5 Executive Producers, 3 Co-Executive Producers, and 29 Associate Producers. Oh, and 1 Producer, 1 Writer/Director, and A PARTRIIIIDGE IN A PEAR TREEEE.”
“Your costume should never look like it was filmed on a different kind of camcorder than you were.”
“It’s appropriate that [Zombie Babies] is about a certain medical procedure… since it seems to be doing that to comedy.”
“Pericles Lewnes called: he wants his reanimation method back.”
“You know, talented filmmakers keep their fingers from being in the shot when they’re moving puppets.”
“You named a character Capri…solely so you could make a Capri Sun joke. #facepalm”
“*puts on Snob glasses* If I want to watch a film with a guy dying when something crawls up his ass, I’ll stick with Poultrygeist, thank you.”
“By the way, speaking of Snob glasses, I can actually recommend a better killer fetus movie than this. Ponder that a moment.”
“Is… is that a Dead Alive/Braindead reference?… PETER JACKSON ISN’T EVEN DEAD AND HE’S ROLLING OVER IN HIS GRAVE!”
“This is so bad, the kill I was hoping would be in this was just botched by its aftermath. I CAN STILL SEE HER HEAD’S OUTLINE YOU DUMBASSES!”
“OH MY GOD. THE MOVIE JUST HAD A JOKE, THEN IMMEDIATELY REPEATED THE SAME JOKE FROM A SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT CAMERA ANGLE.”
And my personal favorite: “Oh my God. You murdered that perfectly good joke, [Zombie Babies], and then you dismembered the body for good measure.”
So, in case it wasn’t obvious, Zombie Babies is bad. Really, really, really, unbelievably bad. It’s so bad that I honestly question the decision to release the movie on DVD in this condition. Without even going into the characters or the dialogue yet, let’s just talk about the technical aspects. Dialogue sound quality varies wildly from scene to scene. Music sometimes drowns out dialogue. Dubbing is sometimes horrendous. Every single green-screen shot (and BOY are there a lot of those) is horrible, whether it be because the actors have a slight green halo around them or because the audience can faintly see hands, heads, or control mechanisms that are part of effects because the crew evidently couldn’t use the tech properly. The editing is some of the worst I’ve ever seen in what I presume is supposed to be a finished movie. This includes: little black frames still present between cuts, a scene in which four characters are supposed to be present but only three are visible with the fourth only being seen in cutaways, scenes that seem to be completely missing due to what had to be a lack of budget even though lines that lead into and out of them are still present, and the aforementioned joke told and then repeated immediately afterwards verbatim from a slightly different angle. I think the worst part, though, is that this is the third Eamon Hardiman movie I’ve reviewed… and every other movie of his is made better than this whether they were good or bad movies overall! What the Hell happened? You’ve done so much better than this!
Speaking of having watched multiple movies from this particular writer/director, I’ve seen him write good comedy and bad comedy in these movies… and Zombie Babies has the worst jokes I’ve seen him produce yet. The problem is not that the joke ideas are bad (much like the concept of the movie is not a bad one). The problem is that the good part of the joke, almost every single time, is beaten into the ground with a sledgehammer because the joke goes on… and on… and on. Case in point: Burt’s called the cops because of the situation. Characters begin wondering where they are. Cut to the cops. They’re out in the middle of the woods having the time of their lives and playing with fireworks. Hilarious. If the joke had stopped there and cut back to the hotel, we’d be good. Instead, the cops suddenly decide they want to motorboat the two women they’re with as they laugh and laugh and laugh and joke flatlines. We’re talking about a movie with multiple 30 second-or-so long shit jokes. With a race “joke” that goes on for almost 40 seconds while never once entering the same TIME ZONE as comedy. And let’s not forget just how timely the jokes in this are… yessir, I’m sure Jake and the Fat Man, Police Academy 3, and Jose Canseco references will NEVER feel dated.
This is not to even mention what can only be described as Hardiman’s sadistic fetish of putting the character of Burt Fleming in his movies. He’s been in all three I’ve seen and, according to IMDB, the actor who plays him has six acting credits…all of them Burt Fleming and all of them Hardiman movies. In the two Porkchop movies I’ve seen thus far, sure, the character’s annoying, but he’s not really very important to the plot and not around all that much. Here, he’s a main character and wanders around most of the movie spouting stupid lines and beating 90% of his jokes into comas. Mr. Hardiman, if Brian Gunnoe is a friend of yours, that’s fine, I can understand giving a friend a small supporting role to goof around in. But please, for the love of all that is good and holy, NEVER MAKE HIM A MAIN CHARACTER AGAIN. The other actors in the movie range from passable (Kaylee Williams in particular) to inoffensive yet mediocre, but all of them are dragged down several notches by sharing scenes with that one character.
Overall, Zombie Babies is a horrible movie, period. Its attempts at comedy almost universally fail, it’s a master class on what NOT to do in indie films on the technical side, and its actors performances, decent or bad, are swallowed up by one annoying, omnipresent character. An IMDB-claimed $5000 budget is not an explanation for what’s on display here. If you can afford the green screen and the software for it, learn to use it before you make a movie with it. Also, a $500,000 budget does not improve a complete and painful absence of comedy. I’m generally very forgiving of the flaws and foibles of indie films… I know how difficult they are to make and usually don’t give our lowest rating if there’s something, ANYTHING present to make the movie not a complete waste of time. I’ve found such things in the other Hardiman films I’ve reviewed and even genuinely liked one! That’s not the case here. All that happened is I wasted hours of my life trying to trudge my way through an hour and a half film (I kept pausing it in awe of how bad what I was seeing was). I advise you to not make the same mistake I did, and, if you do take that risk, then, like me, you’ll have no one to blame but yourself.