I just couldn't resist putting a vintage Billy Zane photo in there. Can you spot it?
Maybe I'm being about a half star too generous with the flick, but then again maybe I'm not because after all it does have Billy Zane in it and I do love me some Billy Zane. Here he's the absolute antithesis of the amped up character he played in DEMON KNIGHT but it still works. Zane plays a rather quite, restrained medical doctor who is vacationing with his daughter Amy (Maggie Castle), her boyfriend, and his own prospective second wife Monica (Shauna MacDonald) who is very much at odds with teenage Amy. Against his better judgment they stop at a small town where some sort of country fair seems to be taking place, his girlfriend read an article about the town in which it was referred to as "hillbilly nouveau"--very chic apparently, so there's no getting out of it.
What none of them know however, is that the $16.95 hamburger special made from local "free range" cattle is not what it seems and before long everybody who has eaten one is foaming at the mouth and attacking all those who haven't. Naturally this brings up the discussion of whether or not they are really zombies or not--a subject they decide to leave for another time. Ultimately they learn that all the tainted meat came from one area farm and they decide that some course of action should be taken, and all sorts of bloody comic mayhem ensues. There is one especially funny scene involving father/daughter bonding as they casually fight for their lives in a field of zombies that can justifiably be called classic.
Written by Kevin Hennelly and directed by John Kalagis, THE MAD has a few new twists to offer the genre if only in the form of characterization. Haven't you always wanted to see at least ONE person keep their head on straight and think rationally during a zombie attack? Well Zane's your boy. He's virtually unflappable, even going so far as to discuss with Monica what dress she should be buried in as he performs an autopsy on her to see if he can learn more about the disease that's infecting everyone! Sure this flick isn't perfect but when you have scenes like that you have to love it.
HYPE FACTOR: Zero, zilch, nada, bupkis.
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