Stoner comedies have been around for a long time. From CHEECH & CHONG’S UP IN SMOKE to HOW HIGH to PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, filmmakers have enjoyed bringing audiences movies about the joy of smoking marijuana. (There are — thankfully, and for obvious reasons — no crack or heroin comedies.) College comedies have been just as popular. When NATIONAL LAMPOON’S ANIMAL HOUSE was released in 1978, it launched a whole new genre that has gone on to include everything from OLD SCHOOL to MONSTERS UNIVERSITY. And then there’s the zombie genre.
Launched with George Romero’s 1968 NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, it is currently enjoying massive popularity thanks to the success of things like SHAUN OF THE DEAD and THE WALKING DEAD. If you’ve ever wished some cinematic mad scientist would mash these three disparate genres together, I have good news for you: THE COED AND ZOMBIE STONER exists, and yes, it’s a real movie!
Here’s the bad news: It’s from The Asylum, the same filmmaking collective that brought you such willfully stupid pictures as SHARKNADO and MEGA PYTHON VS. GATOROID.
Seemingly inspired by the box office success of the undead love story WARM BODIES — a far funnier and more shrewd satire of zombie cinema — THE COED AND THE ZOMBIE STONER is the story of Chrissy (Catherine Annette), a nerdy science major. (Nerdy in movies like this only means that she wears glasses.) Her dickish boyfriend, who is part of the appropriately named DIK fraternity, unceremoniously dumps her. This newfound singlehood angers Bambi (played by Selena Gomez lookalike Jamie Noel), the head sister in Chrissy’s sorority. Bambi is so mean, she’d make the mean girls from MEAN GIRLS be all, “Damn, that girl is mean!” Bambi allows her sisters to live in the expensive home daddy bought for her. She decrees that Chrissy has 24 hours to find a new Greek boyfriend or else face eviction.
Chrissy’s luck changes when she meets Rigo (Grant O’Connell), a handsome, if slightly dazed-looking, fellow student. They immediately begin a courtship, although Chrissy wonders why Rigo never says much. Then she finds out his little secret. Rigo actually died back in 1985. He invented his own strain of cannabis, got wasted, and accidentally confused his science professor’s experimental life-extension machine for a shower. Zapped with whatever kind of hazardous rays, he turned into a zombie who now smokes weed so that he won’t feel compelled to chow down on human brains. Apparently, when you’re a zombie, pot doesn’t give you the munchies. Chrissy is a little disturbed to learn that she’s had sex with someone who, technically, is dead.
Chrissy gets Rigo into the ZBE fraternity (ZBE. Zombie. Get it?) so that he will pass muster with Bambi. They soon become a hot campus couple, which causes Bambi’s jealously to skyrocket, as everyone stops paying attention to her. Bambi decides that she will set up Chrissy and Rigo, in an effort to get them to cheat on each other. This goes spectacularly wrong when Rigo bites Chrissy’s ex-boyfriend, and he bites his frat brothers, thereby giving a whole new meaning to the term “Hell Week.”
Despite being, you know, dead and all, the college students continue to party, play videogames, causally fornicate, and do all the other stuff collegians are known for. Perhaps the only decent joke in this whole asinine movie is that being in a Greek organization isn’t really all that different than being a zombie. The bros also go after the ladies. Their transition happens to coincide with the university’s annual “Underwear Run,” wherein coeds strip to their unmentionables and run across campus. This allows THE COED AND THE ZOMBIE STONER to exploitatively show a lot of naked young women running around whilst simultaneously spurting blood from zombie bites. Where, oh where, is Rick Grimes when you need him?
Science major that she is, Chrissy knows that she can find a way to reverse the effects of the zombie plague by combining marijuana and a herpes medication. She and some helpers hop into a homemade combat vehicle and begin unleashing the antidote all across campus. It works, and everyone, including Rigo, turns back into a normal human. Unfortunately, Chrissy discovers that he was (is) French and consequently hasn’t understood a single word she’s said for their whole relationship. She breaks up with him on the spot.
Then Bambi shows up, suddenly looking like someone who’s had way too much bad plastic surgery. She got bit during the rampage, and the conversion back to humanity didn’t take too well for her. She believes the only solution is to kidnap Rigo, throw him back into the machine, and make him a zombie again. This way, he can bite her and make her zombie-beautiful once more. (It doesn’t make sense to me either.) Chrissy foils this evil plan and defeats her nemesis, but, realizing that her relationship with Rigo was better when he was undead, coldly decides to leave him in the machine. The process somehow neither kills him nor converts him back to the undead. It is then that Chrissy realizes what a selfish, narcissistic bee-yotch she’s been. She decides to love Rigo just as he is, language barrier be damned. The end, thank goodness.
Zombie movies, stoner comedies, and frat-house antics are all ripe for satire, but THE COED AND THE ZOMBIE STONER has no interest in putting the brainpower into spoofing any of those genres. Instead, it simply opts for cheap, obvious “jokes” whenever possible. Here are some of the things this movie finds funny: boobs, tampons, oral sex, and repeated use of the word “vagina.” If these things can somehow be combined, all the better. No apparent effort went into trying to be funny. These elements are tossed in carelessly, as though their very presentation will somehow elicit laughter. It should be noted, as well, that women are poorly treated in the film. They’re sexualized and objectified at every turn. Even the brainy Chrissy wears revealing clothing and is forced to gratuitously flash her breasts at one point.
This is a lesser product, even for The Asylum. The company specializes in making intentionally bad movies, but most of them nonetheless have an inkling of creativity, no matter how demented. After all, it takes a certain amount of inspiration to envision a tornado filled with sharks, or a creature that’s half-shark/half-octopus. Such invention is entirely lacking here. When a company known for making it look like they didn’t even try really doesn’t try, you end up with something as pitifully obnoxious as THE COED AND THE ZOMBIE STONER.
Even whacked out of your mind on weed, this would still be painfully laborious to sit through.
— Mike McGranaghan (@aisleseat).
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