Still courtesy of TIFF.
A spiritless, pointless amalgam of gory zombie picture and hardcore porn, L.A. Zombie is the confluence of two cultural crosscurrents that nobody asked for. Shot on crummy-looking digital and realized by the incompetent Bruce LaBruce, it looks like a homework assignment cranked out by the insufferably pretentious kid in the Tom Savini master class.
LaBruce uses his zombie (international porn star and muscle-bound swingin’ dick François Sagat) as an allegorical straw-man. It’s a pretty clever conceit, which may explain why every other person to ever make a zombie movie ever in the history of the whole of cinema has done exactly the same. The bloody axe LaBruce brings to the grindstone is the impoverishment of urban Los Angeles. Many have already touted L.A. Zombie for its unflinching look at L.A.’s marginalized community, and for its use of real-life homeless persons. Yes. Kudos to you, Mr. LaBruce, for being so daring as to cinematically exploit those suffering on the margins of the City of Angels. But one wonders how these bleakly authentic specimens would feel if they knew they were being filmed for a movie in which François Sagat skull-fucks a dead gangbanger.
L.A. Zombie leaves open the question of whether Sagat’s roving vagrant is actually undead, or just another disenfranchised schizophrenic. But more pressing questions raised include: Who cares? Who keeps giving Bruce LaBruce money to make movies? When will they stop? Like Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, and Wendy’s Baconator, LaBruce may well be a product of our troubled times. And while it’s unlikely that he’ll just go away if we choose not to look at him, it couldn’t hurt to try.
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