Chopper Chicks in Zombie Town (1989) Movie Review

Chopper Chicks in Zombie Town is, to put it politely, a piece of excrement of a film. Even measuring it by Schlock Horror turd-o-meter, the film is grossly incompetent, badly executed, and laughable. Despite all that, it’s sometimes hilarious, and that’s the only reason I give it an extra star.

Chopper Chicks concerns the exploits of a gang of female bikers called Cycle Sluts that wanders into a desert town where a mortician (Don Calfa) is bringing dead people back to life (re: zombifying them) by inserting a “battery” into their skull. The mortician has been making a tidy profit sending the living dead into a mineshaft filled with radioactive material, essentially using them as slave (and unpaid, natch) labor. Unfortunately things have gone awry, and the zombies are loose. Worst, the townspeople are unwilling to shoot the zombies because, as they tell the chopper chicks, “they’re family” (meaning the zombies). So now it’s up to our small band of chopper chicks and a school bus full of blind kids with access to an Uzi to wipe the living dead from the Earth.

Chopper Chicks isn’t as good as it sounds. It’s a no-budget picture shot on 16mm and writer/director Dan Hoskins knows very little about directing, so it isn’t a mystery that Hoskins has never written or directed another film since this 1989 “masterpiece”. Hoskins fails on every cinematic level, from badly executed action to horrendous reaction shots. For those who don’t know, Reaction Shots are short (and usually about second-long) close-up shots of an actor as he/she reacts to a line of dialogue or scene taking place offscreen.

Hoskins is so incompetent with the camera that his actors don’t even react in the right direction. To make matters worst, Hoskins’ directorial prowess is so miniscule that the actors playing the zombies don’t even pretend to eat the flesh of their victims, opting instead to just brush their mouth against the prop meat. At the very least I expected the prop guys to make fake meat for the zombies to chew on. That’s the least I could expect from my Zombies Attack movies.

The acting is subpar, although much better than I expected for a no-budget Schlock Horror film. The chopper chicks, led by the tough dyke (her words, not mind) Rox (Catherine Carlen), all have 1980s giant hair, and includes Dede (Jamie Rose), a former homecoming queen who just happens to come from the same redneck town that the Cycle Sluts have presently found themselves in. To prove just how small of a world it is, still residing in the same town is Dede’s husband, Donny (a pre-movie star Billy Bob Thornton), who wants to get back (into her pants). Dede is nicknamed “Face” by her fellow sluts because she’s supposed to be a looker. Unfortunately her hair was too massive for me to see her face, so I’ll let the nickname stand.

The townspeople all suffer from redneckitis, which means they act, talk, and stand around gawking like stereotypical movie rednecks. Why this is the case I can’t quite imagine, because the town looks to be in a desert somewhere — Nevada or maybe California, but definitely not in the south. The town also looks like a couple of buildings strung together, so where exactly was that high school that Dede was supposed to be homecoming queen of?

The best thing about Chopper Chicks is that when it stops trying to be serious it’s oftentimes hilarious. The beginning sequences, when the sluts arrive in the town, are truly inspired comedy. They go on a hunt for meat (yes, both kind) and find them at weird and unexpected places. Unfortunately writer/director Dan Hoskins can’t make up his mind rather to make a pure Schlock Horror film or a semi-serious Zombies Attack film, and as a result the movie is badly uneven.

When Chopper Chicks goes for laughs, it gets it, and I was plenty amused and even entertained; but when it tries to be serious (like a slut nicknamed Mama who calls her son, or another slut who dreams of being a musician), the movie flounders something awful. Hoskins should have realized he had no chance of making even a reasonably good Zombies Attack film and gone for complete hilarity. You must know your limits, Hoskins my man.

Chopper Chicks only works when it goes for the “so bad it’s good” vibe, but it stabs itself in the neck with an obviously fake knife and ruins everything by trying to go for substance. With a title like Chopper Chicks in Zombie Town, the biggest mistake you can do is even thinking about adding something serious.

Dan Hoskins (director) / Dan Hoskins (screenplay)
CAST: Jamie Rose …. Dede
Catherine Carlen …. Rox
Lycia Naff …. T.C.
Vicki Fred …. Jewel
Kristina Loggia …. Jojo
Gretchen Palmer …. Rusty
Nina Peterson …. Tanya

Buy Chopper Chicks in Zombie Town on DVD