Monster Pictures, MA, 100 minutes
Director/script-adaptor/co-editor/co-star John Johnson’s rethinking of Edward D. Wood Jr.’s infamous ‘Worst Movie Of All Time’ isn’t a remake or straight parody per se, supposedly, but an attempt to film what Wood would have wanted for his 1959 anti-classic if he’d had the money or talent. And yet this troubled production actually winds up less a really bad sci-fi/horror movie than a moderately bad sci-fi/horror movie, complete with cheesy playing, absurdly grisly (and rubbery) gore FX and lots of shrieking.
The dire ‘Horror Host’ ‘Mister Lobo’ kicks things off as a new-look Criswell, the loopy psychic who could (according to him) tell the fantastic future, and after hamming through the Wood-written monologue he freaks out, cursing his career and damning remakes. We then cut to the small town of Nilbog (a reference to another celebrated Bad Movie, Troll 2???), where a selection of types are in the way when a meteor unleashes some kind of animated effect that causes the grungy dead to rise and attack the living in standard sub-sub-sub-Peter-Jackson’s-Brain–Dead-style, as Lobo rants and raves, a willowy scientist (Sarah Eshleman) ponders science stuff, the top-billed Brian Krause looks embarrassed as a pilot trying to save the day (actually night), director Johnson himself mugs as Patrolman Kelton, Tor Johnson and Vampira pseudo-look-alikes stumble about, and one of Wood’s original stars and pals, Conrad Brooks, turns up as camp old-timer Jamie (and looks to have had all his bits shot in a vacuum in five minutes). And if all that wasn’t enough, we’re also treated to endless post-modernist/intertextual (sorry about that) gags: Lobo frets about the story’s final act, characters muse about the plot they’re part of, and others prattle on about the rules of zombie movies until you’re desperate for them to get munched.
Something of a hollow tribute to the more honestly awful first flick, it’s certainly possible that Ed Wood would have objected to some of the more extreme intestine-yanking here – and maybe the lack of transvestites in cashmere.