Attack Of The Lederhosen Zombies. Do I have your attention? Of course I do! Lederhosen zombies! From the frozen Alps of Tyrol, Austria comes a horror comedy that dashes Out Cold snowboarding humor into a Romero zombie stew. Humor meets ski-village infestation, and gore meets a white, snowy backdrop in need of some red coloring. Does sophomore filmmaker Dominik Hartl create a legendary zombie epic in the process? Not quite, but that doesn’t mean ski bums and Z-nation worshipers alike won’t have a wintry hellscape worth a few chuckles and winces. Go ahead and punch your lift ticket – the ride’s a bumpy one, but still worth the price of admission.
It all starts with a hopeful vacation destination, an investor and a glowing green serum that – when blown through fans – produces perfect man-made snow. Assumed owner Franz (Karl Fischer) is trying to unload his Alps resort, but ends up infecting his latest prospective buyer with the homemade insta-snow chemical cocktail. Many signs point to his visitor being tremendously ill (vomiting green slime/undead rigidness), but Franz keeps rolling with his plan to impress. This includes a snowboarding stunt performed by two pro shredders (Steve played by Laurie Calvert/Josh played by Oscar Dyekjær Giese), but after Steve pulls a bare-assed finale, their contract is terminated. Steve, Josh and Steve’s girlfriend/photographer Branka (Gabriela Marcinková) are stranded atop the mountain overnight, but it’s hardly the party Franz promised – unless you party with zombies who tear your guts out.
One of the more endearing factors of Hartl’s handiwork is a “radical” sensibility that’s oh-so 80s. Synth-pop soundtracks buzz as colorful winter fashions splotch a pure mountain range, while comedy goes for “prank” gags straight out of Porky’s. It’s never as funny as the seminal sex-comedy classic – nor as racy – but extreme sports movies of old work as inspiration for comedy that plays second fiddle to gushing zombie gore. That’s where the real 80s comparisons come into play, evoking the primal practical outlandishness of throwback slashers covered in corn syrup. Horrors never scare, yet that means nothing once Steve begins incorporating zombie finishers into his downhill runs.
This is where Attack Of The Lederhosen Zombies shines – goopy, faucet-spout gore. Like a good midnight movie does, kills are mostly exaggerated and comical. Walkers aren’t just decapitated, but seesawed in half by Steve landing on a pre-wedged abdominal snowboard. Or tapped like a keg and run over with a snowblower. Or impaled with crossed ski poles and left dangling (by the head) after almost falling through a hole (stopped by the poles). Frankly, things are a bit plodding until Hartl goes full apocalypse status – only then does a fight for survival find horror comedics by way of gruesome corpse-defacing slaughter.
While patient go-go gore fans will be rewarded later on, true chiller fans may have trouble wading through the early goofs Attack Of The Lederhosen Zombies embraces. Steve and Josh are two brotastic boarder dudes, but characters feel like they’re struggling through an English accent to get lines out. Actually, come to think of it, most characters feel trapped in Hartl’s early establishing material, forced to goof around in Rita’s bar (Margarete Tiesel plays the namesake bartender) until zombies start attacking. Certain arcs find redemption – mostly Rita, Steve and Branka – while others never shed their Hot-Tub-Time-Machine-extra skin.
Zombie mentalities are also hit and miss, as Hartl and co-writer Armin Prediger play around with slow-movers and meta humor. Josh notches one of the film’s funnier moments when he calls a cousin for help, but instead of asking for an escape plan, poses questions on how to defeat zombies. There’s talk about how Romero types are easier to handle, but fast-movers are trouble – it’s all very Dead Snow 2 tongue-in-cheek. Seems goofy, but not in comparison to other scenes that reveal Hartl’s zombies are hypnotized by music. This lets Steve and Branka do a waltz in between swaying zombies who should be ripping their limbs off. Silly, and quite frankly, a bit lame – but can you really hate a zombie movie with re-animated deer?
Dead Snow and Dead Snow 2 should be your go-tos for mountain horror mayhem, but Attack Of The Lederhosen Zombies isn’t a terrible alternative. Comedy stylings taste like Crystal Pepsi and characters may seem wooden at times, but then Rita whips out her mounted machine gun and snowboard trickery goes “X-games undead.” It’s all downhill for this clan of freezing survivalists, whose methods of dispatching zombies become more erratic and more entertaining as the finish line approaches. The only question is, will you veer off course before reaching the end?
Attack Of The Lederhosen Zombies doesn't quite live up to its eye-catching name, but still offers enough undead snowboarding mayhem worth a horror laugh.