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Nudist Colony of the Dead

In 1991 Mark Pirro, the man who gave the world "Deathrow Gameshow," "Curse of the Queerwolf," "Buford's Beach Bunnies" and "My Mom's a Werewolf," brought one of his greatest films to the screen: "Nudist Colony of the Dead." As the title suggests, it's a cornball atrocity about zombie nudists. What the title doesn't suggest is that most of the nudists are clad in strategically-placed shrouds of rotting flesh, leaves and other earthen materials. A few zombie-tit shots, but little else in the way of nudity, so if you're merely looking for some sort of sexual gratification, this movie isn't for you (I would instead recommend "Porn of the Dead," which is scored for the deaf, or the "Martin" doppleganger with gay zombie lovin' -- which is pretty graphic in the DVD's deleted scenes -- "Otto; or, Up With Dead People")... but if you're looking for a riotously tacky indie that few people have seen, you've hit the motherlode!

The plot? A nudist camp is forced to close by religious zealots, so the nudists do the only sensible thing: curse their land and commit mass suicide! When a bunch of teens later show up on the nudists' stomping grounds for a religious retreat, the barely naked ones rise from the dead to "kill, kill, kill all the zealots!" There's countless jabs at religion, several bizarre kills, a wide array of sight gags and quirky characters... and did I mention it's a musical too?! Yes, it treads on "Cannibal! The Musical" territory...

Shot on Super-8, the movie never had a chance of securing any wide theatrical distribution, but it did find its way into some video stores that stocked offbeat films (which is how I first discovered it). I'm really kinda surprised "USA Up All Night" never got a hold of this one -- it fit with their programming. Then in 1995, "Nudist Colony of the Dead" was adapted for the stage, and it had a four month run in Hollywood. Four additional songs were added for the stage outing, and viewers finally got some nudity... of sorts. The actors portraying the nudists wore body suits with exaggerated genitalia and ridiculously saggy breasts strategically sewn on! (A video of the show seems to have been shot; does anybody have a copy?)

Writer (rewriter, rewriter,) and director Mark Pirro was never happy with the film, presumably not because the content or performances, but because it was so cheaply shot. In 2007, he remastered and recut the film, substituting rehearsal video for many shots that were darkly lit. This version unquestionably looks better than the previous VHS edition, but some of his new choices are questionable. The film was re-formatted to widescreen and cropped, making the gag with the guy's feet in "Inky Dinky Doo-Dah Morning" (seen in all its glory in the video above) a bit weird, since now one can only make out a fleeting glimpse of the bottoms of his shoes.

During the campfire scene (where the bulk of the video footage has been inserted), two quasi-retarded guys play strip poker and, although it didn't look bad in the original cut, most of the footage of this scene was switched. In the original cut, the one on the right says, "Real lucky today. Lucky. Got to see your scrotum four times." In the original cut, he holds up five fingers and repeats "four" (described it sounds moronic, but on screen it was a memorable, quirky moment). In the 2007 cut, the repeated "four" is still heard but instead of showing his hand, it switches to a closeup of the other guy, then switches to another shot where viewers get a quick look at the dude's scrotum too.

There's a few other moments that are askew in the '07 cut. Still, despite new annoyances and anomalies, the film's never looked better, and I highly recommend it to anyone with a warped sense of humor. The DVD (or rather DVD-R) is for sale at Pirromount, Mark Pirro's site, and copies can frequently be obtained from the director a little cheaper on eBay. And, not surprisingly, there's a bunch of scenes from the film on You Tube and other online video sites. Pirro's let it be known that he'd like to remake the film someday with a real budget. While I'm game for it, I dunno that he could top of the charms of this corny trashterpiece.

And as a trivial post-script....

During Ranger Bygbutts' rap, there's a couple insert shots with a tall cop and a short cop. One of the cops is credited as Shane Durkee, and the actor has no other screen credits. I'm absolutely convinced it's the short cop, who's actually Saverio Guerra from the sitcom "Becker:"