The Zero Boys is a horror/action movie from 1985 that raises the bar of ineptitude stunningly high. You would have to try with all your might, and maybe someone else’s, to come up with a film this insipid nowadays. It may be a testament to the filmmaking talents of director Nico Mastorakis that a movie as totally brain-dead as The Zero Boys is as entertaining as it is.
There’s a caveat here, though. Most of the entertainment comes from trying not to fall through the plotholes. The plot is skimpy as it is. A group of paintballers who call themselves The Zero Boys celebrate their latest victory by taking their girls out to the woods. Things take an odd turn when they discover an abandoned house, refrigerator filled with food. It’s almost like finding a gingerbread house with no witch at home. The gang decides to party there, but before you know it, people start dying and getting kidnapped. It’s clear to the audience that something is wrong here. It’s clear to the characters in the movie about half an hour later.
Horror movies are marked by people making terrible decisions, and The Zero Boys should have made that left turn at Albuquerque. The leader of the gang spends most of his time asking other people what they think of the situation. While searching for one of their number who has been abducted, they fire machine guns into empty, unsearched rooms. You know, places where someone could a hide a victim. They discover a head in the freezer, which looks a balloon with a white wig and googly eyes. Then, they leave the refrigerator door open! Sure, just let that human head thaw.
Director Mastorakis is known for making looney movies. While this one doesn’t come close to his masterwork of insanity, Island of Death, it’s not too far behind. The effects are as bad as the dialogue, leaving the entire picture devoid of tension or concern about the characters onscreen.
And yet, there’s something lovable about The Zero Boys, bless its demented little heart. It’s almost like someone dared Mastorakis to make this film, and he won a six-pack in the process. There’s tremendous freedom in absolutely not giving a damn about what you’re doing. You don’t have to care about how human beings actually behave or the science behind how water conducts electricity. You can just make a movie based on what you think might be cool.
The Blu-Ray edition from Arrow Video is decent, although some of the night scenes are so grainy, it looks like it’s raining. An audio commentary from star Kelli Maroney is good, as is a new interview with the madman himself, Nico Mastorakis.
The Zero Boys is like a movie created by a nine-year-old boy who likes guns and firecrackers. He also likes lots of sugar and has a vague idea of what boobs are. It’s exuberant and filled with wrong ideas. On that level, it’s recommendable and highly enjoyable. Fans of well-written and deftly executed movies should look elsewhere.
The Zero Boys was released from Arrow Video on April 26.