“Attack of the Lederhosen Zombies” (2016) Austria. Directed by Dominik Hartl. Starring Laurie Calvert, Gabriela Marcinkova, Oscar Giese, Margarete Tiesel, and Karl Fischer.
Welcome to the first installment of OMG Theater!
As a movie buff, I have one mantra: You have to see bad movies in order to know what a good movie is.
I firmly believe this.
OMG Theater will be an attempt to find the worst horror movies around. My intention is to warn and to inform you, the reader, as to the existence of films that confuse and annoy. It will also be a means to point out films that are so bad that they are good (example: “Plan 9 from Outer Space”) and should be seen.
Let’s take an Austrian ski resort that is having trouble getting snow. Every year, the temperature goes up. The owner has come up with a method for making more snow. By throwing together a number of chemicals, he has found a way to improve his slopes. Of course, there are likely side effects, like the deer eating the human arm at the start of the film.
A possible investor, a Russian named Chekov, is sprayed with some of the chemical as he watches the process. Like any “good” Zombie story, he starts throwing up bright green in the first five minutes of the film. They are all like that. Well, maybe not.
Of course, the owner is so greedy, he decides not to call a doctor until the man invests. Needless to say, he mutates and starts biting people and spreading the disease. We’ll get back to the impending Zombie Outbreak in a moment.
But let’s look at two expert snowboarders, Steve and Josh, who are doing a photo shoot. Both are talented. But Steve is a bit of a goof. The camera loses sight of him. When he reappears, his is totally nude boarding down the hill. He reaches the end, where a nine-year-old girl in a wheelchair is waiting to meet her hero.
Well, there now are two snowboarders out of work.
And stuck at a mountain ski lodge.
Where the After-Season Party has become populated with Zombies.
We have five survivors: the two snowboarders, their agent, Branka, the barmaid, Rita, and the greedy owner, Franz. After the obligatory “Stuck in a Bathroom Stall” scene, our five (soon to be less) heroes attempt to get to a snowmobile by hiding behind a large menu sign that they slide along and walk behind. A patch of ice short circuits the plan and gives us a view of Disney’s “Zombies on Ice”. Coming to a venue near you.
Franz, Steve and Branka get to the snowmobile and make it out. Of course, that doesn’t last as they hit a zombified deer. Franz chases off the two others with a sledge hammer (What happens on my mountain stays on my mountain). The deer is caught up in the treads of the snowmobile. The owner turns it on, making pureed venison, sending it to meet the Heavenly Father. Two other zombie deer show up and Franz screams off in the distance.
Meanwhile back at the lodge, Josh has been bit. The tough old bird Rita stays with him, in spite of his warning that he will try to kill her. Well, he does come back and receives ski poles through the eyes.
Rita’s line is epic: “Now you see me, now you don’t!”
She makes her way to the basement, where she keeps a cache of WWII machine guns and ammo. They aren’t the handheld kind you see in gangster films, but those found in a machine gun nest in every war movie.
Steve and Branka, who are romantically linked (if you consider any angry girlfriend romantic), head back to the lodge on the ski lift in hopes of saving Josh. They don’t. But, before and after the ride, we do find out that these Zombies have rhythm. Music keeps them at bay, much like the fireworks do in “Land of the Dead”. Hell, they even Polka.
Rita arrives with a machine gun and, bending a Zombie over as a stand, fires at the undead in the bar. She misses everything. Except the liquor, which is now everywhere. And a lighted candle, which ignites the liquor. Fire begins to spread, inching its way to what look like tanks that hold heating oil.
There is a great scene of the bar blowing up from a distance. It might be the best scene in the film, as they actually got the timing on the sound of the explosion right, have a long shot of the bar, a flash, a delay and then the boom. It certainly beats hearing the Death Star explode in the soundless void of space. In space, no one can hear you fart.
This, too, does not kill the Zombies, who rise from the snow like the Nazi Zombies in “Dead Snow.”
Steve decides that every Zombie must be destroyed. As nearly all survived the explosion, there are plenty of targets. From there, it’s artistic snowboarding that is used for decapitation and dismemberment. In an homage to “Dead Alive”, Rita begins to take out the Zombies with a snow blower. Hey, there is no lawn to mow.
The final sequences have a battle between the now-Zombified Franz and Branka and Steve, which ends with Franz falling to his death (undeath?) into a fan that is used to distribute the fake snow that caused all the trouble in the first place. Instead of snow, there is a blood spray that would make the Coen Brothers jealous (see “Fargo”).
We see our three survivors ready to make their way down the mountain, uncertain of their fate. Roll credits.
There are numerous references to other, better Zombie films throughout this movie. Some seem to be homages, like using the snow blower in the way that the lawn mower was used in “Dead Alive”. They even used the dotted line map gag from “The Emperor’s New Groove”, tracking the snowmobile’s progress with the map of the ski trails down the mountain. There is the bathroom scene, as well, that mirrored the Zombie film “Stalled”. This kind of Trivial Pursuits is always fun. It’s one of the reasons I love “Kill Bill.”
Much of the film is more of a show for snowboarding. In the beginning, there are long shot of snowboarders jumping from a helicopter to the slopes and heading down the mountains. During many of the zombie-killing scene, jumps, barrel rolls and other acrobatics are performed. It is obvious that there is some real talent attached to that part of the film.
The Zombies doing the polka in the bar room is a hoot! Whoever came up with that should be commended and be a judge on “Dancin’ with the Stars.” Just brilliant!
There is an overabundance of gore. Lots of blood and internal organs. Lots of beheadings, bite wounds and flying limbs.
In spite of the name of the film, which is what drew me to it, the film is not half-bad. That also means it is not “half-good” either. I thought the film was a lot more fun to watch than I imagined and recommend a viewing. Ownership, however, is not an option. If you can find it in a thrift shop, buy it.
Don’t buy it new!
IMDB shows that this film has won awards for Best Screenplay at the Buenos Aires Rojo Sangre, Best Feature and Best Special Effects at the Fantaspoa International Fantastic Film Fest in Brazil and the Best Feature Film at the Grossmann Fantastic Film and Wine Festival in Slovenia. I am speechless.