Wow. I know how much I hate Troma movies but I thought Zombie Island Massacre from 1984 might not be as cheesy as their other movies because it was made before the big fromage change-over they had in the late 80’s. When stuff like Toxic Avenger, Redneck Zombies and Igor and the Lunatics made Troma a force in the zero budget, comedy horror genre. Unfortunately my optimism led me astray.
Zombie Island Massacre, where’s the zombies, wait, was it the 2 minutes of fake voodoo we saw near the start representing the zombies? It was. So if you want a zombie movie and you are reading this only about 5 minutes in, shut it off. What this movie is, is a slasher movie and a poor one at that. And man…I love me some poor early 80’s slashers but this one was a marathon to get through. I haven’t had this much visual pain in a horror since The Last Slumber Party punished me like I was a red headed stepchild.
First the good for this movie…..well….it was made in the 80’s. That’s always a plus with me.
Now the bad. I don’t even know where to start. First this movie was apparently a movie vehicle for the star Rita Jenrette. A woman who was known for her marriage to John W. Jenrette. (Read more here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rita_Jenrette) She wrote a book which included some scandalous revelations of her married life with the South Carolina Congressman. Apparently, this made her think she was qualified to act? Whatfuckinever., ya gearbox. This type of thinking could only be bred in the late 70’s /early 80’s. When self importantism was at an all-time high. (Yeah I know I made that word up. I don’t care.) That and drug use.
Anyway, Mrs. Jenrette’s (never understood why after all these years she still keeps the last name of her husband she divorced 30+ years ago) shit performance aside, this movie if dreadful. Every 5 minutes or so I punched my balls just for fun….seriously…just for fun. It was way cooler than this movie.
The story starts out with just following a bunch of random people around while they are preparing and taking a trip to somewhere tropical. Inane scenes blend into one another for at least 20 minutes without a single bit of plot or character development. If anything, I hated these people just because they were on a trip making a shit movie and I wasn’t. So after the planning and getting to the island or wherever the fuck they are,.. the cast embarks on a random bus trip to who knows where. Is it explained? Don’t remember. Does it matter? Not in the least. After they get to travelling the bus breaks down in the middle of nowhere. Someone mentions seeing a villa just back a bit and so the cast votes on whether they should stay or they should go. At this point I thought maybe this movie had a chance. We are introduced to some characters that although contrived and one dimensional, had the potential to at least bring some comic relief to the movie. For example, the stoner. While I cringed at him first, I thought he might be ok given the right scene. I think he died shortly after. Fuck it….I have no hope.
So after the cast votes yes for the villa and starts blindly heading off to it, the token black decides to head back to the bus for some reason. The reason is irrelevant. The only reason he heads back is to set up the first scene with the antagonist(s). This scene is the only really cool scene. Again I thought, “maybe this still has a chance”. But yet again, my optimism is a silly bitch. The scene has some crazy thing attacking the black dude. There are some great POV shots and the action is fairly well shot for a shit production. Unfortunately, everything is so shrouded in darkness that you can’t see a fucking thing except for, miraculously, the black guy. Basically, it was a bunch of cool shots that amounted to nothing. No gore, no look at the killer be it man or creature, nothing…just the black guy running back and saying something inane about almost being killed.
The next 10 or 15 minutes are spent knocking off quite a few of the cast while they head to the villa. It’s funny but for people being murdered so quick and in such close proximity to one another, every one generally keeps a pretty cool, monotone head. No one really is shocked. A bit put off, but not shocked. When they finally reach the villa the cast is chopped in half if not more. Jenrette, her fella, the black guy, another guy and a girl end up remaining. They bumble about the house trying to make sense of what’s going on. When really, there isn’t much going on. Our next visual encounter with the killer comes with a lame price. We see he looks like a tree or something. Black leaves and feet are about the extent of his wardrobe. Man, I’m fucking dying at this point. The dialogue is so grinding and the performances are junior high drama worthy. Scenes blend into scenes without so much as a shrug from me. I was watching the time tick by and hoping it was over soon.
Eventually after even more people die an old man shows up with a shotgun. He explains the things attacking are actually a group of rebels who dress themselves in rotten leaves and dirt to fool people into thinking they are demons or zombies risen from the dead. Apparently they caught word someone had a large sum of money in the crew and they were killing them off one by one to get the money. We find out later that the one woman left other than Jenrette is the one with the loot. She’s in kahoots with the old guy that showed up to do a drug buy. They don’t let the others know and the old man tries to throw them off by taking a spill and telling them to carry on. Did I forget to mention they left the house by now and are trying to escape through the woods? I did? Do you care? Neither do I.
So the old man takes a spill, the other girl volunteers to stay and once the others leave, they hightail it back to the house and make “the deal”. When Jenrette, the black guy and the white guy are attacked in the woods by spear chuckers, the white guy returns to the house. He stumbles upon the two in mid drug deal and the guy kills the old man point blank. He then is going to kill the woman but she gets a spear to the head before he gets his revenge. Out of nowhere the voodoo crew from the start show up with an assumed dead Jenrette in tow. They want to exchange her for the loot. For some reason the guy goes for it. Cut to credits and self loathing.
Why did I punish myself with another Troma movie? Why does my optimism hate me?
It’s also a worthy mention that the soundtrack is completely lifted from the Friday The 13th movies. It’s ridiculous and embarrassing. I can’t believe they stole it like they did. It’s the EXACT same. All that’s missing is the classic sound. You know the sound. Everything else is stolen. Again, how embarrassing.
I’m obviously not going to break this rimjob down like I normally do. The fact that I’ve written close to 2 pages on this movie is probably more than anyone has or will ever write about this movie again. Avoid at all costs.
Overall 2 / 10