NO-BUDGET NIGHTMARES: ANOTHER GRACE AND JOHNNY ADVENTURE: ZOMBIE ISLAND (2013)

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Now that’s a title.

Those who know me know I have endless love for the “fast-talking” screwball comedies of the 30s and 40s, particularly the interplay between the eternally sniping romantic leads that typify the genre. The THIN MAN series was a unique variation, featuring William Powell and Myrna Loy as the gloriously intoxicated Nick and Nora Charles; a married couple who solved mysteries in between endless cocktails and clever, occasionally risque dialogue. My favorite example:

Nick Charles: I’m a hero. I was shot twice in the Tribune.
Nora Charles: I read where you were shot 5 times in the tabloids.
Nick Charles: It’s not true. He didn’t come anywhere near my tabloids.

Inspired!

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There’s a certain romanticism inherent in a couple who breezily wander through life, ignoring their often dangerous circumstances while in a constant state of near-inebriation; and it’s made for a ripe target for both tribute and parody. The characters of Grace and Johnny in Peter Soby Jr.’s short ZOMBIE ISLAND are obvious riffs on Nick and Nora, with the leads taking on the classic transatlantic accent while trading good-natured barbs about their situation.

Their situation involves crash landing on an island that has been overrun by zombies, a welcome horror element that adds some light suspense to what is mostly a straight comedy sketch. The couple drink, bicker and attempt to be good hosts to their flesh hungry neighbours, before being overrun by the creatures. Like those THIN MAN films, it never takes itself too seriously, and even the suspense is only lightly applied.

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It’s all great fun, thanks to the spot-on performances from Matt Speak and Tara Price, who strike a perfect balance of aloofness and nonchalance at their supernatural situation, and Price’s script captures much of the proper screwball energy. The final punchline doesn’t hit as firmly as I would have liked, but it’s a breezy, delightful seven minutes that makes me hopeful for future Grace and Johnny adventures.

Check out the whole short at the bottom of the review!

 

three-skulls

Three Nightmares out of Five – Shows Potential

 

One Nightmare – No-Budget Perfection, Two Nightmares – Shocking Success, Three Nightmares – Shows Potential, Four Nightmares – Not Much Fun, Five Nightmares – Please Kill Me

Another Grace & Johnny Adventure: ZOMBIE ISLAND! from Tara Price on Vimeo.

 

Doug “Sweetback” Tilley

Doug Tilley

Doug has been a geek for as long as he’s been alive, but has only been blogging about film since 2008; originally writing for his personal site and eventually moving to Daily Grindhouse where he writes regularly about micro-budget films and film-makers in his No-Budget Nightmares column. At the end of 2011 he started the popular No-Budget Nightmares podcast with Moe Porne, and regularly contributes to a variety of other genre film podcasts. He likes movies, movies and movies.

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