Terror of the stars
Sweet purring from above
A pat on the head
Thy vengeance will scratch
Death is a cat from mars
That passage begins Zombie Cats from Mars, along with other title cards that make up the film’s padded-out introduction. Before the text, however, the audience is told that “the following is based on catual events”. It’s a lame play on words that foreshadows this unbearable B-movie knockoff.
I suppose much of the film’s shabbiness could be blamed on its intention to pay homage to klutzy low-budget sci-fi/horrors. That would be too cheap of a scapegoat for director Montetré and screenwriter Ryan Cloutier, but that doesn’t stop the duo from leaning on this crutch. Watching Zombie Cats from Mars is like observing someone write off their expenses. “Yes, those performances are amateur on purpose – we can claim those. The camerawork is a little shaky in this scene and the sound is hollow, but that’s okay.” The post-production special effects have so many layers applied, no wonder that kitty-carrying UFO can’t fly higher.
Perhaps if Zombie Cats from Mars reevaluated its plan to please movie goers, then maybe some of these blemishes would’ve added character to the film’s modest production – a true nod to horror classics. Aaron K. Carter turned in impressive results when he did this with his dinky zombie flick Dead Kansas. In Montetré’s heavy-handed farce, the intimidation from the young leads show throughout and side characters are given too much backstory with not enough screen time. The felines, on the other hand, are the only ones nailing their cold, calculated roles. Then again, that’s not much of a stretch for a cat.
Saturday Night Live, while littered with slumps outside of their political satire, has the leg up on Zombie Cats from Mars as far as ridiculous premises involving cats go. The entire Lazer Cats “franchise” (portrayed through the show’s groundbreaking digital shorts) has more pep and parody in its dewclaws than Montetré’s movie has in its entire body.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie