REVIEW: Attack of the Moon Zombies
Attack of the Moon Zombies is the latest in a series of movies by writer/director Christopher R. Mihm that emulate the cheesy sci-fi b-movies of the 50s (other titles by Mihm include Cave Women on Mars and It Came from Another World!). Moon Zombies is the only one I’ve seen, so I can only speak for it, but everything in this movie tried to make it seem like a genuine 50s drive-in flick, from the soundtrack, to the haircuts, to the worn-out (but not overdone) black-and-white film look. There’s a real sense that Mihm is not trying to parody those films in any way, but trying to genuinely, lovingly make one.
Our story takes place entirely on a Lunar base that was established in 1976 (again, a 50s idea of the future). Silent and eccentric newbie Glen (played by Michael Kaiser) is coming aboard to replace retiring Dr. Vincent Edwards (Michael Cook). When showing the newcomer around, Dr. Edwards shows him a strange plant he found in a cave on the moon and they take it back to the base. The plant sprays some powder in a character’s face and the character dies (trying not to give anything away here), returning a few hours later as a strange plant-human hybrid out to get the humans — who, of course, themselves turn into moon zombies if they are indeed got. The rest of the movie is pretty much the characters running around the base, trying to avoid being zombie plant food.
Which isn’t to say the story doesn’t work or is boring. It may be a bit simple, but this is a 50s cheesy movie wannabe here. And it works. The acting is perfect and feels just like pre-method acting, which is to say, a lttle wooden and overdramatic (actress Shannon McDonough really shines in this aspect as Dr. Hackett). Like I said, I don’t know about the previous movies Mihm has done, but I would venture this one is his best, as you can tell this isn’t the crew’s first time attempting this kind of thing. It all gels nicely and nearly flawlessly. It’s entertaining in ways I didn’t expect, one being the comedy aspect. I laughed out loud numerous times, at self-conscious lines like “Yeah well, it sounds like the plot of some.. bad.. drive-in movie,” and especially at the subtitles. I watch all movies with subtitles on whenever possible just to be sure I don’t miss a line of dialogue or anything. Well, the subtitles for this movie were amusing as hell, with funny captions like >>rejection< < when a man is hitting on a girl and the girl slams her book in his face, and when a title card reads "Day 1" the humorously unnecessary subs read "The First Day."I was surprised at how much I laughed and was entertained by the film, especially since 50s sci-fi cheese doesn't hold any kind of special place in my heart; I just think they're bad movies, just like we have bad movies today, and I only watch the ones with zombies in them (believe me, I get my fill of bad movies that way). But this was so charming and so successful at its goal that the viewer can't help but admire it. I have to knock off a point for the length -- at 99 minutes, it could have been at least 85 -- but I still give Attack of the Moon Zombies 7/10 plants. You can get it at http://www.sainteuphoria.com/aotmz.html for a reasonable $9.99.
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