Gore-met, Zombie Chef from Hell (1987)

A cannibal opens up a seafood restaurant and kills and cooks people to serve to his customers.

VHS release pictured: 1987, Camp Video.

Starring: Theo Depuay, Kelley Kunicki, C.W. Casey | Director: Don Swan

Gore-met, Zombie Chef from Hell: VHS of the Month Review

by Sam Rakestraw

* * * SPOILERS * * *

Gore-Met Zombie Chef From Hell can best be described as one of the ultimate "thanks, I hate it” films, if you want to be generous and even call it a film. "Too violent to rate?" No, man, the truth is that no one knew about this movie. The director and production crew were more than small time with this as their only project and no one seems to have claimed the rights to it either. Seriously, I watched it on YouTube –the grainy video quality actually made me feel like I was watching amateur live-action videos on the site in the early days of the internet. Watching it truly was enriching for all the wrong reasons and I loved it.

During the Dark Ages, The Holy Order of The Righteous Brotherhood had a literal rat among them with Goza (Theo Depuay). He must've done some pretty heinous stuff because they dish out punishment in medieval style. The immortal beings, as they seem, of the Order give him a potion that will cause him to decay unless he feeds on human flesh. As an added bonus, he gets so feeling of nourishment from it. Seems counterproductive because where is all the human flesh going to come from? Sorry –new rule, hold questions and comments until the end of the synopsis.

In present-day 1987, Goza runs his own Deli and Beach Club alongside his Lurch-like chef and butcher Blozor (Michael O'Neil). It's just like Motel Hell! It's all a front for them to procure and serve human meat. The majority of the movie plays out like B-roll and an adult music video of the daily happenings inside Goza's Deli. It's really hard to tell who is the main character with so many different people always packed in the seemingly same scene together. Still, there are some amusing figures like the sax-playing lifeguard (Billy Scott). The only other characters with a tangible track record we get are Jerry (Alan Marx), Stella (Cindy Castanio), Tracey (Tina Webster), and the ill-fated health inspector (Chuc Clubb) who tried to shut the place down. Still, living members of The Holy Order of The Righteous Brotherhood, Azog (C.W. Casey) and Lonezor (Jeff Baughn) seem to finally have had enough of Goza after 600 years of this and a classic battle of good vs. evil ensues as Jerry and Tracey worked to uncover the mystery.

That's literally it, that's the whole movie without any true spoilers. Now with the unbiased synopsis out of the way, let's get into the true review. Someone got their hands on a camera and wanted to make a dark fantasy horror film of some sort with a contemporary restaurant and party setting –and that man is Don Swan. What ensued is a glorious cacophony of static scenes that go nowhere, ultra-cheap gore effects, story and logic that you can think about for hours, and the best kind of delivered lines –monotonous, dry, and unintentionally comedically timed.

When it comes to terrible or barely passable movies like Toxic Zombies and Blood Rage, as our own examples, you can push through anything as long as the gore effects are appealing. They don't have to be anything spectacular. After all, Toxic Zombies was nearly banned in the UK because of its violent zombie content. Even Blood Rage had some pretty simple yet endearing gore effects. With a name like Goremet and considering the box art, you'd think Zombie Chef From Hell would be a wet and chunky gore fest ripe with moderately priced practical effects. But, Swan made the decision to often cut away during the good stuff. And when the gore does come around, it feels like watching a censored for tv slasher film. You can see the plastic webbings between the toes of a dismembered leg like a Halloween decoration. It's all really good stuff.

You got to love the long drawn-out song and dance scenes that may or may not have been used as padding for the film's runtime. Goza and Blozor dancing awkwardly with the strippers they had brought to their restaurant is nothing short of iconic. And yes, they are real strippers and adult entertainers. It's so funny, you can actually see one of them try to get frisky with Depuay –she tugs a little at his shirt like she's trying to get it off. They must've paid these women quite a lot for their dancing services because she looked like she had a job to do. The music is grating and generic, just the way we like it as it complements the dancing.

But what will make you laugh and ironically cheer is the confrontation between Goza and his former brothers of the Order. These aren't religious zealots or a high-ranking branch of the Christian or Catholic church. These guys are damn immortal wizards. That's no spoiler –zombifying potions and immortality aren't standard when you become a Cardinal or Bishop. Nowadays, it seems that we're so spoiled by magic and powers that we sort of forget what it really looks like with little to no movie magic. Ladies and gentlemen, enter Goremet Zombie Chef From Hell. Those fight scenes, again being generous by calling them that, are bad movie gold. Couple with the synth music, not smiling is next to impossible.

Behind every movie, no matter the quality is always an admirable effort, and that's what Swan, Baughn, and William Smith orchestrated when they first wrote the story and script. Swan did the bulk of the work by directing, editing, and even composing some of the music for the score. Even if he wasn't the best at it you have to admire the confidence and passion. That's how we get movies like Troll 2. It looks like he got some executive producers together to fund his one-hit-wonder film studio Swanfilms. Depuay also does the make-up effects in addition to playing Goza –I can see him doing it on himself as he looks at himself in the mirror.

It's difficult to find any finer details about the production of Goremet. I personally would like to know the budget, but can't seem to find it anywhere. But what is known, is how it came to the video stores (as that would be the only way anyone could truly see it). And, this was thanks to Camp Video. This is another fine example of a small-time video distributor. During their lifespan from 1986 to the late 90s, they distributed a total of 21 films, all of which weren't too different from Goremet in both quality and production. Looking at their catalog, they have some pretty sweet titles. The Incredible Creatures Who Stopped Living And Became Mixed Up Zombies, The Adventures of Rat Pfink And Boo-Boo, Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers? Now, if I was walking through the video store, and I saw any movies with titles like those –I'd pocket them and sprint out. These tapes are rare collectors' items, I feel holding a tape that expensive would be illegal.

Watching Goremet Zombie Chef From Hell in good quality is impossible at this point. I imagine the best quality will be on the surviving VHS tapes. No streaming platform has it in their library and if Swanfilms is still in business, they're not bothering with getting a low-quality upload of the movie off YouTube. It's kind of a shame. Sure, movies like those released by Camp Video are hot garbage. But do they really deserve to be forgotten?