Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Mark of the Astro Zombies|
Actors: John Baniqued, Scott Blacksher, Volmar Franz, Anton Funtek, Donna Hamblin
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
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This Movie Needs More John Carradine!
Robert I. Hedges | 12/04/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I believe that in his distinguished career of over 200 hammy roles, this stands as the only film that could actually be helped by more John Carradine. As you know if you watched the 1969 Mikels extravaganza "The Astro-Zombies," John Carradine was a mad scientist (go figure) who wanted world domination via a breed of "Astro-Zombies." In that film John wandered around his lab babbling about things like the "emotional quotient rectifier." This movie features his disembodied head with tubes and lights attached (a latex dummy covered in tissue paper, actually) directing another crazy doctor (Mikels in an unseemly cameo) on how to proceed with the project. He also gets to have a verbal confrontation with arch villain Tura Satana (another performer in both films) after which she throws his head in a trash can off screen. Of course John died years ago, but like Ed Wood, Ted Mikels was determined to have him in this film (made in 2002.) The replacement voice is horrible, and the concept is laughable. Unfortunately it was also the best part of the movie.
The plot somehow concerns multiple races of aliens (the skull warrior, the alligator people, and the sunflower people; this is my terminology based on physical appearance) trying to control a race of Astro-Zombies (who look fairly true to the original) which intend on taking over the Earth by hacking people to death with machetes in strip mall parking lots in Las Vegas, and by applying tattoos to the earlobe region of their hapless victims. Speaking of Las Vegas: that is where the film was made. Please enjoy the Nevada desert repeatedly standing in for Washington, DC (They also note that the Oval Office wasn't available, so they had to meet in a cubicle.) Also please note the fact that NASA headquarters is actually a large shopping mall with visible store signage. Other details may similarly concern purists: the woman who is dead of a machete injury to the skull, yet who giggles after dying; the secretary who is typing like a court reporter on a tape recorder (several times); the inner workings of the "FBI" which include the single stupidest looking wrist mounted device in cinema history, and many, many more gaffes too numerous to mention. The alien ship sets appear to have come from "Far Out Space Nuts". Oh yeah, there's a psychic, too.
Equally annoying is the fact that all of the alien voices are electronically distorted. They are so distorted, in fact, that I didn't catch a word of their dialogue. I went back a couple of times, but nope: completely indecipherable. I can tell you that friendly aliens from an asteroid were battling the evil, domineering aliens from the alligator-people asteroid. I know this only because that is what is written on the box. Adding to the confusion is an unpleasant crawling lime green subtitle device that Mikels repeatedly puts at the bottom of the screen to explain particularly neck-snapping plot contortions. Normally he places this device over some equally convoluted dialogue with the net result that it's almost impossible to decipher without multiple viewings, a price I was unwilling to pay. As another aside: the whole Tura Satana mess has nothing to do with the actual Astro-Zombies; rather it is about extortion and fraud among secret agents. It does however feature a faux-Astro-Zombie, to further add to your subplot tally.
As for bonus features, there are previews of several of Mikels' films, and the most utterly unfascinating "making of" film I have ever seen. I do not know what the problem was, but Mikels, who must be in his late sixties at the youngest, insists on going shirtless, exposing his ample body (and a big necklace thing apparently made out of a reindeer antler or something similar) and his disturbing bald head with ponytail and handlebar moustache fashion statement to all viewers: this is the biggest reason that I think the film should not be watched by children.
I give the film two stars. It deserves less than one, but Mikels is a funny old guy, and this film does have a certain morbid fascination about it: it is so bad I couldn't look away. I recommend watching it as a double feature with the original. This movie is the least comprehensible, and most ineptly conceived and executed film in my memory (and I have seen "Chickboxer.") Words can't explain how ghastly this movie is, but I can say this: it sure would be better with a lot more John Carradine.
They're Already Here...
Bindy Sue FrÝnkŁnschtein | under the rubble | 01/06/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Rogue aliens (the alligator and ASTP-73 species) have arrived in their computer generated ship, seeking to conquer the earth by unleashing hordes (actually about five or so) of machete-swinging astro-zombies! Look out! They stagger about rather quickly, sinking their weapons deep into the necks of unsuspecting extras! Watch! As the interior of the alien ship reveals itself to be mostly cardboard, styrofoam, and flashing lights! Thrill! While the U.S. government has meetings (in what appears to be the breakroom at my office) to decide what to do about the alien onslaught! Behold! The clone of George Carlin as he employs the assistance of a psychic with her own ultra-fashionable array of big gold rings and groovy headbands! See! Tura Satana, evil as ever, putting together a scheme to fool world governments into buying fake astro-zombie control units! Gasp! As the head of John Carradine jabbers on, long after it's shelf-life has expired! Yes, the video taped, soap opera quality filming is annoying, but this IS Ted V. Mikels after all. Luckily, the good-guy aliens arrive just in time to save us all from another half-hour or more of this horror! Check out the little "disco light" on their ship's control panel. I had a friend who owned the exact same model! I did enjoy the music while the astro-zombies ran amok! WWI (Watch While Intoxicated) ..."
Not the original but....
S.N.M | 01/11/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"...Mark of the Astrozombies is an entertaining romp that could only come from the twisted genius of Ted V. Mikels. I laughed until I cried! FANTASTIC!"
Another great guilty pleasure
J.H. Lesher | canton | 12/11/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Yes! Mark of the Astrozombies on DVD with GREAT cover art! The cover art of the DVD box is a great improvement over the VHS and is very much in the spirit of the original Astrozombie poster art which was one of the best B-movie posters ever. Classic.
And the movie...! Ya just don't see movies like this from just any director. Ted V. Mikels is something else! Mark of the Astrozombies is an astounding guilty pleasure that's just as entertaining as the original Astrozombies and very unique. I loved the the living severed head of John Carradine! You did it again Ted V. Mikels! This fan is very entertained! Keep making movies!"