Redneck Zombies was made by Pericles Lewnes. It was released by Troma in 1987. The 20th Anniversary Edition was released to DVD January, 2009. Lewnes is one of the fathers of the straight to video market. Redneck Zombies is the first film I can remember watching that was shot entirely on video and released directly for homevideo. Lewnes worked for Troma as a special effects supervisor on The Toxic Avenger Part II, The Toxic Avenger Part III, and Troma’s War. He also worked on Shatter Dead.
The plot is fairly simple. A soldier allows a barrel of chemical warfare toxic waste to fall out of his jeep. The barrel of toxic waste becomes part of the redneck’s moonshine still. This toxic moonshine turns the locals into zombies. A group of city type campers is added to the mix. So far, so good. Toss in a gratuitous shot of nipples, some baby chickens being mutilated, the Tobacco Man and you have the Redneck Zombies experience.
All of the Rednecks are great. They consistently have some of the best lines. During one exchange Billy Bob, who prefers to be called Ellie May, grabs his fishing pole and begins to leave the scene. His father, Jed, stops him.
Ellie May: Gotta go.
Jed: Well, where you going?
Ellie May: I’m going fishin’!
Jed: Got worms?
Ellie May: Yeah, but I’m going anyway!
In additional to cheesy, but highly quotable lines, the boys get to hang out with Tobacco Man. I remember watching the movie with a group of people. Everyone was talking and having a good time, barely watching the movie, until Tobaccco Man appeared. He was such a startling figure that everyone stopped talking and paid attention to the movie for a few minutes. Tobacco Man is a great character.
|There's dark times a comin'.|
Redneck Zombies is not short on crazy, ridiculous gore. Lewnes knows how to spend a dollar to make it look like twenty. The budget was reportedly around 10,000 dollars. Even considering it was made in 1987 that is still not a lot of money for all of the effects they use. Lewnes wisely has his zombies go for the eyes. You can apparently work some gruesome gore effects cheaply while pressing your fingers into someone’s eye sockets.
Would I recommend this film? Yes. I mean, I own the VHS from back in the day and now I have purchased the 20th Anniversary DVD. This movie was one of the first, if not THE first, movie I ever watched that was shot on video. I remember the night I watched it. I was going to premiere a crappy movie that I had made on video and I wanted a real movie to show the audience afterwards. Of course I wanted to punish the audience with both flicks. When I spotted the cover for Redneck Zombies I knew it would be a great accompaniment. I remember watching Lewnes film and thinking… “Who would bother making this crap?” Of course I had just featured my direct to video crap. As Redneck Zombies continued I remember thinking, “This is crap… brilliant crap!” I was ashamed my movie had so little blood and gore. Thank you Pericles Lewnes for challenging me to make my films increasingly goretastic. Thank you for making a terrible film great.
|The original cover art.|