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MARK OF THE ASTRO-ZOMBIES - 1 Slime
Not Rated
Copyright 2002 Ted V. Mikels
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 21 September 2003

The Characters:  

  • Cindy - Brinke Stevens! For once, she is not fodder for the serial killer/demon/space alien, because she is a reporter. Reporters always survive. I have often thought about becoming a reporter, just in case something like this happens.
  • Jeff - CIA agent with a high clearance (he attends meetings with the President).
  • General Kingston - Air Force officer and desk jockey. I did not realize that a Brigadier General could be the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
  • President Pennington - The least effective President ever.
  • Crystal Collins - Get ready to listen to her talk about being abducted by aliens. This includes numerous references to suction marks that cover her body. Those aliens are some sick dudes.
  • Malvira - Tura Satana! She has, uh, changed. Here she plays a con artist and murderess.
  • The Good Aliens - Our salvation, sent by the planet Mardi Gras to save Earth from the Astro-Zombies and their cruel masters. Their leader is ASTP-73.
  • The Bad Aliens - Several bipedal iguanas and one life-size "Star Wars" action figure. The latter would be Zekith, the leader.
  • The Astro-Zombies - This is something straight out of my nightmares: an army of mimes armed with machetes.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

A highly advanced alien race desires to conquer our planet. In order to realize their goal, they create Astro-Zombies. These creatures are powered by a mixture of Clamato juice and lemon-lime Kool-Aid and they carry fearsome machetes. There are about one dozen of the murderous constructs. The Astro-Zombies run around, massacring random victims (there are multiple times when this happens, it actually gets boring).

My head hurts already and my fellow b-movie lovers know why. Twelve Astro-Zombies are going to depopulate the planet? Let me give a few clues to the aliens: the human gestation period is roughly nine months. There are over six billion of us. We can breed faster than your army of killer mimes can chop. Plus, what sort of technology level are we talking about here? Zekith's band uses a bench grinder to sharpen the machetes. They have not developed the Lansky system, let alone a Salad Shooter. How can they travel between the stars?

While the bench grinder remark is still hot, I need to inform you that, to make the sharpener appear futuristic, they wrapped it in silver duct tape (okay, so they have duct tape). Later on a glittering wall decoration is revealed to be part of an oscillating fan. The level of special effects is on par with a fan-made "Star Wars" movie; and not a single chubby kid with a lightsaber in sight.

President Pennington assembles a crack government team to find a way to stop the invaders. In addition to his secretary (not "of Defense" or "of State," just a woman who opens his mail), the cabinet includes Jeff, some scientists, and one women who has a pull-string on her back. (When you pull her string she says, "My department would be very interested in that.") Things look bad for the home team.

In another section of the overgrown fen that is the plot, Malvira kills the director and unplugs a stage prop head from the wall outlet that keeps it alive. No, I am not kidding. No I am not explaining. Anyway, Malvira's plot involves selling fictitious Astro-Zombie technology to several nations. She does not know how to make the automatons, but plans to tell the outlaw countries that she does. The expectation is that they will then give her money.

The alien's squad of Astro-Zombies continues its rampage. Over the movie's course we are treated to numerous scenes of the constructs plodding along, victims screaming, and prop machetes being removed from stage blood covered necks or shoulders. It happens again and again and again. People shoot the Astro-Zombies and even drive a stake through one, to no avail. However, that means that the creature's skin can be pierced. Why are we powerless to stop them? Heck, my crack Astro-Zombie extermination team would involve a professional wrestler, one of those funky anti-grizzly suits, and a wood chipper.

How does it work? Use your imagination.

To complicate matters further, the bad aliens start marking members of the President's cabinet with the Satanic Starfish Hickey of Ultimate Doom (SSHUD). This consists of a scene with the person walking along, a sudden modem sound, and the target slapping at their neck; when they pull their hand away a red spiral mark is revealed. A pair of Astro-Zombies then nab the afflicted person. General Kingston starts going nuts, because all of his people are missing.

Malvira and Zokar, her henchman, summon a group of foreign operatives to demonstrate their product. He then dons an outfit that looks vaguely like an Astro-Zombie and kills two innocent citizens (kidnapped earlier, I suppose). The foreign emissaries fall for the ruse! They begin bidding like mad for the secret. Looks like Jeff's agency is asleep at the wheel; why were these guys not under surveillance in the first place?

The Astro-Zombies are given orders to kill humans with a specific eye color, so more scenes of machete bloodshed follow. Except, this time, the zombies carefully remove the poor wretch's sunglasses before commencing with the chopping action (Astro-Zombies also come equipped with kung fu grip).

For some foggy reason, the human antagonists kidnap Cindy to get to Jeff. My best guess is that they plan to force the CIA agent to reveal how the Astro-Zombies are created. With that information they can complete the deal with the rogue nations and collect their money. You know what, I do not care. I want this to be over. Even the huge blinking tracking device that Jeff wears on his wrist does not help; Zokar still kidnaps him. I mean it does not help me, the captive audience. Eventually, using Jeff's last known position, another agent saves the day by shooting Zokar. When the henchman falls, he stabs Malvira in the gut.

Tidy little way to dispose of Malvira, but that pales in comparison to how the bad aliens are stopped. A flying saucer full of good aliens suddenly drops out of the script's ass. They speak to the President and his remaining staff on speaker phone, then teleport into Zekith's ship. Blam! No more bad aliens! The end. Thank goodness. When does "Samurai Jack" come on?

In retrospect, this remake is superior in some ways to the original. There are more Astro-Zombies and nowhere is there a scene of one with a flashlight held against its solar collector. The dialog is comparable in quality, the special effects are better (they exist), but the acting is definitely worse. For one, John Carradine has always been among my favorite scientific mumbo-jumbo spewers. The prop head that tries to fill in is a poor shadow of the master. It sounds more like a delusional Mycon than John Carradine.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • A planetary body larger than Earth is referred to as an asteroid.
  • The President of the United States needs to reserve the Oval Office in advance.
  • Top CIA officials are encouraged to date snooping reporters.
  • A zero gravity environment causes internal organs to decompose.
  • Evil people have a terrible taste in wallpaper.
  • Wearing a zebra bandanna will not hide that fact that your eyebrows are MIA.
  • There are two choices of beverage in outer space: Clamato and lemon lime Kool-Aid.
  • Benevolent aliens wear lots of rhinestones.
  • The FBI and the CIA work closely together. In fact, their offices are in the same building.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 7 mins - That woman is not going to make it as an actress.
  • 9 mins - She flashed the Astro-Zombie, but not the audience! What sort of weird joke is that?
  • 14 mins - "They Saved John Carradine's Brain!"
  • 25 mins - The alien's planet being older has what to do with the price of tea in China?
  • 45 mins - Meanwhile, somewhere that does not matter...
  • 55 mins - Boston! Rock on, we're saved! Yeah! Boston!
  • 60 mins - You know, I could be changing a dirty diaper right now. Except that my wife volunteered, in order to have an excuse to leave the room. Damn her.
  • 75 mins - The suspense is killing me.
  • 76 mins - Correction, this movie is killing me.

Quotes: 

  • Malvira: "I want the information that you've learned about the robotic zombies."

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

FileDialog
Green Music Note motaz1.wav Woman: "They're crazy. They're just...there's too many of them! They killed my husband! They killed my husband! I've got to get out of here. Save yourselves! Save yourselves! Ahhhhhhhhh!"
Green Music Note motaz2.wav Gen. Kingston: "The incidents that are taking place now are similar to what happened when a brilliant astrophysicist attempted to create super human beings for the purpose of inhabiting large asteroids that are speeding through our universe right now."
Scientist: "I remember that well in the media. I think they called them 'Astro-Zombies.'"
Green Music Note motaz3.wav Dr. DeMarco's Head: "My brain is a hundred times more powerful now, thanks to you."
Malvira: "Pure intellect indeed. All you are is a bad piece of taxidermy."
Green Music Note motaz4.wav Scientist: "Certainly, their intelligence has probably evolved to a point which is even beyond our comprehension. By comparison, we are mentally retarded children."

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 

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 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipmotaz1.mpg - 2.2m
Here is a scene with the Astro-Zombies attacking two people. The only thing missing is a shot of the woman with a machete buried in her neck (the prop has a half circle cut out of it).

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Comments:Write CommentPages: 1 [2]
Mark of the Astro-Zombies
Reply #9. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Jay Gowey
I made most of the masks used in "Mark".Its always funny to read how the Dr.DeMarco head looks so unlike Carradine.I used his actual lifemask from "the Howling" and simply added what was missing with latex and cheese cloth.I made Zekith alien bad guy in 6 hours.I was shown a make up appliance made by one of the other mask makers which was a kind of forehead.This didnt seem to fit the description of a burnt alien.I made him the very night I shipped the rest of the masks, machettes and gorilla arm.He was modified with a dinosaur eye and a coat of new paint.I made 4 wooden machettes (2 with cut outs)and 12 foamcore ones.A smaller metal machette was made in Las Vegas for a scene chopping open a lock and ground down by the gorilla arm.The gorilla arm turned out well and very realistic but, went unused for its actual purpose as Scott "Zokar" Blacksher has told already.I am also married to actress Nina Tepes who was killed after a shower (by Me as an astro).She is often questioned why didnt she turn around and flash the camera? The answer is she did and the shots were not used.Although Nina was happy to be in the movie she was disappointed she didnt get to be very bloody or very naked.She more than makes up for it in "One Bloody Night" (also with Brinke Stevens)soon to be released by Brain Damage Films."Mark" was my first movie to make props and masks for and was fun to makeover a world famous monster and to reunite Ted,Tura and Dr.DeMarco (from beyond the grave).Micheal Heagle made the good aliens as well as Zekiths aligator guards.Both Heagle and I designed original astro zombies both of which were rejected by fans of the original movie.For Ted I also made the masks used in The Cauldron:Baptism of Blood for Vessago and Tor.
Re: Mark of the Astro-Zombies
Reply #10. Posted on September 26, 2007, 07:28:02 AM by knightsaber1
Well, there's one thing I can possibly say about the film at this point: it's the only movie I've ever seen where THE PLOT POINTS WERE SCROLLING ON THE BOTTOM OF THE SCREEN!!1!  Question
Re: Mark of the Astro-Zombies
Reply #11. Posted on April 06, 2008, 07:28:00 PM by Bentmen
We (The BENTMEN) did the music for MOTAZ.

We wrote over five hours of music for the film without seeing a single frame of footage -- just going by Ted's synopsis, a few stills on his site and our own imaginations.

When the band got the final cut, we laid out the primary scenes and characters on a grid and started working in a leitmotif fashion -- mixing and matching the music with the major themes, rather like paint by numbers.  The entire score was assembled on a G4 Powerbook in Adobe Premiere.

The BENTMEN are known for being a very heavy rock band, and while there is ample proof of that in the film, we also wanted to take the opportunity to branch out into some different musical realms in which we don't often get to play.  Accordingly, we approached a number of sessions as "chamber music," with small sub-sections of the group performing.

Of course, once we merged the music from our giant misshapen rubber heads with the actual film, the tracks just landed the way they did because of their proximity to one important cue or another.  We would align the musical hit with the action, then lengthen the duration at either end to fit as needed and crossfade between the tracks before and after.

This led to some of the most interesting moments for us as a band, which were the accidental collages that result from interpolating two or more pieces together that hadn't been originally conceived that way, but were made so by the necessities of the plot.

We also did all the sound effects for the movie.  Every gunshot, every machete chop, door slam, ringing phone, along with ambient background sounds, individual sounds for every type of device in the alien's lab had to be manually inserted and aligned with frame-accuracy. 

It was, frankly, a colossal task, but we had a blast.

Tedís primary direction to us was that we leave no dead spots in the movie -- fill it with as much music as possible -- and to treat it as "serious camp," in other words, nothing jokey about the tone. 

In fact, the only intentional joke we put in was using the sound of a modem as part of the titular "Mark" administered by Zekith and the Bad Aliens.  Judging from the copious amount of duct tape and styrofoam in their spaceship, we felt it likely these guys were using a dial-up connection!

We had a blast doing the score for this movie and Ted is a joy to work for.  So we hope you enjoy this big, loud, bloody, ridiculous, rock 'n' roll comic book of a movie, and as always, stay Bent!

http://www.bentmen.com
http://www.myspace.com/bentmen
Re: Mark of the Astro-Zombies
Reply #12. Posted on October 03, 2008, 04:45:00 PM by daniel shepherd
LOL, an army of mimes with machetes, that's something from my nightmares, too. This movie re-defines the meaning of B-movie.
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