I have a little list.
The following people should probably not watch the new grade-D horror satire “Hillbilly Bob Zombie,” filmed here in Knox County by writer-director-producer-special-effects-and-smoke-bomb-wrangler Ray Basham: Citizens of the state of Kentucky, African-Americans, the developmentally disabled, residents of Appalachia, actors, environmentalists, sound designers, children, people not amused by flatulent zombies, sober people, cinematography lighting experts, Asians, people offended by rough language, fans of the music group Elixir, religious people, Mexicans, theatrical set designers, people offended by incest, screenwriters, law enforcement personnel, any of the parents of anyone involved in the movie, and Ed Wood.
I mention Ed Wood because he was the classic auteur of unintentionally hilarious anti-masterpieces in the 1950s, such beloved trainwrecks as “Plan 9 From Outer Space” and “Glen or Glenda.” Wood was utterly incompetent, but had no idea, and thus remained at heart a noble artist, in his own way.
Ray Basham, on the other hand, seems to have a checklist (see above) of people to offend. He equates running through this list as satire. And perhaps it is. Indeed, the more I think about it, it must be. It has to be. Just as “Godzilla” projected fears of nuclear destruction onto a larger-than-life mythic beast in 1950s Japanese sci-fi movies, “Hillbilly Bob Zombie” must be an inbred indictment of the paranoia of lower class white people in multicultural America. Indeed, when one zombie leaps up from an examination table to gnaw on an Asian doctor’s throat, Basham has metaphorically portrayed the entire American healthcare crisis in one fell swoop. Brilliant!
But, in my excitement, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me summarize the plot for you: Some hillbillies make moonshine in a barrel that held toxic waste.
OK, now that the plot summary is out of the way, let us examine the screenplay.
OK, if we find one to examine, we’ll come back to it.
So, how are the actors? Sal Lizard wanders about like a sort of seedy rural cousin of Santa Claus. Brenna Roth delivers her finest acting in the special features interview when she praises her castmates and Basham. She brilliantly pauses at one point, stumbling over her own character’s name as if she had no clue what it was, making the watcher think she’s so stoned she barely knows where (or who) she is. Now that’s skilled comedy.
Danille Webster is shapely as (you guessed it!) Bobbie-Sue, while Chris Burdulis is consistently in character as Junior. The assorted cast of supporting zombies appear to have both consumed prodigious quantities of alcohol and to have enjoyed gnawing on people as the action, such as it is, requires.
And what is Mount Vernon’s musical group Elixir doing here? Basham’s presentation of its songs not synched to its performance is a devastating satire of modern pop stars who don’t really sing in concert.
But whatever I might say about Basham’s brilliance pales beside the man’s own words.
“I’ve seen so many good movies made for $500, I figured I could do it for $300,” Basham says in a special feature interview on the DVD. “And most of that was for beer.”
For more information visit www.raybasham.com.