Saturday, August 22, 2009

Astro Schlock

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__"The Astro-Zombies"
(1968)__

Director: Ted V. Mikels
Starring:
(Satana)Tura Satana
(Dr. DeMarco)John Carradine
(Holman)Wendell Corey
Tag Lines:
"Dismembered Bodies, Transplanted Organs, Are Used To Create The..."
"See Astro Space Laboratory"
"See Brutal Mutants Menace Beautiful Girls"
"See Crazed Corpse Stealers"
"See Berserk Human Transplants"
"Terrifying"
"So Shocking You Will Die A Thousand Deaths"
"Ghastly Terror"
"Unbearable Bloody Horror"
"Beautiful Girls Mutilated"
"Grotesque Terror"

Now most people know of this movie Astro Zombies from a little band called the Misfits. A song named "Astro Zombies" was on their first full-length album "Walk Among Us"(1982). While not being a big fan of the band, I didn't really find out about this film from them. I first heard of the film while looking up old horror movie trailers. I stumbled across it, thought it looked cool. Well I finally got to see this movie and its definitely not what I expected.

The film is directed by Ted V. Mikels, a director known for his low budget horror films like
Blood Orgy of the She Devils(1972)
The Corpse Grinders(1972)
Girl in Gold Boots(1969)
The movie was put out as part of a series called "Classic Cult Cinema" which has put out his movie Corpse Grinders, and the movie "Weasels Rip My Flesh".


The film opens up with a girl driving up into her garage only to be attacked and killed by a Astro Zombie. Astro Zombies look like Skeleton monsters who are green, have little plates on their head, black eyes, and..some kind of mouth plate thing. I have no idea exactly how they end up looking the way Astro Zombies look, and they never really explain it. They're powered by the sun and use these little plates on their head to get the energy of the sun. Without it they die. You also never see more then one Astro Zombie, so my only conclusion is they could only afford one costume. I should have known what I was getting into during the opening credits. The opening credits are made up of scenes of a bunch of old wind up toy robots walking around on a sidewalk. Now I actually kinda liked the opening, but why little toy robots? There are no robots in the movie. I would have just been happy with a red screen and some letters. Now to the plot. After being fired from a Space Agency, Dr. DeMarco(played by John Carradine) and his assistant, steal dead bodies and turn them into the "fearsome" Astro Zombies. Why, John Carradine why!? Billy The Kid and now this? I will say this movie is better then Billy The Kid, mainly because I was never really bored as I was when watching Billy The Kid. Now John Carradine is a great actor, but his scenes are just long and unneeded. I also for the life of me, could never figure out what his assistant's name was. Every time someone said his name it changed. At first I thought it was Sancho, then Santo, then Chacho, and ect. I don't know. After looking it up his name is actually Franchot. FRANCHOT? Besides the fact his name is hard to understand, the man made me laugh every damn time I saw him. I mean he looks like hes glazed with grease.
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Meanwhile theres a evil group of lead by Tura Satana, who you might remember from the Russ Myer film "Faster Pussycat, Kill Kill!", who are trying to find out the secret behind the Astro Zombies. Her and her 2 goons, who's names I don't know, kill a man and take some audio notes about the Astro Zombies. Shes trying to figure our where Dr. Demarco is, and get control of the Astro Zombies. Where the hell is Dr. Demarco anyway? it looks like the basement of one of the crew's house. Now about Santana, shes a ruthless killer who is determined to get control of the Astro Zombies. Whenever you see her shes always in some various pose, like shes in a photo shoot. You also got to love her outfits, which are pretty god damn bizarre.. When one of the nurses at a hospital, Laboratory thing, is killed by a Astro Zombie. The her co-workers become worried and decide to get to the bottom of who did it. Now what I can make out of it, is the Astro Zombies are actually hunting this a woman named Janine. The other Doctors decide to use her as bait to find out where the Astro Zombies are coming from. When that plan didn't work, she goes home and is kidnapped and taken to Dr. Demarco's lab. Meanwhile Tura Satana and her men have arrived at the lab. They demand that Dr. Demarco give control of the Astro Zombies to her. Now wait, so hes been ordering the Astro Zombies to kill..why? Is it because he was fired, because hes angry at the scientific world, or is he not evil at all? I don't know, this movie kinda confused the hell out of me.
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This is where shit gets crazy. Santana kills Dr. Demato and Franchot, then the Astro Zombies go crazy and start to kill all these people, and shove Santana in a machine, and its INSANE! Then it ends with some more robots. Thats how the whole movie should have been! What the hell!? The whole movie runs really slow till the end which is fucking awesome! Now this is a cheap movie, with a lot of things going against it. A kinda hard to follow plot, not that much gore or nudity, besides a long dance sequence with a girl at a club. I mean the lab looks like its in the basement of the directors house. With a title like Astro Zombies, I really expect more then what I saw. I expected the Astro Zombies to be aliens invading the earth, who go around with Machetes hacking people up. Most of the kills you don't even see, its off camera, except one really hilariously bad decapitation at the end. The crazy thing is theres two sequels. Yes, director Ted V. Mikels in 2002 made a direct to video sequel of this film called "Mark of the Astro-Zombies". I haven't seen this movie yet, but by the looks of it, the Astro Zombies have better costumes. I also have heard of a 3rd movie coming out Mr. Mikels, making this a trilogy. Now If your a fan of Z grade, trash cinema, this is for you. While not being an exceptional B-Movie, it never really bored me. But the fact there is so little with the Astro Zombies, it really hurt the movie for me. I just wish I could have seen more of the Astro Zombies, and a little more hack and slash.
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Overall:
Gore:2/5
Villains: 1/5
Survivor Girl:3/5
Best Scene: The long naked dance sequence, or the Astro Zombie taking a machete to a guys head.
3 out of 5
Posters:
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I will say these are some awesome posters.

Alternate Titles:
Space Vampires
Space Zombies


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