In “Zombied Out,” the novella from my horror fiction anthology Closet Monsters, the gays in a small town discover they’ve all been outed because every straight person has been infected and turned into a flesh eater. While I’ve yet to see that plot in a zombie film, here are two films in which gays go through an outing process as they take on zombies!
ZMD: ZOMBIES OF MASS DESTRUCTION (2009)
ZMD: Zombies of Mass Destruction is a total horror comedy…that is also a commentary on conservatism and religion. So it might piss off certain viewers. For all the liberal bitches, it’s fucking awesome!
The first half hour introduces us to a perfect little church town and our main characters: an Iranian chick, two gay guys, and the liberal ex-wife of the conservative mayor. The Iranian chick was born in America but all the locals treat her like she’s a terrorist. The gay couple is in town so that one of them can come out to his mother. And the mayor’s ex-wife is running against him in an upcoming election.
Just when you think the film isn’t going anywhere, the first zombie attack jolts you out of your seat…and it’s uber gory as well! From that point on, action, guts, and laughs abound. The gays kick ass, fighting their way across town to the church where the mayor, his ex-wife, and other survivors are holed up, while the Iranian chick takes refuge in the basement of her Republican neighbors’ house. The Republican father happens to be Russell “Doc” Hodgkinson of Z Nation. Bonus.
Satire time! Considering the local preacher blames everything on Muslims and gays, the Iranian girl is forced to take a pass-or-die citizenship test while the gays are subjected to conversion therapy!
Meanwhile, the mayor’s ex-wife plays dirty politics, running a smear campaign accusing him of being infected. This shit is probably exactly what will happen when the zombie apocalypse really hits.
Rather than an actual parody film, Stripperland simply mirrors the plot and structure of Zombieland, complete with the “rules” (my favorite being the one about zombies walking slow because strippers love high heels). The heroes here are heading for the zombie capital of the country.
Zombie strippers have overtaken the world, which is bad news for a geek who loves strippers and wants one for a girlfriend. He teams up with a tough cowboy on a hunt for treats baked from scratch, and they are soon joined by a couple of tough chicks unaffected by the zombie stripper outbreak.
Stripperland is as stupid funny as you’d expect and made me laugh out loud quite a bit. Despite it being about zombie strippers, it avoids going into extreme tasteless exploitation territory. There’s not even much nudity! There is plenty of gore though. Much of it is that cheap flying CGI shit, but a chainsaw massacre scene is a hoot. Plus, along with Zombieland, fun is also poked at horror films like Evil Dead and Dawn of the Dead.
The cast rules and Ben Sheppard, who plays the geek, is adorable. There are several cameos as well. Daniel Baldwin is a white rapper whose performance reminds the characters that strippers will immediately start dancing when they hear hip hop. Lloyd Kaufman is the geek’s father in a flashback. And Linnea Quigley comes on the scene right near the end of the film.
So where’s the gay character? Well, he’s in the entire movie, but if you want to be surprised, don’t read on because it’s SPOILERLAND!
I at first thought we had a gay character in the “celebrity” they come across. No, it’s not Bill Murray. It’s not even an actual big horror name—would have been cool if they’d gotten an actual icon to play himself. The celebrity here is supposed to be a butch film star…who is now wearing women’s clothing! He says that he’s not a drag queen and is only using the clothing as camouflage to walk amongst the zombie strippers undetected. But I wonder, because there’s a beefcake poster on an easel in his living room. Hm….
So who is the definite gay guy? It is…the cowboy! In a very clever move, there is no mention of his sexuality for most of the movie. He just seems like a hardened loner, so I didn’t think twice when he was oblivious to one of the chicks coming on to him. But later in a tender moment, he starts to cry and admits—in a flashback—how much he misses his treat-baking man!
Bam! Our zombie killing tough cowboy man is gay! And he only references his sexuality once more in the entire film when he addresses his butt as “my rainbow ass.” Classic. Added this one to my collection immediately after streaming it.