Andreas Schnaas - there's a name that is growing in popularity around the Euro horror scene. Sales of his Violent Shit trilogy have been growing on the power of good word of mouth, so my interest was perked when I noticed that Astro Films where releasing a DVD of the old Schnaas gore fest 'Zombie 90: Extreme Pestilence'. Well with a name like that and the promise of an abundance of gore who wouldn't want to check it out!
As is generally the case with low budget zombie films plot detail is not at the fore. A military plane carrying unknown chemicals crashes in the woods spilling its mysterious toxic cargo and yes you guessed it, the dead start coming back to life with the sole purpose to eat the flesh of the living and cause general bloody carnage. Our lead hero in this particular situation is a local surgeon and his witless companion who seem to have a handle on the 'how to deal with zombies' thing and like to take home the odd corpse to do some home surgery/experimentation of their own. As I said though, story line is not the key thing here as the film really is an exercise in showcasing Schnaas' delightful special effects handiwork in set piece gore!
It's all here for the grue fans - zombies, chainsaws, disembowellings, gougings, decapitations and so on. In fact if you can think it then Schnaas has probably done it here. Hey, there's even a crazy zombie blow job scene where a sexy stocking clad zombie chick chows down on some poor bloke's tadger, another women is torn right down through to her nether region (ouch) and a small kid is plucked out of a pram and pulled to pieces. So you get the idea eh? Nothing is taboo with Schnaas and I'm sure gore fans will be thankful for that. The only thing that may put folk off (and to a point lessen the experience) is the fact that the film is made with the tiniest of budgets. You'll see right through the bulk of the effects works but the forgiving amongst you (like myself) will get great pleasure from the sheer gusto of its delivery.
Gory mayhem aside, there's not really much else to offer. The acting is woeful at the best of times and isn't helped whatsoever by the ghastly English dubbing that is presented here. The English dub sounds like it was recorded by a bunch of drunk 15 year olds in their bedroom on a four track unit, sniggering away cracking bad puns and putting on ropey accents that they know they can't carry off. Perhaps they thought that this would add a humorous element to the film but it in fact detracts from it and personally I would have preferred they left it with German audio only with an English subtitles option.
The disc is actually a very good package and fans of Schnaas work won't go wrong checking this one from Astro out. The film print itself is pretty solid considering its source (which here looks like a US NTSC video) and image and audio is fine throughout. But it is the selection of extras that make this a well-rounded package of great interest. There's a reel of out-takes and bloopers that are both funny and interesting. There's also an unintentionally hilarious short documentary (if you can call it that) where we follow the films makers trip to the films world premiere at their local fleapit cinema. What makes this amusing is that we follow them from their council estate house onto a passing public transport bus to the cinema where we see them larking about awkwardly in front of the camera. All dimly shot on home video looking like a family get together tape rather than a film premiere - an amusing but honest peek at those involved. Finally, there's a collection of trailers for the Violent Shit trilogy which look great fun also (all now on my wish list!), collected from various video sources (Japan, USA etc) which rounds the package off nicely.
'Zombie 90: Extreme Pestilence' is by no means a classic movie but it is a thoroughly enjoyable show-reel of zombie mayhem and gory carnage. Fans of low budget splatter shenanigans go seek this schlocker out now!
Review by Alan Simpson
|Released by Astro Filmworks|
|Directed by Andreas Schnaas|
|Region 2 PAL DVD|
|Running time: approx 84 mins|
|Optional English & German dialogue, Bloopers/out-takes reel, 'Premiere' short, 'Violent Shit' trilogy trailer selection.|