Retro Review: Redneck Zombies (1989)

From a young age I have been a huge fan of the independent film company Troma. In fact, I credit fellow Horror Syndicate writer, the horror Jew himself, Bryan Enright, as being the one who opened my eyes to the glory of Troma when he first showed me an old VHS copy of The Toxic Avenger. Over the years I’ve made it a point to take is as much Troma as I possibly can. This not only includes the Lloyd Kaufman directed Troma productions, but also the various flicks Troma distributes. My all time favorite Troma-distributed film is 1989’s Redneck Zombies.

Redneck Zombies is a hilariously gory romp through the backwoods of Appalachia. After a barrel of toxic waste is accidentally lost, some clueless rednecks end using it as part of their moonshine still. Using the barrel proves to be fatal, as some of the chemicals get mixed in with their good ol’ mountain dew! This turns everyone who drinks it into a bloodthirsty zombie. At the same time, a rag tag group of hikers are left to fight for their lives against the deadly stenches. Unfortunately for them, an idyllic camping getaway has turned into a horrific battle against the tobacco chewin’, gut chompin’, cannibal kinfolk from hell!

Redneck Zombies is a beautifully shot film, even though it had virtually no budget. What is unique about this flick is that it’s shot entirely on videotape. Rather than cheapening the look of the film, it enhances it. The way the film is shot and put together by a group of relatively unknowns is nothing short of impressive. It’s obvious that this movie didn’t have a titanic sized budget, but it does not suffer for it. Another surprise with this movie is the acting. Sure, there’s lots of extremely stereotyped dialogue delivered in an over-the-top fashion, but the acting is good! I have seen plenty of independent horror movies where the acting is so hard to stomach I stop watching. I doubt you’ll see any of these actors in any other movies you’ll be watching, but they are completely adequate.

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The true star of this movie, though, is the gore effects. I’m not exaggerating when I say I think the practical effects in this film hold up well against a lot of other big budget zombie cinema. There are various scenes of disembowelment, limbs being ripped off, and various other displays of grotesque mutilation. In a world full of contemporary computer generated violence and gore, it’s nice to be able to pop in the Redneck Zombies DVD and see buckets of blood and guts. The zombies themselves are also well done, reminding me of the ghouls in Lucio Fulci’s classic undead movie Zombi 2.

Obviously this is a movie I enjoy very much. If you haven’t seen it, you really need to. The film is fairly easy to find online, but I suggest picking up the 2-disc 20th anniversary edition from Troma (at the time of writing, it’s less than $10!).

 

About Chuck Ransford 18 Articles
Ah now for the one thing everyone loathes...writing about themselves! Well for starters, my name is Chuck, and I am a south Jersey transplant living in Amish country. I’ve been a horror fan since 5th grade, about 16 years ago. My horror fandom started when I got my hands on a copy of Jay Anson’s novel The Amityville Horror. The book terrified me, and I knew I just had to watch the movie. An older cousin of mine had a copy of it, and that was the genesis of my obsession with the genre. Over the years I have expressed my horror fandom in many ways. Since about 2005 I have been regularly attending horror conventions. These have been great ways to amass collectibles, movies, and to meet some of my favorite celebrities. My best friend Mike and I used to run our own horror blog years ago, and we also dabbled in script writing. I am looking forward to going back to writing about horror, something I’ve always loved. When I’m not working (I work at PNC Bank), my non-horror interests are studying theology and economics, watching Japanese tokusatsu, and doing play-by-play commentary for professional wrestling. I’m also a member of the Barbershop Harmony Society and singing in a Barbershop quartet. Oh, and I’m probably the biggest fan of the Golden Girls you’ll ever meet. My top 5 horror flicks (definitely subject to change): 1. Cannibal Holocaust (1980) 2. Basket Case (1982) 3. Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) 4. The Beyond (1981) 5. Dawn of the Dead (1978)