Chopper Chicks in Zombietown
Medium: film
Year: 1989
Writer/director: Dan Hoskins
Keywords: horror, low-budget, Troma, zombies
Country: USA
Actor: Jamie Rose, Catherine Carlen, Lycia Naff, Vicki Frederick, Kristina Loggia, Gretchen Palmer, Nina Sonja Peterson, Whitney Reis, Billy Bob Thornton
Format: 86 minutes
Website category: Horror 1970/80s
Review date: 31 August 2002
Strangely, this is a Troma film that you can take halfway seriously. My mate Andrew disagreed, but this was his first Troma film. He'll learn. The acting all reaches a basic level of competence, as opposed to including some actors who are just taking the piss. With the odd daft exception, most of Chopper Chicks in Zombietown is conventional enough to be judged on the level of a proper film... which unfortunately makes it a bit on the dull side. It picks up towards the end with some fun Slut versus Zombie action, but the preceding forty minutes don't particularly stand out in any way.
The bulk of the film swaps between serious bits and stupid bits. You've got some character stuff, with interaction between the Chopper Chicks that unfortunately didn't do much for me. They're a dull bunch, though one or two are attractive. Alas this advantage was frittered away when they never got naked! I was gutted! If there was nudity and it was snipped out for my PAL DVD, I'll cry. Mind you, anyone with a fetish for eighties hair will have a field day. There's a husband played by Billy Bob Thornton, which is kinda interesting in a "what the hell is he doing here?" way. It's not even his debut film! This was apparently his sixth, with his first coming a couple of years previously with The Man Who Broke 1000 Chains (TV). His performance isn't bad, by the way.
Though having said that, I've just checked the imdb and apparently this wasn't a cast of one-film wonders. Almost all of them have reasonable filmographies beyond Chopper Chicks and beyond Troma. I suppose that explains the mysteriously competent acting I mentioned earlier.
But then you've got the weirdness. There's a bus full of blind orphans! You can't go wrong with a bus full of blind orphans. Between that and a spot of dwarf-torturing, this film won't win any prizes for political correctness. Did I mention the dwarf? And the Chopper Chicks call themselves Sluts, much as the punk gang in Class Of Nuke 'Em High call themselves the Cretins. In fairness both labels are accurate; it's just a tad disconcerting for the audience. At least here someone asks why the Cycle Sluts chose such a derogatory nickname.
And then there are the zombie scenes. Never before had I seen zombie scenes accompanied by comedy music with Swannee whistles. Believe it or not, that's quite cool. Chopper Chicks in Zombietown has such a kick-arse soundtrack that at times the music becomes your chief reason for watching the film. Even when the story isn't going anywhere, the music is such fun that it cons you into thinking that something's happening anyway. The few Troma films I've seen to date have all had great soundtracks, which I'd count as a big part of their appeal.
Oh, and these zombies are remarkably well preserved. Uncharitable critics might blame this on Troma's bargain-basement budget, but I'd suggest that the zombies must have been partially embalmed.
However things eventually get going. The stupid and serious sides of the film meet up, as they eventually had to, and fun is had. The limb gags are great and the zombies run enjoyably riot. You can't pretend that this is trying to be a horror movie, but you've got to enjoy the violence on display at the end. My only quibbles are minor... anyone with an Uzi should be allowed to let rip with the full DAKKA-DAKKA-DAKKA, while there's a heroic action that (while admittedly dramatic) must be the most stupidly pointless self-sacrifice in movie history.
But by the time the last scene rolled, I was chuckling like a mad bastard. Say what you like about Chopper Chicks from Zombietown, it ends well. It might not be quite as demented as other Troma movies, but it's politically incorrect (always a plus!) and mostly good for a laugh. And its more sensible scenes approach the standards of conventional drama, so at times you can almost kid yourself into thinking that you're watching a real film.