Rot (1999)

Marcus Koch is probably best known for his effects work on movies like We Are Still Here, Frankenstein Created BikersThe Third Saturday In October V and Eminence Hill. Or maybe you know him from his directing work on American Guinea Pig: Bloodshock. Either way, he made this back in 1999 and for as grainy and rough as it is, it’s packed with so much worth watching.

Sarah (Tiffany Stinky) and Muzzy (Billly Scam) are just two punk rock kids trying to make it in hot, sticky Clearwater, Florida. Yet she’s been cheating on him for some time and not with anyone alive. That’s right — she’s been lying with men who keep on lying there, as she has a thing for the dead. The bad part? Well, the worst part? Dr. Robert Olsen (Joel D. Wynkoop), a former bioweapons engineer for Uncle Sam got fired and has been working in that same morgue and has been using the bodies to test ROT (Robert Olson Transmutation virus). Not only does she have it now, not only is she doomed to literally rot, but now she’s passed it on to her man.

For the first part of the movie, they react to their impending demise by partying, driving through their neighbor’s yards, setting things on fire and calling in bomb threats to the White House. Where this gets interesting is when the disease takes hold and the government has to send agents, along with members of the Illuminati, to control the situation and see if ROT can truly thin the herd.

This movie truly feels like no future as punks puke up blood after injecting heroin and formaldehyde just to stay alive for a few hours more, fighting in parking lots, slamming in pits, smearing each other with plasma and sweat and necrophobic disease as the neon lights beat down and insects buzz and the dark tracking of the video aesthetic doom them all.

Why have punk zombie movies — I’m counting this and Return of the Living Dead III and the moment Julie Walker says that she can’t feel her heart beating in her chest any more — done a better job of explaining the human cost of transforming into a corpse?

I’ve read so many times about how cheap and dark this is and that’s exactly why I like it so much. It feels like we are really there as two kids just fall to pieces with no one left to save them or ever put them back together. That tire through the brain is a mercy killing.

You can watch this on YouTube.

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