Enter: Zombie King (2003) Movie Review

There are certain films in which logic is some sort of abstract notion, something to be considered but never truly taken seriously. “Enter…Zombie King” is, beyond any shadow of a doubt, one of these films. It’s a giddy, weird effort that foregoes any attempts at reasonable thought in favor of giving the audience a wild and fun romp with those lovable living dead. Zombie and wrestling fans will rejoice and sink their rotten teeth into this bizarre cross-pollination of a film, if for no other reason except it’s something they won’t see every day — thank God.

“Enter…Zombie King” opens with the world in a perfect state of harmony — except for that little problem about a zombie plague, that is. It’s here that an enterprising renegade wrestler (is there any other kind?) named Tiki plans to stage a steel cage zombie match, using the zombies he’s captured and locked in the back of his U-Haul as unwitting combatants. This is troublesome news to the superhero Ulysses, who recruits his wrestling buddies Mercedes and Blue Saint to put a stop to Tiki’s capitalist endeavor.

But the heroes discover that they’ve got more serious problems on their hands besides a renegade wrestler trying to earn a buck. It seems a rash of zombie killings (or is that killings by zombies?) are pointing right at Ulysses’ archenemy, dubbed the Zombie King. The evildoer has a nefarious plan up his sleeve, namely to release pure zombie blood into the local water reservoir in a crazed bid to transform the populace into zombies. It’s all in service of Zombie King’s plan for global domination, and only Ulysses and Tiki, along with some stragglers, can stop him.

The most surprising thing about “Enter…Zombie King” is just how eccentric and entertaining it is. Scribes Bill Marks and Sean Robb give the film an extremely loose and illogical plot structure, which is perfect since there’s absolutely no way “Zombie King” could ever be taken seriously as a movie. The best route was to go silly all the way, which is what they did. The dialogue is outlandish and over the top, and are so filled with cliché that they must have been written with high camp in mind. Of note is Ulysses’ propensity to engage in solemn Philip Marlowe/Rick Deckard-type monologues that references Aristotle and Plato.

The script also has a sense of humor that borders on being raunchy, with condom jokes, gratuitous female nudity and implied lesbianism thrown in for good measure. There are also a number of clever in-jokes for the savvy genre fans, including nods to Zombie Granddaddy George Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead”, Sam Raimi’s “Evil Dead”, the werewolf franchise “The Howling”, and even Ridley Scott’s gloomy and seminal sci-fi work “Blade Runner”.

Under the direction of Stacey Case, “Enter…Zombie King” has a nice aesthetic look that, frankly, is more than the movie deserves. Most of the night scenes have an almost European cinematic feel to them, and are very starkly filmed so that everything comes through in clear definition. Also impressive are scenes set inside the Zombie King’s lair, which are slightly (and purposely) unfocused, with overly vibrant colors to indicate the avant-garde nature of the proceedings. The movie’s outdoor sequences are also scenic and picturesque, and you’d almost want to move there and raise a family if not for the matter of those zombies. And as everyone knows, zombies and white picket fences don’t go together.

“Enter…Zombie King” also has a ton of gore, with large helpings of blood and dismembered body parts that any discerning genre fan can appreciate. The whole movie is so gleeful in its outrageousness, and the gore is so obviously fake that you can’t really be shocked by any of it. The fact that Case manages to make such a good-looking film for around $220,000, the movie’s budget, is a minor miracle. “Enter…Zombie King” proves that films don’t need a bloated budget to be entertaining.

The only problem with “Zombie King” is that the majority of the cast wears Mexican wrestling masks for practically the entire film. This is the case rather the characters are supposed to be wrestlers, ex-wrestlers, or just Joe Blow civilian on the street. It’s a quirky novelty — at first — but after a while you can’t help but wonder if the filmmakers recruited the cast from the Witness Protection Program, and were contractually obligated to hide their faces for fear of mob reprisals. The masks also hamper the acting, since they make it impossible to see facial expressions.

Overall, “Enter…Zombie King” is a truly enjoyable and mindless guilty pleasure. It won’t make you smarter or raise the quality of your life, but you’ll have a lunatic good time while it’s playing. Better yet, it’s a quick view, so you won’t have to devote too much of your valuable free time to watching it. And who knows, maybe some masked wrestlers will show up to lend the zombie fighters of Romero’s upcoming “Land of the Dead” a hand. Then again, maybe they shouldn’t.

Stacey Case (director) / Bill Marks, Sean K. Robb (screenplay)
CAST: Jason Winn …. Murdelizer
Jim Neidhart …. Sheriff Logan
Contessa Oblivian …. Cherry

Buy Enter: Zombie King on DVD