What could you do with $5,000? You could take the missus on the Caribbean cruise or European vacation she’s always dreamed of. You could remodel your man-cave and buy that sweet audiovisual system you’ve had your eyes on. You could even go to Vegas and get into a game of Texas Hold ’em, try to increase your money. Or you could make a movie… and that’s just what the folks at Dustin Mills Productions did. Lest you think I am insulting Bath Salt Zombies by calling it a $5,000 dollar movie, let’s be clear: it really is a $5,000 movie!
There is a new designer drug on the market, similar to crystal meth, but multiplied by a hundred. It’s called Bath Salt, and it is even more addictive than crack cocaine. One hit of this stuff and a new user becomes an instant junkie. The U.S. government has gone to war against Bath Salt, but unlike the famous War on Drugs of the 1980’s and 90’s, this War on Bath Salt has actually been effective. The government has shut down the distribution networks and Bath Salt junkies are becoming desperate. Producers have begun to move into areas the government hasn’t yet infiltrated, like the Big Apple. Enter two young hoodlums who fancy themselves chemists. They have created a super-strain of Bath Salt. It is very potent, very effective, and very popular. Unfortunately, there is a rather surprising side-effect: it turns users into voracious, flesh-eating zombies!
So what’s the scoop on Bath Salt Zombies, you ask? Is it worth watching, you wonder? Well, the answer is both yes and no. If you like your films with miniscule budgets and heaping helpings of bad acting, cheap special effects, and cheese, then the answer is a resounding "yes". Bath Salt Zombies resembles the type of film the good folks at Mystery Science Theater 3000 would like to get their slimy little paws on. So if you are a fan of cheap exploitation films, you can’t miss with Bath Salt Zombies. Other viewers who might be expecting a little bit more may be a little less satisfied.
What do you get for $5,000? As one might imagine, you aren’t going to get high-powered veteran actors and Oscar-worthy performances. More than likely, you will get wildly over-the-top and highly energetic performances similar to acting. But this is what happens when you hire people for screen credits and two slices of pizza at lunch. It’s what you can afford. But you also get actresses who are perfectly willing to not only read a few lines of dialogue but are also happy to undress in front of the camera and dance. Cool! You also get plenty of cheap and cheesy special effects, including zombie-munching, entrail ripping, and blood spraying galore. Again, the film is on a micro-budget so these effects generally aren’t physical; rather, they are computer animated. The effects, while bloody, aren’t very realistic. While that may be frustrating for some viewers, those with weak stomachs will probably be happy because it means they can sit through the film without becoming sick.
Yes, the budget is low. But sometimes a lack of money generates creativity, and that is true of Bath Salt Zombies. The crew simply doesn’t have the money for realistic effects, so they opt to go the other way and create some really fun animations to move the story along. You have to appreciate that. The story is also fun, if not entirely original (it reminded me a bit of I Drink Your Blood, though the monsters in that flick were, literally, rabid hippies and not zombies). Co-writers Dustin Mills (who also directed) and Clint Weiler (who produced the film) know their exploitation films. They saw fit to include a sprinkling of sex and nudity with plenty of violence, kung fu fighting, and corny laughs. The soundtrack is a fantastic mix of original alt/punk songs and I was entertained by that as much as the film itself. And at 70 minutes, even viewers who may not have much patience with this kind of no-budgeter will likely make it through.
Ultimately Bath Salt Zombies is a film for a particular kind of audience. Some may mark it down as a complete failure on every level. But there is a market for this kind of crazy and very cheesy horror film, so I imagine quite a few people will be highly entertained–especially with a bucket of popcorn and a six-pack of cold brews.
Bath Salt Zombies was released in February through MVD Entertainment Group. For more information on the film, go to Dustin Mills Productions at http://www.dmpstudios.com or to purchase the film, go to MVD’s site here.