Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Census Flashback: Questionable Puns

On our Fright Flashback/Census Bloodbath crossover, every week this summer we'll be exploring an 80's slasher film that is in some way a spiritual precursor to the weekend's upcoming blockbuster.

In anticipation of The Spy Who Dumped Me, a movie that seems like it should have come out in 1999, I'll be reviewing a movie with an equally questionable pun title: Gore-met, Zombie Chef from Hell!

Year: 1986
Director: Don Swan
Cast: Theo Depuay, Kelley Kunicki, C.W. Casey 
Run Time: 1 hour 7 minutes
MPAA Rating: N/A

As I keep noticing, the unofficial theme of this summer's Census Bloodbath project is seeing if slashers with awesome titles actually live up to the promise of said titles, and I can finally put an end to that feverish discussion with Gore-met, Zombie Chef from Hell. It's not the most excruciating movie I've ever had to watch for this project, but it's certainly up there. Hooray for knowledge! Now can I please stop?

Alas poor Yorick, he got to escape being in this terrible movie.

So, the titular character is a genial middle aged dude named Goza (Theo Depuay, who pulled double duty as this film's make-up artist), who was excommunicated by a warlock cult 600 years ago. His curse is to devour human flesh every day lest his body rot away, and boy oh boy do I wish it slipped his mind and he missed a day, because we're treated to an endless conveyor belt of annoying customers being murdered offscreen and turned into really unconvincing prosthetics. That's pretty much the whole plot of the movie, and even when the warlock cult shows back up, they can't convince me there's any kind of narrative thrust going on.

It's hard to thrust when your plastic leg has been severed anyway.

Gore-met is something that so little resembles a narrative movie, it might technically qualify as an experimental film. When I said that nothing happens, I wasn't just talking about onscreen. It seems like a literal found footage movie, like someone accidentally abandoned a camera on a tripod in a crummy bar and this is the result. The camera barely ever leaves a wide shot, and when it does, it's a horrifying extreme close-up that's ill-framed and poorly lit.

That's not to mention that the death scenes are largely offscreen (the biggest sin a slasher movie can commit), and where they are shown, they're so incoherent it feels like they still weren't even in the movie. Most of them don't actually show the killer making contact, they just smash cut to a weapon embedded in a person covered in red tempera paint, as if they spontaneously grew it out of their own bodies, Annihilation-style.

But how could I have expected more from a movie that murders a character named Stella, then introduces her and her boyfriend getting engaged, shows them going into a restaurant, then cuts to the fiancé alone trying to find out where she went, in that exact order. It's like they filmed every draft of the script and just threw every version in at random. Though I thoroughly doubt there actually was a script at any point in this process.

There IS, however, a five-minute long scene of characters with no names performing an excruciatingly repetitive blues song, so that's fun.

No matter how deep a layer you cut into, Gore-Met comes up short. The characters [sic] are exquisitely irritating, shrieking at one another until they get their way, the actors underplay every line like they're deep in the final stages of falling asleep, scenes end many seconds after the dialogue and action has concluded, and even the obligatory silly topless scene is an exercise in crushing boredom that features a disco song composed of maybe five notes played on endless loop. Plus, the characters keep insisting that there's a pool in this dive bar (??), but the movie doesn't have a budget for a pool, so they just pretend they're staring at people swimming (???).

The weird magic cult angle could have been interesting (and I do kind of love how the costume choice for them is a hoodie sweatshirt pulled tight around their skulls), but it doesn't permeate enough of the film to leave a lasting impression. This movie has a lot of the outsider-cinema, microbudget DNA of a Psychos in Love, but none of the charm or effort. It doesn't even hit the subterranean bar of a Herschell Gordon Lewis picture. 

I will applaud the film for being so completely unaware of its trashiness that it has the balls to reference A Streetcar Named Desire in a bizarrely unmotivated, poorly acted (duh) sequence that comes out of nowhere. That's one of the few moments where Gore-Met felt like the kind of bad-good experience that I delight in instead of a 67 minute movie that felt like it took 67 days to watch.

So no, the title does not make the movie. I don't know how I could more conclusively prove that fact.

Killer: Goza (Theo Depuay)
Final Girl: N/A
Sign of the Times: The fact that anyone allowed this movie to be made at all.
Best Kill: Really it's the only coherent kill in the movie, but the short order cook gets his head punched straight off, which is more than a little hilarious.
Scariest Moment: When Goza's body begins to deteriorate, he pulls off his own arm skin.
Weirdest Moment: When the title card right after the credits reads "the year 1386." Wasn't expecting that one!
Champion Dialogue: "Are you sure? It looks a little evil in there."
Body Count: 7
  1. Health Inspector gets a knife across the mouth.
  2. Stella is killed offscreen.
  3. Beau is stabbed in the gut.
  4. Prostitute is killed offscreen.
  5. Short Order Cook has his head punched off.
  6. Job Applicant is killed offscreen. 
  7. Priest is force-choked to death. 
TL;DR: Gore-met, Zombie Chef from Hell is extremely difficult to endure, a vastly tedious, goreless, poorly made slog through an incoherent series of out-of-order sequences.
Rating: 2/10
Word Count: 1001


  1. Honestly, the title bugs me too; that hyphen is the worst. "Gore-met, good traveller!"

    1. Although "Goremet" is just as incoherent. There's no winning here.

    2. It sounds like a wizard you need to consult about slaying a dragon.