I Was A Zombie For The F.B.I. Martin Penczner

A confused film that tries to be equal parts humorous send-up and serious tribute, this 1982 sci-fi schlock fest doesn't succeed on either count. Entertaining at times, the film drags more often than not and barely delivers on the promised zombies. There is nary a Romero-styled undead creature in the whole film; instead, the zombies are the people of Pleasantville, zombie-fied by an alien-produced cola and not terribly murderous or hungry. There is, however, the ZBeast, a hilariously bad-looking stop-motion monster brought by the cola-producing aliens to do their dirty work. The plot revolves around an alien invasion, two escaped criminals and a popular carbonated beverage, and while the movie does its best to tell some kind of coherent story, it frequently gets lost in the dreamy looks of F.B.I. agents Rex Armstrong and Ace Evens, who are nothing if not impeccably named. The film has all the ingredients of a quality B-movie, with a slick black-and-white style and eerie pro-American sentiments sprinkled throughout, but it still manages to fall flat at key points. While the final showdown between Armstrong and the ZBeast is a fantastic piece of stop-motion cheesiness, the rest of the film just doesn't hold up in the same way. An audio commentary by Penczner is interesting, as the distance from the time of the film's creation lends something unique to the director's perspective. The two "making of" featurettes are impressive, given the material Flashframe was given to work with (13-year-old 3/4-inch tape), but the deleted scenes were deleted for good reason. (Flashframe, www.flashframe.com)