I wish I could say the live-action Zombie A-Hole matched those felt-based shenanigans of Massacre; instead, I must admit being disappointed. While it exhibits flashes of Mills’ indie-minded manic brilliance, three things killed it for me:
• amateurish acting,
• nudity just for the sake of nudity (to a ridiculously exploitative degree), and
• a running time of nearly two hours (whereas Massacre barely cracked one).
The title is spoken early on by one of the movie’s two primary heroes (both newbies): the cowboy character Frank Fulci (Josh Eal), a tough-talkin’ “border guard” who aims to keep the realms of living and the dead, but doesn’t always have it so easy — hence, “I’m gonna kill that zombie A-hole!”
The other hero is Frank’s sister, Mercy (Jessica Daniels), a woman with an eyepatch and a detachable robot hand. Female she may be, but feminine? Not necessarily: “He done fucked with the wrong bitch, and now I’m gonna get me some!”
And the zombie in question is a snappy dresser, taking sartorial cues from that wolf in the Tex Avery cartoons. Its Haiti spin takes the zombie figure back to its roots.
The ingenious effects, occasional animation and overall design of the project (made for about $800, “including gas,” per Mills’ commentary) made me long for the earlier film, which held those elements start to finish. (The terrific title sequence is a work of art on its own.) Bits of it here don’t extend long enough, especially for a muddled script too interested in its own mythology and doesn’t really get down to business until the last 15 minutes. One can tell it was written as they went along. —Rod Lott