By Admin | September 20, 2005

Sign of the Apocalypse Number 317A–A Shock-O-Rama Cinemas film released without Misty Mundae in it.

So what we have here is Green Day’s “American Idiot” crossed with George Romero’s indefatigable “Dead” trilogy. A gravely consumerist society of sheep easily lead by the phony shepherds in the media faces unprecedented terror by way of the Lazarus Virus, a virus that brings the dead back to life. Though the virus was never named in the “Dead” trilogy it’s pretty much accepted that a virus of some kind was behind it all, so the parallels are solid.

Anyway, Channel Five news gets the idea that the dead walking the earth is really going to be a drag on advertising rates, so its powers that be start feeding the public a false image of the danger. They’re bound and determined to ignore the zombie threat, carrying on with cooking shows and smiling weathermen.

One of Channel Five’s newscasters learns that a government-imposed blackout of walking dead reporting is in place, and so she sets out to restore the glory of the Fourth Estate with the help of her cameraman and a deranged military guard so she can fulfill media’s true purpose and alert the people.

Damn, Shock-O-Rama! I had thought you guys incapable of nothing more than Misty Mundae-based smut and gore / exploitation cinema! This is a valid plotline, packed to the gills with timely and appropriate plot points. This could very well be happening right at this minute! I’m IMPRESSED!

But let’s not pass out the champagne just yet…execution is a vital part of a plot. Shock-O-Rama has a serious opportunity on its hands to become a vital and relevant studio with this incredible plotline…let’s just hope they don’t drop the ball.

And the first minute and half…it’s a laugh. Trust me, it’s a laugh. But at the same time, it sets up the scene excellently. I’m amazed at how well this is going so far and I’m only six minutes in. Even within the first ten minutes, disturbing and chilling reports of government acts that strip citizenship and civil rights away from those who are “suspected to carry the virus” should frighten and alarm the viewers. Scenes of regular citizenry who believe the news serve to supplement the unnerving feeling that courses through the movie like adrenaline through its viewers’ bloodstreams.

The execution is magnificent. I can’t say anything but. They even add fake advertisements for funeral homes who will find the reanimated corpses of your loved ones, re-kill them in “the most humane manner possible” and then re-bury them “according to their wishes.”

The acting is surprisingly high-calibre for such a small release–it’s head and shoulders above anything I’ve seen to date from Shock-O-Rama.

A truly ironic sequence around the twenty three minute mark, where the governor of Rhode Island pronounces the return of normalcy over a tape-delay video feed whilst zombies snack out on human soldiers serves to underscore even further the depths of what we’re seeing here. And an obvious jab at the government’s Homeland Security division comes into play at the twenty four minute mark with a “Happy-Times news reel” from “The Department of Homeland Safekeeping”. Bravo to Shock-O-Rama for a gutsy and ultimately effective jape.

I could’ve done, however, without the long and rambling soliloquy that runs into the forty minute mark. It probably wasn’t necessary, and the movie has a long enough run time without needing to add footage.

And I don’t know what was with the sequence at the forty six minute point, except maybe to underline the obsession that pathologically screwed up guard has with a certain newscaster. But then, it also could be a commentary on the depths a lawless society will sink to. Who knows?

The ending is an almost gleefully triumphant sequence where the truth the media was supposed to stand for prevails over the totalitarian government control. But the glee of the proceedings doesn’t last long as the truth catches up to the media, and to the rest of the world, with a vengeance. The warning came far too late. And the media rides the quest for that truth down in flames.

The special features include commentary tracks from the cast and crew, a behind the scenes featurette, a collection of short films, a retrospective of the last year of Shock-O-Rama releases, and trailers for “Feeding the Masses”, “Suburban Nightmare”, “Prison A Go-Go”, “Bite Me!”, “Screaming Dead”, “Vamps 2”, “Sinful”, and “Chantal”.

All in all, “Feeding the Masses” is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. Plausible in the extreme, and all too likely, it is an excellent story presented in a manner that surpasses most low-budget filmmaking on an exponential level.

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