DVD REVIEW: “The Zombeatles: All You Need is Brains”
By Gabrielle Faust
A zealous fascination with zombies has spread like wildfire around the world in recent years. Modern society has embraced the genre with a new fanatical enthusiasm, giving rise to countless novels, films and performance arts acts centered over the living dead, including a YouTube viral sensation known as Zombie Haiku and a burlesque dance troop known as the Dolls From the Crypt. Even the Michael Jackson music video “Thriller” was reinvented as people in various countries came together in October of 2008 for the “Thrill the World” event, to create the world’s largest reenactment of the video’s choreography. So, it was truly only a matter of time before the world of the living dead overlapped with one of the most renowned rock bands, The Beatles, the cross-pollination resulting in the birth of The Zombeatles, an alter-ego spin-off project of the light-hearted rock band, the Gomers.
The Zombeatles were originally formed as a seasonal act for Halloween performances only, but after their video “A Hard Day’s Night of the Living Dead” was discovered by the one and only Rob Zombie himself, it was not long until The Zombeatles had become a permanent part of modern zombie subculture. In 2007 Rob Zombie selected the video as one of his favorite online independent horror shorts for a Halloween season promotion on YouTube, sparking the first wave of Zombeatlemania. It was obvious the world could not get enough of this living dead musical parody and, after teaming up with Doug Gordon, a Wisconsin Public Radio producer who created and performs as a Scottish zombie comedian character known as Angus MacAbre, the group decided to take the project to the next level and create their own humorous mockumentary.
The short film, entitled THE ZOMBEATLES: ALL YOU NEED IS BRAINS, takes an almost SPINAL TAP approach to the invention of the band’s mythical past. It capitalizes loosely on associated events in The Beatles’ own elaborately colorful history to produce a highly amusing zombiefied version complete with interviews with the band members, black and white archival footage from performances in the 1960’s and 70’s and interviews with current “zombie music experts”. Presented in a VH1 Behind the Music or E! True Hollywood Story biography format, the mockumentary introduces the viewer to the founding members of the band Jaw Elennon, Pall Ickartney, Gorge Harryson, and Eat Breast (later to be replaced by the insatiable zombie Dingo Starr) beginning with their first performance in their hometown of Pool of Liver. Narrated by Angus MacAbre, in a hysterically enthusiastic Scottish fashion, the 22 minutes of film follows the band as they lurch their way out of Pool of Liver to climb the charts of zombie rock with songs such as “I Want to Eat Your Hand” and “P.S. I Love Eating You” with a quick and clever wit and an extremely low-budget cult charm that makes THE ZOMBEATLES: ALL YOU NEED IS BRAINS one of the most memorable mockumentaries of all time.
Despite the crudely smeared Halloween makeup and cheap rubber masks, the attention to detail with the paralleling of The Zombeatles history with the actual Beatles’ history is spot on, their adaptation of names such as “The Dead Sullivan Show”, “Ewwyoko Ohno” and “The Rolling Kidney Stones” revealing the high level of creativity poured into this project. Even The Beatles’ experimentation with LSD is mirrored as The Zombeatles delve into MSG usage, inspiring the revolutionary album “Salt & Pepper Gory Hearts & Bloody Hand”. There is no doubt that The Zombeatles have penetrated the heart and brain of the zombie culture with their remarkable parodies and the release of their mockumentary will doubt cement their permanence in the genre’s definitive history. Years from now the archival footage of throngs of young zombie fans screaming “I want you to eat my brain!!!” to the band will be as easy to recall, at least amongst zombie fans, as the notorious 1960’s clips of Beatles’ fans throwing themselves into an epileptic fit over John and George.
The Zombeatles are currently in the midst of developing a variety of merchandising concepts including t-shirts, action figures, but have been rumored to be considering prospects as monumental as their own brain-shaped breakfast cereals! Other long-term ideas include a traveling vaudeville show and “extreme theme park”, tentatively called “Zombeatlemania” and “Angus MacAbres’ Macabreville”, the later already including attractions such as “Baristas of the Carribean” and “The Haunted McMansion”. While working on their merchandising empire, The Zombeatles are continuing their world conquest of music and braaaaaiiiiinnnnnnss by performing as often as possible. ALL YOU NEED IS BRAINS is currently being submitted to various film festivals and horror conventions and is offering the DVD for sale to Beatles and zombie fans alike via their website (listed below). If you are a fan of zombies, The Beatles or both, you should definitely check out The Zombeatles and their mockumentary. It is, by and far, one of the most entertaining short horror humor pieces produced in this decade.
Zombeatles ““A Hard Day’s Night of the Living Dead” Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jP6nYs9Il7c
Zombeatles Site: http://beeftone.com/zombeatles.html