Description (from the IMDb):
Atom is an amazing zombie killer, has a horny girlfriend…and is the best bowler in the league! But don’t tell that to Dario and the Slashers, the evil bowling rivals who will stop at nothing to thwart Atom and his buddies. When all of his problems come to a head, Atom must battle his worst nightmare–ZOMBIES! May the bloodbath begin! let’s ROCK and BOWL in this outrageous horror comedy!
Mark Shonsey as Atom, Zachary Byron Helm as Dario, Lindy Starr as Emily, with Lloyd Kaufman as Grampa Abacrombie, Babette Bombshell as Areola the Twilight Temptress, Shawn C. Phillips as Preacher
For Sale Version Includes: VHS in Special Limited Edition Clamshell, Introduction by the Directors, “Rock & Bowl” music video by Bolonium, Hand made and numbered edition of 50, Autographed by the filmmakers, more!
I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting into with ATOM THE AMAZING ZOMBIE KILLER. I knew it was going to be very Troma-esque, and I knew it was going to revel in its campiness, but other than that, I was not really sure what to expect. The only other flick I had seen from Bizjack Flemco (aka Taylor & Beins) was THE MISLED ROMANCE OF CANNIBAL GIRL AND INCEST BOY, which I saw back at one of the TromaDance New Mexico film festivals I was involved in. I met Richard back then, and he was a nice enough guy, that had made a really fucked up film. Truth be told, I was not a big fan on TMRoCGaIB (wow, that’s a long acronym); I felt like it was shocking just to be shocking, and really had very little substance. I only watched it one time many years ago in a block of short films at a festival, so watching it again today I might think differently… or I might not. Who knows? What I did know was that going into AtAZK, all I had to go on was a strange, dialogue-free film shot on Super8 that was filled with gore, Lloyd Kaufman, and a penis.
Right from the beginning, I was thinking that I was going to like AtAZK a lot more than TMRoCGaIB. The opening credits were a nice animated bit, filled with camp, and really set the tone for the film nicely. Once the actual video kicked in I was glad to see that it was pretty decent quality, though the lighting left quite a bit to be desired. Truly, the lighting is pretty bad in some spots, and just decent in the rest (with the exception of the scenes shot outside, where the sun does a great job). Along with the spotty lighting quality is the sound, which also is so-so at best. The sound quality never gets bad enough to make it hard to hear or understand what is going on, but it really could have used a couple more bucks in the budget for sure. It’s seemingly pretty apparent that the focus – money-wise – was the camera and the effects, and probably a bit towards the locations (unless they were lucky enough to get the bowling alley for free).
So I know so far it sounds like I didn’t like AtAZK… and that’s just not true. It has its faults, sure, but what it lacks in production quality it more than makes up for in over-the-top campiness. And I love campiness. I have explained this before, but just in case you haven’t read those other reviews, let me do so once again: there is a difference between “cheesy” and “campy.” Cheesy means that the flick is funny because it’s unintentionally bad, while campy means that it’s bad on purpose, and it embraces those flaws and flaunts them like tattoos you got when you were a drunk 19-year-old. AtAZK is campy. Very campy. Over the top campy. There is a heavy amount of silliness in this movie that really serves it well; from the villain’s haircut, to having a head bashed in (and then replaced) by a smiley-face bowling ball, to a group of victims standing in line to get killed, to Lloyd Kaufman’s performance in general, AtAZK revels in how bad it is. There are no Oscar-worthy acting performances here, and if there were they would stick out like a gangrenous thumb. AtAZK is silly, very silly, and even slips in a Wilhelm Scream just to make sure you’re paying attention to how very silly it is. Like any good lovers of low-budget film, Taylor & Beins also drop in a bunch of nods and references to other low-budget filmmakers, from Troma, to Kevin Strange’s Hack Movies, to Caleb Emerson’s DIE YOU ZOMBIE BASTARDS (review here), which makes AtAZK a fun watch for anyone that is invested in this type of cinema.
In addition to the campiness that AtAZK takes to the extreme, like a good Vanilla Ice video, there are also a really strong couple of performances. Yes, with a campy movie, you expect a lot of things to be bad on purpose, but there still needs to be some decent acting to carry the film; AtAZK has quite a few of them. First there is Atom, portrayed by Shonsey, who is your average everyday guy who ends up with your not-average situation, and carries it well. From the Amazing Zombie Killers, I was especially impressed with Dan Laverty’s Ben, who was funny and fun and a great “sidekick” type character. There was also Lindy Starr’s Emily, who was very strong in her role as the love interest, and then finally there was Zachary Byron Helm’s Dario, who was the perfect combination of cool dude and asshole antagonist.
As would be important to your average Troma fan, AtAZK delivers the groceries when it comes to some of the necessities for a b-movie like this. There is some fun, witty dialogue; not quite Tarantino-level repeatable, but some funny stuff for sure. There are really outrageous, ridiculous situations and plot twists… don’t expect AtAZK to just go directly from point a to point b. There are moustaches, fake moustaches, bad ones. Then there are probably the two most important elements to appeal to the Troma crowd: sex and gore. The sex all comes via Atom’s kinda girlfriend, but she does get naked on multiple (comedic) occasions, and you do get boobies, so the dudes (and chicks that like boobs) are gonna be happy about that one. The gore is obviously something that Bizjack Flemco put a lot of focus on, and it is pretty decently done, and really over the top silly. This is not a horror, other than the fact that it is bloody. It is complete splatstick, which is made fully evident by a half a body wandering around the frame, and Atom impaling a woman with her friend’s leg. This is not scary, not at all, but it sure is bloody.
Overall, I really enjoyed AtAZK. It was a vast departure from the previous Bizjack Flemco film I had seen, and I was happy for that. This is a truly funny, sometimes gross, and all around weird film that takes “zombie” movies to a whole new place… the bowling alley. AtAZK really needs to be picked up and distributed by Troma, because the fans of Troma films will get a hell of a kick out of this film, plus: Lloyd is in it. This is a really fun film, and it really changed my impression of Taylor & Beins, and now… I want to see more.
Overall 7.5 / 10
AtAZK on the IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1560765/
AtAZK for sale: http://atomtheamazingzombiekiller.com/store.html
AtAZK site: http://atomtheamazingzombiekiller.com/