Currently the same creative minds aided by a US based different director, the same closely knit trio of zombie ass kicking friends, a larger budget, greater experience and more extravagant surroundings are hard at work on a fourth installment in the series. Entitled (oddly enough), Plaga Zombie: American Invasion, which has yet to be given a release date but promises more of the same craziness inspired by the original and a slew of notable other genre films draped in dark humor and dripping in crimson chunks.
Without further ado I’d like to start with the film that kicked the ‘Plaga’ phenomena off with a bang…
Runtime: 70 minutes (“original” - 72 minutes)
Director: Pablo Pares, Hernan Saez
Writers: Berta Muniz, Pablo Pares and Hernan Saez
Original language print (VHS)
An intriguing alien element is introduced very early on. One of the very first nods to a huge film influence for these novice filmmakers, which only gets more pronounced as the movie progresses. One character in particular, Mike, answers an abrupt ‘calling’ (it’s as if he’s been transformed into a ship full of drunken pirates enchanted, lulled to an outcropping of rocks, obscured by thick fog, by an alluring group of half-naked nymphs). He meanders, midsentence, to wander into the depths of the city. Whereupon he gets whisked away into an even stranger/ mysterious environment where he’s poked, prodded and internally explored past the point of horny-bored-drunken-weekend shenanegans by decidedly curious non-human hands.
In one of the movies finest comedic moments John opens a door to check on Mike to discover that he has enlisted a few new friends to join him on an unknown agenda. An objective which based on the looks of the collective doesn’t bode well in the slightest. One thing is more than clear though and that is that John, Bill and Max have no designs on becoming like their friend, an unfortunate predicament indeed! They spend the remainder of the movie doing what they can to fend off their garishly made up and oddly over-excitable neighbors whilst keeping all their limbs and faculties intact.
But what really makes Plaga Zombie work so well is a combination of several elements rarely found in features of this ilk. The feel of the film is one of overall joviality you can tell that the creators/cast and crew had a blast whilst filming. I can only imagine this experience either making them better friends or that it made them hate each other on account of all the work needed to make a feature successful. Bearing in mind that there are several sequels I can only imagine the former is the case!
A smile cracked my face numerous times during this viewing as the score is completely and utterly reminiscent of Mr. Jackson’s (first) human-being-used-as-an-intergalactic-taste-sensation feature. This very same soundtrack also boasts a quirkiness, a playfulness and often a menacing nature, sometimes even all at the same time. In one scene, the ninety-three-minute mark to be precise, the score is ‘lifted’ from one very specific sequence in Bad Taste. Other elements act as more than merely nods to those features mentioned above. Namely a handful of scenes presenting a lawnmower, a leisurely sojourn through a squirming pile of the undead and a vivid, Technicolor scene showcasing regurgitation (uhh…did ya have to drink some chuck?) aka in certain circles as “chowder”.
The movies climax brings about a stunning array of slapstick carnage, an unexpected twist (which might not be so unexpected depending upon how many zombie features the viewer might have previously seen) and the introduction of the authorities to bring the movies heroes and the films storyline abruptly crashing back into reality. But don’t tune out just yet, as if you’ve seen it all before, the conclusion ties the alien theme, which many might have forgotten, back into the story. In which way I won’t divulge exactly suffice it to say there’s both a cliff and an edge!
Walter Rivero (actor in and producer of Plaga Zombie (4): American Invasion): Quoting the guys (behind Plaga Zombie) Pablo Pares (Bill), Hernan Saez (Max), Berta Muniz (John), Walter Cornas (Mike), Paolo Soria (Junior) were inspired by movies such as Bad Taste, Evil Dead, Dead Alive (Braindead) these were the key ingredients to the brand of humor and gore they wanted for the movie.
The USA movie is somewhat of a sequel to the Plaga Zombie trilogy and is directed by Garry Medeiros (Sai -Con Productions) whom saw Plaga Zombie online and was fascinated by what he saw and got in touch with Farsa and asked them if he could make a Plaga (zombie) in the USA. They agreed and it eventually became a collaboration!
And a few words on Plaga Zombie from Garry Medeiros:
I read an article in Fangoria about the movie and went out and bought the DVD. I didn't realize there was a part 1 and 2 and thought it was just the 1 movie and the other disc was bonus features. So I watched part 1 first and thought, not bad. Then I popped in part 2 thinking it was bonus features and realized, oh shit! It's part 2. Watching part 2 I had the same fun and enjoyment I had watching Evil Dead 2 for the first time.
Cult: Are you Intrigued yet?
It is my opinion that the first entry in the Plaga Zombie trilogy is downright amazing far surpassing most of the larger budget comedic horrors I’ve seen and a great many notoriously low budget “cult” films I hold in high esteem. I can’t, for the life of me though, remember which Evil Dead movie it is I prefer. The first is a powerfully raw, genre defining feat, whilst the second is delivered in more of a professional though thoroughly entertaining manner.
In staying with the theme of this review series it’s time for me to revisit Plaga #2. I have fond memories of the movie but admittedly it’s been awhile. I can vividly remember praising it loudly and often, and to a large amounts of folks I didn’t know. One scene in particular, featuring the ‘John West song’ stands out (did I mention he’s a semi-retired wrestler?). What better way to remember a movie than by way of a tune that gets stuck in your head (for months might I add) and buckets of gore splashed across the screen in an enjoyable and over the top manner? I fondly reminisce on the whole movie being spectacular enough to keep my undivided attention until the very end. Quite the mean feat as I usually do one of two things when I watch a film; I either fall asleep or find myself getting uncontrollably distracted often turning to social media to ease my predicament.