CHOPPER CHICKS IN ZOMBIETOWN
Also Know As Chrome Hearts
Directed by Dan Hoskins
1989 – 86 minutes/Fullscreen
DVD Provided by TROMA VIDEO
Review by Mark Engle
Geez Dad! Well, maybe if you don’t eat anyone, nobody will notice.
Slut Biker women, roaming zombies, wisecracking blind kids, a mad scientist and a pistol packing Dwarf is what is at hand here from the one time director Dan Hoskins. Needless to say, many of the actors and crew had experience beforehand and left the director in the dust with movie careers far surpassing that of Bull Dykes on Bikes. Much to Billy Bob Thornton’s probable dismay, his huge mug covers a good half of Troma’s DVD release. Also noticeable on the box is a running time of 100 minutes. Nope, don’t think those cutaways on the old VHS releases were originally censored, because they were not. The film still clocks in a few seconds short of 86 minutes. There is a minor extra that does however show a few moments from the Japanese version including the alternate title sequence CHROME HEARTS and one really unconvincing moment where a zombie biker chick orally dismembers (off screen) another zombie’s penis and then takes a bite out of something resembling silly putty onscreen. Otherwise, there isn’t much new here and that is the problem. As much as it tries to be a send up of Biker, Rock and Roll, Zombie or Tough Broad gang movies, it can’t even come close to the exploitation or the entertainment values of any original genre it tries to imitate. That’s too bad because with all those genres, there is so much material to work with; it isn’t even funny, like this movie.
Rox (Jamie Rose) and her roaming Biker gang called the Cycle Sluts cruise from town to town, living the freedom to ride that Harley, get some meat (both kinds) and just cause rebellion wherever they go. They stumble into a small town by the name of Zariah. Unfortunately, their quest for good times is bad timing. It seems the local mad scientist (Don Calfa) with the aid of his handy sidekick dwarf (Ed Gale who played CHUCKY and HOWARD THE DUCK) has been putting batteries into the skulls of the recently dead (convenient for the special make up effects budget) and putting them to work in the local abandoned mine full of radiation. Well, they break loose and head into town just as our biker bitches from hell are tearing up Main Street. Rox wants to split town, but unbeknownst to her another member of her gang, Dede (Jamie Rose) was born and raised in the very said town. She was originally the Senior Prom Queen as well as married to local white trash Billy Bob Thornton. Much arguing ensues leading to catfights, horrid pratfalls involving our mad scientist and eventually turning the bikers into heroes as they save what is left of the town and a busload of wise cracking blind orphans.
With a plot like that and the right screenplay, this could have been a lot more fun than it is. Oh, there’s worse out there and Troma fans may still find it worth a look. It’s almost bad enough to qualify and it does have a few moments of gore and sexual innuendos (no nudity). But it just doesn’t have enough of it to go around or over the top, where it needs to be. Wasted is the talent of Special Effects Make Up Artist Ed French. A couple of beheadings and a decent scene of the doctor inserting a battery into a cadaver’s head are about it. Most of the zombies look like ordinary people stumbling and shuffling around with bad dubbed groaning sounds. Lead bikers, Catherine Carlen and Jamie Rose (JUST BEFORE DAWN, PLAYROOM) do alright as do the rest of the gang, but not for one minute do any of them really pass off their roles with anything more than stereotypes and bad dramatics. Most of them look good in their tight jeans and leather chaps and that is a bonus for the fans. Billy Bob Thornton has about 10 minutes screen time and even less does MTV’s Martha Quinn as one of the victims.
The Troma Transfer looks pretty clear, especially considering this was originally shot on 16 mm, but there are a few moments of pixelation especially during moments of fast movement or flashes of light (a firework scene is most prominent). The sound is also adequate. Troma manages to put in a lot of extras, but not as many as they usually load a film up with. Here you only get trailers for TOXIE 4, BLACK ANGEL and CHOPPER CHICKS, short interviews with Don Calfa, Jamie Rose and Catherine Carlen, a couple of introductions from Lloyd Kaufman and another as a Troma’s Edge TV stint, director’s commentary, the two small Japanese cuts and an Easter Egg for a music video called Cannibal Lesbian Hoedown that contains more exploitation goodies than the entire running time of the main feature. Troma fans may want to hunt this one down, but the rest of the world can leave it behind in the dust.