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RetarDEAD

Other // Unrated // June 9, 2009
List Price: $14.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Kurt Dahlke | posted May 5, 2009 | E-mail the Author
RetarDEAD:
We can deal with the PC aspects of a movie called RetarDEAD on the front end, or the back end, but since that's serious stuff, we'll save it for later. RetarDEAD is a loose (stool) sequel to Monsturd, so it's pretty clear that in their punning way Rick Popko and Dan West are waving a 'hold harmless' agreement in the faces of all who would be more-than-normally offended by this freaky farce - a yuk-yuck-fest that's actually not bad (as far as sex-obsessed, willfully offensive gore-splattered movies go). (And why am I watching so many of these movies lately anyway?)

Evil Dr. Stern (Dan Burr) manages to escape the clutches of justice after his Promethean poop-sicle (late of Monsturd) circles the drain, but he bounces back. Injecting a super serum in special education students he creates mysterious super-geniuses who quickly morph into your bog-standard blue-faced, infectious cannibalistic zombies. FBI agent Hannigan (Beth West) finds her Dr. Stern vendetta intersecting with local constabulary (including director Popko) on the hunt for a serial masturbator. Fluids gush, guts are munched, and you get the idea.

RetarDEAD is an almost too-clever pseudo homage to Pericles Lewnes' almighty Redneck Zombies, with healthy doses of '70s bumbling cop comedies, Dawn of the Dead aesthetics, and The Dead Next Door admiration. It's a hell of a lot of fun, but at 100 minutes (including outrageous fake previews) feels a bit stuck on itself. At 75 minutes plus credits we'd have a real barnburner, but I won't begrudge, because low-budge comedy horror ain't easy. And RetarDEAD has everything reprobate gorehounds drool for: sexy living dead girls, dick jokes, limb-tearing, throat-ripping, face-peeling, a gut-fondling puke-a-thon and cranial gunshots to the head that seem to indicate the bullets come with their own supply of the red stuff. And is this stuff ever red! Your kindergartner couldn't find tempera paint this bright, as it drips off literally dozens of yards of intestines. It's nice to see fun American Gore again, after relying on the French for so long.

Much humor here gives a bad name to sophomoric - despite such zingers as the evil doctor's attempts to find a cure for the zombies; "I tried to find an anti-viral, but then I had the idea about the bullets!" But there are a lot of jokes with penis-guns and boozing cops that could benefit from quicker edits, rather than letting the laugh-lines sit around a while waiting for applause. And then there's that whole bit about mocking a section of society too used to taunts and minus some of the avenues of defense others enjoy (e.g. - simply bullying someone else). The jibes are relatively gentle - even President Obama knows how easy it is to carelessly use stereotypes for an easy laugh - but despite a number of baffles tossed up to make it all OK - the central conceit is still a cheap shot. Especially when you consider that the movie would have worked just as well with very minor tweaks - the only thing lost would be this particular pun in the title.

But I'm not here to moralize, just criticize, (which places me a little lower on the feeding chain anyway) so I'll say that - while I'm not down with the special ed humor - RetarDEAD passes the test. Yes, it's a little slow, (in run-time) and could stand for a more efficient chop job, but unrepentant, low-humor-loving gorehounds who set their brains on stun will find crazy gutbuckets of stupid fun to enjoy.

The DVD

Video:
RetarDEAD's fullscreen, 1.33:1 ratio picture is about par-for-the-course for this type of movie. It looks decent, with nicely saturated colors (blue zombies! blood that gives new meaning to the word red!) and an acceptably sharp picture. A super-great DVD picture might defeat the purpose of this movie, so don't worry about it. No glaring compression or authoring problems appear, then again our screener is a DVD-Rom, so bets are off.

Sound:
Tight-lipped packaging gives no indication as to audio processing, so we'll just call it stereo. Dialog is generally clear and understandable, and mixed adequately with music and sound effects. However, much of the dialog seems sourced from room sound, so it's not that great, and requires some volume control riding when people start talking quietly.

Extras:
17 minutes of Special FX BTS footage is a bit of a misnomer. About half is devoted to looks at gory secrets (sans narration) while the rest belongs to lengthy raw footage of The Living Dead Girls grooving in an auto shop, (oddly compelling if you're in a late-night stupor) and dull test footage of cool cartoon drawings used for the title sequence. Over 20 minutes of Deleted Scenes and Outtakes do little to stop the insanity (a good thing) and a two-minute auto-nav Photo Reel might entertain the impossible-to-bore. Trailers for four other Midnight Releasing movies illustrate a range of sleaze, while navigation will amuse, as the clickable button for one trailer gives the movie's name (Watch Me) as 'Text.' Packaging (our DVD-Rom screener comes with the DVD cover) lists Gorehound Information as an extra, but I couldn't find it.

Final Thoughts:
No mistake, RetarDEAD is lowbrow, unibrow, whatever type of brow you can think of, as long as it's offensive and crass. Despite the entirely non-PC central conceit, (a cheap joke that is, at least, not overused) RetarDEAD will please the right crowd, being full of sex jokes, splashy gore and general stupidity. Nifty fake-grindhouse previews pad the running time, which at that is too long - this is a movie that could stand plenty of trimming - yet for a stupid Saturday night of horror comedy sleaze, RetarDEAD merits a Recommended rating. It's unclear how this release differs from an earlier 2008 DVD release.

www.kurtdahlke.com

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