Jarv’s Schlock Vault: Chopper Chicks in Zombietown
Chopper Chicks in Zombie Town
“Blind kids, a midget, dykes on bikes… we could start a side-show!”
Ignore reviews on IMDB (as if you need me to tell you that), ignore Amazon, especially ignore the middle bit of that idiotic Variety quote on the cover- it isn’t a spoof (I don’t think they know how to do a spoof), ignore pretty much everything, and trust me- your guide to the darker recesses of the vault. Would I lie to you?
This is possibly the easiest film to review that I’ve done so far. It’s a slice of deep fried Troma gold, and stands up with their best low rent work. There is absolutely nothing (provided you’ve got a sense of humour) in this film to dislike. It’s gloriously insane from start to finish and defies any rational criticism. This review is spoiler heavy, so if you care about things like that (which I doubt) then stop reading.
To begin with: it doesn’t “star” Billy Bob Thornton. This is classic Troma revisionism. It has a young and desperate Billy Bob Thornton in it, but he’s very much in a supporting role and it’s only since he rose to prominence that Troma have reprinted the cover with him on it-. The original (and I much prefer it) packaging looked like this:
See, he’s nowhere in sight. It also has a pre-MTV Martha Quinn in it (and it’s conspicuous by it’s absence from her Wikipedia page, the fucking elitist snob), but you don’t see them changing the packaging to include her. It’s as crass a cash in as I’ve seen since the legendary Leprechaun Pot of Gore that has “Starring Coolio” on the cover. If you’ve seen those masterpieces, then you’ll get how amazingly inaccurate and inappropriate this is.
It actually stars Jamie Rose as Dede and Catherine Carlen as Rox- the 2 most prominent members of the Cycle Sluts. The erstwhile Billy Bob plays Dede’s ex husband. He’s not on screen very long, just enough to nail her then get eaten by a zombie.
Anyway, on to the plot. A badass group of biker girls (they aren’t lesbians, well, Rox is: “I’M THE DYKE”, but the rest of them aren’t- and lesbianism is my tenuous link to Red Sonja) pitch up in the one horse town of Zariah. They go off to find men to shag (or for one of them, to call her children in one of the most incompetent pieces of forced characterisation I’ve ever seen) and to get drunk. Little do they know that a mad scientist turned mortician, and his tame midget have been murdering the townsfolk so that he can implant something or other in their head and reanimate the corpse. The newly made zombies are then set to work in the radioactive mine outside of town. Needless to say, the zombies get out, carnage ensues and the chicks kick some undead ass. Not forgetting that there’s a busload of snarky blind orphans that need rescuing. For no reason in particular, they’re just there.
So what’s good about this film? Nothing. Of course there’s nothing of actual quality in it- it is Troma, after all.
But, more importantly, what’s awesome in this film? Fucking everything. It’s wonderful, but let me break it down for you. I’m going to seriously spoil here, although spoil may be the wrong word, perhaps “point you in the direction of things to look out for”, would be better.
Firstly, the dialogue is incredible- I’m not sure if it’s tongue in cheek or not, but it’s both funny and offensive. Some of it is absolutely inspired, for example, the evil mortician tortures his dwarf on a pretty much constant basis (including putting him in a miniature coffin and floating him on a pond), and justifies this by making the midget say: “If GOD had wanted me to be like normal people, he would have made me look like normal people…” There’s no criticising things like this, but if that hasn’t convinced you, then the exchange between the blind orphans and their carer is absolutely priceless- the carer, having swapped insults with the kid, wins the argument with “Go and cry to your parents”.
Secondly, it’s actually a bit smarter than it pretends to be. There are many clever nods to biker films such as Hell’s Angels on Wheels. It works brilliantly on an ironic level- I’ve had many a giggle looking for where it outright steals from.
Thirdly, the score. I would love to have been in the room when this score was pitched. It’s got more in common with Teddy Bear’s Picnic than a zombie movie. Every time the undead are on the move, they stop the soundtrack and play the ill advised “zombie theme”, and (words almost fail me here) it’s both completely inept and staggeringly inappropriate. If you’re not laughing by the time they appear, then when this dreadful piece of music first plays, you will be. The rest of the score is OK. Well, it isn’t shit.
Next, it’s a mean film: no-one is safe. The zombies get loose because they eat a blind kid. Which is funny by definition. The dwarf is treated like shit all the way through, and when he hooks up with the Cycle Sluts nobody seems to mind that he killed half the town’s population. One of the sluts breaks in to a nerd’s house and practically rapes him on the sofa- he certainly doesn’t seem to have a lot in the way of alternatives (even if he is enjoying himself). Unsurprisingly, his mother walks in, and instead of (as you’d expect) throwing a tantrum, is ecstatic that her useless son is getting laid. The whole film is full of touches like this.
The Sluts themselves are also brilliantly one-dimensional, in that they’re all exploitation archetypes- Rox is the leather clad dyke with aggression problems- she’s constantly going on about how she’s a badass because she’s just trying to make them tough, and, hell, somebody’s got to kick them into shape., Dede is the bored small town housewife that’s riding with the Sluts looking for kicks- but still secretly loves her husband. Jewel, Jojo and Rusty are emotionally damaged for nebulous and stupid reasons. When they go “looking for meat” in the town, they just pitch up and nail their various targets in seconds. Not to mention the catfight, the presence of which would elevate the dullest material up to genius level. More films should have catfights in them. It’s obvious that none of the actresses could deliver hard boiled dialogue if their lives depended on it, instead opting to turn in performances that are fabulously sleazy, and the film is all the better for their failings.
Finally, the ending is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. Having saved the town from the marauding Zombie Horde, the Sluts decide to bugger off into the sunset. But not before they’re presented with a big sack of cash, steal a few of the male population as their new “bitches”, and making a few of the blind kids and the dwarf into honorary Sluts. It’s an obvious attempt to parody westerns, and true to form the Sluts throw the cash in the air before riding out.
Overall, if you have a sense of humour then you’ll like this. If you own a sense of irony then you’ll like this. If you have a sense of the absurd, and an appreciation for the over-the-top values that Troma specialise in then you’ll like this. If you’re a po-faced wanker masquerading as a serious critic by posting pseudo intellectual drivel on imdb (“Overall, anyone watching Troma films should be ready for the low standards and lack of spark that generally come with them. I was ready for something poor but even still I was caught off guard by just how poor the whole thing was. Worth watching if you’ve never seen a Troma film, but other than that it’s not worth the bother and is about as sh*t as you’d expect.”- No, mate, you clearly weren’t ready for it. Stick to Bambi) then this film is not for you. If you’re reading this, then chances are it will be right up your alley. Get a copy, (it’s only £2 in the UK), get some beer and laugh until your sides split.