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John’s Horror Corner: Yummy (2019), a funny, gory, awkward, gross Belgian zombedy.

July 25, 2020

MY CALL: I was quite pleased with this movie. It strikes a good balance between funny, gory and mean, and the pacing is steady to keep you entertained throughout while cultivating awkward laughs. MORE MOVIES LIKE Yummy: For more recently made quality zombedies, aim for Cooties (2015), Zombeavers (2014), REC 3: Genesis (2012), Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse (2015), Cabin Fever 2 (2009), Dead Snow (2009), Zombieland (2009) and, of course, Shaun of the Dead (2004).

Unhappy with her excessively ample chest, Alison (Maaike Neuville) is traveling to a shady Eastern European hospital specializing in discount plastic surgery for her breast reduction. Joining her is her supportive boyfriend Michael (Bart Hollanders) and her disapproving mother Sylvia (Annick Christiaens), who wants yet another facelift.

We are introduced to this film’s gross sense of humor when a not-quite-roadkilled animal, with its innards exposed as it still squeaks, is run over (again) splattering across a man’s clothes and face. Between that and Sylvia’s incessant advice that Alison keep and treasure the “gifts” she was given duly inform the tone of the film.

While Alison is getting her pre-surgery consultation and prep, Michael wanders an apparently unused wing of the hospital and encounters a naked patient bound to a hospital bed with a sort of muzzle over her mouth. When he frees the restrained patient, I’m reminded of the ending of Deadgirl (2008) signaling the zombie pandemonium to begin swiftly thereafter.

A cautionary tale for the use of stem cell treatments, our Eastern European doctors at this facility are using aborted fetuses to fuel stem cell research in rejuvenation. But, like what happened with Resident Evil’s (2002) or Rabid’s (2019) research, it ran afoul of flesh-eating monsters. Have movies like The Rejuvenator (1988) and Re-Animator (1985) taught us nothing?

Quite gory with graphic fleshy bites, awesome guts work and squishy head trauma, this movie is a gore-slathered delight. We also enjoy a zombie eating its own intestines and leaking its own consumed ooze, a head gets crushed into chunky chunder chum, a man’s “you know what” gets lit on fire in a rather gross scene, a giant salamander fetus is zombified, and there’s a lot of projectile vomit.

Salamander SIDEBAR: You may be wondering why it is that there was a salamander in one of the labs. This may seem random to most viewers. But it’s actually a nice touch. Salamanders are the subject of much research in regeneration and evolutionary biology for their ability to regenerate surgically removed spinal vertebrae (among limbs and other things). This is no joke or exaggeration. In grad school, I took a class under a professor conducting such research and likewise had another EvoDevo salamander researcher on my graduate committee. So really, this zombie salamander was a surprisingly insightful touch.

This movie does a good job cultivating awkward laughs. For example, when a recent amputee about to fall to his death reaches with his now-missing arm for help, or when a man’s not-yet-healed penile enhancement is painfully prompted for intercourse.

For his first feature film, writer and director Lars Damoiseaux certainly succeeded at making me smile, wince, grimace and giggle at this gross zombedy. The movie packs a lot of gross effects, a consistent energy and pacing, and a mean ending.

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