The only context in which The Legend of El Diablo (2004) might be fun would be if some of the actors were present & the viewers could laugh & make fun of their enormous lack of talent right to their faces.
The bar isn't set very high when it comes to zombie films, but this blamed fool film, based on a comic book, couldn't even rise to the usual low level.
A small town sheriff finds an old box & lets a demon out of it, & soon it's time for the horror fans who volunteered to be zombies to stagger around. And that's about all there is to it.
If anyone ever lets Robert Napton make another film, you'll know he must've sold his soul to the devil, as nothing less would expalin why anyone would trust him with their money.
Bad videography informs us from the first shot onward that Swamp Zombies (2005) is an amateur production. This instant revelation is underscored by badly recorded sound, badly written dialogue, & indifferent though not invariably laughable acting.
But hey, it's called Swamp Zombies, & no one should be watching such a title expecting a great movie, or even a real film.
I found it all rather cute even before the grotesqueries kicked in. Early scenes in a hospital, & at a school, having nothing overtly interesting going on, but my attention wasn't wavering. Not yet. I was really in a mood for giving a break to a no-quality production, & it wouldn't've had to have delivered much to win me over that night.
Doctor Philips (Shannon Solo) & his faithful sidekick Lillian (porn star Jasmin St. Claire, the closest thing we have to someone good in the cast) are testing a new serum for revivification of the dead, with shady underground investors.
The experiments are illegal so those involved are worried about a past-due federal inspection. No sooner is this possibility mentioned than a federal inspector shows up, & it becomes necessary to shut down the half-completed experiments & call in some local gangsters to sink the corpses of the test-subjects in the nearby lake.
Meanwhile schoolteacher Mr Wylie is is leading his science students around the swamp, for a weekend camping trip to gather samples of who knows or cares what.
As soon as the teacher turns in for the night the teenagers begin getting stoned & drunk & having sex, sure evidence that horror movie zombies will eat them. The filmmakers thought it would be extra spiffy to put some black-lite make-up on the zombies so they glow in the dark when they're on the way to spoil all the teen sexkapades.
Other stuff is going on but the important elements are the corpses in the lake come back to life & head for the swamp looking for live flesh to nibble & spread their virus; while back at the hospital, not all the corpses were hauled away, so there's a zombie eruption there too.
So at last the gore FX begin. They're minimalist in nature, a disappointment for the potential fan of bad stuff. As poky shambling zombies go, these don't even have much in the way of zombie make-up. They also have this remarkable method of leaving the lake remaining perfectly clean & dry.
As if boring viewers wasn't achievement enough, the filmmakers actually strive to harm us with the most grating faux folk song about zombies, song by someone named Victoria Galinsky, who can't hold a note.
This bit of soundtrack lunacy is the film's first truly laughable therefore most rewarding moment. The lyrics run in part "The dead are watching me/ Perhaps this was all meant to be/ Oooo, oo-oo-oo."
Galinsky sings two ferociously bad songs on the soundtrack & man oh man they just don't make 'em worse. I couldn't believe anyone with such an inability to sing in tune would be doing this, so out of crazed curiosity I looked her up on the web. I discovered her singing a we bit closer to in tune, exclusively with stupid songs like "Tee Taw The Cat Lady" who does porn so it's not about cats.
I really couldn't tell if she's supposed to be a commedian intentionally singing awful songs badly. I sure hope she's not serious, as that'd just be sad otherwise.
When I found some of her recordings as sound files that played at chipmunk-speed, I thought, "Oh good, she is a comedian well aware she can't really sing." But turns out the website concocted by a moron is in a permanent stage of malfunction & the songs weren't supposed to be by Alvin, Simon & Theodore. Victoria does claim she can communicate with beings from outer space & other dimensions, so it's my guess she's just nuts.
Her daddy James "Jimmy Gale" Galinsky had been a little-known Florida teenage rock performer who cut a couple records in the 1950s, most of the copies probably still in his basement. The samples on his webpage were again by the Chipmunks, but I found a complete song at youtube & it wasn't half bad for Frankie Avalon wannbe teenybopper imitation doo-wop.
Passing the tourch to his daughter, Jimmy has issued some of her music on his own dime. She & he seem to have an enviable bond.
So I had this fantasy that the talentless Swamp Zombies filmmakers saw her singing on public access or on a street corner or at some laugh-out-loud event that only she & her father didn't know was high camp, & they said, "Hey, wow, our film is totally putrid, this totally putrid music would fit it perfectly!"
It's actually so putrid that it exceeds the film in meritorious putridity, & was thus more fun than the film. And listening to her other music, unable to stifle laughter, she actually grew on me. Like a fungus.
Meanwhile back at the movie, though zombie attacks are happening in two locations -- the swamp/woods & the hospital -- nothing imaginative develops. It's all your basic shambling zombie attacks & battles. As they infect others the numbers of zombies increases, & you can write the rest of the film yourself with absolutely no chance of getting it wrong.
New characters are brought in for victims sake, like the police & fishermen. One chubby girl cop has a kung-fu kick-fight, kicking zombies in the nuts. She provided some goofy fun just by her extreme ineptitude as an action performer.
There'll be some more badly choreographed kung-fu choreographed by the guy playing Jack the kung-fu cop (Leon South), who does seem to have been an amateur martial artist of the trailer-park-god type, but he looks almost as silly as the chubby girl cop, his choreography drawing exclusively from a knowledge of ghetto-dojo kata practice.
There are also a couple sexy girl zombies, but nothing special. Well, I guess all this wasn't hatefully bad, & as I said, I almost liked it in the beginning, though it got worse as it was supposed to be getting better. Apart from Lillian's gigantic teats in her primary scene -- she has an odd charisma beyond mere bobbliness -- there's not much to recommend this one even for fans of crapola.
Continue to the next zombie films:
Ghost Lake (2004) & Corpses of Doom (2006)
copyright © by Paghat the Ratgirl