Needless to say, George A. Romero Night of the Living Dead is one of THE most influential independent films of all time. The various strands of his web reach far into the world of film – not just horror. However, what may not be as well known is that Romero wasn’t the only real filmmaker on the crew to bring Night to live.
Such a person is the “cemetery zombie” itself, Bill Hinzman. Aside from playing arguably the most important zombie in modern horror film history, Hinzman was also a cinematographer Night of the Living Dead and became a regional filmmaker in his own right.
Bill Hinzman somehow wanted to revisit Cemetery Zombie and wrote, directed, edited and starred in it meat eater 1988 – his shabby ode to Romero and Night of the Living Dead.
As well as Night, meat eater was filmed on location in rural Pennsylvania with friends, family and local talent. Regional horror is known for its authenticity despite operating on tiny budgets, and meat eater exudes that charm from scene to scene. There’s no story to speak of – a zombie, once buried in some sort of satanic ritual (the movie only casually mentions satanic shenanigans once), is accidentally freed from its special coffin and goes too much further, nibbling every warm body in its way and thus creating an ever-growing zombie horde in its wake.
There’s something about this Pennsylvania landscape that makes for a spooky backdrop for your budget zombie epic. The sky is always covered with steel gray clouds and the hills seem to roll on forever and ever; creating a real sense of isolation from the process.
Although the acting talent in the film is generally, well, amateur, to say the least, Bill Hinzman manages to impress meat eater With a creepy sense of dread, he sustains an odd few minutes of undead fun for a breezy 80 minutes. What struck me on my first viewing of the film was how Hinzman actually managed to surprise me with the film’s mean tone. meat eater starts off in one direction with a specific group of characters and you think you know exactly how it’s going to go from the first few minutes. But no, Hinzman pulls the rug out from under your feet.
Nobody is safe. Once the title meat eater of the title is free in its opening minutes, the film rushes from one gory set piece to the next, never striving to be more than a good time. There are no central characters. There are morals and lessons or themes. meat eater is Bill Hinzman having fun and making a movie with his friends and family.
The special effects were handled by Jerry Gergleywho has credits like Babylon 5 and the reissue of My bloody valentine under his belt. I think it’s safe to say that the real star of the film is the gore. We get lots of gross bites, a zombie slamming his arm through a stomach, ripped out organs, splattered zombie kills, and a few other bits I don’t want to spoil.
The blood isn’t as epic grotesque as we say Romeros day of the Dead; but it will leave nothing to be desired.
As mentioned above, meat eater is indeed a low budget regional indie horror film. Depending on people’s tastes and preferences, their mileage may vary when it comes to accepting the film’s offer. meat eater is done very competently. Hinzman is no hacker, but the non-actor cast is a treasure trove of awkward dialogue and ridiculous performances. However, we are horror fans; these things are often a feature, not a bug.
meat eater is one of those humble little horror gems that will make you want to share it with all your friends so they can enjoy its homemade delights. It’s a perfect “beer and pizza” flick. There’s something refreshing about watching a horror film as utterly unpretentious as this one. It’s not trying to be smart. It doesn’t try to be subversive. It doesn’t even try to say anything. It has one goal: to be as entertaining as possible.
A work of no-nonsense zombie entertainment and a tertiary piece of George A. Romero’s legacy, look for it meat eater. It’s a scream You can get it in 4K from Vinegar Syndrome!