Midnight Rec: Bio-Zombie (1998)

While the economy is falling apart, my user-generated content sites are actually opting to pay out for articles now. Something seems fishy that, say, Helium is paying per article at the end of the month, but I'm not questioning it. It means I can resubscribe to Netflix and Rhapsody and fill my car up with gas every other week, so I'm happy. If I increase the output (easy enough to do), I can probably start going to the movies every week again, as well. And save up for computer repairs and music supplies. So, yeah. It means I find crazy foreign films like Bio-Zombie and get to write all about them here. Midnight Rec: Bio-Zombie (1998) Tell me: do you like horror comedies? Do you get a rush of excitement from Shaun of the Dead? Obsess over the nuance of social commentary in Dawn of the Dead? Laugh way too hard at the Elvira films? Then have I got a Hong Kong export for you. Bio-Zombie is a dark slapstick schlock-fest from Hong Kong. It takes place in a mall, and features chemically created zombies (technically from a soft drink). There's literally buckets of blood and shtick that hasn't been filmed since Abbott and Costello hung up their hats and stopped encountering Universal monsters. The screenplay is over the top. The two main girls are named Jelly and Rolls; the two lead guys Woody and Bee, though I imagine the reference may be Woody and Buzz (as in Toy Story). That would match up with some of the evident American pop culture obsessions in the film. In fact, the film, though ridiculous, reflects the issues of Hong Kong identity, as the culture shown in the film is influenced by Japan, China, Britain, and America in a bizarre amalgam of trends and ideas. They eat sushi while speaking Cantonese, ducking police officers not carrying guns (but the security guards do) and wondering whether or not to go watch Titanic. It has elements of the western and the gangster film, as well as Manzai. Manzai is basically Japanese buddy comedy, with a straight man and a funny man. It's fast banter and slapstick, with plenty of whacks to the head and pulled faces. With all of the over the top humor, the darker dramatic heft slowly creeps in unnoticed and starts to overtake the picture. The ending of the film actually feels like a punch to the face. It seems like it comes out of nowhere at first. Then you realize it's been set up since the first five minutes of the film and had to go that way. Bio-Zombie is readily available from Netflix and is worth the ninety minutes to watch it. Give it a try if you want to see horror from Hong Kong not based in jump scares and symbolic hauntings.

#5: Dracula by Bram Stoker

Film Rec: Fight Club (1999)