The Astro-Zombies (1968 USA)

One of those Z grade efforts where you can tell the producers had props and sets left over from previous productions and wrote a script based around them. Therefore, the film makes absolutely no sense, and ends up throwing everything but the kitchen sink at the audience.

We are left with a story involving mad scientist Dr. DeMarco (John Carradine) and his hunchback lab assistant who are attempting to create an army of ‘astro zombies’, superhuman beings whose actual purpose is sketchy. After one is loosed and goes on a killing spree, the CIA–led by a clearly smashed (drunk) Wendell Corey– who died of his alcoholism shortly after filming, and a spy ring led by the great Tura Satana, become interested.

Directed by schlock favourite Ted V. Mikels, this baloney truly lives up to its reputation as one of the worst movies ever made. John Carradine, bless him, makes a valiant attempt to make some kind of sense of the plot with some muffled monologues, but I got completely lost in all the drivel. There is the odd moment of camp weirdness such as the wounded astro zombie fleeing with a torch pressed against his head to keep itself alive. Or a naked exotic dance that serves absolutely no purpose, but it constantly lingers on endless laboratory scenes where literally nothing happens. The zombies themselves are nothing more than a man in a kind of insect/skull/mutant mask, and there’s only really one of them. It’s a truly painful experience.

The biggest problem with this turkey is that it was pronounced dead on arrival due to no screenplay. The budget was a cool $37,000 so they couldn’t afford one. There’s not an ounce of energy, life or even a light pulse to be found. The pacing is just deadly because it takes way too long for this so-called “story” to actually be told. This problem is made worse by the fact that a little editing probably would help things. The majority of the scenes run on and on for no apparent reason other than to push along the running time. So if they had cut some of this added time we’d probably be talking about this thing as something “so bad it’s good.”

But this is so bad its just bad.

I can’t help but imagine a drive-in theatre back in 1968 where a guy takes his virgin date to see this thing, knowing he wasn’t going to be getting any pussy because she’s warned him earlier to keep his hands to himself. No means no! But around the thirty-minute mark the woman has decided to ‘give it up’ just so she could take her eyes away from this thing. Seriously, there would have been more action in the back seats of any car parked in front of this. And the front seats. There’s no question this thing is a disaster, but at the same time there’s just a weird vibe going on that makes The Astro-Zombies worth viewing if you enjoy bad “Z” flicks. And it even, somehow, sums up some of the spirit of its hippy era. Its hard to believe but they actually made a sequel 34 years later. Maybe I should review that too…

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Comments

  1. This movie sounds terrible, thank you for warning us about it ha ha! Would love to hear what you think of the sequel if you do decide to brave through it, is it possible for things to get any worse? XD

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I actually have high hopes for the sequel. Maybe the budget got bigger. But this *cough* ‘franchise’ needs more of something. 🙂

    Like

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