Zombie Bloodbath Trilogy (2007) – By Brian Morton

 I’m always pleased when I see a package from Camp Motion Pictures! No one has brought back the pure joy of homemade movies like them and the packaging of the movies is just the best. This month they’re releasing the Zombie Bloodbath Trilogy from Missouri’s own Todd Sheets. Here’s what’s here:

Zombie Bloodbath – This first movie is the story of a small town that is built on a defunct nuclear power plant. The plant had a meltdown and was closed by the government and the resulting radiation has caused anyone who comes close to it to become a zombie. Now, it’s up to two families, with the help of one lone soldier, to find the entry to the plant, blow it up and save the town. The only real problem with this first movie is the budget, you can tell that this is really a homemade endeavor and, while you know that going in, it can become distracting at times. The same zombies keep appearing in different parts of town and people who have been left behind as dead suddenly appear ahead of where our group has been running. But, overall, this is a good zombie movie, Sheets isn’t afraid of gore and some of the gags work very well. As low budget zombie movies go, this one has a ton of heart and that makes up for the technical shortcomings.

Zombie Bloodbath 2: Rage Of The Undead – The second in the trilogy, this was made two years after the original and, besides the title, it has very little to do with the first movie. In this story, a group of college kids, on the way home have car trouble. When they come across a farmhouse, they’re surprised to find that it’s already been taken over by three escaped convicts. The zombies this time are risen via a satanic curse that’s been put on the farm house our heroes have happened upon, and, when one of the convicts wake them, suddenly there’s zombies threatening from the outside and criminals on the inside. Described by Sheets as a cross between Natural Born Killers and Night Of The Living Dead, this movie feels way off track at times. The threat to the hero characters come as much from villain characters as it does from zombies. While the zombies are there in abundance, it seems that Sheets was having much more fun writing the evil characters that have populated the small town this movie is set in. And there are some continuity errors that become distracting too, the characters are complaining in one moment that there’s only one way out of the room they’re in and then suddenly they’re running around looking inside doors, and the same problem from the first movie crop up, zombies who have been left behind are suddenly lying in wait ahead of where we’re going to. Zombie Bloodbath 2 isn’t as strong as part 1, but I think that has more to do with the story than anything else, having the added threat from the criminal element keeps the zombie element from really taking center stage and, suddenly the living dead feel like they’re only there so that the effects team can do their gore gags.

Zombie Bloodbath 3: Zombie Armageddon – The final in the trilogy, this movie was made five years after part two and seven after part 1, this third movie is by far the strongest, both technically and otherwise. This time, set in a high school, when two electronic geeks come across a distress signal coming from inside the school they decide to investigate. What they find is a hidden labyrinth under the school and a space ship at the heart of it. This time Sheets centers the story on the zombies and the way the zombies are brought into the story is much more innovative. The computer effects in the film, while obviously low budget, are done incredibly well. The gore effects are on par with the other two films, but it’s really the story that carries this movie, not the gore.

Seeing the three movies all in one package, and an early short film by Sheets, you can see a filmmaker honing his craft. From the initial zombie movie, that features acting that’s stilted and effects that don’t work as often as they do, through the third film where we see a filmmaker who now knows where he’s going and is letting the story be the center of the film, rather than the effects, these movies are worth seeing. Low budget filmmaking has been popular since the advent of the camcorder, and oftentimes the product is rather amateurish, but Todd Sheets’ movies have a heart and soul of their own, an obvious horror fan, Sheets movies are worth the price of admission, his love of the product shines through the ripped flesh and eaten guts! You can get your own copy of the Zombie Bloodbath Trilogy by going to the Camp Motion Pictures web site and if you’re a fan of independent cinema, you won’t be disappointed in these movies! Overall, I’m giving the Zombie Bloodbath Trilogy four out of four cigars, because this is what indie movies are supposed to be, entertaining, innovative and just plain fun! So, until next time, when I’ll pass on my recipe for brain and gut stew to all you zombie-philes out there, remember that the best movies are bad movies.