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Zombie Bloodbath 3: Zombie Armageddon   C+

Extreme Entertainment

Year Released: 2000
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Director: Todd Sheets
Writer: Todd Sheets
Cast: Abe Dyer, Curtis Spencer, Blake Washer, Jolene Durrill, Jen Davis, Ruth Gordon, Phil Wymore, Jenni Geigel, Rico Love, Antwoine Steele, Byron Nichodemus, Jeff Dylan Graham.

Review by Michael Scrutchin

When you sit down to watch a movie directed by Todd Sheets, there's certain things you should expect:

1. Gore. Lots of it. The kind of intestine-ripping, gut-munching, blood-spilling, and flesh-chomping that recalls the good ol' days when Lucio Fulci and George A. Romero were in their prime. And Sheets likes to get the gore up close, lingering on disgusting closeups that might make you lose your dinner if you're not careful.

2. A huge cast with lots of characters. There's usually not a clear-cut main character, but you'll probably find a character or two to identify with.

3. Lots of bad acting. Not to mention some cheesy dialogue. But maybe a few good performances amidst the bad and barely passable ones. Hey, these are low-budget B-movies, whaddya expect?

4. Shot on video. Now this one tends to scare away a lot of people, but it shouldn't. C'mon, you think beloved B-movie filmmakers like Herschell Gordon Lewis would've shot their movies on film if they had the ease and convenience of video back then? Shot on video doesn't necessarily mean low quality, but I can understand your concerns.

5. And, finally, fun and unpredictability. Todd Sheets is having a good time and it's easy to get caught up in his obvious love for the horror genre. And he's one twisted mofo, let me tell you. Think he doesn't have the balls to kill off a young girl in the sickest way imaginable? Check out Zombie Bloodbath 2. Think you can predict which characters will be killed off and which ones will live? Try to, I dare ya.

His movies aren't perfect, but you shouldn't expect them to be. Todd Sheets is not trying to create art -- he's trying to make gory horror flicks that fans of the genre will enjoy. And, for the most part, I think he's doing just fine. Zombie Bloodbath 3 is fun yet forgettable. But -- surprise, surprise -- this one even manages to pay homage to John Hughes' teen angst "classic" The Breakfast Club.

At a high school in Anywhere USA, five students are in detention. All the stereotypes are here, including your spoiled rich bitch, the quiet girl, the gothic chick, the jock, and the rebel troublemaker. The school principal is a mean old fart who secretly lusts after the young high school girls. While these kids are in detention, two goofballs who operate the school radio station, Brian (Abe Dyer) and Skillet (Curtis Spencer), are tracking soundwaves. This leads them to an underground cave beneath the school, where they accidentally set free a horde of zombies from the future.

Huh? Zombies from the future?

Oh, yeah, right. I forgot to mention that in the before-the-credits prologue, which takes place sometime in the future, the U.S. government has been reanimating corpses for use in combat. After they're through with the zombies, they launch them into space on a cargo ship. That'll get rid of 'em. Yeah, as if. The cargo ship is sucked into a black hole and somehow winds up back in 1999 -- underneath the high school.

But none of that really matters. What matters is that Zombie Bloodbath 3 is about teenagers fighting the undead in a high school. It moves quickly and never slows down enough to become dull, but it's not as engaging as it could be, either. Maybe if there wasn't such a massive cast of characters running around, I could have found a single character to latch onto and perhaps start to care about.

But I did like Abe Dyer as Brian. This guy's just fun to watch. Every other word out of his mouth is the "F" word and he somehow manages to elevate the use of profanity to an art form. I don't think Al Pacino said "fuck" this many times in Scarface. Abe Dyer has a tendency to overact, but he's the most consistently entertaining actor on-screen. I won't hold the overacting against him -- I really dig the guy, he's having fun. Curtis Spencer as his buddy Skillet is fun, too.

The gore in ZB3 is pretty by-the-numbers stuff. Zombies ripping people apart, playing with the entrails, feasting, you know, the usual. But all of the violence lacks any kind of visceral impact: it's just there. Zombie Bloodbath 2 had more shock value, but it was also far more cruel in spirit than this one, which seems to be merely intent on having fun. And judging from the bloopers and outtakes that play while the end credits roll, the cast and crew had a great time making this movie. A true love for the genre is evident while watching ZB3, and that -- while not everything -- certainly counts for something.

Review published 03.14.2001.

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