I was mainly interested in seeing Zombie Hunter because it stars Danny Trejo who caught my attention in the movie Spy Kids which, correct me if I'm wrong, may be his only non-brutally violent role. The man's been in so many movies, it would be a pretty big undertaking to watch them all, so maybe he's been in other less violent roles, but as a man known as one of his roles, "Machete," it's unlikely. I liked him as the kids' uncle in Spy Kids, but the Snickers Superbowl 2015 commercial where he plays a famished Marcia Brady made me a wholehearted fan. Hilarious! The fact that the Zombie Hunter's rating on Netflix is NR and only has 1.5 stars made it even more compelling to see the movie for myself. How bad could it be?
For an obviously low budget film, I think it made good use of the resources available. First, it begins with some drugged up kids watching (or present in the room during) a news broadcast explaining how a new synthetic street drug is turning its users into zombies/flesh eaters. While the female newscaster explains the outbreak the male broadcaster begins violently vomiting on the floor next to the news desk. The camera stays on him until he recovers and composes himself as though nothing was wrong. Only then does the channel go off the air with "technical difficulties." Hilarious!
Jump to a year later and we're watching an angry looking guy driving a sweet primer-black 80s vintage Camaro (yes!) with a huge hood scoop racing down a dirt road in a desert while chugging down tequila or some such hard liquor. The word "Hunter" comes up on the screen in a still shot reminiscent of The Good, The Bad and the Ugly or something Robert Rodriguez/Sin City-ish. We get a stream of thought monologue from Hunter (played by Martin Copping) when he's not talking to the wizened head with a screwdriver in its eye socket in the passenger seat next to him. Also, Sin City-ish but not nearly as poetic.
Suddenly, there's a zombie in the middle of the road chowing on some roadkill who gets the on screen title "Death Angel." When he sees Hunter revving his Camaro and aiming it at him, he flings the roadkill onto the windshield. Unimpressed, yes he does, Hunter turns on the wipers. Ha! He runs down the zombie which explodes in pink and purple gore all over the windshield and hood of the car. The wipers are put into use again. If that isn't gory enough, the car starts misfiring and the Check Engine light glows. He stops the car and gets out to find pink zombie guts totally blocking his grill. Annoyed, he scoops it out with his bare hands flinging it into the roadway. So nasty it's funny.
After a couple of scenes exposing Hunter's calm committed approach to zombie killing, he's shot by the moron of a group of humans led by Father Jesus played by Danny Trejo. The shooting causes the inevitable Camaro trashing. Have you ever noticed Camaros are totaled in every movie in which they appear? Lyle, the moron (stereotypically fat and oafish) not to mention plain gross, drags Hunter back to the group where the two women of the group nurse him back to health (stereotypically the one that looks like a bimbo isn't much for nursing, just straddling him and hanging her boobs in his face while he heals). The two women fight over him since none of the men in their group are remotely attractive and they find Hunter to be so. Even when he becomes conscious and they experience his bad manners and perpetual anger, they continue to bicker over him like twelve year olds.
Apparently, Jesus is an excellent zombie killer and protects the group because they all stink at defending themselves or even living as though they could be attacked by zombies at any time, which happens regularly throughout the movie as zombies seem to appear silently out of nowhere with surprise attacks. You'd think they would constantly be on guard with a weapon on hand, but they aren't. Good thing for them Jesus is handy with an axe.
There's a comical sex scene showing no sex at all after Hunter carries Alison (the girl-next-door-type of the two women) to her room and clumsily tosses her onto the bed. So funny as she pulls off her top as she straddles him, then they switch positions and he does exactly the same. She asks him if this is his first time too! Ha! The camera moves to a shot from the floor to show nothing but Hunter's feet and ankles hanging over the edge still wearing his hunting boots, toes down, feet a few inches apart. How he was succeeding at sex like that with his legs straight and almost together, I don't know!
A huge zombie attack ensues as Fast Lane Debbie, the slutty girl, disappointed at her failure to seduce Hunter reluctantly agrees to have sex with Lyle just as he's eaten alive by a zombie. Everyone except dead Lyle races to the truck that airplane pilot, Jerry, has conveniently just gotten to run. Jesus commands everyone to leave without him as he prepares to battle a large reptilian-looking zombie with "buns of steel" as my daughter pointed out, that is much harder to kill than the more human-looking zombies. The movie doesn't explain where these super zombies come from but they seem to travel with the regulars and have a cool choppy stop-animation quality to them. This particular monster loses an arm to Jesus' axe but rips his head clean off his shoulders.
The group heads to a town with an ominous reputation called Dahmer where Jerry thinks he can find them a plane at the airport with which they can fly to a remote zombie-free island and wait out the zombie plague. Dahmer, as in Jeffery Dahmer, they find is where a sadistic clown with a chain saw kills for fun. He waves the chainsaw over his head like Leatherface in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and laughs as he sends blood and guts flying. But not before, looking for food, the group enters an abandoned convenience store and find something so gory in a freezer that they can't resist looking at individually and puking on the floor in revulsion. Next scene is the group of them, except Hunter who stands a short distance away, in a semi-circle power puking in the dirt. Recovered from the puke fest they realize their truck has disappeared.
Once Hunter recovers the truck and kills the killer clown they continue to the airport, minus the dead Fast Lane Debbie. Once again zombies appear out of nowhere at the airport and just when Jerry gets the plane started he's torn out of the cockpit and killed by a zombie. Hunter, Alison and her obsessed-with-masturbation brother Ricky are the only survivors as they lock themselves in a closet that conveniently contains a wall display of loaded automatic weapons. Alison and Hunter shoot their way through the zombies as Alison and Ricky reach the truck and flee for safety at Hunter's command. Assuming Hunter is dead after being stabbed by a super zombie's talons and detonating a grenade that destroys the entire airport, Alison's stream of thought narration vows to never forget the zombie hunter who saved their lives. Meanwhile, back at the airport, Hunter, covered in soot, lights a cigarette and laments that he can't be killed by the zombies and appears to slice his own throat.
My daughter and I found the movie very entertaining. There were some good lines like Hunter observing "stone cold silence" in every new location where he knew he'd find a zombie and asking "are you retarded?" after hearing Lyle's excuse for shooting him and Ricky's desire to shoot an automatic weapon. The over-the-top gore was comical as well. I liked the whole 80s atmosphere with the music and the car that reminded me of the slew of low budget horror movies of that decade. The story made sense throughout and was well paced. I was a little disappointed that Danny Trejo wasn't the main character like the cover artwork would lead you to believe but he had a good role, however limited. See it just for fun!