Zed’s Dead (2021) Review
Zed’s Dead is the latest film from writer/director Sean Donohue, the man who gave us Death-Scort Service and Cannibal Claus, among others. He tried expanding into more convention films with The Hart-Break Killer and Dead Residence, before somewhat returning to his roots with Naked Cannibal Campers.
Zed’s Dead however is a full-on return to exploitation, something that’s made clear from the opening scene. As surf music plays, Z (Jason Henne, Franklin: A Symphony of Pain) is raping a man cuffed to a desk as M (Patrick Duncan Weston) watches and graphically masturbates. A guy in a gimp suit (Sean Donohue) sits in the corner playing solitaire. As Z shoots off his load, he shoots a second one into the back of his victim’s skull. Then we get the opening credits.
If this sounds vaguely familiar, there’s a reason for that. Donohue and co-writer Christopher Leto (The Housewife Slasher, Seeing Evil) based Z and M loosely off of the characters of “Zed” and “Maynard” in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. I haven’t seen Pulp Fiction since it was released in 1994, but even I got the reference right away.
Zed’s Dead deals with these two as they rob, rape and kill an assortment of folks unlucky enough to cross their paths. However, Detective Pine (Joe Makowski, Chaos A.D.) has become suspicious of the pair and is determined to put an end to their activities.
In case it isn’t already clear, Zed’s Dead is not a movie for the easily offended or upset. There’s graphic gore, male and female nudity, (surprisingly Bob Glazier keeps it in his pants this time), sex and sexual assault. Also, a few racial and homophobic slurs are tossed around, but not by anyone you’re supposed to like.
Actually, nobody in this film is particularly likable. Z and M aren’t exactly charismatic killers, and Detective Pine is an obsessed and burnt-out cop who seems a half step away from his killing spree. Some of the victims might be likeable if we knew anything about them, but they’re just long enough to die on screen. The exception being Bella (Lixy Lestat) and Anna (Cayt Feinics, The Litch, Clownado) who get to see romping together in bed and the shower first.
The script does rest a bit too heavily on people walking into the pawnshop and not walking out. At seventy-four minutes including credits, Zed’s Dead doesn’t have time to feel overly repetitive. But I certainly wished they had worked a bit more variety into it. Having them pay a visit to somebody who ripped them off for example.
Overall, though, fans of Donohue and Gatorblade Films should be satisfied with Zed’s Dead. As should most fans of sleaze films in general. And be sure not to turn Zed’s Dead off as soon as the credits hit. There’s another scene coming that’s the film’s actual conclusion. And it’s one you don’t want to miss.