Color, 2011, 85m.
Directed by Eamon Hardiman
Starring Kaylee Williams, Trent McKelvin, Ruby LaRocca, Shawn C. Phillips, Missy Dawn, Desiree Saetia, Robert Cobb, Dean Stark, Miles Reed, Brian Gunnoe
Independent Entertainment (DVD) (US R0 NTSC) / WS (1.78:1) / DD2.0

Zombie Babies

From the team behind the micro-budget, better-than-it-had-any-right-to-be slasher film Porkchop comes a film whose hook should be obvious from its title: Zombie Babies. A monster movie designed as a string of gross-out gags straight from the Garbage Pail Kids playbook, this one was funded partially through a Kickstarter campaign and, like the Porkchop series, shot in West Virginia with homegrown talent. For some reason this is much rougher on the technical side than its predecessor (the decision to include a ten-minute seZombie Babiesquence in front of a foggy green screen being the most obvious culprit), but once the blood starts spraying and the ticked-off aborted fetuses start stampeding across the screen, all is forgiven. Obviously the idea of undead/monster babies has been done before (The Suckling, It's Alive, Dead-Alive, and the Dawn of the Dead remake spring to mind), but this catapults it a whole new level of tasteless excess that should have horror fans rubbing their eyes in disbelief at least once or twice.

In the opening prologue, some leering hillbillies, Burt Fleming (Gunnoe, apparently playing his same character from the Porkchop films) and Teddy (Cobb, Porkchop himself), are trying out a new method of baby removal on an unwilling victim (thankfully discussed but not shown) whose success will allow them to start "an abort-a-thon." Soon expecting mothers are getting a flyer in the mail advertising a new service: "Baby blues gettin' you down? Are you finding yourself with one little zygote of a problem?" Apparently this new procedure can safely get rid of any unplanned problems no matter how far along they've gotten, and for thirty bucks you can not only get that business taken care of but also spend a weekend gambling and kicking back in the mountains.

Four couples decide to take the plunge and check the place out at their peril including Leah (Williams), her dumb bunny boyfriend Kevin (director Hardiman, acting under the name "Trent McKelvin") who can't figure out how to design a T-shirt, hooker Jami Lynn (Dawn) and her kinky sugar daddy Jackson (Stark), the hulking Louis (Phillips), and fiery-headed Veronica (LaRocca). All of them but Leah wind up submitting to some coat-hanger-assisted procedures, but the fetuses wind up getting stashed in the cellar next to a leaky batch of moonshine. That night the women (apparently unfazed) get busy with their boyfriends, but one of them is unlucky enough to be blindfolded and tied toZombie Babies a bed when a zombified baby comes crawling up to suffocate him through means never captured on screen before. Soon the reanimated rejects are running rampant through the hotel, rippZombie Babiesing off people's heads with umbilical cords and chasing the survivors until Burt and Teddy come up with the best use of coat hangers in a monster movie this side of Birdemic.

As with Porkchop, the characters here are essentially spoofs of familiar horror types like horny dimwits and overall-clad trailer trash. However, it's interesting to see a pregnant final girl thrown into the mix, and the babies themselves are certainly weird enough to make you wonder exactly where this movie's going to turn next after each splashy death scene. Bear in mind that this was also shot for apparently next to no money, so the production values are essentially zilch; however, the baby puppets and prosthetic effects are surprisingly ambitious, including a heaping pile of sludge straight out of an early Peter Jackson film. There's also a pretty heavy helping of T&A at the end of the first act, so these guys clearly know their audience.

Shot on video with roughly the same aesthetic we know and love from horror DIY titles in recent years, Zombie Babies comes to DVD with all of its lo-fi attributes intact. Judging from the vertical chroma lines in red and orange patterns, this was probably bumped up to 16:9 from a flat source (or more likely this was shot full frame based on the fact that an early gag is obviously cut off by the lower matte); keep your expectations very low on the technical end, but then again, no one goes into this expecting eye candy. The soundtrack is also hit and miss, with the amusing score (sort of an organ-driven spoof of Amicus music) sometimes drowning out the dialogue, a mixture of on-set recording (with what sounds like the camera mic) and some intermittent weird looped passages that don't come close to being in synch. The audio commentary kicks off without introduction but apparently features Hardiman and Dawn, who talk about shooting in a West Virginia hotel during the height of summer in 2010, using green screen for the first time (not convincingly but it does look bizarre), and working with limited sources even if some scenes came out softer than they were originally envisioned. A 16-minute reel of behind-the-scenes footage (some of it very, very shaky!) showing some zombie puppet action and lots of Pabst Blue Ribbon. Also included are bonus trailers for Defiled, Exploited, Faces of Schlock, Porkchop, Stiffed, The Sex Merchants, and the Uncle Farts Collections. There's also a little oddball surprise after the end credits, so don't eject this sick little puppy from your player too quickly.

Reviewed on August 20, 2012.