(Release Date: Portugal 26 February 2000 [Fantasporto Film Festival])
(Release Date: Italy 22 January 2004 [video premiere])
(I don't get these dates either)
It's official... I've an addiction to Zombie movies. I thought I could control it and I thought I had a handle on it, but now I know I need HELP! Alcoholics can sometimes point to that one night, that one drink that ruined their lives to addiction. Me? I'll ever look back on the day I actually paid to rent this thing! This proves I am powerless over my addiction and Zombie movies aren't any good for me anymore!
Botanist (or is he an "Investigative Writer") Mark (played here by Pip Pip, Wot, What's all this then, I'm going to take the Lorry to the Lift to the Loo Englishman Giles Aspen) is bitten in typical Zombie Film Fashion by some Rotten Kid in the woods. Must've been The Time of the Season. Anyway, Mark's girlfriend, Sarah (Ellen Softley) notices immediately that he's missing (and changes her hairstyle and color in apparently constant worry). What follows is split between her coping with his loss and him... well, let's talk about him!
An interesting aspect of this movie is that Mark's Zombification does not take place overnight, but over a long period of time during which he knows what is happening to him, but is powerless to do anything about it. Instead of the immediate zombification, we see Mark chronicling his illness scientifically and looking for answers. This could have been a good medical zombie idea with legitimate pseudo-scientific study. However, this is no 28 Days Later..., and it's no I Am Legend! In fact, all the logic that Parkinson attempts to use to inflate the script and add sympathy actually serves to make this a worse movie.
For example, Parkinson makes absolutely clear that Mark has his wits about him most of the time. It's only when the undeniable hunger for human flesh takes over that he's out of control. Yet what does he do? He gets a new Flat in town and becomes a covert serial killer (and not a really good one either). Now, I don't know about you, but if I were bitten by a septic young lady with bad skin, I wouldn't go House Hunting, I'd go get checked out at the Hospital. Nope. He spends most days lamenting his condition, complaining about it and not doing a damned thing about it. Most ridiculous of all... why human flesh? Is there some chemical in Human Flesh that he's attracted to? No! Wouldn't it be safer, and more (gulp) Logical if he went and pulled an El Chupacabra on some Chicken or a Sheep maybe? Hello? There are any number of things your average Middle School Graduate could think of doing, but Mark whines, moans and convulses, all the while he rots a little more each day. And that's about it. Mark is an Idiot!
Meanwhile, the Budget rears its rotting head again and again, most notably when you look at poor Ellen Softley. Low budget films made in ANY country are marked by the frequent closing and reopening of production while more funds are acquired. Here though, Softley apparently had a great relationship with the local Fantastic Sam's because in virtually every scene she looks completely different. Hair length, color, makeup, everything. Parkinson attempts to smooth this over by suggesting a passage of time with her hair changes, however, when they simply flip back and forth and back again as no time goes by you have to giggle.
It would be easy to complain about the Gory special effects too, and while they are about 30 years out of date, for the budget, they're pretty good. It's almost a great nod to what you can do with a Pioneer video camera, some Karo and red food dye. Of course none of that inventiveness went into the script, but hey... I compliment where due!
The budget was also a culprit in the assassination of good lighting. Every scene is lit exactly the same way, bright and lacking in atmosphere, so every scene, from a love scene, to a murder looks identical. Never before have I seen such a need for good lighting. I almost didn't want to bring this up, but according to the credits the filmmakers are actually proud of the way the film was lit. Right after the Cast is listed we see the first credit going to Christopher John Ball for "Lighting Design"! Man, that's like wrecking your car and then putting a sign on it that says "Brakes by Cofap!" or something! What are they saying "Blame him?" This "horror movie" is lit like the BBC's The Office for Cogliostro's sake! I like the BBC's The Office more than anyone, man, but I don't think the lighting is scary. Hell! That coupled by the fact that this looks like it was shot on a Betamax Camcorder really makes this look more like Porn than Horror... though there's no nudity! Oh, there were opportunities, but no payoff.
Speaking of... In the Dawn of the Dead remake review I complained about Zombies that can Run! Well, pilgrim, how about Zombies that Chronically Masturbate? Okay, now as predictable as this film is, I know you can guess what happens to a rotting corpse when he masturbates continuously! Look, it's cringe-worthy, but it's not any less hilarious, in spite of the best intentions of both Parkinson and Aspen.
And I think that's what makes I, Zombie funny more than anything else... Parkinson tries like mad to make this a Tear-Jerking horror movie where you honestly feel for the main character slowly slipping into Zombie-Hood. You can tell from the sappy slow music and the attempts at dramatic acting that Aspen bounces on. Now, a crotchless undead serial killer with decisions as stupid as a Fox Executive doesn't usually elicit the emotion that finding out Bruce Willis was a Ghost does, but I'll be horn swoggled if they don't try! Various times old Aspen attempts to really elicit sympathy from the viewer with sad dialogue and dramatic acting, but it all falls away when the clown ends up either awakening from a Fantasy (which happens so much its funny), falling to the floor in over-the-top convulsions, or posing for what Parkinson must have thought would be Eye-Candy. Folks, every time you want to stop laughing it gets unintentionally funny again! Look, I'd understand if they were trying to make a Spoof, but this is so pretentious and in the realm of drama that it makes all the corniness that much more Campy! I've seen better Phil Collins Videos!
Boo! I feel almost guilty, like I'm picking on a littler kid at school, but I, Zombie gets a DOG! On one hand it does show how an amateur filmmaker can make a lot with a little, on the other hand, unless you're grading this on a big curve, it's still a crappy movie. This also shows that if there's blood and some semblance of horror therein, Fangoria magazine will lay its name on ANYTHING! As if overpriced subscriptions for covering tripe like this isn't enough. Look, Fangoria, there are thousands of starving directors out there. Why this? Why this?
I, Zombie A Chronicle of Pain is not worth the money to rent it... my advice is to steal it if at all possible... then burn it and try not to inhale the fumes!Fuck you, Fangoria, you can BLOW ME! You're such a piece of fucking lame piece of fucking shit!
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