Whenever mass hysteria breaks out in any form, you can always rely on low budget horror filmmakers to milk the panic for all it’s worth. The coronavirus is now a bona fide pandemic that’s changing life as we know it for the worse, but that hasn’t stopped Full Moon Features from taking advantage of the situation.
According to Horror Society, Corona Zombies is currently in the post-production phase, proving that the studio wasted no time in cashing in on COVID-19 while the pandemonium is at its peak. The story revolves around a pandemic that turns infected people into bloodthirsty lunatics, and subscribers to Full Moon’s streaming service will be able to watch the movie on April 10th.
There’s an argument to be made that the mere existence of this movie is offensive and insensitive. Of course, the history of horror and exploitation movies is littered with films that courted outrage from the get-go. or have shamelessly exploited social anxieties and atrocities. For example, the Manson Family murders inspired a whole wave of movies that portrayed hippies as demented cultists back in the 1970s, while the H1N1 virus spawned countless disease-themed horror movies only a few years ago. Let’s not even get started on movies based on the crimes of real-life serial killers…
There will be people who find the release of Corona Zombies to be in poor taste, and that’s completely understandable. Others will probably find Full Moon’s shamelessness to be quite amusing. But the point is that Corona Zombies is likely to be the first of hundreds of movies of this ilk that come along in the next few months or years, depending on how long it takes for normal life to resume for people. And most of these movies will feature zombies because viruses and the undead in pop culture are synonymous with each other.
Everyone should have expected this from Full Moon as well, given that Charles Band and his team have been doing whatever it takes to survive in the cutthroat world that is the movie industry for decades. They make movies quick, and they make them cheap, and they know their audience very well. This release is merely the studio’s latest play to stay afloat while the entire industry faces economic uncertainty, which could hit smaller companies like Full Moon pretty hard.
Granted, Corona Zombies is perhaps the studio’s most audacious production to date in regards to cashing in on something horrifically topical, but let’s bear in mind that this the same company that’s released a few movies about an evil bong, aptly titled Evil Bong, to coincide with Weed Day. They don’t really take their films too seriously, which is part of the studio’s charm if you’re a fan of their brand of schlock.
Now the big question is: will Corona Zombies be any good? Will this latest zombie outbreak movie turn out to be an effective slice of horror fare that captures the anxieties of these dark times? Will the film boast some intelligent commentary about the current pandemic and how the powers that be are mishandling it? Probably not.
That said, Corona Zombies might actually be pretty entertaining, as Full Moon has released a few gems throughout the years, even though the studio’s output in recent years has not been as creative as it used to be. People are scared right now, but poking fun at fear can be a useful coping mechanism that distracts folks from the horrors of reality.
There is an opportunity right now for a horror filmmaker to come along and make a truly terrifying pandemic movie. That might happen in the foreseeable future, as the genre has always responded to society’s darkest periods with movies that tap into the cultural mood at the time. Until that day comes, though, people will just have to settle for Corona Zombies and the hundreds of likeminded movies that will hit VOD in their swarms, like zombies rising from the grave and feasting on the flesh of the living.