Mutant Vampire Zombies from the ‘Hood! (2008)

Mutant Vampire Zombies from the 'Hood! (2008)

An unusual solar flare hits the Earth just as a drugs deal in a warehouse between two rival gangs is stopped by a pair of cops. Everyone passes out and when they awaken, they find that the Earth is now overrun by mutated zombies. Putting their differences aside, the gang members and the cops must fight off the mutant hordes in the hopes of reaching a safe house.

 

My hopes for this low budget flick were not great. For some reason it’s called The Undead in the UK and the release passes itself off as The Horde, with an almost identical front cover and carbon copy storyline about gangs and cops working together to fight zombies. My hopes were lessened when I found out that its proper title is Mutant Vampire Zombies from the ‘Hood! Hardly a title to instil confidence into a jaded horror watcher!

Thankfully, after the painfully clichéd and too straight-laced opening sequence which sets up the drugs bust (an Asian gang, an Afro-American gang and two cookie cutter cops) and features some really terrible special effects as the solar flare hits Earth, the film gains a sense of humour and things lighten up. It’s not going to win any awards for originality and the plot twists and turns can be predicted a mile away but in the horror genre, the fun is in the journey and not the destination. The zombies aren’t just your typical brain eaters but mutated humans, some of whom maintain human characteristics whilst others just turn into gigantic 7ft tall monsters. Some of the more human-acting mutants provide the film’s best but all-too-short sequence in which the survivors find themselves prisoners in a strip club. These mutants have increased sex drives and the two elements combine for an unnerving but hilarious sight.

The make-up effects are as good as they need to be for a low budget film and whilst the scenes are never totally overrun by mutants, you always get the impression that the characters are outnumbered by a significant amount. There’s just enough action to keep things ticking over and apart from the sluggish opening, the film is always full steam ahead – arguably too quick for its own good at times, as the aforementioned strip club scene shows.

They may start off annoying and one-dimensional but the characters really come into their own during the course of the film. They’re a likeable bunch and the audience can root for them all without feeling too guilty in the fact that most of them are criminals and petty hoods. The initial stereotyping is short-lived and although some of the characters maintain their clichéd characteristics for the duration (you know the film is meant to be set in the hood when almost every other word involves motherf****r), at least there’s some depth and progression with their development. C. Thomas Howell is the only real ‘star’ name on show but I had to laugh when I saw Gregory Allan Williams in this. For anyone who isn’t sure who he is, he’s the black cop who used to drive the four-wheeler up and down the beach on Baywatch (and that’s pretty much the only thing anyone remembers him from!!). Here, he is the astrophysicist who has a really hot daughter. Anyone with half a brain can see that the only two white survivors are going to hook up at some point.

It’s Keikabou Holland who steals the show as one of the Afro-American gang, thinking that the zombies are vampires and is constantly spouting off about Nosferatu and Dracula. It’s funny since the film never really explains what the mutants/zombies/vampires are. Lots of explanations and scientific mumbo-mumbo is banded around but it becomes a running in-joke. To be fair to the film, we don’t really need to know what they are because we know there’ll be no resolution to the monsters by the end of the flick.

 

Don’t let the title put you off. Mutant Vampire Zombies from the ‘Hood! might be low budget and it doesn’t beat around the bush in rehashing old zombie clichés. But I expected nothing and was rewarded with a funny, entertaining and throwaway zombie flick which I’ll most likely not remember next week but at least it was worth the effort to sit through. And if you expect to get through the film without one of the Afro-American characters mimicking Samuel L. Jackson’s infamous line from Snakes on a Plane, then you’ll be disappointed!

 

 ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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