You might think it's tricky to come up with theme-appropriate zombie movies for things like Cop Month, but that just proves you had far better ways to waste your youth than in Sunburst's VHS horror section. If you granted me the shark-fighting scene in Zombie, I could probably pull off Aquaman Month.
Some directors place a premium on their police work, nailing the details with consultants and ride-alongs. J.R. Bookwalter is not one of those directors. Proving there's a zombie movie for every occasion, 1991's Zombie Cop could easily quality for the Big Awful Friday hall of fame.
A routine domestic disturbance with local villain James Black leaves officer Michael Kemper mortally wounded--and voodoo-cursed to return as a zombie. Black's less-than-brilliant plan gives Kemper a second chance to bring him to justice by rising from the dead, where this time he can fight outside the restraints of the laws of the living.
Bookwalter's signature talent lies in combining the greatest plots in the history of art with the lowest budgets in the history of money. In Zombie Cop, he deploys those skills to bring us actors like the understudies for a high school production of Weekend at Bernie's 2, a score that sounds like we're in constant danger of getting Rick Rolled, and a five-minute car chase that probably only goes on that long because they're traveling at the blistering speed of 25 MPH.
No moment of this movie is dull. When Kemper comes back, his partner's first thought is it's a joker wearing the skin of Kemper's corpse. Charmingly, an ethnic gas station attendant appears to be wearing a spray-on tan and an actual towel. The fight choreography is as awkward as losing your virginity. I imagine.
But what I like best is Black's hoodlum minion Bill Morrison. If Shaggy had run into some very lean years after Scooby Doo, he might look something like Morrison's character here. "I got a hammer here!" he quavers in one scene. "I'm gonna waste you, man!"
And all of this exists in a world where the police are crippled by a criminal's "rights," leaving this sleepy hamlet at the whimsical mercies of thugs of all kinds, be it Morrison, who robs the same convenience store every weekend, or Black, a voodoo serial killer who plans to poison the entire town. There's no better bad movie than a J.R. Bookwalter movie.