Zombie Hunter (2013) poster

Zombie Hunter (2013)


USA. 2013.


Director – Kevin King, Screenplay – Kevin King & Kurt Knight, Producers – Jennifer Griffin, Kevin King & Chris Le, Photography – Ephraim Smith, Music – Christian Davis, Additional Music – Ricardo Castelin & Pieter Schloesser, Visual Effects Supervisor – Chris Le, Visual Effects – Abrupt Studios & Parking Garage Pictures, Special Effects – Clark Edmunds, Makeup Effects – Chris Hanson, Production Design – Kurt Knight. Production Company – The Klimax/Arrowstorm Entertainment.


Martin Copping (Hunter), Danny Trejo (Father Jesus), Claire Niederpruem (Alison), Jade Regier (‘Fast Lane’ Debbie), Jason K. Wixom (Ricky), Jake Suazo (Lyle), Terry Guthrie (Jerry)


The drug Natas has caused people to turn into flesh-eating zombies. One year later. Hunter, a man who has become burned out after the death of his wife and daughter, crosses the post-apocalyptic desert in a car, eliminating zombies wherever he finds them. He is then shot at and crashes. He comes around at the enclave of survivors run by Father Jesus. Among the group, both the trampish ‘Fast Lane’ Debbie and the innocent Alison are attracted to Hunter, with he choosing to become involved with Alison. However, their survival is threatened as the zombies invade the refuge, forcing them to flee for safety.

Arrowstorm Entertainment is a Utah-based film production company that specialise in low-budget, usually genre films. Formed in 2011, they have made the likes of Dawn of the Dragonslayer (2011), The Crown and the Dragon (2012), Orc Wars (2012), Osombie (2012), The Shadow Cabal (2012), Dragonfyre (2013), Survivor (2014), Christmas Dragon (2015), Cyborg X (2016), We All Fall Down (2016), Magellan (2017), 626 Evolution (2017), The Appearance (2018) and the tv series The Outpost (2018-21), as well as the fantasy film series Mythica: A Quest for Heroes (2014), Mythica: The Darkspore (2015), Mythica: The Necromancer (2015), Mythica: The Iron Crown (2016) and Mythica: The Godslayer/Mythica: The Dragonslayer (2016).

There was a massive upsurge of zombie films in the mid-2000s following success like Resident Evil (2002), 28 Days Later (2002), Dawn of the Dead (2004), Shaun of the Dead (2004) and tv’s The Walking Dead (2010-22). (For a full listing see Zombie Films). 2013 was a point that the genre had reached a point of creative glut and was turning towards bizarre title combinations and gonzo mash-ups. In its approach to the material, you could see that Zombie Hunter sits right on the edge of whether you could consider it a gonzo treatment or not.

Certainly, director Kevin King approaches the Action Movie element with tongue planted in cheek. The opening with Martin Copping turning up as the grizzled tough guy with stubbled mien, leather jacket and driving a classic muscle car while his worldweary voiceover comes on the soundtrack does a perfect job of spoofing a certain type of action hero viz Mel Gibson in Mad Max 2 (1981) – he even keeps his boots on in bed during a sex scene. Similarly, Jade Regier’s ‘Fast Lane’ Debbie has been played as the caricature of a slutty rock chick tramp to end all such portrayals.

Father Jesus (Danny Trejo) vs a mutant monster in Zombie Hunter (2013)
Father Jesus (Danny Trejo) vs a mutant monster

And then there is the Danny Trejo factor, the only recognisable name the film has on board, which elevates Zombie Hunter from a B movie to something else. Trejo has made a career out of playing the tough-as-nails badasses. Here, cast as a priest, he brings his usual presence to the film. The surprise is that while Trejo is listed as the lead, he is killed off part way through the film. He does get a couple of badass scenes where we see him wade into the attack against zombies and later face off against a giant mutated thing (which makes one think this is a zombie film that has strayed into the territory of Resident Evil).

On the other hand, the film works far less successfully as a zombie film than it does in terms of capturing the action movie poses. It has an effective beginning, sketching out the nature of the apocalypse. There are some excellent zombie makeups, which push the usual deathlike faces to something next level – although for some reason, when we get zombie splatter all the blood is pink (while the screen is even suffused pink on occasion). On the other hand, once Martin Copping joins Father Jesus’s enclave, the plot slows right down. Rather than a zombie film, we get the far less interesting triangle where Copping is tempted between bad girl Jade Regier and nice girl Claire Niederpruem. The zombies disappear from the action while this takes place and then turn up later in the show as they invade the refuge.

The love triangle does bring one to one other aspect of the film. Arrowstorm is based in Utah, the heart of Mormon culture, and many of the other filmmakers who have worked for Arrowstorm are clearly Mormon and have made Mormon-themed films. Some of Arrowstorm’s later works drift in a more family-friendly direction. So it is a surprise here where the film has quite a bit more adult content than usual – in particular with the very sexualised character of ‘Fast Lane’ Debbie (played by Playboy model Jade Regier) – she gets an almost strip scene at one point – while there is a sex scene with Claire Niederpruem, along with much joking about the other guys and their adult magazines. One also notes that the film was co-produced by a company called The Klimax and can theorise that it was made at a point early during Arrowstorm’s days where they were still establishing themselves and influences came from more secular directions.

Trailer here

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