Slackers, a veritable comedy goldmine. Or so I used to think. There’s something distinctly 90’s about the Generation X archetype. It almost seems irrelvant these days. Clerks seemed so real to me. I never worked in a convenience store but I was living that experience in a similar post-high school, post catastrophic college attempt. I read comics. I watched the indie movies and horror flicks. The people in Kevin Smith’s movies were people I knew. We even had our own local Jay and Silent Bob lookalikes. But I’ll tell you something, things have changed. Those slackers that I knew either got their shit together and made something out of their lives or are currently reaping the wicked rewards of their particularly remarkable lack of achievement. It’s not funny anymore is what I’m saying.
Necroville doesn’t seem to give a shit about any of that. I may look back with a slight sense of regret for having let so many years slip by because of some sort of assumed chic related to the Generation X image but Billy Garberina and Cinema Suicide favorite, Richard Griffin would like you to know that there are still sadsack twentysomethings living in the comfort of their own personal malaise. They share a good deal of snappy dialog, too.
Dante and Randall, er, I mean Jack and Alex are two bros who go way back. Alex is a fat dude with a knack for firearms and a devil may care attitude about practically everything while his friend Jack is a pussywhipped jackass chained to a bitchy girlfriend named Penny who sits around, spends his money and eats his food while waiting for some check from her mother that will pay for her massage classes. Together, they live in Necroville, just outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico where zombies roam freely, as do vampires, werewolves and any other sort of paranormal creature that you can think of. Jack and Alex wind up hired by Zom-B-Gone after their video store gig goes tits up. The new position puts them in the role of exterminators. When the dead rise, they show up to put them back down. Amidst monster attacks, Jack’s girlfriend winds up running back to the arms of her ex and Jack’s old martial arts enemy, Clark, now a master vampire. Naturally they must fight and Jack must break up with Penny.
I’m of the opinion that Troma jumped the shark a while back and while Lloyd and his crew will always be fixtures of the horror community, the time may be at hand to pass the torch to younger filmmakers. Billy Garberina and Richard Griffin are those guys. While this is my first swing with Garberina, we’re no strangers to the Scorpio Film Releasing gang. Shock-O-Rama is poised to release this feature with Splatter Disco hot on its heels, both gunning for the slapstick splattery of past Troma achievements, both wildly succeeding. Necroville was produced on a budget less than $10,000 and it looks that way between shaky acting and the tried and true speed-zombie formula perfected by Tom Savini during the Dawn of the Dead production. It’s a cheap looking movie, to be sure, but like so many of these bargain-basement productions, it’s the sort of production that looks like a lot of fun and is infectious to watch. Necroville is the sort of movie that makes you want to stop thinking about it and actually make that movie you’ve been thinking about for so long.
Production values aside, Necroville is aided by Griffin’s talented hand with the camera. I’m not sure how his director credit applies to the movie, but he is clearly the DP on this crew. Every shot has his signature on it, from the framing to the lighting. You’ll be surprised how much of an impact this makes on the movie.
The actors, the lead, Jack, played by Garberina, may stumble over their lines and often flub the funny, but the script is that rarest of comedy. Low-brow indie humor that actually works. There’s nothing worse than a comedy that reaches to be funny and then falls flat. It’s an agonizing thing to watch in progress but Necroville sports some extremely funny situations, including a Loony Tunes style plot to drop a piano on a vampire and a vampire kill that I guarantee you have never seen before. I’m talking holy water applied in a genuinely novel form.
Often times I bitch about the current status of the zombie movie. An adolescent gun-porn fantasy where everybody makes headshots and guns never run out of ammo. Nor do they jam. Necroville plays this fantasy to the hilt; full fucking tilt. Mobs of zombies are casually dispatched while the protagonists argue the pros and cons of Jack’s toxic relationship and his indentured servitude to a woman that isn’t much to look at. Like Splatter Disco, Necroville takes time out to bag on popular subcultures that run rampant in horror circles. In this case, goths.
On top of it all, Necroville sports a decent soundtrack featuring horror punk’s best kept secret, Zombina And The Skeletones. If you’re reading this and are unfamiliar with this band, you need to get with the program, like, now.
Listen, you’re not going to find too many movies made for less than ten grand that feature an elaborate scheme to drop a piano on a vampire under the guise of “free blood” in a fish tank and by elaborate I mean idiotic. Garberina and Griffin are the future of independent horror and they’re making good movies. Necroville is what happens when you combine talent with a love of the genre. The whole slacker concept may have been played out in indie comedies from the 90’s but it’s still alive and kicking in New Mexico. Put simply, you can either pay hard earned money to watch another lazy remake cash-in or you can shut the fuck up and watch an indie that has heart. Make it Necroville, bitches.