by Jason Grooms In a bizarro world where Clint Eastwood forgets how to act, zombies eat their own guts, and being a cowboy means hunting the undead with a bb gun, one man stands alone as the hero, a man who faced impossible odds. This man who did what no ordinary human being could possibly do, what no one thought could be done. He watched every second of Quick and the Undead. That man…was me. OK, so it wasn’t really that bad. In fact for a (really) low-budget indie horror flick it was pretty damn good. But like a ripe tub of limburger, some bites required a little nose pinching. Written, produced, and directed by Gerald Nott (most known for his assistant editor credits), Quick and the Undead was released in 2006 by Anchor Bay Entertainment who is responsible for releasing the Evil Dead trilogy on VHS on DVD. It features the nearly unknown talents of Clint Glenn as the hero Ryn Baskin, Parrish Randall as Blythe Remington (the J.R. Ewing of zombie hunters), Nicola Giacobbe as the underhanded Hans and Erin McCarthy as the lone female lead Hunter Leah.
The story begins 80 plus years after an unknown viral apocalypse, and the government has put a bounty on all zombies and which is what all of the movie’s characters have settled into for an apparently profitable vocation. The movie opens with a gnarled montage of a Clint-Eastwood-esque character named Ryn Baskin amputating a finger then carefully arranging it, along with a dozen others, into neat little rows. Then slowly and dramatically he injects himself in the arm with a strange clear liquid (and more than a few bubbles). After a little more careful preparation Ryn sets out on his motorcycle and meets up with a weaselly character named Hans to make a deal for a bucket of zombie chum. After a rousing albeit brief game of zombie-head target practice, Ryn is promptly double-crossed and left for dead over a bag of zombie fingers. Once the bad guys (and girl) are gone, Ryn slowly awakens and seems to recover from a point-blank gut shot (and a zombie bite to the forearm) and begins his quest for vengeance against the evil-doers. With the help of a seemingly repentant Hans, Ryn tracks the unethical zombie hunters to a place called Union City where we learn that the lead ne’er-do-well, Blythe Remington has been infecting people with zombie juice on purpose in order to keep his hunting business going. The climax has a few twists including a spy amongst Blythe’s gang and lots of zombie irony including a cool “reawakening.”
In a year when Big Momma’s House 2 grossed over $137 million internationally, it’s easy to lose perspective and think that a micro-budget film like Quick and the Undead should have makeup and effects on par with the remake of Dawn of the Dead. This movie was made with a scant $100,000 and completely unknown actors, yet it still managed to tell a decent story. The protagonist Ryn was a not-so-subtle amalgam of Clint Eastwood’s past western characters but he had attitude and a completely badass duster and hat combo going on. Don’t get me wrong, there are a few plot holes and some lines of dialogue that make you squint and say, “um….what?!” Take this exchange between Ryn and Hans after Ryn puts down a couple zombies. Ryn: “Every Hunter has rules, kill the fresh ones first, their muscle tissue is still intact, they’re still capable of running and lunging, then pick the rotting ones off one by one.” Hans: “What if you are outnumbered?” Ryn: “Numbers don’t matter if you stay in an open field. Most zombies are slow, you can outrun them. That is why you never go inside; a zombie will always outlast you, and get you when you’re trying to escape. Never go inside.” Huh? What does going inside have to do with outlasting? Is it suspension of disbelief or suspension of logic? It is after all a zombie movie. On that note, zombie purist may not take to movie because of the distinct lack of flesh eating action and weird mix of zombie makeup styles (not to mention the weird roaring sound they seem to make toward the end of the movie) but there are a few good gore-hound satisfying scenes including one in which a captive zombie is made to eat his own guts. There also isn’t a lot of real western or cowboy action either. In fact aside from Ryn’s cool-as-hell wardrobe, the whole thing has more of a “modern redneck Texarkana” vibe than old west meets living dead. Quick and the Undead gets 2 out of 5 wedges.
The Quick and the Undead Trailer