Every now and then, discs arrive at SGM Towers with the littlest of fanfare or even explanation. They'll simply appear with a film's title scribbled across them, enticing our curious minds to investigate further. One such disc was this homemade screener DVD-R...

ZOMBIE 2024 is apparently a sequel of sorts to a series of webisodes from 2010 that came to be known collectively as RETURN OF THE BLOODSUCKING NAZI ZOMBIES. If that title captures your imagination (surely, it does?) you can learn more by searching for it on YouTube.

Once again, here, Robert Monell writes and Mathis Vogel directs.

Shot on a reported budget of just $300.00, the 28-minute curiosity that is ZOMBIE 2024 starts off cannily with a cheap explosion, a glimpse of bare breasts and a splash of gore. It's a fine way to hook an exploitation fan's attention for certain.

From there we meet Dr Orloff, who hangs around wearing 3D anaglyph glasses in a laboratory which appears to have tin foil pasted across its interior walls. He commands his male android, the suitably named Andros, to go out and abduct a nubile brunette for use in his mysterious experiments. Quite what the experiments will involve is anyone's guess, but what we do know is that they are being overseen remotely by Orloff's master, the shady Dr Mabuse.

Andros sets about his mission and eventually grabs the girl, who to me resembles a young Lina Romay (this may be intentional ...), dutifully dragging her back to the lab. But before Orloff has a chance to experiment, Andros decides he's developed emotions and has other ideas for the girl.

All of this coincides with the arrival of Orloff's arch nemesis, Howard Vernon (that's the character's name, not the late actor). Following an altercation with the living dead in a nearby graveyard, he's tracked the mad doctor down in a bid to stop his plague of Papier-mâché zombies...

Insane doesn't even begin to cover this one.

With distorted dialogue replaced by blaring title cards a la silent era cinema, bargain basement sets and possibly the crudest zombie make-up ever committed to the screen, ZOMBIE 2024 is a true oddity that straddles the thin line between arthouse sensibilities and trashy aesthetics. It ably evokes the likes of Jess Franco (as the character names should testify), Jean Rollin and even Nick Zedd along the way. On top of all that, the references to earlier material such as the Mabuse films and THE CABINET OF DR CALIGARI are easy to pick out.

Some of it's a tad difficult to follow (er, the random zombie at the end chomping an exposed, bloodied female nipple?) but it all adds to the film's freewheeling, anything-can-happen stream of consciousness vibe. Stretches of silence, ethereal moments that occur from out of nowhere and a bizarrely eclectic mix cinematic styles give the film an ill logic of nightmarish proportions.

Don't go into it expecting an unrelenting bloodbath: this is altogether stranger, more atmospheric and - in a curious way - wilfully old-fashioned than that.

Though not for all tastes, ZOMBIE 2024 can boast a lot of well composed scenes, nice use of a Fabio Frizzi-type score and likeable performances from the young cast (are all the male characters played by the same actor? Could be, though the end titles give nothing away). It's tremendous fun for those who can get away with it.

I found ZOMBIE 2024 to be refreshingly "out there"; an ode to horrors both old and more recent, and quietly compelling in its own nutty way. I look forward to revisiting it soon.

Review by Stuart Willis

By Robert Monell and Mathis Vogel
Not Rated