It has been several years since director Israel Luna (Fright Flick, The Ouija Experiment, and Ouija Resurrection: The Ouija Experiment 2) announced his gay zombie film Kicking Zombie Ass for Jesus. It has finally been released as Dead Don’t Die in Dallas, which might be a safer title to market to the mainstream, but the mainstream will be in for a shock to discover this zomcom is unapologetically queer!
Queers should be prepared for this one to unapologetically drive home the conflict between hateful Christians and “we’re here, we’re queer” LGBTQs that we’re all pretty versed in by now. But don’t let several instances of overly long monologues from both sides get in the way of enjoying the indie zombie action and campy, comic fun.
A special miracle drug has been created, and the side effects eventually become apparent—zombie infection! In a small town, several LGBTQ folk and religious nuts that didn’t try the pills are thrust together as flesh hungry zombies sometimes shuffle/sometimes run around town looking for something good to eat.
The most obvious stereotypes are present—a butch lesbian, fierce and flamboyant drag queens, closet cases, an extremist pastor, secretly sinful Bible-thumpers—so the back and forth bickering between them might be a little obvious at this point in the evolution of gay horror. However, RuPaul’s Drag Race alum Willam Belli absolutely steals the comedy show here and elevates the camp above the preachy parts. She rules.
Most of the performances are tight, with a few exceptions that drag things a bit due to stop and go delivery of dialogue. The minimal, basic zombie makeup gets the job done, and the gore is absolutely delicious, with a majority of it being practical effects rather than CGI.
I do have to note for the second time in a few blogs that we have a film that uses overdone grindhouse throwback gimmicks. Here, however, they definitely add to the midnight movie spirit of the film.
Dead Don’t Die in Dallas is a fun one to watch with a group of friends, as I did. We made a sort of drinking game out of repeated moments of characters hacking up zombies yet not closing their mouths to prevent infected blood from going in. EEK! We heckled minor flaws that give the film character, like an actress clearly pulling her clothes off herself when the zombies clawing at her fail to do so, or several instances when a spotlight meant to create a silhouette effect becomes the glaring focal point of the frame.
And we all questioned each other on whether or not we missed a plot point that would explain why there’s a huge CGI fiery explosion when a character kicks a zombie out of a truck.
Other highlights include a gay kiss, a thick bear butt on the run, and even a zombutt thanks to a drooping pants wardrobe malfunction!
Because I’m a fan of Israel Luna’s horror films, I blind bought the Dead Don’t Die In Dallas DVD (pressed disc, not DVD-R. YAY!), and I’m happy to say it is definitely one of the stronger titles in my gay horror movie collection. It’s also Luna’s first fully gay-themed horror flicks, so I hope he’ll bring us more in the future.
Finally, a little off topic, when I first posted about this one a few years ago, I noted that the description reminded me somewhat of my gay zombie novella Zombied Out from my Closet Monsters collection. Therefore, now would be a good time to mention that the novella is being reprinted as a bonus in the next installment of my Comfort Cove gay horror series, due out soon!