By now, I'm certain you've heard all of the controversy regarding Zombie at the film circuits over the past year & a half. At one point, the soft-core version was deemed to be destroyed or lost making us wonder if the film would ever see the light of day or if all of LaBruce's devout fans would simply have to invest in the HARDCORE version available on the L.A. Zombie website & Tla Releasing. Sadly, Tla Releasing doesn't ship adult or pornographic materials to all states as mandated by law (which law??) so your best bet would be to simply visit the official website or you may end up wasting precious time.
I must admit upfront that I may not be the most qualified reviewer for LaBruce's latest masterpiece as I've not seen the soft-core version that Strand Releasing will bequeath to the masses on 09/20/11. Rather, I ordered L.A. Zombie (HARDCORE) directly from the website a few months back as I hadn't heard any word on the softcore release at that time. Naturally, I paid quite a bit more but I'm a LaBruce fan for life afte seing his previous film Otto; Or Up With Dead People.
Aside from the obvious differences regarding sexually explicit material versus highly pornographic footage in the Director's Cut (HARDCORE), I've heard nothing from Strand Releasing nor is there any specific information online regarding what changes if any were made with the release of the softcore version which runs a little over an hour. As of right now, I can only speculate & say that the "making of" footage is more than likely to be included as well as a trailer but I'm unaware of any additional footage or deleted scenes from the film at this time.
Even though I own the Director's Cut which runs about 103 mins, I will still purchase L.A. Zombie for a friend if nothing else.
Fans of LaBruce pretty much know what they're in for & whether or not to buy. If you've followed his work up to this point, he hasn't really changed his style of film-making nor is he likely to ever be played at a multiplex in your city let alone a gay & lesbian festival. In LaBruce's own words, his filmS are simply not marketable. Maybe that is why we continue to watch for them every couple of years or so because we know that his radical approach to film-making is clearly his own.
So what makes L.A. Zombie any different from Otto or any other LaBruce film? Sure, we have the handsome gay men once again engaging in some of the most sleazy sex scenes & even a few shreds of violence surrounding our poor fellow men. What's new or different if anything? Ahhh, my friends. Never underestimate the true talent of LaBruce. You will be sorely disappointed should you even try. He has proven himself once again & is actually getting better with each film. Or maybe we should say he's come a long way with his endeavors.
L.A. Zombie opens with a man or an alien zombie-like creature rising from the ocean & making his way through the heart of Los Angeles which reminds us of vintage horror cinema or something perhaps from an old Fulci archive. Do I need to mention what a great job Joe Castro has done with make-up & special fx? I didn't think so either. Castro is a one man show & his fx are right up there with Savini or Cruise.
Not unlike Otto, our alien zombie friend doesn't seem to know where he is or even truly who he is other than the fact he's homeless. Needless to say, he does manage to find clothing & even a coffee donut shop eventually although it's questionable as to whether he knows what to do with the coffee. However, his main purpose would seem to be re-animating the recently dead gay men by engaging in homosexual sex. Quite the interesting idea, eh? I can safely assure you that Hollywood would have nothing to do with this production EVER. That's not necessarily a bad thing either.
I know what you're going to say. If you're a hardcore aficionado of horror & porn or the two genres combined, it's quite possible that you will site Joe D'Amato as a point of reference at some point while reading my review. Although the comparision certainly wouldn't be invalid by a longshot, Bruce LaBruce obviously wasn't making a horror film & his story has quite a bit more heart than anything Joe ever made.
Throughout the course of the film, we see slight changes in make-up with alien zombie (François Sagat) or scenes where he appears to be completely human. It's not long before we realize he's not actually dead nor is he an alien. In fact, there's a very good possibility that he may not actually have the capacity to raise the dead at all. Nevertheless, the gooey black & blue sperm or the creature's facial expressions are a nice touch even if it's all just a figment of the homeless man's imagination.
At the end of the day, folks aren't going to get this anymore than I can understand the undeserved popularity of Justin Beiber. At any rate, L.A. Zombie is a thoughtful film indeed that capitalizes on the life of the homeless or the recent departed who lost their lives much too soon. LaBruce also shows us the beautiful yet dark underbelly of the ever fast-paced California where the homeless population continues to increase each year.
Perhaps the most touching scene is where our alien-zombie friends sheds tears at the end of the film when he makes his way though a graveyard. Although it's hard to tell whether he's crying for all the recently deceased or if fears his own eminent demise. Either way, it's evident that he's lost in a world that he didn't create & he feels powerless to change any of it.
Bottom line: Go get it whether you invest in the softocre version about ready to be released on you drop the big bucks for the HARDCORE version sold online elsewhere, you won't be disappointed. It's sexy, gooey, & in your face from the opening scene to the very last frame. What more could you possibly ask for?