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WEIRDO FLICKS: 'Zombie Cop'

by Eli Kroes

You might not be familiar with the term 'Z-Movie,' but if you grew up in the 90's, chances are you've seen one. They're the beyond-low-budget monstrosities that teased you from the walls of the mom-and-pop video store. Usually, the films themselves could never live up to the pictures on the videotape boxes (because this was way before your fancy 'Digital Video Discs' and 'Blu-Rays') but occasionally you'd find something truly unique. 'WEIRDO FLICKS' will clue you into some movies which 'unique' doesn't even begin to describe... 

'Zombie Cop' - 1991, Directed by Lance Randas (IMDB has this incorrectly labeled as J.R. Bookwalter)

It's not often you'll hear me call a film straight-up 'dumb,' but that's exactly what 'Zombie Cop' is. The acting is dumb, the plot is dumb, the fake names used by 80% of the cast and crew are dumb ('Brock N. Lenz' as the cinematographer, and 'Darryl Squatmpump,' which is actually a pseudonym of the producer) but please, PLEASE don't let that stop you from watching this barely-an-hour garbage-fest.

Sometimes you just have to revel in the stupidity and watch a straight-to-video flick that even the 'regular' horror reviewers won't touch, and what better time than Halloween? 

So, anyhow, despite IMDB's insistence that the film was directed by J.R. Bookwalter, it's actually Lance Randas, though Bookwalter does pretty much everything else from producing to editing to writing. Bookwalter is a fairly prolific low-budget horror film director and producer who has run his own company, Tempe Suburban, since the late 80's. He continues to crank out trash like 'Humanoids from Atlantis' and 'Platoon of the Dead' to this day, and has even somehow produced several films for companies like Full Moon.

'Zombie Cop' is one of these many sort-of horror films. By that I mean that there isn't much blood, there isn't much violence, and there really isn't anything scary about the movie at all. Heck, there's barely even any foul language. In fact, it would play like a Disney Channel original movie from the 90's if it weren't for the casual racism in a couple scenes (don't worry, it's funny.)

In the film, a couple cops are searching for a killer on the loose named Dr. Death, who happens to be a crazy voodoo priest or something. He calls in a domestic disturbance and uses a stupid trick to get them in his house (it's REALLY stupid) and they don't even realize it, because later on they say something about how they 'just got lucky' with the domestic disturbance call.

Really, they don't get lucky at all, as one of the cops is killed and cursed by the voodoo guy to walk the earth undead, which he does. Although, for a movie that has so many blatant allusions to other horror films (and numerous visible horror posters), he doesn't really act a whole lot like a regular zombie. He just kind of keeps being a regular guy, except he complains about being dead a lot to the other cop.

Now they have to stop Dr. Death and get him to remove the curse (even though he has already told them it can't be done) as well as save the children he's going to kill to save them (?). Along the way, some of Dr. Death's associates rob the same liquor store a few times, tell the cops to 'kiss their rears' and have a really, REALLY lame car chase.

All this in about an hour and 40 seconds, and you've got a Halloween flick that can't be beat....although I've yet to watch 'Kingdom of the Vampires,' another Bookwalter production, which looks very promising.

Really though, you're unlikely to find anything as fun as this. Why not get it from Bookwalter himself?


VHS photo by Toby Hudson.