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The nutritional value of a zombie movie is generally comprised of the endorphins from the humor and adrenaline from the scares and, as we’ve seen with every one of Romero’s films we’ve watched this month, a healthy, subliminal dose of sociopolitical commentary. Zombies of Mass Destruction is chalk-full of all these things, though the social commentary is about as subtle as a Michael Moore documentary.
On the tiny island town of Port Gamble there lives a community of red-blooded Americans. Iranian-American, Princeton-dropout Frida walks down the sidewalk, attempting to be unnoticed but unfortunately runs into the Miller family, Joe, Judy and son Brian, who is Frida’s age. Frida smiles politely as Joe tries to be funny with his politically incorrect jokes, mistakenly calling her Iraqi. Across town, Tom has just arrived in town on a ferry with his boyfriend Lance in order to “come out” to his mother. That night while Tom and Lance have dinner with Tom’s mother and Frida is out on a date, zombies start to attack. Frida takes refuge in the Miller’s house and Tom and Lance escape to the church. In the Miller’s basement, the TV begins to chatter with talk that the zombie outbreak is the result of a Muslim terrorist attack. Warped with frustration and fear Mr. Miller turns on Frida and blames her for the attack, torturing her and asking ridiculous questions. Meanwhile Tom and Lance are being forced into anti-gay treatment by the church’s reverend. With all of the human drama the question soon becomes when will stop worrying about sexual orientation and religion/nationality and start worrying about all the zombies wandering around eating people?
Zombie movies have been proven again and again to great vehicles for commentating on various aspects of life, but the bluntness and overwrought use of stereotypes both positive and negative is a bit ridiculous. Director/writers Kevin Hamedani and Ramon Isao definitely have a serious grudge against those citizens of the conservative persuasion: ignorant, slovenly, Bible-thumping rednecks getting eaten by zombies for berating Muslims and homosexuals couldn’t be a clearer message. The goriness was gross and inventive and there was one delightful and surprising pro-zombie/anti-vampire joke that is sure to bring a smile to any zombiephile. Endorphins? Check. Adrenaline? Check. Commentary? Manageable…just don’t force feed it to us next time…
Tomorrow we watch supernatural thrill ride Boy Eats Girl.