While Troma retains the title of the longest run independent film company the fact remains that a large part of its catalogue is crap. As much as I love T & A coupled with gratuitous violence the word quality is not often the first that comes to mind when asked about the company. Embodying many of the qualities that make Troma so endearing and frustrating is the “Zombies VS Satan” collection showcasing both Adam Minarovich’s “Wiseguys VS Zombies” and David Silvio’s “Meat for Satan’s Icebox”. Both films supposedly adhere to the Dogpile 95 (Troma’s version of Dogma 95) style of filmmaking in which natural sound, actors and locations are all appropriate. In other words the films can look completely terrible and that’s ok. However despite the rough around the edges quality to both films there is a true maverick spirit present.
“Wiseguys VS Zombies” – When mobsters Gus (Adam Minarovich) and Freddy Six Times (William Palko) are sent on a seemingly routine mission to dispose of some junkies and deliver some drugs to Florida they enocounter more than they bargianed for when a gruesome side effect to the drug just happens to be tissue reanimation. Essentially any real plot synopsis beyond this point is superfluous considering how most of the film is Gus and Freddy kicking some zombie a*s. The real find here is Minarovich whose Gus is both obnoxious and yet stragely endearing. He may be ill tempered and sarcastic but Gus sure knows how to kill the undead. “Wiseguys VS Zombies” wears its indie budget on its sleeve but is good natured enough to be engaging. They proceedings go on about fifteen minutes longer than they need to but in the end the energy brought to this project makes up for the budgetary restraints.”Meat for Satan’s Icebox” – This film is bleak, has a mean sense of humor and is absolutely tasteless…if you are still interested you just may love it. Cindy Cavatelli (Crystal Aura) is a little messed up following the violent murder of her mother which happened right in front of her. While Cindy is a drug addict/prostitute used by her father for sex she is downright wholesome compared to the other inhabitants in Satan Place. The film is chock full of cannibalism, humiliation and downright cruelty. The only wholesome character in the proceedings is repeatedly tortured and no redemption is ever provided for our characters. The film is about as far away from well made as hockey players are from playing and yet there’s something about it… Frankly on a base level “Meat for Satan’s Icebox” succeeds in much the same way the grindhouse films of David Friedman and Herschell Gordon Lewis succeeded when they were originally released, in that all of these films are unapologetic pieces of entertaining trash.
Are these films good? Not particularly. Do they accomplish what they set out to do? Absolutely. As is the case with most of the Troma catalogue of films the Zombies VS Satan collection offers funny, grotesque and good natured (in a sick and twisted way) fun for the horror fan.