Sunday, May 31, 2009
When Bad Plots Attack
I am watching ZOMBIE NATION (yes, yes, I know I have a fixation with zombie movies and books), it's a half hour into the film, and there have been so many idiotic plot points and incongruous settings, a few shambling zombies can only add some realism to the goings on here.
In a nutshell, a cop is arresting women on idiotic pretenses, such as jaywalking, applying lipstick while driving (which is stupid, but not necessarily arrest-worthy), and for no apparent reason at all; kidnaps them; takes them to a warehouse; looks into their mouths with a doctor's light, injects them with something, then stuffs them in a duffel bag and buries them. We won't even go into the lame reasons behind his behavior, shown in an abuse of the time honored gimmick of flashbacks. It's just too stupid.
Okay, his mom used to work at an insane asylum, where she'd chain the inmates and make them spank one another while he watched. Happy?! I'm not either.
His partner, an honest yet stupid rookie, suspects there is something amiss after he sees his partner lugging said duffel bag into the trunk of their squad car...oh...about a dozen times? Only then does he finally talk to his police captain. The result is a round of fisticuffs between the good yet wussy cop and his psycho partner, suddenly surrounded by a passel of men and women who bear no resemblance to the cops we saw in the previous scene. They're not even wearing uniforms, fer crissake! After the fight (bad cop wins by knocking good wuss into a pile of conveniently placed cardboard boxes - this police station has something for everyone ), the police chief promptly tells one of his officers to find a fall guy before 'the public' hears about this cop in a uniform kidnapping women. The police station, btw, is in a warehouse with a roll up door, a huge pipe running past the police chief's desk into cavernous darkness behind him, and, for some incomprehensible reason, there is a huge gong hanging up behind him as well.
I mean, really, people. I understand low budget films and the need to make due with what you have. But making due is different than ignoring things that make the scenes so obviously wrong and fake that you've lost credibility after ten minutes. It's not that difficult to angle the camera to hide the pipe. You don't SHOW the rolltop door in your supposed police station. If that's the only set your budget will afford, you disguise the fact instead of lovingly filming a scene set with the rolltop door as a backdrop. And...a gong? I shakes my head.
Ah well. 45 minutes into the film and still no zombies. I feel cheated.
No...wait, the zombies have appeared. Why? Well, one of the cop's victims is a young gal from Slovakia who conveniently went to see some voodoo priestesses before being kidnapped (we know this because a: we saw it and b: her brother tells reporters this fact when asked if he's worried about her disappearance) and after her death, they wiggle their fingers over a white snake and bring the dead girls back to undead life as zombies. You know they're zombies 'cause they stagger a bit, have black make-up around their eyes and...well, that's about it. Oh, and they do eat the flesh of the living. But for women stuffed into the ground for several weeks/months, they're in remarkably good shape other than that nasty case of raccoon eye. I've seen shabbier clothes at my local Goodwill. And I'd love to know what brand of lipstick these zombie babes are using 'cause it has some awesome lasting power. We will assume they're gonna eat the cop at some point. I wish they'd eat the writer and director.
What does this have to with writing, you might ask? Yes, I'm talking about a movie in this specific instance. But I firmly believe the mistakes, stupidity and just plain sloppy plotting that are making me want to drive spikes into my eyes...no, into the screenwriter's eyes... and bang someone's head against a wall can translate just as easily into writing, whether it be mystery, horror or, in this, case, unintentional comedy.
What about you? Have you ever read a book or scene a movie where you felt slapped in the face by stupidity and lost all good will towards the author or filmmakers? Share your horror stories! I need company about now...