What do you get when you cross a porn star, contemporary gay culture and zombies? I’m not sure, but I don’t think I wanna meet it. Throw in some necrophilia and potential schizophrenia and you have one twisted film that I’m not sure even I could marinate on.
“L.A. Zombie” is definitely a combo platter, written and directed by Canadian filmmaker Bruce LaBruce. The problem with combo platters is that the mixture can sometimes make you ill.
After watching the trailer for this film, and reading several articles from the festival circuit, as well as visiting the film’s official website, I simply can’t bring myself to watch this film. My main problem is the plot; I fail to see that this film has one. To me, it looks like porn parading around as an “art” piece. Sure, there’s a story, but that’s only because I don’t believe film festivals showcase hardcore pornography.
I am a firm believer that even films that tackle taboo subjects such as necrophilia can be done tastefully, perhaps educationally, often dramatically, maybe even comically, sometimes antagonistically, or at the very least from a varied perspective. “Clerks” and “Family Guy” have poked fun at the thought of necrophilia. “High Tension,” “Freddy Vs. Jason,” and, of course, the Rob Zombie duet of “House of 1000 Corpses” and “Devil’s Rejects” have taken the sinister, horror flick approach and still managed to stay mainstream.
The problem with “L.A. Zombie” is not that a zombie runs the streets of L.A. bringing the dead back to life by having sex with them. The problem is not the heightened display of sexuality in the gay community that is put on display to be analyzed. The problem is not that the zombie in the lead role may, in fact, be a delusional schizophrenic. The problem is that the elements appear to be combined in a way that is simply not manageable by an audience.
I am a huge horror fan, a zombie lover, an admirer of artistic expression and an active member of the LGBT community — and I do not feel the film is controversial because of content. I also believe in the art of magic, and I have found that when a magician says “look at my hand,” it’s because he doesn’t want you looking at his feet. The art of this film lies in the marketing and the controversy. Scandals sell, it’s Hollywood fact. When “L.A. Zombie” was banned from the Melbourne International Film Festival and illegally screened at the Melbourne Underground Film Festival, it sparked a following, especially after LaBruce won the award for Best Foreign Director. When a third of the screening audience walked out on the film at the Raindance Film Festival in the UK, that following grew. Teens will absolutely purchase these types of films and ensure their friends do too. This is not always a bad thing. I mean come on, I can’t imagine a world where nobody embraced “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” However, I do not believe “L.A. Zombie” to be anywhere on par with “Rocky Horror.”
In my opinion — and no zombie pun intended here — this film, to me, comes off as tasteless. And with no necrophilia pun, it also comes off to me as lifeless. Perhaps I am a harsh judge, considering I have not seen the film as a whole, just bits and pieces. But you know what, that’s also part of the brilliance in its marketing. “L.A. Zombie” jump-starts conversation. I don’t ever plan on seeing this, nor can I find any good reason to suggest that any of you do either.
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