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Enter Zombie King
ADV is one of the main publishers of anime here in the US. So when they put out a DVD entitled Enter..Zombie King with a cover containing Jack Kirby like illustrations, I figured it was an animated feature that I hadn't heard about. Imagine my surprise when I popped the DVD in and found a low budget horror film. The first scene has a man running through the woods only to be attacked and eaten by zombies. This wasn't what I was expecting at all. I was ready to dislike this movie immediately, and was mentally coming up with a list of all the synonyms for 'wretched' that I could remember. Then, about five minutes into the film, I started enjoying myself. Against all expectations, I discovered that this was a really fun movie.
This movie is equal parts Mexican wresting film, zombie horror flick, and comic book super-heroics, with a little gratuitous nudity and a good amount of humor thrown in for good measure.
When masked wrestling hero Ulysses (Jules Delorme) hears about a series of zombie attacks, he rushes to his old stomping grounds. There he meets up with his old masked wrestling buddies The Blue Saint (Raymond Carle) and his sister Mercedes (Jennifer Thom.) The three of them go to a local bar to see Tiki (Rob Etcheverria,) yet another masked wrestler. He travels around the country putting on shows where he wrestles zombies that he pulls behind his truck in a U-Maul trailer. Tiki has found a way to tame his zombies though, but when a girl is partially eaten in the parking lot, during his act, Tiki is blamed.
Ulysses, being the hero and all, realizes that Tiki is blameless and that there is another force at work: the mysterious Zombie King. He, along with his sidekicks the Murderlizer and the French Vixen, are planning to create an army of zombies and use them to take over the world. Only Ulysses and his wrestling pals can stop this evil madman.
The great thing about this movie was that they were able to make fun of those old B-movies, while still capturing the feel and appeal that they have. When watching a Santo movie, it doesn't really seem strange that Santo never takes off his mask. In this movie, all of the wrestlers that populate the film are always masked and it seems both absurd and funny.
A lot of the humor in this film is derived from making fun of movie conventions, while not disrespecting them either. You can tell that the creators are great fans of low budget cinema, and while poking fun at the conventions, they never ridicule them.
I loved the dialog in this film and the purposefully wooden delivery that the actor's used. Thenon sequiturs and bizarre metaphors are right out of an Ed Wood film. Most of my favorite lines are given by Ulysses, and he delivers them in a deadly serious manner that had me laughing out loud. At the beginning of the film he sets up the plot: "I had been driving for three days straight, only stopping for essentials. Coast to coast across the country - an exclamation point racing to the end of a sentence."
Later he pontificates: "Ideology is to intellectuals what fire is to children: fun to play with for a while, but the consequences are brutal, final and usually deadly." Great stuff.
There are a lot of little details that are funny too, like the fact that a six pack of beer and beef jerky cost $2.15. It's small items like that which make a movie fun to watch.
In typical B-movie fashion, the seasons didn't match from scene to scene. In one shot there would be fallen leaves littering the ground, in the next everything would be covered in snow. They make frequent references to the strange weather that has been plaguing the area, but this really just adds to the movie's charm.
This movie contains gratuitous nudity, masked wrestling and human flesh eating, all delivered tongue-in-cheek style that made the movie a lot of fun.
This movie comes with both a stereo and a DD 5.1 mix. The stereo track sounded a little flat and lifeless, but the 5.1 track was surprisingly lively. There was a lot of use made of the rear speakers, especially during the zombie attacks, where groans come from all corners of the room. They sounded very realistic, which everyone who has ever lived through a zombie attack can attest. The audio quality was pretty good too, without any hiss or distortion. Unfortunately there weren't any subtitles.
The video quality was pretty good for a low budget production. Some of the scenes were a little too dark, and details tended to disappear in the shadows, but the garish comic book like colors were bright and the image generally sharp. The movie was presented in widescreen format, but it wasn't anamorphically enhanced.
There are no extras on this disc.
Every once in a while a movie surprises you, and this is such a film. Yes, it's a low budget straight-to-video effort, but one that is a lot of fun. Fans of Luchadores films, zombie flicks and B-movies are sure to love this wonderfully odd feature. A film the Joe Bob Briggs would love, be sure to check it out. Recommended.