Attack of the Atomic Zombies (2011)
Directed by Tony Diana
It is always satisfying to watch a movie that is clearly a labor of love by the filmmaker turn out to be actually enjoyable for the audience. So often micro-budgeted films come across as an uninteresting inside joke that you are left out of. Thankfully Attack of the Atomic Zombies is a cute movie that never lefts the audience feel abandoned.
Attack of the Atomic Zombies is a parody of a 1950s scifi films that preyed on the fear of nuclear holocaust. You know the type; the ones with terrible special effects and even worse acting. Is seems as though we did not make enough of those films 60 years ago, and thus filmmakers are now making their own homages to the classic genre films. I have been a huge fan of these (notably Lost Skeleton of Cadavra and Atomic Brain Invasion) because they do not take themselves too seriously. Attack of the Atomic Zombies is not quite at the same quality level as others, but it is still quite a fun flick.
The film follows a group of characters that are all brought together by zombies brought about due to atomic radiation. The film features a mad scientist and his sidekick, a bumbling sheriff and his admirer, a pair of young picnicking lovers, and a snippy working woman. It begins with the doctor, Dr. Harry Housen, waxing philosophical about atomic (which he pronounces “a-tomic”) energy. His audience, the Igor-like assistant Gort, clearly does not have the mental capacity to benefit from the doctor’s knowledge, but the doctor continues.
All of the scenes with the doctor are over the top and melodramatic. He speaks with odd inflection that would make William Shatner proud, and chews up the scenery around him. I found that the doctor, and Andrew’s Wrobel’s performance, to be the most enjoyable part of Attack of the Atomic Zombies. He is unmistakably having fun with such an over the top character and it is great to watch him take this part and run with it.
The other main plot line is the sheriff in town, Ed Wood, trying to get to the bottom of the pesky zombie problem in town. The sheriff is bumbling and endearing. His admirer, the pretty but dumb Patricia, brings him baked goods and follows him around like a puppy. Neither of them is especially interesting, but they are not repugnant either.
Though most of Attack of the Atomic Zombies was delightfully silly, there were certain scenes that dragged. The sheriff’s secretary, Gale, is a particular dark spot in the film. She comes across as unnecessarily mean and catty, and stammers through her lines. She also has inexplicable problems with the boom microphone operator, and breaks the forth wall trying to get him to shape up. While this film is spoofing other films with terrible production quality, speaking to others on the film set did not happen. I can tell that these interactions with the boom mike are meant to be funny, but they fall flat.
Attack of the Atomic Zombies is available to watch in its entirety on YouTube, and it makes for a very fun 70 minutes. It even starts with a few hilarious fake trailers at the beginning to get you into a throwback mindset.