Thursday, September 4, 2008

RetarDEAD (2008)

RetarDEAD is a sequel of sorts to filmmakers Rick Popko and Dan West’s Monsturd. Though I haven’t seen Monsturd, I found myself easily engaged in the storyline of RetarDEAD, which takes most of the same characters from Monsturd and places them in another scenario where the evil Dr. Stern (Dan Burr) has survived from the last film and decides to try a different experiment. Instead of creating a giant poop monster, Dr. Stern turns to special education students and begins to inject them with a serum that accelerates their intelligence. Instead of making macaroni artwork, the kids are soon reading War and Peace and Dr. Stern is praised by parents and administrators alike. The only problem is that the serum has some nasty side effects…namely turning the students into zombies! When the zombies get loose and start infecting the entire town, the local screwball cops must take a break from trying to track down the town’s “Weiner Wagger” and focus on stopping Dr. Stern and his flesh-eating zombies!

RetarDEAD is an enjoyable and completely silly low budget film that’ll have you alternately laughing and puking! Think of RetarDEAD like a Troma film crossed with the riotously raunchy comedy of a Broken Lizard film (i.e. Supertroopers) drenched in copious amounts of gore! Writers/directors Rick Popko and Dan West (who also play the clueless cops) have created a gross-out horror comedy that even features funny faux trailers for films and a lobby commercial that happily advertises a “Cleveland Steamer” sandwich! They also managed to get some sweet cameos for the film. Jello Biafra, ex-lead singer of the band the Dead Kennedy’s, makes an appearance as town mayor, the Living Dead Girlz put on a killer performance, and even the reclusive Herschell Gordon Lewis contributes a voice over for the film!

This is a low-budget film, so I wasn’t expecting much in the acting department, which is probably a good thing since the acting is definitely not one of the film’s strong points! My two favorite actors were, surprisingly, Popko and West in the roles of the bumbling cops. Their repertoire is just hilarious and they get some of the best lines in the film!

Other negatives include the editing and the script, which could have both used some tightening up. There are numerous scenes that drag on way too long and seem to exist solely to pad the running time (which is roughly about an hour and a half). I kept reaching for the fast forward button during these lulls in action where nothing much (not even dialogue between characters) was happening. Also, the script meanders in the beginning and while there are some hilarious scenes involving the notorious “Wiener Wagger” in the movie, that subplot really has no bearing on the rest of the film.

Despite these flaws, I had a knee-slapping good time with RetarDEAD. There’s been some talk about the incendiary title that some people have taken offensively, but the film really doesn’t stoop to making (too much) fun of the special education students. Once they become zombies and infect the entire town, everyone pretty much becomes equal and there aren’t really any “slow zombie” jokes thrown around. With that said, the film still manages to make hilariously inappropriate jokes…just wait for the gag in the porno store!

The film’s gore is also a real treat, and most scenes are covered in red! The special FX were done by seasoned FX artist Ed Martinez and his talent contributes to the success of the film. We get limbs torn from bodies, bloody shoot-outs and the film’s crowning achievement, a torso ripped in half by a hungry zombie horde!

If you are looking for a dirty, devious and laugh-out-loud funny low-budget B-movie, RetarDEAD will surely float your boat. A mix of John Waters’ “anything goes” attitude, Herschell Gordon Lewis’ graphic gore and Troma’s wacky DIY spirit, RetarDEAD is a “special” film you won’t want to miss!

Buy it on Amazon!

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