An isolated farm house in. A desperate group of people trapped inside. Zombies overrunning the countryside, with a hunger for human flesh. Bill Hinzman playing the Cemetery Ghoul. Vince Survinski playing a character named Vince, with a rifle and a surly attitude. But wait…. Teenagers on a hayride? Suddenly I realize I’m not watching some colorized version or remake of . I’m watching the film it seems Hinzman was destined to write, produce, direct and star in. I’m watching Flesh Eater.
Okay, let me be upfront. Hinzman freely admits on this disc that he basically stole the Cemetery Ghoul from NOTLD and figured he could turn a profit on it. So this film is kind of like NOTLD light. Perhaps a little bit of the plot will explain it better than I can: a bunch of teens are out on a hayride when the driver takes them past a farmer taking down an old tree stump. Under the stump is a coffin with a heavy chain and deadbolt wrapped around it, and a weird, ritualistic phrase about the return of evil. The farmer, not following the warning anyone who’s ever seen a horror movie would, breaks the chain and opens the coffin. The Cemetery Ghoul automatically awakens and goes on a human buffet, attacking some of the hayriders and several others over the course of 90 minutes.
Is this movie derivative of Romero’s masterpiece? Yes. It’s also poorly acted and scripted; watch the scene with the young couple in the barn where the girl just wants to have sex and the guy is reluctant! (Yes, this is a fantasy.) But on a visceral level, Flesh Eater delivers the goods. There’s plenty of blood, gore and naked females. On that end, the film packs a punch and gives the audience what it would want from a monster film. My favorite part of the film is when Hinzman eats his own daughter! Yes, shameless Bill cast Heidi Hinzman as a 12-year-old victim.
The special features on the film are fair, considering what a low budget affair the film itself was. The highlight is the 35 minute featurette, Back into the Woods. Hinzman discusses his early career and sheds some light on the background and filming of the film. Special effects guy Gerard Gergely discusses details of his work, including how he accidentally had Hinzman bite into a real cow’s heart. Producer and actor Andy Sands proves just how cheap low budget filmmakers can be. These stories are not terrible, but listening to these three for upwards of a half hour gets boring really fast. They don’t seem to have so much enthusiasm for the project. The disc also presents the film’s score over stills from the film; this was interesting. Also available are trailer for Flesh Eater and three of the worst films ever made (I’ll argue with you if you like Fulci’s Zombi 2). If trailers are meant to get me to watch a movie, they made me shun Flesh for the Beast and Blood Feast 2: All You Can Eat. The crown jewel of the special features is by far Hinzman’s zombie pizza commercial. It’s a funny romp! But as a friend pointed out the first time I watched this disc, it really should’ve been for Tombstone Pizza.
If you like zombie movies and have a sense of humor, you’ll want to see Flesh Eater. Don’t expect a masterpiece, but do watch it knowing you’ll get some punch.