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Schlock Value in ‘Chopper Chicks’

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Imagine a distaff “The Wild One” crossed with “Night of the Living Dead” and you’ll have a rough idea of “Chopper Chicks in Zombietown,” the latest zany Troma production to play Fridays and Saturdays at midnight on an open run at the Vista Theater in Hollywood.

It’s a deliciously trashy title, and thankfully it’s not been wasted: This is a diverting piece of deliberate schlock with a healthy share of laughs that’s just right for midnight-movie fare. Our “chopper chicks” are eight female motorcyclists who call themselves the Cycle Sluts. While tooling across the country they come upon a seedy Southwest mining town that is rapidly losing its population of 128. Seems the local undertaker (a delightfully depraved-looking Don Calfa) is knocking off the locals and somehow turning them into zombies for his own nefarious purposes. The Cycle Sluts are one bunch of tough ladies, but before you can say “Seven--or rather Eight--Samurai” they’re coming to the town’s rescue.

The R-rated film’s all raunchy action and pure nonsense, which is just fine. Writer-director Dan Hoskins builds to a finish of cockamamie bravura and manages to keep his capable and enthusiastic cast from breaking up--surely no easy task.

Jamie Rose is the one chopper chick who doesn’t want to stay over in the derelict village because it’s the hometown she fled. Leader of the Sluts is Catherine Carlen, hilarious as a crusty, take-charge (but heart of gold) type, a lesbian and proud of it. As usual, Troma once again stirs up mayhem too make-believe to be morbid and laughter that is not at the expense of anyone.

‘Chopper Chicks in Zombietown’

Jamie Rose: Dede

Catherine Carlen: Rox

Don Calfa Ralph: Willum

Ed Gale: Bob

A Troma release of a Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz presentation. Writer-director Dan Hoskins. Producer Maria Snyder. Executive producer Arthur Sarkissian. Cinematographer Tom Fraser. Editor W.O. Garrett. Costumes Daniel May. Art director Timothy Baxter. Set decorator Beau P. Petersen. Sound Mary Jo Devenney, Reinhard Sterger. Running time: 1 hour, 28 minutes.

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MPAA-rated R (for language, some sex, gore).


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