"It's not their IQ…probably"
From the man who gave us one of the most staggeringly tasteless exploitation films of the 1970s comes a film that encapsulates so many daft things about the exploitation cinema of the 1980s, all polished up for Blu-ray release by Arrow Films.
The zero boys of the title are a group of paintballers. Scarcely has a picture of Sylvester Stallone in RAMBO been pinned to a wall in some kind of bizarre homage (?) than we’re plunged into the gang’s latest game against a group of similarly eccentrically dressed, bandana-sporting, gurning / glowering ‘teenagers’. The prize appears to be Kelli Maroney (don’t they even get a certificate or some kind of trophy?). Off they drive into the countryside with her and some other girls. Happening across an empty but furnished house in the country, they decide to move in (?). As the sun sets it becomes apparent that the owners are around and intent on hunting the zeroes for sport.
THE ZERO BOYS isn’t terribly good, and that’s a shame because the paintball antics that open the film actually show promise, and suggest we’re going to be in for an action-packed extravaganza. It all fizzles out horribly quickly though, and by halfway through you’ll be wondering when anything is actually going to happen. If you stick it till the final credits be prepared to be flabbergasted by an ending that smacks strongly of ‘we ran out of money at exactly this point and had to switch off the camera’. Those familiar with the director’s earlier goat-molesting cavalcade of sleaze and deviant behaviour ISLAND OF DEATH (1976) will be relieved / disappointed to learn that there’s absolutely nothing here you couldn’t show to an elderly relative with a very low threshold for boring nonsense. Oh, and how on earth did this one end up with a music score by Stanley HOUSE OF WHIPCORD & THE DEER HUNTER Myers and Hans Zimmer? Fans of either composer take note: it sounds very much like Hans did most of it but there's some very Pete Walker-sounding stuff towards the end.
Arrow’s dual format DVD and Blu-ray set contains a load of extras, including a Kelli Maroney commentary track, new interviews with both Maroney and co-star Nicole Rio, stills, a trailer, and a barking mad bit in which Nico Mastorakis interviews himself. I have to hand it to him - he really goes the extra mile to make this bizarre little featurette as eccentric as his movies.
Going out with an 18 certificate (although it could easily be a 15 or even a 12A), THE ZERO BOYS is one for 1980s completists. Anyone else should approach with caution and with one finger on the fast forward button.
Nico Mastorakis' THE ZERO BOYS is coming out from Arrow Films in a dual format Blu-ray and DVD set on 25th April 2016