Whether you like them or not, there is a lot to be said for Full Moon Features’ turnaround time when it comes to the exploitation of worldwide epidemics, and it is even more special when you consider the practicality of it all.
A lot of you have heard of Full Moon Features, especially the hardcore bloodhounds, who remember horror fare like the Puppet Master series or maybe late-Stuart Gordon’s Re-Animator film back when Charles Band (owner and founder of Full Moon Features) ran another company called Empire Pictures. The brand has faced many hardships since the turn of the new millennium, but has kept itself alive with busy hands and fast production. It hasn’t always led to the best result, but they are an interesting relic of a bygone era, and I can’t help but want them to succeed in spite of their worst traits. Recently, it feels like Full Moon Features has built itself some level of momentum.
They recently launched an ambitious new endeavor aptly named the Deadly Ten, all about filming and producing a series of otherwise unrelated films before the eyes of its fans. Before Halloween 2019, they released their first film in the series, a horror b-movie called Weedjies: Halloweed Night (check out my review) and, in November, they released a supernatural-horror film called Necropolis: Legion (check out my review).
Their website for the Deadly Ten shows their full catalog, along with some information about their upcoming release dates, but the information is inconsistent at best. Blade: The Iron Cross (a spin-off to the Puppet Master series) was billed as premiering in April, however, the release date was changed to June without any explanation. It could have been affected by the ongoing Corona outbreak, but I imagine it is in a different way than we might expect. Considering how close it came to the release date, I have to imagine their new Blade film is more-or-less in ready form, but that they halted post-production and allocated all of their resources to making this film – Corona Zombies.
I have no real qualms about Full Moon Features creating a film about a worldwide epidemic. Some may, but I don’t. First and foremost, I understand why they made the film – they wanted to catch the zeitgeist by exploiting a pertinent topic in today’s society. That is the bread and butter of Full Moon Features, of Troma, and of many other low-budget horror companies. They are making light of a serious topic and I have no real issue with that.
So many horror films make light of tragedy merely by dramatizing it into a feature-length film. The devil hates mockery, and sometimes I think many of us lose sight that no topic needs to be off-limits, so long as the intentions are sincere and good.
Corona Zombies was produced and directed by Charles Band. Something I was curious about heading into this film was how they managed to make a feature length film so fast. Did they take a risk and predict the Corona virus would become a cultural phenomenon? The first assumption I made was that they already had a zombie film in the pipeline and would re-brand it as Corona-related with the minimal amount of effort. My next guess was that they would do something similar to Puppet Master: Legacy, which took scenes from previous Puppet Master films and stitched them together with new footage in-order to reach feature length. I was in the ballpark, but I wasn’t ready for the film had in-store.
Corona Zombies opens with a young and ditsy woman on the cellphone as she hears the news about the ongoing virus outbreak. The dialogue is cringe-inducing and timely, with her complaining about how she couldn’t buy hand-sanitizer or toilet-paper, she watches the news on her television, watching a broadcast that underscores how shoddy and rushed production for this film was. Some of the graphics are choppy and even downright broken. (You will also find that her cellphone isn’t in a call as a small goof.)
Then, the next scene arrives and … as I expected … they used stock footage from other zombie outbreak films. However, what I didn’t expect was for them to do voice-over work to that footage, which neither synchronizes with what anyone’s saying nor tries to hide it. It has all the functionality of a commentary track overlaying the voice actors.
Most, if not all the scenes, and their enjoyment will depend on whether you are entertained by quips and one-liners aimed at popular culture and name-drops, entirely removed from the footage displayed on the screen. In one segment that appears to be from a period zombie-war film, voice-overs make comments about an old boat not being “Lysol’d in years” or that the zombies might be coked out civilians from a Charlie Sheen party. All of it is stupid, but, more importantly than that, it doesn’t work on any level.
If you can believe it, I never expected Corona Zombies to be a good film by any definition of the phrase. Full Moon Features has never shied away from misleading their viewership or disrespecting their (rightfully) dwindling fan base in hopes of an easy buck. I want them to return to form, but they have neither the skill nor resources to do that.
Corona Zombies is the worst film released by Full Moon Features and as someone who has seen most of them, that’s saying a lot. The film is lazily thrown together schlock (and not the Troma kind) with no redeeming quality except in its revelation – not only will Full Moon Features never be what it once was, it doesn’t deserve to be.