DECEMBER 15 VHS MOVIE REVIEW : CHOPPER CHICKS IN ZOMBIETOWN
From its amusing title, "Chopper Chicks in Zombietown," the newest film from Troma Inc. promises to be one of the company's typical free-for-all B-movie romps. Alas, it is not. Written and directed by Dan Hoskins, the relatively straight-faced generic hybrid of horror and biker films doesn't go nearly far enough in showing how a female motorcycle gang, aided by a local school for blind orphans, rids a tiny desert town of its exploding zombie population.
If nothing else, "Chopper Chicks," which opens today at the Waverly Theater, boasts a bizarre assortment of characters. Rox (Catherine Carlen), the fiery-eyed leader of the gang known as the Cycle Sluts, brandishes a bullwhip and straddles her chopper like a leather-clad Valkyrie. Her rebellious cohort, Dede (Jamie Rose), is a former prom queen who feels a tug toward gentility when the gang arrives in her besieged hometown.
The villain of the piece, Ralph Willum (Don Calfa), is a raving, homicidal mortician whose battery-powered zombies are the miserable fruits of his demented quest to create eternal life.
These lively ingredients have been mixed and matched in a remarkably unexciting way. Although Mr. Hoskins's screenplay has a few amusing jokes, the movie is seriously deficient in visual and verbal energy. Scenes seem pasted together with little sense of continuity, and the acting styles range from the cartoonishly manic to the flatly non-expressive. It all makes for a movie that is far too confusing to be much fun.
"Chopper Chicks in Zombietown" is rated R (Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian). It includes profanity and some violence. Chopper Chicks in Zombietown Directed and written by Dan Hoskins; director of photography Tom Fraser; edited by W. O. Garrett; music by Daniel Day; production designer, Rodney MacDonald; produced by Maria Snyder; released by Troma Team. At the Waverly, Third Street and Avenue of the Americas in Manhattan. Running time: 84 minutes. This film is rated R. Dede . . . Jamie Rose Rox . . . Catherine Carlen T. C. . . . Lycia Naff Jewel . . . Vicki Frederick Jojo . . . Kristina Loggia Ralph Willum . . . Don Calfa
DECEMBER 15 VHS MOVIE REVIEW : CHOPPER CHICKS IN ZOMBIETOWN
Vicki Frederick is Jewel
Don "I was in Return of the Living Dead" Calfa is Ralph Willum, the undertaker
Catherine Carlen is Rox
Jamie Rose is Dede
Martha "Hey I was an M-TV Veejay" Quinn
Ed "I was Howard the Duck and Chucky sometimes..." Gale is Bob
Billy "I reckon you can fix me some biscuits...." Bob Thornton is Donny
What the box says:
Troma Entertainment unleashes the Tromillenium Edition of the cult favorite CHOPPER CHICKS IN ZOMBIETOWN . Digitally remastered and restored featuring Academy Award® Winner BILLY BOB THORNTON (Monster's Ball, A Simple Plan, & Sling Blade), the film is more than just a horror movie, it is a self-aware modern day parody of the Female Revenge Flick and Drive-In Movie Genre--complete with Zombies, Bikers, Rock N' Roll Music and tough hard bodied Sapphic beauties.
Meet the Cycle Sluts, a rebellious & free spirited gang of female bikers madeup of a cast of lesbians, a former homecoming queen, and a mute. The Cycle Sluts leave their troubled lives behind to go on a Tour of America. The all-girl motorcycle mamas encounter a town overrun by Zombies created by the local Mad Scientist (Don Calfa - Weekend at Bernie's, Return of the Living Dead, "Barney Miller") to mine nuclear radioactive waste.
The Cycle Sluts refuse to be run out of town by anyone, including Flesh Eating Zombies! Ganging up with local outcasts, including a school of blind orphans and a dwarf, and armed with black leather, whips, chains, machine guns, chainsaws, and dynamite, the Cycle Sluts know how to fight to the end.
Cycle sluts are tooling the down the road, shooting at road signs. They approach the town of Zariah. Rox, leader, orders them to wear the colors, something adorned with the phrase “Cycle Sluts” on it, before heading into town for some R&R. Dede wants to skip this town. They head into town. A dwarf undertaker lowers the population sign from 128 to 127.
Willum, the crazy undertaker, takes a body from the coffin and fills it with sandbags. Smoking while delivering the eulogy, he notices a hole in the coffin which is leaking the sand. He drops the coffin and ends the service, immediately. Cycle Sluts drive into town. The townsfolk look at them disapprovingly as they enter a café.
A kid enters the abandoned mine. He opens a door seeing a green glow and is killed.
The blind orphan bus is broken down. Yes, a yellow school bus with school for blind orphans on the side. The Zombies try breaking out of the mine, trudge out slowly. They break through the boarded-up entrance and are free. The bus is still broken down as the Zombies approach. Bus finally kicks on and is driven away before the driver sees the Zombies.
Lucile rides on off in hot pursuit of “MEAT.” Willum runs over her and takes her body to the funeral home where the other body he snatched earlier is. Lucile is drained of her blood. Bob, the dwarf, is found hiding under the gurney. Willum drags and places him in the coffin caries it outside and drops in a nearby well. Willum is doing this to punish Bob for the previous faulty coffin.
TC finds a goofy guy. Rusty finds the local mechanic, needs to use his tools. No, actually torque wrench.
Willum has Lucile and the dead butcher in chairs. He’s ranting how no one thought the dead could be reanimated. He orders Bob to kill the rest of the Cycle Sluts.
Bob is skulking around with a gun, sneaking up on Dede who’s in the local church. She’s about to leave when Billy Bob AKA Donny (but a redneck should be called Billy Bob) kisses her. Dede and Billy were married. She doesn’t want any Billy Bob lovin’ which means she’ll experience the Sling Blade, soon enough.
Jewel calls her son to wish him a happy birthday.
One Zombie stands in front of the security camera in the mine staring at it. The rest of them are heading to town.
Rox goes into the local bar where family night is being held for some other dead guy. Goes to the jukebox playing a sad country song and has it play a rock song. She starts singing and rubbing against the jukebox, dry-humping it. Other Cycle Sluts get some lovin’. Dede and Billy Bob. Jojo walks into a guy’s house and jumps on top of him.
Jojo leaves as nerdy boy’s mother, a nurse, returns. Nurse lady is glad he got some, gives him a cigarette.
Goofy guy and TC are spray painting the Cycle Sluts logo on the side of the wall. TC wants to be a record producer. Bob has a blowgun and about to use it when Goofy guy and TC head somewhere more private for sweet lovin’.
Rox and Tanya are at a table in the bar. Rox is talking about all she has is the Cycle Sluts and how she controls them.
Most of the Sluts are gathering. Willum is spying on them. The sheriff is going to do his duty and run them out of town. Willum kills the sheriff.
Back at the bar, guy wants Tanya to kiss the dead guy or say something to him. We learn that she’s a mute. Rox jumps to her defense.
Dede meets with the rest of the Sluts. Bob recognizes her. They hear the commotion from the bar, coffin tossed through the window. The respectable gun-toting citizens want the Cycle Sluts to make reparations. Billy Bob shows up trying to kiss Dede in front of everyone. Bob remembers she was Homecoming Queen. Rox demands she choose whether to stay or not. The townsfolk are going to shoot them or hang ‘em high.
Jojo pulls a grenade and uses Billy Bob as human shield for the Sluts to get to their bikes. Rox threatens to kill Dede if she ever sees her again and kicks Dede’s bike on its side. The Sluts drive out of town.
Some of the Sluts want to head back to town to kick ass and take names. They think Lucile deserted them. Rox isn’t going back.
Zombies keep marching to town. Dede is fixing her bike. Billy Bob tries rekindling the old romance. Everyone Billy Bob liked died. Dede isn’t staying. She can’t hack normal life. Billy Bob tries professing his love to keep her stay. Dede knees him in the groin and rides off.
Dede looks for Lucile, finds her bike. Sneaking into the funeral home, she finds Lucile’s bloody jacket. Billy Bob followed her. Lucile is in a body bag. The recently dead butcher grabs Billy who is shot by Willum. Dede is locked in meat locker with the dead Billy Bob.
Willum zombieifes the sheriff. He drills a hole in the head and drops a battery in the hole. Just in case, you didn’t know it. Willum is a mad scientist.
Zombie Lucile still wants “MEAT.” Dede holds Billy’s corpse in front of her trying to entice Lucile to open the door and free her. Zombie Lucile jumps on Billy as Dede escapes. She traps Willum in the meat locker with the “MEAT” crazy Zombie Lucile. Dede rides away.
Bob realizes the Zombies from the mine have escaped. He refuses to free Willum from the meat locker.
Zombies slowly head into town, still miles away.
Zombies surround a house. Martha Quinn is sick of taking care of the men-folk, father and brother. Dad goes to get some firewood.
The Sluts decide what to do. They start fighting among themselves as Rox antagonizes them with returning to their horrible lives. She wants them all to leave when Dede arrives.
Martha’s Dad returns. The dead son is at the door. She closes the door as the Zombies storm the house. The zombie attack is inter-cut with the fight between Rox and Dede. It’s Rox’s bullwhip versus Dede’s switchblade. Back at Firebase Martha, living brother is eaten and so is Dad. Zombie Mom returns and, Martha gets rid of her with a flaming torch.
Catfight continues, Tanya, the mute tells them to stop. They see the burning house and rush to it. Jewel and Rusty rush in to save the crying baby and manage to escape.
Cars pull up. The townsfolk want to hang ‘em high, no rope. Townsfolk finally spot the Zombies. Zombie Sheriff staggers away. They see the zombie hordes, while the Sluts ready to leave. Martha’s house burns to the ground.
Zombies surround the blind orphan bus. We learn the blind kids locked the teachers out. Things don’t look good for them, until, Lance, the foul mouthed, blind orphan finds the Uzi. Yes, one of the teachers carried an Uzi. Cycle Sluts see this from a distance and don’t know what to do. Jewel rushes to help the blind orphans. Unfortunately, she crashes and wipes out. Bob arrives in the funeral hearse. They get the blind orphans in the hearse before the bus explodes.
Bob explains how Willum used zombies to mine the radioactive waste. Willum promised ton make Bob tall if he helped him. Sluts are ready to leave. Bob has to watch over the orphans.
Townsfolk will pay the Sluts to kill the Zombies. The Zombies are awfully close as Rox rides away. Slowly shuffling to town are the zombies. The townsfolk can’t kill their friends and family and run away. Bob tries running over Willum who escaped from the meat locker.
Rox is on the open road when attacked by Zombies. Dede rides to the rescue. Dede and Rox are on the same page, but, Rox is afraid she can’t hack it anymore and rides off.
Zombies are doing various things: eating, drinking booze, mowing. Dede has a baseball bat, going to go Sammy Sosa on these undead. Bob mentions the batteries are in the zombie heads. If you take the head off, body won’t have any power to move around. The Cycle Sluts excluding Rox return to help. They help to the hardware store for the weapons to defeat this trudging horde of the living dead. It’s not as cool as weapon building scene in Phantasm 2.
The one street in the town has road flares lining it. The weapon carrying Cycle Sluts prepare for battle. Head rolling fun ensues. Shotguns, torches, staple gunning the zombies ensue. The chainsaw low blow ensues. Bob just goes up to the zombies and shoots them in the heads.
Willum is angered by this and gives the zombies guns. The sheriff’s son discovers dad is a zombie, locks him in the house, hoping no one notices him. The zombies aren’t good shots, but at least, are trying to use the guns. No zombie shoots itself. Rox returns and uses a flare gun to finish them off.
Wait, which was only the scouting party. The main zombie forces are just reaching town now. Willum orders these zombies to kill the Cycle Sluts. He sounds like a demented football coach ordering his cannibalistic flesh-eating team to “Eat that one for the Gipper.”
Bob thinks the zombies might leave everyone alone if they return the blood that was drained from the zombies. Shy guy gets some explosives for Jojo, the demolitions expert. The plan is lure the zombies into one place. The church bell begins ringing. The blind orphans will be used as Zombie bait to lure the zombies to the church and blow it up destroying the zombies.
Jojo is making the bomb. Goofy guy and TC are getting meat to lure the zombies to the church. Drag the meat so far ahead of them let the zombies reach for it pull it a few feet away and repeat the process. They are filling the ice cream truck full of meat which will have the zombies follow them to the church.
Willum tries shooting at them but is wounded himself.
Zombies head to church as the blind orphan choir is singing “Oh, Holy Night.” They enter and trudge along and some sit down in the pews, too. Willum has managed to block the blind orphans escape route. Dede crashes the ice cream truck through the wall. The bomb has been set.
Willum tries using a blind orphan as a hostage. Zombie manages to take a bite of Willum.
Dede is trapped in the church with no bullets in her gun. Lance still has his Uzi. An Uzi in the hands of the blind is still a dangerous weapon. Dede and Lance try to get out. The zombies are swarming the ice cream truck. The bomb explodes.
Willum tries driving away but is decapitated.
The Cycle Sluts think that Dede is dead. They see they’re in the church’s bell tower.
The next day, the blind orphan and Bob are inducted into the Cycle Sluts. The townsfolk watch disapprovingly at them.. We see the zombie sheriff is there and no one is complaining about him.
The Cycle Sluts are about to leave after they get the money. Goofy guy decides to go with TC. Nerd Boy is going with Jojo. They ride out of town.
Set several cases of explosives in the mine to take care of it. On the road, Rox tosses most of the money away. See a zombie wandering in the desert….The end.
What I say:
Dwarfs, gun-toting blind orphans, a biker gang, zombies, everything but the kitchen sink. The biggest problem, this isn't as over the top as it should have been. Any movie like this has to be tongue in the cheek. But, when portrayed as a real movie. This is a solid B-movie. It could have been close to Evil Dead 2 in my book if it had been handled right. The gore wasn't gallons of fluid abundant.
This is only a Troma movie by default. Troma bought the rights to distribute it. You can tell it doesn't have Lloyd Kauffman touch plenty of fart jokes or set in New Jersey, etc... They’ve bought the rights to a lot of movies in their catalog. I love how the DVD box describes the bikers as hard bodied Sapphic beauties. This has to be one of the greatest movie titles in history. Granted the original title was Cycle Sluts in Zombietown. A slight problem that title is that it sounds like a interesting adult audience production, AKA a porno. But, I’ve seen PG-13 movies that have more naked people in this or more sex.
I think it's safe to say there are a few interesting characters in this movie. Gun-toting blind orphans. They were even used as zombie bait. That’s originality for you. How about the mad mean scientist’s assistant turning to the forces of light and helping them vanquish the monsters? Bob just wanted to be normal sized and was tired of being harassed because of being a dwarf. Granted, the Chopper Chicks were just given the random typical pasts...The idea the Homecoming Queen and being married are sources of shame for a woman is an interesting idea. Dede pulled her trouble past off. With 8 bikers some got lost in the shuffle: Rusty, Tanya, etc...
If you want gore, get another movie. These are the shuffling zombies that are the stupider cousins from Return of the Living Dead. They aren't very threatenting. They are fairly slow. You didn't turn into a zombie by being bitten by one of these battery powered zombies. I'm not sure they were even after brains. At one point, Bob mentions they were drained of blood for some reason. These were blood-drinking freaks, then.
My main complaint is this movie doesn’t go over the top like Evil Dead 2 or Dead Alive. Watching this, I keep thinking it could have been a lot wilder, more cartoonish violence. Splatterstick would have fit in this movie oh so well. We get a glimmer of it with the chainsaw low blow. They were so close to gettingit right. We have so many good ingredients that just aren’t handled right. Women biker gang, dwarf, zombies, mad scientist, blind orphans. The director made this a very tame movie which is hard to believe. The only lowkey women biker gang fighting zombies movie ever.
The acting. How can anyone legitimately criticize the acting in a movie called Chopper Chicks in Zombietown? Better yet who in their right mind would use the word legitimate with this movie’s title? I’ve seen a lot of movies with a lot bigger budgets that would have been improved with using this cast. It isn’t an award winning cast but a solid B-Movie cast. The Chopper Chicks look pretty good for the most part. I think that these women are closer to a biker gang that the few women portrayed in HellCats. That's not saying much though.
Is this the movie Billy Bob Thornton doesn’t want you to see? I mean he plays a redneck whose wife runs off to join a biker gang. He’s a far cry from Sling Blade. But, he isn't bad in his role. They just are trying to make it sound like he's in the entire movie rather than about 10 minutes or so. I should have done a What Were They Starring In month and have Trancers and Cyborg 2 .
I hate to say that another online review compares this movie to High Plains Drifter. Cycle Sluts and Bob, the dwarf get rid of the zombie hordes attacking. But, I can see the similarities myself. Mysterious strangers riding into town and avenge a wrong that has been occurring for years. Never though I could mention Clint Eastwood on my site unless it was with respect to his guest-appearance on Mr. Ed.
I think this movie had a lot that could have made it one of the great cult movies of the late 80s. Or whenever it was released, I found the release date ranging from 1988-1991. But, I enjoyed it myself more than when I watched it a few years ago. It’s kind of sad to realize that pretty much everyone in this movie never acted anymore. There were a few exceptions Don Calfa. Wonder what a sequel would have been liked to it.