Haunted Honeymoon

Film Review: Zombie 90 Extreme Pestilence (1991)

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SYNOPSIS:

Two doctors are trying to stop a rampant epidemic of zombieism. They fend off zombies spilling many a gallon of blood in the process.

REVIEW:

The very first movie I reviewed for HorrorNews was Andreas Schnaas’ 1996 release, Goblet of Gore. I may have made some remarks hinting toward the movie not being very good, possibly mentioning poor acting, and lack of a cohesive plot as a couple of its many weak spots. Well, I’m not afraid to say I was wrong. As of today, I am officially withdrawing any criticism I may have had of that film, or any others by the same director. After watching Zombie ’90: Extreme Pestilence, I have had a change of heart. I now believe that director Andreas Schnaas may just be a genius.

In 1991, Schnaas and friends made a movie called Zombie ’90: Extreme Pestilence. In it, a place carrying dangerous chemicals on a secret mission of some kind crashes. The chemicals turn everyone into zombies. A couple of doctors try to discover what is going on, why it is happening, and what they can do to stop it. And then a bunch of people die violent and bloody deaths at the hands of the zombies, the end and to be continued. That’s it. Not a very strong story. However, the director refuses to leave us disappointed. While the story may be sorely lacking in depth (a fact that even he seems to agree with), Schnaas more than makes up for that with bucket after bucket of blood and gore. And then he takes it one step further; instead of English subtitles, ridiculous voices are over-dubbed (albeit rather poorly) that neither match the on-screen story nor the character who is speaking.

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This movie is essentially a German zombie movie that combines the likes of Dead Alive and Brain Dead with Mystery Science Theater 3000, Insane Clown Posse’s Stranglemania, and Berwyn, Illinois’ very own Svengoolie. Story? We don’t need no stinking story! Zombie ’90 is all about the gore. Heads are shot and cut off on a regular basis, plenty of bright red blood splattering everywhere around the decapitated body shortly after. As usual, intestines are pulled out of nearly every living victim, meaning that German zombies have just as boring a diet as American or even Canadian zombies (why not go for the heart, or even the liver?) An early zombie has a chainsaw and cuts a guy in half just before doing his best Leatherface impression. A boob is cut off, as are fingers, eyes, hands, and a penis (this is an Andreas Schnaas movie, after all). A baby is also attacked by the zombies, possibly the same baby from The Necro Files, its head torn off and its body squished and squeezed until it is nothing but silly putty. Chainsaws and machetes and guns all appear out of nowhere, just in time to produce maximum carnage. What I’m trying to say here is that there is a lot of blood in this movie. A LOT!

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There are so many strange things about this movie. For one, as many movies do, Zombie ’90 had slightly different titles for non-German releasing. When it was released in the USA, it was called Zombi 7, harkening back to Lucio Fulci’s classic Zombi, which when released shortly after George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead was titled Zombi 2, even though there technically was no “Zombi 1.” In Japan, this film was released as Zombi 2000: Battle Royale, referencing the cult classic film by Kinji Fukasaku (I don’t know the timeframe of the releases, so maybe this is just a coincidence). Now let’s get back to the choice of overdubbed voices instead of subtitles for a moment here. The two protagonists of the film are Caucasian German doctors who are trying to determine the origins of the zombie plague and then figure out a way to stop it. When English voices were overdubbed, for whatever reason we end up with one of the doctors sounding like Shaft and the other like the Honey Badger voice. We get background laughter, mismatched speech, and a director yelling “Cut!” on a regular basis. Some may see this as a mistake, but the end result seems more like a director admitting that they were failing and so working to fix it in the best way possible.

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Zombie ’90: Extreme Pestilence is the What’s Up, Tiger Lily? of zombie movies. It is a potential disaster saved by some quick editing and witty overdubs. The acting is bad, the story is nearly non-existent, but the blood and gore are non-stop. Andreas Schnaas knows what he’s doing when it comes to low budget horror movies, even when it initially seems like he doesn’t. In Zombie ’90, one of Schnaas’ earliest films, heads split, blood pours, and hilarity ensues.

Zombie 90 Extreme Pestilence (1991)

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About seanofthedead

In 1987, after hearing Poison’s “Look What the Cat Dragged In” for the first time, Sean decided he wanted to play drums. After realizing all rock stars wore leather pants, he traded in his dreams of fortune and fame for 80’s sitcoms, horror movies, and punk rock. Sean has spent his recent years trying to recover from Catholic guilt while searching for an idea worth writing.

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