Zombie Fancy Issue 2 featuring The Mad (2007)

Hello, folks. Another month has passed, and with the Bugg back from vacation, it’s time to take another look at everyone’s favorite magazine that celebrates with your undead pals. So, Ladies and Gents, come on inside, check out what Fran and I thought about The Mad (a.k.a Billy vs. The Burgers), and then take a moment with Fran who’s back with some important safety advice. I hope you all enjoy this as much as we enjoyed thinking you might. 

                                                              Your Pal. 
                                                                    T.L. Bugg

The Mad (2007) starring Billy Zane, Maggie Castle, Shauna MacDonald. Directed by John Kalangis. 

Dr. Jason Hunt (Zane) is on vacation with his girlfriend Monnica (MacDonald), his daughter Amy (Castle), and Amy’s boyfriend Blake, and they stop into a little town to enjoy a local festival. What started out as an uncomfortable trip becomes unbearable over dinner. Little do they know their petty arguments will soon be small worries. After the townsfolk chow down on burgers made from tainted meat and become flesh eating zombies, it’s time for Dr. Hunt to learn a little about zombie killing, being a musician, and loving his daughter. 

As timely as a movie exploiting the swine flu will be in 2014, this flick takes the Mad Cow scare and hitches it to the zombie train with some varied results. First off, let me say that I really enjoy Billy Zane. Demon Knight is a classic. The Phantom is classically bad. The Mad is somewhere in between these two. Director John Kalangis (who’s biggest credit comes as the Greek Teacher in My big Fat Greek Wedding) has said that he doesn’t consider The Mad a Zombie film, and that’s maybe where the film doesn’t work. The film plays out with an “ironic” art house kind of vibe as if it wanted to be the Living in Oblivion of horror flicks, and while most of the time this works, sometimes I longed for the sophomoric humor that provided the real laughs in the film. 

The film has two real highlights that will stay with the white tie, the burger attack and me. The burger attack is just what it sounds like, a zombie burger attacks a kid. It was completely hilarious, and a perfect example slapstick horror and the good way to use it. White ties on the other hand. Well, I think I might buy one. After Monica asks Dr’ Hunt to put his on, well, he gets quite a surprise. Now I never knew that women loved the black shirt/skinny white tie combo so much, but if attracts the likes of Ms. MacDonald, it would be worth investing in. 

Unfortunately, for these two shining moments, there are tons more flaws to The Mad. Its tone remains uneven due to the forced art house scenes that just don’t fit in the film. Then there’s Zane. He might be giving an inspired performance. He may be completely bored out of his mind and phoning it in. I’m just not sure. Either way it’s a singular performance by its very Zane-ness. I really enjoyed Castle as Ann, the daughter and badass zombie killer, and Evan Charles Flock takes so much punishment as Blake that it’s no wonder this is his only film credit. It’s too bad though because that kid can sell a burger attack. All in all, The Mad is one of the more interesting entries into the direct to DVD Zombie fare. This is one that’s really worth checking out, and remember it’s a white tie affair. 
Brain Rating

Contrary to popular belief, the good does outweigh the bad in this film. Ok, there are some bad lines, worse jokes, and a few not so fantastic scenes. Sure, most of them involve Billy Zane, and that makes me a little sad because, well, I have seen Demon Knight. His entire performance wasn’t bad, just uneven, and there were much better things going on with the plot and style of the film.

Let’s take a minute to talk about the plot. While I kind if liked the infected meat makes zombies premise, it’d been done before better in the film Dead Meat. However, I have to give it up to The Mad for including an actual burger on the attack. Most of the other good scenes in The Mad play out like photocopies of earlier, more original zombie films. While it was pretty entertaining to watch, The Mad was not breaking any ground. 

One thing the film does well is develop its characters, but sometimes it does bog down the flow of the film. The standout performance comes from Charles Even Flock as the boyfriend, Blake. Every possible thing that could happen during a zombie attack happened to this poor kid. It kind of made you feel sorry for him, but not so much that you forget what a dumb ass he is. I really enjoyed that Zane’s Jason Hunt is a Doctor, but he has dreams to following his New Wave fantasies and becoming a musician. The film is peppered with faux New Wave tracks, and it added to the flavor of the film. Then there’s the ladies. You’ve got the girlfriend Monicca who… let’s just say really likes white ties and the waitress Stevie who likes to smoke week out back of the diner with her trigger happy father. 

Overall, The Mad is an average zombie film, It’s not great, but it’s not terrible (and surely not as terrible as it reputation may be). I stayed entertained because I love zombies, and if you love them too then check The Mad out. 

Brain Rating
Zombie Proofing Your Workshed by Fran Goria

There is nothing worse than a zombie wielding a power tool without the brainpower to use it. We see it everyday, children cut down in the prime of life because a careless owner did not keep his zombie away from his chainsaw. Or worse yet, it stumbles on a gun and starts firing it in the house, into the air, or at a crowd. The zombie doesn’t know any better, and it’s up to us to keep the deadly weapons littering the home out of their putrid rotting hands. So here are a few tips to keep things safe. 

One good rule of thumb here is “Think Child Proof”. Your local hardware or big box store will gladly sell you locks for all your cabinets, and this will keep the flimsy doors from popping open as your undead companion shuffles by. No need to go high end though as your average domestic zombie has, enough trouble with doorknobs, and so any simple lock will keep them at bay. 

If you want to keep things out of a zombie’s reach, but don’t want to spend money or leave the house, don’t worry I have a tip for you too. Simply stack old boxes in your zombie’s path. Any obstacle will do as long as it’s solid enough to bewilder the shuffling dead. Plus this will keep your zombie entertained for hours, as they love running repeatedly into something. 

Don’t forget that the work shed is not the only place that needs zombie proofed. Your kitchen is probably full of sharp knives, and nothing is worse than a zombie looking to carve a little snack off someone. In addition, the kitchen is full of dangerous chemicals, and spills could be harmful. Some people think that since a zombie is dead that it doesn’t matter what they drink, but it’s just not true. If your zombie gets a hankering for antifreeze or bleach, it could speed up the decomposition, and at the worst, it could leak right through the rotting flesh and cause some unpleasant odors. 

So follow these simple tips, and you should have a safe and happy space for your zombie to live in. Remember a happy zombie is a man’s best friend while an unhappy zombie is destined for a bullet to the brain. 


1 comment:

  1. You should listen to your fried Billy Zane, he's a cool dude.

    I'm definitely gonna have to check out this flick!


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