Next up in my Zombie movie marathon is The Mad. You know when people talk about the genius that is actor Billy Zane they invariably spend most of their time on his performance in Titanic. Yeah, I get it he was a heel and took a valuable spot on the lifeboat! But when I think of Mr. Zane I go straight to the Mad. I mean zombies, killer beef patties, and Canadian rednecks! That is genius…
Zane plays Jason Hunt, a man on a road trip with his girlfriend, his daughter, and her boyfriend. They are traveling to a cabin to spend some time together and for Jason to try to get his daughter and potential stepmother to bond. Along the way they stop in a small town just in time to be caught up in a zombie outbreak! Some tainted beef has turned the locals into flesh-eaters which makes it very unfortunate that they are sitting in the diner that is ground zero when the outbreak starts. They quickly lose one of their own, but gain some new allies and barricade themselves in to figure out how to survive.
Damn so I’ve noticed that a lot of the zombie movies I’ve been watching are comedies. I suppose I must be in the mood for some laughs and The Mad has plenty of those. Most of them come from Billy Zane, who I never knew had such a touch for comedy. His performance is the highlight of The Mad and can be best described as deadpan. The character’s response to the crazy zombie situation is funny because he calmly talks to himself while trying to work things out. It almost seems that he has lost touch with reality, but actually has some good ideas so maybe not. He even hallucinates while cutting up his girlfriend to examine her corpse.
There is also a scene later in the movie where he and his daughter are bonding and calmly talking while they are bashing some heads in! The thoughtfulness of the dialogue being delivered doesn’t at all match the action in the scene which gives it an awesome absurdity. It also seems that the daughter’s boyfriend only exists for horrible and funny things to happen to him. He gets his foot bitten off, gets shot by a gun wielding zombie, and eventually loses his head while still getting a chance for one more “touristy” photo! The best part is that even when not eaten the beef is still dangerous as it slithers around waiting for any chance to attach itself to an unsuspecting victim, the boyfriend being one.
The Mad has decent gore effects. The zombies are all fresh so you don’t get too much in the way of featured zombie. Though the girlfriend who is technically not a zombie looks great in the hallucination scene where she and Jason are discussing what dress she wants to wear at the funeral. Most of the zombie’s feasting is off screen, but there is a good throat rip and some pitchfork mayhem. For what looks to be a small budget I was happen with what they put on screen.
Solid gore, decent characters, great lead actor, and a genuinely funny story all add up for a good time. The Mad can be streamed or purchased on DVD on the cheap. I recommend that everyone check it out. I’ve had my old DVD for at least ten years and it never sits more than a few months between viewings.
© Copyright 2017 John Shatzer
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