February 27, 2011

Rock and Roll Reform School Zombies by Bryan Smith Review

By Bryan Smith
Deadite Press
ISBN: 978-1936383276
Review by: Jim Cherry
Review posted 02/27/2011

Bryan Smith’s “Rock and Roll Reform School Zombies” is your average teenage boy meets girl who is sent away by her parents to be deprogrammed and “cured” of listening to heavy metal music, runs into homicidal lesbian facility headmistress, and then has to fend off zombies story.

“Rock and Roll Reform School Zombies” is meant to be an homage/parody of “B” or less movies of the 60’s and 70’s. It starts off on a right note, a fast paced Rock ‘n’ Roll tone, hitting the ground running with a sense of the irreverent. But it quickly downshifts a gear or two to a more traditionally written novel, and some of the irreverent attitude is set aside, not totally lost. Every once in a while it will show up in a nicely turned phrase or in the attitude of a character, but the break neck speed is lost, and some of the attitude that pulled you in at the beginning is gone.

In the heavy metal rehabilitation center Smith tries to make the connection that leading a life of conformity and being a Zombie are much alike. Like George Romero did in “Dawn of the Dead,” making zombies a metaphor for conspicuous consumption. But once that makes it’s appearance it is quickly left behind and not reinforced in the characters or action. It feels like Smith had a lot of ideas and tried to have them all included and it seemed he tried to go in too many directions at once. I have to say something about the end, it doesn’t make sense. The heroes do something really stupid, they know they’re doing it and it will precipitate another wave of zombies but they still do it anyway.

Of course if you just want to read about teenage, scantily clad zombies lumbering around chomping on their former friends, the bad guys all get their comeuppance first being masticated by zombies and then the ultimate justice of them getting their heads blown off after they become zombies then “Rock and Roll Reform School Zombies” is for you.

Jim Cherry is the author of The Last Stage