Directed and Written by Nick Zedd
Produced by Nick Zedd
Cast: Donna Death, Richard Hell, Brenda Bergman, Zacherle, Gumby Spangler & Bob Martin

1983/70 mins/Color
Fullscreen/English/USA/Region 1

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Review from the Eclectic DVD Distributors

I'd like to start out by saying that I'm a big fan of what Nick Zedd has attempted and what he has accomplished. He was making films back before nearly anyone could afford to make one on tape or with digital photography. He made many interesting movies on budgets that would make Ed Wood look like Kubrick. He got them made, got them seen and he made a reputation for himself.

Zedd also was instrumental in forming a nucleus of New York based filmmakers into a loose group that he called The Cinema of Transgression. Did he succeed? Well, if making himself rich is considered success, the answer would be no. However, the influence of Nick Zedd's films, along with other NYC underground filmmakers of the 1980's, is highly evident in mainstream cinema of the '90's and beyond, such as in Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers and so called alternative video clips also borrowed many elements of The Cinema of Transgression. Body modification and art, blurry sexual identities mixed with violent imagery, fast cuts amidst grinding music are commonplace now, but Zedd and his associates laid the groundwork for it.

I'll say up front that the Geek Maggot Bingo DVD is for Nick Zedd completists only. Those who know of Zedd's notoriety and seek to see what the fuss was all about are urged to find Abnormal: The Sinema of Nick Zedd. This DVD is loaded with films and extras and anyone with any passing interest in underground cinema should consider this a must own disc.

Geek Maggot Bingo never quite reached the Midnight Cult film success that Zed probably wanted it to have, but the simple fact that it even exists is pretty amazing. There was obviously one hell of a lot of work involved in the making of it. The sets are unusual and imaginative and even cheesy as they may seem, are quite fitting for the overall campy tone of the film. I found that it helped to be more than a little bit intoxicated to enjoy Geek Maggot Bingo.

The proceedings begin with a drunken-looking Zacherle acting as host and introducing the film. Zacherle was known as the Cool Ghoul and had his own Shock Theater program in Philadelphia, as well as recording a modest hit with his novelty song, Dinner With Drac.

The premise of Geek Maggot Bingo deals with a nutty professor attempting to bring life back to the dead. Punk rocker Richard Hell steals the show as The Rawhide Kid, as cowboy who stumbles onto the situation, providing funny dialogue. Donna Death, Zedd's onetime girlfriend, plays Scumbalina and founding Fangoria editor, Robert Martin plays a victim of a decapitation. The gory effects are cheesy, but enjoyable.

I first saw Geek Maggot Bingo on a beat up, scratchy VHS tape about ten years ago and I didn't like it at all at the time. This DVD looks much better and I had a much better time viewing it. It's lightweight fare for Zedd, whose politically charged, confrontational movies usually have much more impact upon this viewer. I admire conviction and Nick Zedd has always seemed to me to be consumed by that his desire to shock his viewers into desensitization, compelling them to forego their perceptions of reality and see things with a new awareness. I think a much better film of Zedd's for Eclectic DVD to distribute would be War is Menstrual Envy, which was only included as a excerpt on the Abnormal DVD. War is Menstrual Envy is, to me, the finest example of Nick Zedd's vision to date. It is harsh, bold, brutal and terrifying. I bought a copy from Zedd himself several years ago.

The major selling point of this disc for me was the three new shorts included in it. Two of these seem to be very minor pieces of Nick Zedd cinema. The first, Elf Panties, features an attractive woman with a huge elf fetish, soiling her panties throughout its length. It seemed to be to be pretty silly and I do not consider it to be an important moment in Zedd's career. The second, a "comedy" called Lord of the Cock Rings, completely falls on its face. I found it to be painfully unfunny and I tried to watch it twice and couldn't bear to keep in turned on. The third film, Thus Spake Zarathustra, an adaptation of Nietzsche's philosophical masterpiece, was co-directed by Zedd and Jon Vomit and is, by far, the best piece in this collection of films. The disc also has an interview with the cast of Geek Maggot Bingo and a photo gallery.

I didn't intent for this review to be wholly unfavorable, but it was rather difficult to find much to praise in it. As I said, this one is for those who've seen Abnormal numerous times and are hungry for more Nick Zedd.

Eclectic DVD is a division of Music Video Distributors and I urge everyone to check out their line of outré videos.





This Film Features:

Review by Mark Sieber. All Right Reserved. 2003. ©