Nudist Colony of the Dead is a low budget US indie film that was written and direct by Mark Pirro and released in 1991. Shot in California, this film is clearly aiming the the ‘so bad its good’ target….but it misses its mark by quite some distance.
A title like Nudist Colony of the Dead is always going to be attract a certain type of viewer, but anyone watching the film in the hope explicit sexual content is going to be as disappointed as anyone watching it for scares, or indeed laughs. There is very little nudity in the film and that which there is, is handled casually, as befits its naturist premise.
The story concerns a group of teens who have been shipped away by their parents to a religious retreat; some want to be there, other don’t, some are too dumb to know the difference. But the land on which the religious retreat is built was taken from a nudist group after a court battle with hard-line church folk (which is a nice twist on the ‘built on an ancient Indian burial ground’ trope). The nudists themselves committed suicide when the verdict went against them, now they rise from their graves to kill any who trespass on their land, especially religious types. From this basic set-up the film proceeds into the inevitable series of comedy chases and death scenes.
The lack of nudity is not the problem with the film (baffling thought it may be), nor is the lack of horror really as this obviously isn’t a film that’s taking itself seriously. The problem is that it’s not funny. There are films that are ‘so bad they’re good’ but you cannot set out to make them deliberately, it’s just not funny when it’s intentional.
To make matters worse the film is also a musical and the songs have been done as badly as every other aspect of the film. The key thing for a musical is that the songs have to further the story, they have to be an inextricable part of the narrative. In other words, if you took the songs out, it shouldn’t work. The songs in Nudist Colony of the Dead are completely superfluous, the characters sing when the filmmakers felt it was time for a song and for no other reason.
Director Mark Pirro has made a career out of ludicrously cheap films and the budget for this one was reportedly only $35,000, but that’s just not an excuse. Better films have been made for less money (Plaga Zombie one of many obvious examples), and the part of the film that costs the least is the script, all it requires is time. If the script is strong then no budget can be too low, no effects too ropey and no director too incompetent to completely ruin it. If the script is bad then nothing can save it, and the script for Nudist Colony of the Dead is very bad. It is a comedy without jokes and a story without characters.
If pushed to say something nice about the movie I’d say first that the nudist zombies don’t look bad, some time has been spent on the make-up. But most importantly I’d say that while the title is obvious exploitation, the film itself is not. Because the nudists are dead for the bulk of the movie there is nothing titillating about their nudity. At the start, before they commit suicide the nudity is matter of fact, it’s never sexy and it’s never gratuitous, the camera never leers or lingers on the breasts of the pretty girls. Given what an appalling and unwatchable mess the rest of the film is that’s a pretty small thing to be pleased about but there’s a few mainstream films that could learn an important lesson from it.
None of which means that you should watch Nudist Colony of the Dead, no one should watch Nudist Colony of the Dead. You might think that a film with a title like this will at least be fun, but it’s not. And perhaps that’s the worst thing you can say about the film; it’s not just bad, it’s boring.
Here is an example of twoof the songs from ‘Nudist Colony of the Dead‘ which, depending on your reaction, will ensure that you avoid this movie like the plague, or phone up some of your most ‘B-Movie minded’ friends and get the alcohol in for a night in.
Listen to ‘Inky dinky doodah Morning’ from Nudist Colony of the Dead:
Listen to the rap from ‘Nudist Colony of the Dead‘