Kiss your rental fee goodbye
It’s been a long time since I have been outside of these dark dungeon walls. I’m not sure if I can remember the last time I felt fresh air blowing past my face as I struggled to keep my top hat upon my head. But I do remember when video stores were a real thing. And I remember a time when a film like Space Zombie Bingo!!! might lie on the shelves in hopeful anticipation of an evening rental.
This film is uniquely of that era. Have you ever heard of a found footage film? This is a stock footage film. A similar movie would be Plan 9 From Outer Space. This film is almost a reboot of that movie. At the time, reboots weren’t really a thing, so I can’t quite call it that. It mixes live acting with stock footage that movie studios let anyone use for free without any strings attached. They throw in some horrible effects like fake weapons blasts and body parts that are supposed to look like they have been cut off etc. It combines for a stunningly cheesey effect.
I wish I could give you a good summary of the plot here but that’s essentially impossible with this film. It’s insanely disjointed but I’ll give it a go. It’s so disjointed I think calling it an actual movie might be a bit of a stretch. Like, a downward facing dog across the Grand Canyon size of a stretch.
The film starts off with a voice over telling us what is going to happen. There are space robot zombies that are trying to take over Earth. As far as the plot goes, it’s pretty basic but the way it plays out is, totally nuts. So there are alien invaders with weapons that outmatch ours. These space robots want to destroy or take over the earth and then the military fights back. Luckily a mad scientist is able to engineer a weapon in order to fight back against the invaders and Earth is once again safe.
The film is grainy and scratchy like most from the late eighties or early nineties. It’s full of bad pun dad jokes. The love interest is named Barbie Queue while the heroic military soldier is named Kent Bendover. The news station featured is K-I-L-L. It does not improve from there.
During one portion of the movie, the news anchor literally looks into the camera and says that you paid $3 to rent this so you might as well watch it or your money is wasted. Pretty sure your money is wasted anyway. They are also sure to point out that they are telling you this after the fifteen minute mark. Video stores used to do a thing where if you watched more than fifteen minutes of a video, you couldn’t take it back and get your money returned. That was the policy of most places but sometimes you could rewind and lie and get your money back anyway. They later added a mechanism to prevent that.
The space robot zombies wear a cardboard suit that basically looks like a reject from a lost episode of Dr. Who some time in the 1970’s. And in one scene, there are mannequins that have been dismembered and painted with fake blood as the narrator assures us that those are real actual humans who have been dismembered and NOT, painted mannequins.
This film revels in it’s awfulness and that kinda makes it almost great. Of course the acting is far below the level of a third grade Thanksgiving play production. But some of the more hilarious things are in the actual plot. In order to destroy the space robot zombies, the military decides to nuke the earth. Barbie Queue gets mad at Kent Bendover because he doesn’t park his jeep far enough from the mushroom cloud. They both survive of course, but then Kent is abducted by the aliens. There he makes a umm… let’s say “friendly connection” with one of them. This alien wants to go to Earth and live in peace with the “Earthians” and be Kent’s wife, never mind the fact that this alien would want to eat every other human for dinner. But we Earthians are lucky because Kent (the guy who had the idea to nuke the Earth) has tricked this alien to coming back where it can be dissected. A brilliant scientist who we know is brilliant because he wears a lab coat (don’t they all?) is able to discover through looking at a fake helmet and some seriously fake looking guts that the thing is made of “Pure Evil”. The only thing that can stop them is the solaranite bomb. If you are wondering if that is the same weapon used in Plan 9 From Outer Space you would be right, and you have seen too many bad movies. Welcome to the club! Also, they straight up say that they ripped the weapon off from another movie, in case there were any doubts.
Also, the narrator turns out to be this psychic guy who can predict what is about to happen. He doesn’t seem to do anything about it, but he knows it’s coming. So between the scientist and the narrator we know that we need to use that Solaranite weapon on the zombies, We do. The end comes stunningly abruptly and what’s left of Earth gets to live happily ever after.
However, I think I have to say that my absolute favorite part of this movie comes when the nuclear bombs are about to be dropped on major cities all across the globe. The news anchors tell the audience that they will be safe as long as they cover themselves in wet newspapers. Yep, wet newspapers will totally work!
Honestly, with this film, I don’t think they could have made something worse if they tried. And I believe they tried. Very hard. If that’s what they were going for, so that they could bilk a sixteen year old out of his allowance in 1993 by putting the words Space, Zombie and bingo (because teenagers really love bingo) on the cover, with a picture of women in bikinis holding a machine gun, they succeeded. I should mention that the women with the machine guns in bikinis never appear in the movie. Neither does bingo.
I can’t imagine this film made much money if any at all but any that it did was definitely through trickery. It’s an awesome spectacle of horrendously bad taste and worse film making. This is the kind of thing that will one day end up in the congressional library as an example of what not to do when making a movie. It should be watched. Late at night when you really have nothing else to do, this is perfect for the sheer spectacle of badness.
I can’t imagine that I can actually watch something worse than this. But then again, the next film on my dusty shelves is Attack of the Tromaggot! so we’ll see.