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Film Review: Attack Of The Moon Zombies (2011)

Attack Of The Moon Zombies poster 325x500 imageSYNOPSIS:

“Twenty years have passed since Dr. Vincent Edwards took on a certain radiation-mutated bat creature and he is ready to retire. While training his replacement on the Jackson Lunar Base, the two stumble upon a seemingly impossible discovery: alien plant life on the surface of the moon! Unfortunately, exposure to the spores of this otherworldly flora cause instant death. Too bad those killed by them don’t stay dead and instead, want nothing more than to replicate!” (courtesy IMDB)

REVIEW:

This week I present to you one of the most incredibly implausible introductions to one of the…movies in the history of Horror News – that’s right, I’m talking about my fabulous introduction to Attack Of The Moon Zombies (2011)! It goes a little like this…

Attack Of The Moon Zombies photo 1 400x470 imageIt may look like it was made in 1961 but don’t let that fool you. Made fifty years later than you’d think, by my old American friend Christopher Mihm, Attack Of The Moon Zombies stars Shannon McDonough, Mike Cook, Douglas Sidney, Michael Kaiser and my old sweetheart Sid Korpi, in a science fiction extravaganza that promises to go one better than Dinosaurs On A Spaceship, with zombies – on the moon! The crew of an isolated moonbase find themselves inundated with mutated monster-men and sinister space-spores! Despite the serious situation, it’s a loony lunar laugh-fest that lovingly lampoons low-cost movies while remaining remarkably respectful to those bizarre but beloved B-graders. So strap yourselves in and count backwards from ten, as we prepare for the coming zombie apocalypse – on the moon!

Attack Of The Moon Zombies photo 2 400x469 imageI’m very happy to announce that my introduction this week has been nominated for a Rondo Award for Most Gratuitous Alliteration In A DVD Review. If you see me on the red carpet, please help me back into my seat. Now to tell you exactly who and what you’ve been watching. Only you know why. Attack Of The Moon Zombies, Christopher Mihm’s sixth – yes, sixth! – movie in just as many years. He doesn’t mock the originals so much as replicate the organic elements that make these films so enduringly endearing – including their low-budget shortcomings and questionable talents – with 21st century sensibilities. This delicate balance of parody and homage is not easy, but Mr. Mihm is a master of this special brand of fifties-style satire, which has become its own sub-genre, as evidenced by films like The Lost Skeleton Of Cadavra (2001) and Frankenstein Versus The Creature From Blood Cove (2005).

Attack Of The Moon Zombies photo 3 400x471 imageWithout effecting the plot or pacing, there are plenty of references to fifties classics for you trainspotters out there: The Mole People (1956), The Thing From Another World (1951), This Island Earth (1955), The Day Of The Triffids (1962), The Green Slime (1968), and the subtly-titled It! The Terror From Beyond Space (1958). You may also recognise bits of Star Trek, THX-1138 (1971) and the Alien (1979) franchise. The real reason he chose to set the film on the moon was because it had nothing to do with any of his other films and, since the movie had to be shot during the winter, his choices were filming ‘in the snow’ or ‘in his basement’. Lacking enthusiasm for hypothermia or yetis, the basement was the way to go. Ordinarily, to create a moonbase you’d need a skilled crew and vast amounts of money, but if all you have is US$3,000 and five people with day jobs, the best you can hope for is a lot of duct tape and plywood. Fortunately, these are the same materials used by NASA so it’s perfectly authentic.

Attack Of The Moon Zombies photo 4 400x472 imageJust like the sets, the acting is also perfectly…wooden, and Shannon McDonough really shines in this aspect as the moon-based botanist, Doctor Hackett. Douglas Sidney plays her boyfriend, Doctor Collins, whose attempts at proposal are repeatedly thwarted. Mike Cook plays Doctor Vincent Edwards, the wise old professor days before retirement, who is training his young replacement Glen Hayes, played by Michael Kaiser. But my personal favourite is Sid Korpi as Commander Ripley. Born January 27th 1962, Korpi’s real name is Keanu but changed it to something less preposterous. A cold-eyed calculating expert in conspiracy, torture and murder, a master villain and head of the secret society known as the Si-Fan, she operates all over the globe, her aim being the ultimate domination of the world. However, her nefarious plans are repeatedly foiled by the stout British agent Dennis Nayland Smith…wait a minute, that’s Doctor Fu Manchu. Ah, here we go – Sid Korpi’s stage career was a series of hits and misses – mostly Mrs. I’ll explain: She played Mrs. Boyle in Agatha Christie‘s The Mousetrap, Mrs. Banks in Father Of The Bride, and Mrs. Gertrude in Steve Martin‘s Underpants…yes, that’s the title of the play.

Attack Of The Moon Zombies photo 5 400x471 imageShe was then kidnapped by Christopher Mihm and forced to appear in Attack Of The Moon Zombies, which earned her a nomination for a Dead Letter Award for Best Actress In A Zombie Movie. But that was a long time ago, way back in 2011. Since then she has appeared in at least two more films: House Of Ghosts (2012) and The Giant Spider (2013), both of which I hope sully your monitors with soon. The reason Attack Of The Moon Zombies looks sharper than Mihm’s previous efforts is because it’s been shot entirely in a controlled environment, making it easier to light and more consistent than the outdoor locations in most of Mihm’s movies. The low-tech sets, costumes, makeup and cast all add to the film’s considerable charm. The Moon Zombies themselves are perfectly realised, and look exactly as cheap as they should – simple masks and gloves – without ruining the scary bits…too much.

Attack Of The Moon Zombies photo 6 400x473 imageWhile Attack Of The Moon Zombies is a great introduction to the Mihmiverse, it’s worth watching all the films – found at http://www.sainteuphoria.com – and pay attention. Any fan of classic genre films is guaranteed to find a lot to like. And it’s with that rather masochistic thought in mind that I’ll make my farewells, and ask you to hit the highway to hell with me again next week while I drive you to delirium to witness another car crash on the boulevard of broken dreams for…Horror News! Toodles!

Attack Of The Moon Zombies photo 7 400x474 imageAttack Of The Moon Zombies (2011)

Read more at http://horrornews.net/69058/film-review-attack-of-the-moon-zombies-2011/#1y5K8RT2rhzdbJEz.99

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Well worth the wait, we just received our SIX Dead Letter Awards for “Attack of the Moon Zombies” (won earlier this year) from MailOrderZombie.com. Thank you Derek M. Koch and the gang!

Included in those awards are:

Best Zombie Movie—”Attack of the Moon Zombies”

Best Director—Christopher R. Mihm

Best Zombie—Michael Kaiser

Best Actress in a Zombie Movie—Sid Korpi

Best One-Liner in a Zombie Movie—spoken by Administrator Ripley (Sid Korpi) “I know I’d rather die in agonizing pain than become some weird meat puppet for those nasty little things out there, wouldn’t you?”

Best Death Scene in a Zombie Movie—Dr. Vincent Edward’s self-sacrifice (Mike Cook), awarded by write-in vote!

Here are MY TWO awards!!

I also loved the message on the Priority Mail box they all came in:

 

 

Writer/director Christopher R. Mihm’s ’50s-style B-movie “Attack of the Moon Zombies” has been nominated for numerous Dead Letter Awards. Voting ends March 16, and winners will be announced on March 22 on the MailOrderZombie.com podcast.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Attack of the Moon Zombies by Christopher R. Mihm
Attack of the Moon Zombies by Christopher R. Mihm

PRLog (Press Release)Mar 07, 2012
Minnesotan writer/director Christopher R. Mihm has a unique filmmaking niche. He makes only B&W, 1950s-drive-in-style creature features, or as he puts it, “I make good bad, new old movies.” Released in May 2011, his sixth film, “Attack of the Moon Zombies,” received universally positive reviews from those who appreciate this unusual genre. Recently, cult-movie site MailOrderZombie.com nominated “Attack of the Moon Zombies” for the second-highest number of categories of any other movie honored by their Dead Letter Awards.

Among the awards for which Mihm’s film is in the running are: 1) Best Zombie Movie, feature length; 2) Best Director of a Zombie Movie (Christopher R. Mihm); 3) Best Zombie (Michael Kaiser); 4) Best Actress in a Zombie Movie (both Sid Korpi as Administrator Ripley and Shannon McDonough as Dr. Stephanie Hackett received nods); and 5) Best One-Liner in a Zombie Movie: “I know I’d rather die in agonizing pain than become some weird meat puppet for those nasty little things out there, wouldn’t you?”

Fans of this monstrously memorable, family-friendly, super-cheesy flick are urged to visit the Dead Letter Award Ballot form at the Mail Order Zombie site (https://www.docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dGl5Mzd3eVVFMm0zTVFQMXFhRy0wa3c6MA) to cast their votes for “Attack of the Moon Zombies” in all categories by the March 16 deadline. Winners will be announced on the 3/22/12 Mail Order Zombie #177 podcast at http://www.mailorderzombie.com.

Also up to popular vote to decide is the 10th Annual Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards, for which “Attack of the Moon Zombies” has been nominated as Best Independent Film (Category 8). Please visit http://www.rondoaward.com/rondo/rondos.html to vote for this fine ’50s movie and support independent cinema by March 31, 2012.

If you haven’t yet seen “Attack of the Moon Zombies” and want to check it out before you vote, order your copy from http://www.sainteuphoria.com today! While you’re on the site, why not purchase your tickets for the May 23, 2012 Heights Theatre premiere of Mihm’s seventh film, “House of Ghosts”? This show, a spooky homage to the 1950s-fright-film director William Castle (“The Tingler” and “House on Haunted Hill”) is selling out fast, so act soon.

# # #

A specialist in re-creating B&W 1950s-drive-in-style creature features, writer/director Christopher R. Mihm’s latest two films, “Attack of the Moon Zombies” and “House of Ghosts,” are sure audience pleasers.

Attack of the Moon Zombies Review


attack of the moon zombies Attack of the Moon Zombies Review

REVIEW: Attack of the Moon Zombies

Attack of the Moon Zombies is the latest in a series of movies by writer/director Christopher R. Mihm that emulate the cheesy sci-fi b-movies of the 50s (other titles by Mihm include Cave Women on Mars and It Came from Another World!). Moon Zombies is the only one I’ve seen, so I can only speak for it, but everything in this movie tried to make it seem like a genuine 50s drive-in flick, from the soundtrack, to the haircuts, to the worn-out (but not overdone) black-and-white film look. There’s a real sense that Mihm is not trying to parody those films in any way, but trying to genuinely, lovingly make one.

Our story takes place entirely on a Lunar base that was established in 1976 (again, a 50s idea of the future). Silent and eccentric newbie Glen (played by Michael Kaiser) is coming aboard to replace retiring Dr. Vincent Edwards (Michael Cook). When showing the newcomer around, Dr. Edwards shows him a strange plant he found in a cave on the moon and they take it back to the base. The plant sprays some powder in a character’s face and the character dies (trying not to give anything away here), returning a few hours later as a strange plant-human hybrid out to get the humans — who, of course, themselves turn into moon zombies if they are indeed got. The rest of the movie is pretty much the characters running around the base, trying to avoid being zombie plant food.

Which isn’t to say the story doesn’t work or is boring. It may be a bit simple, but this is a 50s cheesy movie wannabe here. And it works. The acting is perfect and feels just like pre-method acting, which is to say, a lttle wooden and overdramatic (actress Shannon McDonough really shines in this aspect as Dr. Hackett). Like I said, I don’t know about the previous movies Mihm has done, but I would venture this one is his best, as you can tell this isn’t the crew’s first time attempting this kind of thing. It all gels nicely and nearly flawlessly. It’s entertaining in ways I didn’t expect, one being the comedy aspect. I laughed out loud numerous times, at self-conscious lines like “Yeah well, it sounds like the plot of some.. bad.. drive-in movie,” and especially at the subtitles. I watch all movies with subtitles on whenever possible just to be sure I don’t miss a line of dialogue or anything. Well, the subtitles for this movie were amusing as hell, with funny captions like >>rejection< < when a man is hitting on a girl and the girl slams her book in his face, and when a title card reads “Day 1” the humorously unnecessary subs read “The First Day.”

I was surprised at how much I laughed and was entertained by the film, especially since 50s sci-fi cheese doesn’t hold any kind of special place in my heart; I just think they’re bad movies, just like we have bad movies today, and I only watch the ones with zombies in them (believe me, I get my fill of bad movies that way). But this was so charming and so successful at its goal that the viewer can’t help but admire it. I have to knock off a point for the length — at 99 minutes, it could have been at least 85 — but I still give Attack of the Moon Zombies 7/10 plants. You can get it at http://www.sainteuphoria.com/aotmz.html for a reasonable $9.99.

I got an unexpected response from a young-ish audience member!

From Pat Young (my high school theater friend):

“My son thought you gave a brilliant performance in, “Attack of the Moon Zombies” and he thinks you’re hot! teehee”

Woohoo! Take THAT Dr. Hackett! I feel all Mrs. Robinson-esque right now. It’s gratifying to receive such accolades, even though I suspect the young man’s eyesight must be sorely in need of correction!

Thanks, Pat, and Sean (his son) for making this old lady’s day!

See me on the Silver Screen! The premiere for “Attack of the Moon Zombies” is at 80% sold-out — and climbing! If you’re planning on going and don’t have tickets, buy them NOW at http://www.sainteuphoria.com!

Tickets are almost sold out! If you want to attend the once-in-a-lifetime movie event that is the world premiere of writer/director Christopher R. Mihm’s “Attack of the Moon Zombies,” starring your favorite pet-book author, Sid Korpi, at the Heights Theater in Columbia Heights, MN on Wednesday, May 25 at 6:30 p.m., get off your duff and order your $5 tickets NOW!!!
There is nothing like being a part of an audience that loves campy, cheesy old movies to truly experience the wonder that is Moon Zombies!!!

Order your advance tickets to the world premiere of Christopher R. Mihm’s “Attack of the Moon Zombies” (May 25, 2011 at the Heights Theater in Columbia Heights, MN) by clicking here. It’s the only way to guarantee you’ll get in on the big night because there are only a small number of general admission tickets that will be available at the door. That’s the voluptuous Shannon McDonough being carried by the monster, but that’s my name in the actors’ credits line! Woo hoo!

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