Zombie 108 DVD Review
Written and directed by Joe Chien
2012, Region 2 (PAL), 88 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on 30 July 2012
Chien Jen Hao as Pervert
Jack Kao as SWAT Commander
Chloe Lin as Chloe
Kevin Lee as Gangster
In the midst of a zombie outbreak in Taiwan, a SWAT team and a group of gangsters combine forces in order to survive. Elsewhere, a woman and her daughter are kidnapped by a demented pervert who locks Mummy up in his torture basement and feeds her daughter oranges as the world goes to Hell outside.
Straight to DVD cinema might be bursting at the seams with amateur zombie movies, but Zombie 108 is Taiwan's first ever contribution to the cause. It's certainly a cause for concern, since Zombie 108 is one of the most demented zombie horror films I have seen since The Taint. It keeps The Taint's sense of balls-to-the-wall splatterpunk and purposeful offensiveness (if you've not seen it – look it up now) but drops the irony from the ironic misogyny.
It opens promisingly, its fan funded budget (900 people reportedly donated money to its creation) appearing to have been money well spent. While the opening is not particularly original, it has a verve and professionalism worthy of any big screen blockbuster. The action sequences keep rolling throughout, creating a heady mix of martial arts, torture horror and even a little parkour. It's all been done (mostly better) before elsewhere, but Taiwan's first ever zombie horror film isn't a complete waste of time.
But as enjoyable as the action scenes and gore gags are, the sequences set in the Pervert's basement (he's actually credited as 'Pervert') leave a very foul taste in the mouth. I'm of the opinion that rape as a device in horror movies is best used very sparingly (if at all) and never in comedy horror hybrids. As rubbish comedian Daniel Tosh recently found out to his detriment, rape jokes are never funny. It's a shame, since Chien Jen Hao is fascinatingly disgusting as the Pervert. His house powered by zombies chained to a wheel, he's the film's most bizarre character. What he does with an octopus puts even Oldboy to shame, his basement filled with cages of captive women. The leer of the camera alternately attempts to titillate its audience and play certain moments for laughs. It would have been nice if Zombie 108 could have found something better for Hao to do than spend the film raping women in his zombie-powered house. The rest of the characters are unmemorable and uninteresting by comparison, but at least they have the good grace to lay off the rape.
The rest of the plot has been lifted unashamedly from The Horde, most notably in a scene in which the cops and gangsters fight off zombies from the roof of a parked car. It owes heavily to many sources, shamelessly pillaging wholesale from them. More distracting, however, are the occasional lapses into the English language and Taiwanese characters running around with Western names like 'Chloe'. Best of all is a scene in which the characters create a giant SOS from dead bodies.
As a first foray into zombie horror goes, Zombie 108 doesn't fare too badly. However, its unpleasant and distracting scenes of sexual violence are ill-advised and poisonous. It's worse than forgettable – it's memorable for all the wrong reasons.
Video and Audio:
The soundtrack is full of heavy metal, which is fitting given the film's attitude. It doesn't look like anything special, but is still better than a lot of straight to DVD horror movies.
There's a lengthy 'Making Of' feature, a gory photo gallery and some trailers.