Plot: What’s it about?
Dr. DeMarco (John Carradine) has just been fired from his government position, which leaves him ticked off and looking to even the score. Now DeMarco is a whiz when it comes to chemicals, formulas, and other scientific stuff, but to be on the level, he’s playing with about half a deck, in the mental department. As he concocts his newest insane plan to gain revenge, he decides to create some zombies, which could do whatever he ordered and that seems wise to him. But when he uses the brain matter of a criminal element, things begin to get a little messy. Now DeMarco has animated corpses on the loose and looking to kill at random, which also draws the attention of various authority agencies, for various reasons. Now, when it seems things can’t get any more strange, something always pops up to defy reason. What will come of this mess and will anyone be alive to find out?
Man, this is one terrific movie. Now of course, it is aimed at a certain audience and that is a rather small one, but if you like this kind of cinema, Astro Zombies is a must own titles. When you peruse lists of the worst movies of all time, Astro Zombies is bound to be included, which could scare some folks off. I don’t like all the movies like this one, but Astro Zombies seems to pack so much into the running time, I couldn’t help but fall in love with it. I never thought this film would see a DVD release at all, let alone with a new anamorphic widescreen transfer, thanks Image Entertainment! Take a basic premise about a ring of organ thieves, mix in elements of horror, cheap sex thrills, and some good old fashioned bad special effects and there you have it, Astro Zombies. The acting is bad, the direction is bad, and the writing is bad, but what a fun ride, if you’re a fan of this kind of cinema, that is. This is a very unique and highly offbeat motion picture and I give it a high recommendation, but only to those readers who like movies that are so bad, they’re loads of fun.
At the helm of Astro Zombies is Ted V. Mikels, who knows a trick or two when it comes to bad movies, I assure you. I know most people would hammer Mikels for a film like this, but with the limited talent, resources, and time he worked with, I can’t imagine how much better this movie could have been. At least it was finished and released, which I think is a true testament to Mikels and his crew. Mikels also directed such cult classics as Blood Orgy Of The She Devils, 10 Violent Women, The Black Klansman, The Corpse Grinders, Girl in Gold Boots, and The Doll Squad. The cast here is about what you’d expect, but at least they showed up on the right days to shoot, right? You’ll see such talents grace the screen as Rafael Campos (Lady in a Cage), Tom Pace (Girl in Gold Boots), Joan Patrick (Lover Come Back), Tura Satana (Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!), John Carradine (Vampire Hookers, Satan’s Mistress), and Wendell Corey (Cyborg 2087, Rear Window).
Video: How does it look?
Astro Zombies is presented in a 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. This is impressive work from Image Entertainment, no two ways about it. When the larger studios have countless major titles with normal letterbox transfers, Image has given Astro Zombies a new anamorphic transfer, good work, folks! The transfer doesn’t look that good in the end, but given the source material and such, I think this is a solid effort. The print shows a lot of marks and scuffs, but not to the extent where you’re drawn out of the film, though some restoration work is needed. The colors look natural and show few bleeds, while contrast is even and consistent. Some portions seem worn and aged, but on the whole, this transfer looks much better than I expected.
Audio: How does it sound?
A simple mono track and it handles the goods, no real complaints. Of course, range and such are limited, but that flaw lies within the mono format and not this audio mix. The sound effects come through loud and clear, the cool music is up to the task, and dialogue is clean and crisp. This movie wouldn’t sound right with an expansive surround track, so I am pleased with this rather basic track. I do wish Image would include some subtitles, however.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes the film’s theatrical trailer.