Zombie Movie Night: January ’14

January in Zombie Movie Land has unofficially become Butt Month.  Last year it was Bloodlust Zombies starring world famous Buttwoman, Alexis Texas.  This time around, the first month of the year brought us Zombie Ass: The Toilet of the Dead.  Would it be as well-rounded as last year’s entry or would it slip through the cracks?

In case you couldn’t tell by the bizarre title, Zombie Ass is a Japanese production.  A group of young friends heads out on a camping trip (classic).  The mean girl of the group has the brilliant idea to lose weight by consuming a large parasite they find inside a dead trout.  That goes about as well as you would expect.  Soon enough, the gang is running from zombies, most of which emerge from the business end of an outhouse where mean girl has gone off to squat.  See, I assumed “Zombie Ass: The Toilet of the Dead” was a title that was somewhat lost in translation.  I was wrong.  Soon enough, the kids stumble upon a mad scientist who has been using a local town as a breeding ground for the parasite because consuming them keeps his little girl from dying.  The side effects for everyone else is Zombie.  …Zombies that attack butt-first.

If the title wasn’t lost in translation, then the message of the movie certainly is.  Zombie Ass is obsessed with butts and bodily functions and it eventually starts to feel tedious.  I’m not above laughing at fart jokes, but when you’re still making them in the third act, it’s like enough already.  This film is also a particularly disturbing glimpse into the window of Japanese shame culture.  The main character’s sister killed herself because she was embarrassed by farting in the girls locker room and that flashback is played absolutely straight.  It’s one thing to read about warriors who killed themselves when they lost in battle, but seeing this mindset play out in a twisted modern movie is off-putting.  Everybody poops, Japan.  Get over it.  Grade: C-

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Our second film of the night was The Amazing Adventures of the Living Corpse, which unfortunately makes quite liberal use of the words “amazing” and “adventures.”  After killing his wife and daughter, a zombie is snapped back into consciousness by the pleas of his young son, whom he then impulsively decides to save.   This act of mercy attracts the attention of a guardian of the underworld.  This demon guy leads Living Corpse into a bizarre hidden world that contains magic tunnels to anywhere he might want to go.  LC is only interested in finding his son, who has been shuttled off to a boarding school for orphans of paranormal activity.   LC finds his way to the school, inadvertantly bringing with him a bunch of killer underworld monsters.  After a climactic battle, the story jumps 15 years to find the son, named Taylor, working for a mad scientist who is trying to harnass zombie power to create the ultimate unkillable army.  Taylor helps lure his dad into a trap but it soon becomes apparent that mad scientist is crazy (duh) and everything goes horribly wrong.

It’s very difficult to find any redeeming qualities in this one.  First of all, it’s animated in video game style and it looks terrible.  It’s a 2 hour cut scene of a game you wouldn’t want to play.  Actually, it’s not even video game quality as the character models are clunky and the motions are awkward.  The voice acting might be even worse.  Young Taylor, who is constantly in danger, cries for help with all the urgency of someone who can’t get a pickle jar open.  The story is jumbled and mostly incoherent.  Character motivations vary wildly from scene to scene as needed.  One of the boarding school teachers transforms almost instantly from coward to suicidal lunatic.  Taylor himself never expresses any actual grief or even anger over his dead family but fifteen years later he needs to hate his father for a confrontation to happen and so he does.  This one was so hard to watch, it made me long for the comic stylings of Forest of the Dead’s Jeffy Giuseppe.  Well, Jeffy can now rest Proper! as A.A.ot L.C. has become the new “champion” at the very bottom of our rankings!  Grade: F

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