Zombie Doom

Zombie Doom

Andreas Schnaas is a name that has been garnering a lot of attention amongst the horror fan community with the resurgence of the splatter scene seemingly thriving in his homeland of Germany and the growing success of folk like Olaf Ittenbach (of 'Premutos' fame). Word on the street was good about Schnaas low budget series of gore films under the title the 'Violent Shit' trilogy, well what fan could ignore movies with a title like that! The only problem (at least for the English speaking market) was that the DVD release of the trilogy in his home market was only available with the original German soundtrack and no English subtitling option available. That was until the nice folk at 'Shock-O-Rama Cinema' in the US licensed some of Schnaas work for release in the English speaking market, so with this transition just how does his work fare?

This first US DVD release of Andreas Schnaas work comes in the form of an understated double bill feature of his work. Initially you look to be getting a low budget zombiethon called 'Zombie Doom' when in fact you are seeing a cunning retitling of the final part in the 'Violent Shit' trilogy and a very welcome bonus of an additional Schnaas feature in the form of the highly amusing (and gory) 'Zombie 90: Extreme Pestilence'.

Although shot on video (and it shows) both features display the fact that Schnaas would never be someone to shy from budgetary restriction and is in reality just out to deliver a showcase of endless gruesomely gory set pieces and if you keep this in mind when viewing you'll be more than happily sated with what these movies have got to offer.

'Zombie Doom' opens with three luckless guys being shipwrecked on an island, which for some would seem bad enough but when they find that this particular island is inhabited by an army of metal masked violent savages led by the deeply insane Karl the Butcher (played by creator Schnaas himself) they soon realise that this is not going to be their day! Following a display of the locals own brand of brutality (a group decapitation) our hapless victims are let loose on the island as bait for the armies impending 'big hunt', in their company is a failed guard (and erstwhile ninja!?) and the hunted troupe realise that they've nothing to lose so should determine some way of fighting back (well they're likely to die violently anyway so they may as well go out kicking and screaming!)

'Zombie Doom' is perhaps a somewhat misleading title that gives the impression that this is going to be some sort of low budget Dawn of the Dead or something but it's nothing like that at all - in fact 'Zombie Doom' (or more precisely 'Violent Shit 3') is an extreme blow out of hard gore violence and little more than just that. Not that extreme gore is a bad thing and yes its delivery here is indeed entertainingly splatterific but is also somewhat uninspiring also. The film has more of a feel of a group of friends getting together to find some way to showcase their effects skills rather than deliver a horror movie and with this presentation their not helped by the very distracting disembodied English dubbing that makes the interfering by the gang at Mystery Science Theatre sound like professional dubbers! But as I say, it's not really the film folk will be here for and at the end of the day this is a stunning catalogue of gory extreme eye candy that will have most splatter fans whooping with delight throughout the films running time. Bodies, limbs, faces are all torn apart with bloody glee - you'll find no quick cutting here, just relentless (and delicious) gory mayhem and this flick should be applauded for what it is - very simply, a gore movie and if you go into it with that in mind (and a six pack of beer) then you'll be thrilled with what's on offer. Good gory fun!

As I mentioned though, you get more guts for your bucks here as this disc comes with a nice bonus feature in the shape of Schnaas ultra low budget zombiethon (which is more true to the 'Zombie Doom' title than 'Violent Shit 3' is) 'Zombie 90: Extreme Pestilence'.

As is generally the case with low budget zombie films plot detail is not at the fore. A military plane carrying toxic chemicals crashes in the woods spilling its toxic cargo and yes you guessed it, the dead start coming back to life with the sole purpose to eat the flesh of the living and cause general bloody carnage. Our lead hero in this particular situation is a local surgeon and his witless companion who seem to have a handle on the 'how to deal with zombies' thing and like to take home the odd corpse to do some home surgery/experimentation of their own. As I said though, story line is not the key thing here as the film (like the companion film 'Zombie Doom') really is an exercise in showcasing Schnaas' love for extreme splatter effects.

It's all here for the grue fans - zombies, chainsaws, disembowellings, gougings, decapitations and so on. In fact if you can think it then Schnaas has probably filmed it. Hey, there's even a crazy zombie blow job scene where a sexy stocking clad zombie chick chows down on some poor bloke's tadger, another women is torn right down through to her nether region (ouch) and a small kid is plucked out of a pram and pulled to pieces. So you get the idea eh? Nothing is taboo with Schnaas and I'm sure gore fans will be thankful for that. The only thing that may put folk off (and to a point lessen the experience) is (like 'Zombie Doom') the fact that the film is made with the tiniest of budgets. You'll see right through the bulk of the effects works but the forgiving amongst you (like myself) will get great pleasure from the sheer gusto of its delivery.

Gory mayhem aside, there's not really much else to offer. The acting is woeful at the best of times and isn't helped whatsoever by the ghastly English dubbing that is presented here. The English dub sounds like it was recorded by a bunch of drunk 15 year olds in their bedroom on a four track unit, sniggering away cracking bad puns and putting on ropy accents that they know they can't carry off. Perhaps they thought that this would add a humorous element to the film but it in fact detracts from it and personally I would have preferred they left it with German audio only with an English subtitles option - an 'option' that I wish they had taken with both features on this disc (as well as their release of the far superior 'Premutos').

So at long last folk that have been hearing about the work of Andreas Schnaas can finally get the ideal opportunity to check the mans work out at last. Although I probably sound downbeat about some aspects of this presentation I have to say that I found both films highly entertaining as a splatter movie fan and hence would recommend it heartily to those of you that similarly enjoy plentiful gory fun!

Outside of the double bill selection there's not much else in the way of extra features (if a whole extra movie wasn't enough) apart from a very large selection of trailers for the EI Independent Cinema line (Shock-O-Rama, the excellent Retro Seduction and the saucy Hollywood Spoofs) covering everything from the dubious (Mummy Raider) to the deliciously sublime (Roxanna et al) - this is a great opportunity for newcomers to the impressive EI line to get a taste of some of the delights that they have to offer and EI rightly seen a release such as this to rightly show off some of their great product.

Neither 'Zombie Doom' or 'Zombie 90' could ever be referred to as classics of the horror genre but both are thoroughly gratifying show-reels of Andreas Schnaas own style of extreme gory carnage. Although slightly let down by the distracting English dubs, this is still a great value disc for splatter lovers and hence fans of low budget gore shenanigans should go seek this disc out now!

Review by Alan Simpson

Released by Shock-O-Rama Cinema
Region - All (NTSC)
Not Rated
Ratio - matted widescreen
Extras :
Bonus 'Zombie 90' movie, EI Cinema Trailer Gallery.