Zombie Nosh (1988)

Zombie Nosh (1988)

He lived, he died, he’s back, and he’s hungry!

A group of college students on an overnight hayride are terrorised and attacked by a zombie, accidentally released from his tomb in the woods. The zombie is hungry and human flesh is first on the menu!

 

If this film tried to be Night of the Living Dead any harder, it would implode. It’s as if director/writer/editor/actor/best boy/whatever else he did, the legendary Bill Hinzman, is trying even harder to reclaim his past glories. For those of you who don’t know, Hinzman played the cemetery zombie in the original Night of the Living Dead and as a result, a place in horror history. He said that fans recognised him everywhere he went and so he decided that the zombie was worthy enough of its own film. Hang on a minute, he was only a bit-part in that film and the plot didn’t revolve around him. He disappears after the first ten minutes. So is he just an ego-maniac or does he really believe that he was the only thing people remember from Night of the Living Dead?

When he tried to make a zombie film without the input of George A. Romero, it ended up this mess called Zombie Nosh. Did he really think that the world needed another zombie flick, especially in the late 80s when guys in masks killing teenagers were all the rage? Hinzman stars and plays, surprise, surprise, a zombie. Actually he is the best part of the film and he does look and acts like a nasty zombie – you wouldn’t want to cross him in the woods. The ironic thing is that he needed loads of make-up in 1968 to play the zombie but now that he’s a lot older, he hardly needs any make-up at all and still looks as scary.

Hinzman aside, the film is a messy, incoherent succession of loosely-related zombie attacks. The film kills off most of the main characters half-way through and then has to introduce a new batch to fill the gaps. How many films do that? It kills the flow of the film because you’re basically starting from act one again by introducing new main characters to the audience to get to know from scratch. The zombies chase two teens throughout the film who lead them to a variety of random people who don’t believe them and who are promptly devoured for their ignorance. Characters appear in the film for about two minutes tops. They say some lines, discover the zombies and then become zombies themselves after being attacked. Heck, one girl is in the film for about five minutes maximum and she spends four minutes forty seconds completely naked.

This loose stringing together of attacks is just an excuse to show loads of T&A (the zombies have the knack of ripping open blouses ala Zombie Lake to expose their victims breasts before the kill) and loads of cheap and nasty gore as Hinzman and co. smash through their victims (quite literally at times) and rip them open with their teeth. It would have worked better had the film had the zombie as the main star of the film. Now there’s a thought – a day in the life of a zombie. Hinzman and his undead gang are the only constants through the film so why wouldn’t it have worked? It certainly would have given the film a bit of a different slant. And as we’ve seen with recent films like Colin, this unique perspective would have been a welcome change.

What Hinzman clearly doesn’t grasp is that the graphic kills themselves mean nothing. George A. Romero’s films were gory and violent when they needed to be but they were built around great characters and a story that actually meant something. So when the story became punctuated by violence, it was all the more shocking. Having zombies just ripping people apart left, right and centre may show off a load of fancy make-up effects but it gets old quickly when there isn’t a solid story to build around them. They lose their meaning and unfortunately all of the attacks in this one mean nothing.

The film starts to play out a bit more like Night of the Living Dead towards the end when groups of rednecks are hired to go and hunt the zombies, thus leading towards a terrible ending where the two surviving teens are mistakenly shot. Sounds familiar? Overall, there are few redeeming qualities about this film. The picture isn’t very crisp, the sound is ropey and the whole thing just looks faded like it has been left out in the sun for to long. On the DVD, Hinzman bitterly thinks that all low budget movies are the same quality and, without naming names, clearly points his finger at George A. Romero. He’s tried to prove his point with Zombie Nosh but only succeeded in making it invalid. Talent shines out which is why Romero hit the big time. The reality is that Hinzman got lucky with his bit-part role and has been living in Romero’s shadow ever since.

 

Zombie Nosh has some moments of sleaze worth noting but Hinzman’s brainchild film is simply a very bad rip-off of a far superior film. Stick with the original zombie shocker Night of the Living Dead if you want sophisticated splatter.

 

 ★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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