Saturday, November 7, 2009

In short: Toxic Zombies (1979)

aka Forest of Fear

aka Bloodeaters

Two federal agents searching our old friend, the deep American woods, for dope fields, stumble upon a handful of tents, shoot an unarmed female dope grower and are killed in return by her friends. The disappearance of the agents makes it quite clear to two evil government guys in Ma's basement Washington (one of them John Amplas of Martin, but far from that film's glory) where they have to search for the evils of Weed. Because they are evil government guys, they hire a random drunk pilot to fly over the area and dust the crop with an experimental poison (yeah, I don't know, either).

Turns out that the toxin turns hippies in tool-(even torch-)using semi-zombies with a lust for human flesh. The moaning and groaning lot doesn't need an extra incentive to munch on some camping tourists and a forest service guy (director Charles McCrann), his wife (Beverly Shapiro) and associate, in this, the most populated lonely part of the woods this side of Don't Go In The Woods...Alone. Of course there is also a sub-plot about the evil government guys trying to get rid of any witnesses to their wrong-doings. It's what evil government guys do.

Toxic Zombies is archetypal stumbling-through-the-woods horror, achieving everything this sub-genre promises, which is to say, it shows a copious amount of people stumbling through woods and not much else.

The acting is mostly decent and McCrann's direction shows signs of basic competence, but I am quite sure that a less competent film would be a lot more entertaining than this one turns out to be. As it stands, Toxic Zombies is just dreadfully boring, and not the interesting sort of boring that lets you see God, no, it's the sort of boring that just makes you want to close your eyes and sleep for five minutes or ten. You're not going to miss anything interesting anyway.

To be fair, it's not entirely true that the film doesn't contain anything worth seeing at all. There are one or two quietly disturbing shots of flies on rubbery gore and two short moments of neat hand-held camera work showing nothing at all - but in a creative manner, but those add up to five minutes out of ninety at best.

That's more than enough for me not to feel like I have wasted my time on the film, more sane viewers however should probably try to avoid this one.


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