Originally published in Bleeding Skull! A 1980s Trash-Horror Odyssey.
“If we lose the ozone layer, we’ll all become mutants.”
Well, there you go.
In 1986, writer-director Bret McCormick and partner Matt Devlen grabbed a Super 8 camera, hit the backyard, and went to town. The results were Ozone! Attack Of The Redneck Mutants and The Abomination, two trash-gore films that were shot back-to-back in Texas, edited on video, and subsequently lost in the sands of time. Within months of procuring a copy of The Abomination, the elusive Ozone quietly crept into my collection. Its sedate arrival could not have been more apt. However, I cannot speak for the red stains, arresting odors, and structural damage that plagued my apartment in the aftermath.
Things are tough for the hillbillies of Poolville, USA. Coughs. Barfs. Mutations. Murder. The cause? Ozone depletion. It is within this oh-so-very-1986 framework that Ozone makes a stand for uncomplicated mayhem. Plot is scarce. Outcome is nil. Basically, tough cookie Arlene (Blue Thompson) and big-time nerd Kevin run, drive, and look around while a few mutated zombies maim the townies. Incidental scenes of redneck character development (shotgun blasting, making out, flossing) are interspersed. A crazed beast appears in a hole, but is soon overshadowed by a questionable stand-up comedy act. And a lunch break in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. Complete with more barfing.
The Abomination stands as an inventive, lo-fi trash epic. Its reputation amongst trash film devotees grows with each passing year, even if its rewatchability doesn’t. Ozone is an afterthought — still focused on repetition, rampant gore, and arbitrary weirdness, but with a lazier attitude. In Ozone, the darker themes of The Abomination are exchanged for comedy, just as growling synths make way for vaudeville piano rags. But that aside, Ozone is still about the extremes. Blood on the walls. Guts on the floors. Vomit on the appliances. Cars and houses destroyed. Faces lost in a sea of black, purple, and yellow muck. The insane level of hands-on havoc is a spectacle in of itself, kind of like Street Trash. And that fact, combined with an avoidance of lame adolescent jokes (I’m talking about Redneck Zombies), is what makes Ozone attractive. Even when it’s dead boring.