A week from next Thursday, a solar flare will engulf the Earth, turning most of the population into zombies. Or are they vampires? Mutants perhaps? Whatever they are, they’re disturbingly horny. This is the premise behind Mutant Vampire Zombies from the ‘Hood!, a fairly enjoyable apocalyptic romp that still only scratches the surface of what could’ve been.
C. Thomas Howell stars as David, a cop looking to bust a pair of rival gangs — one black, one Asian, both stylish — during a drug transaction in a Compton warehouse. In true movie cop fashion, he brings no backup — only his pistol and his black partner (Jeremiah Birkett), who promptly gets shot. Before they all have a chance to kill one another, the sky lights up, and everyone passes out. When they wake up, they discover that that almost everybody outside has turned into zombies. (They luck out because the building they’re in has lead walls.)
“Damn, as if Compton wasn’t bad enough,” black gang leader G-Dog (Tyshawn Bryant) exclaims. “Now we have to deal with this shit.” (Really, how many gang members actually have a nickname of [capital letter]-Dog? Somebody ought to do a poll.) When they receive a television transmission from a scientist, Dr. Monte (GregAlan Williams), explaining what’s happened and asking survivors to come to his house in Santa Monica, they realize that they have to put aside their differences and band together — pig, trick and gangsta alike — to survive.
As they walk to Santa Monica (a mere 20-something miles, which, at the pace they go, should take 3 weeks), they discover that the zombies like to hump as much as they like to eat. The scientist’s stepdaughter (Johanna Watts) explains that it’s a symptom of the solar flare affecting people’s base instincts: eatin’ and screwin’. Otherwise, the mutant vampire zombies generally adhere to established cinematic zombie rules, although a select few talk and act “normally” — except for the whole eating flesh thing.
With all of the boning and chomping going on, there’s ample opportunity for campy comedy, but the humor is unevenly placed. We start with an intriguing Star Wars-y opening title sequence that never really leads to the farce you might expect, given the title. In general, the film takes itself a bit too seriously, which makes the humor feel jarring — see G-Dog’s Snakes on a Plane homage, “I’ve had it with these muthafuckin’ zombies in my muthafuckin’ hood!”
That said, the acting is good — as good as the material requires — and there is ample gore, with makeup effects from some of the folks who worked on the Pirates of the Caribbean films. The movie has a nice overall look, with a faded blue hue in the outdoor scenes that aids the apocalyptic feel. Mutant Vampire Zombies from the Hood is no classic, but it’s comparable to the similarly themed Gangs of the Dead and certainly as good as a lot of the stuff SyFy shows every Saturday night.