Town of the Living Dead‘s third and fourth episodes unintentionally draw a parallel between the monkeys in 2001: A Spacey Odyssey and the people staring in this docu-series. Or it would, if the cast could learn anything like the monkeys did in the movie.
Episode 3 (“Dong of the Dead”) revolves around the group deciding that a zombie needs to have its undead penis ripped off and thrown at a human survivor because this is the type of high brow-high quality special effect that will “fill seats in the theater”1. The episode fails to really peak and leaves you unsatisfied and wanting more. From here on out, I’ve only got more dirty puns, so let’s just move on to episode 4:
Episode 4 (“Zombie Karate”) was the real winner of the night. Deciding that they need a fight scene, Tina decides to hire a fight coordinator. Shockingly, Alabama is short on technical film personnel, so she hires the local karate “master.” The karate master tries his damnedest to teach these backwater idiots how to do the simplest things, like fall in a certain direction, but fails. Still, his efforts raised the production value from “blind penguins running around with camera phones” to “toddlers with sugar highs destroying the family picnic home movie.” Well done, sir.
Film school thoughts
I’m continually baffled as to why this group insists on adding more and more superfluous scenes. Everyone involved with production admits that they have not finished shooting the original script, yet they keep rewriting the script to shoehorn extra “action” scenes into the script. You know when you should be rewriting the script on the fly? When you run into a sudden, unavoidable problem that makes shooting your original script impossible – and then you try to keep the rewrite as close to the original script as possible so that you don’t have to rewrite the entire script for continuity. Then again, I wouldn’t expect these people to know what “continuity” is2. They all need to put down the fried butter, run about 20 miles to clear their arteries and their heads, and then just finish shooting the script they already have.
Stop digging; we’ve struck gold
Pretty much every scene with Master Ferrell. From dealing with Tina and Laura3 to filming on set, Master Ferrell is just not impressed with these people. Once on set, he basically takes over John’s job as director. First, Master Ferrell tries to teach everyone how to use prop weapons, fake a hit, and take a fall. None of the cast is able to successfully do any of this. Regardless, they begin shooting. Then, Master Ferrell is giving the actors direction4 and calling for reshoots with camera angle adjustments. It’s hysterical watching this old karate “expert” run this set 100% more efficiently than the director and producer combined while the director is getting his panties in a wad over having his power taken away. As the lead actor puts it, “John seems like he’s getting a little frustrated with the input Master Ferrell is giving, but to me, it’s gold.” When your own cast thinks someone who walked in off the street can direct better than you, it’s time to rethink everything: your directing decisions, your career, your life choices…
Which brings us to:
Bless your heart
I think I might have to change this section to “Bless your heart, John.” John is so upset about Master Ferrell seizing control of directorial duties, yet he won’t stand up and demand Master Ferrell stop5. Instead, John pulls Tina aside and whines until she makes Master Ferrell the boom mic operator so that Master Ferrell can’t talk anymore. Just when John has someone else win this victory for him, his mother wanders into the background of the shot carrying platters of chicken wings. She meanders through the entire shot, insisting people stop and eat. John has reached the end of his rope. Again, rather than standing up and taking control of his set, John walks off and sits near the bank of a river. In the movie John thinks he’s staring in in his head, I’m sure this is exactly what he thought his pout session by the river evoked. In reality, this is what the audience was yelling at him through the TV screen. Bless your heart, John. You are so in over your head you couldn’t figure out which direction to go down a one way street at this point.
Chase: This is the first time I’ve ever had this much penis flying at my face6.
Pearl [to her son]: You little son of a bitch7
John [after attacking his mother, who is an extra, while done up in zombie make up]: I never thought it’d be so much fun eating my mother8
- I’m sorry, Tina, you think this “film” is going to be shown in A theater, much less, more than one?! That’s adorable. Here’s some Play-Doh: go work on making another zombie penis and play quietly in the corner ↵
- or how to spell it ↵
- who insists on bowing when she meets him ↵
- and it’s far better than whatever John has ever done ↵
- like a real director would ↵
- So, what was the second time?? ↵
- You know what that exchange just implied, right? Right? ↵
- John, you could learn a lot from Archer. ↵