The Merits of Sin: Non-Vegetarian Zombies from Outer Space aka Killer Dead (1992) (USA)

Utilizing much of the same cast and crew from Spookies, that crap classic’s co-writer and co-director Brendan Faulkner also made this somewhat enjoyable but more-so rambling comedy/horror hybrid. It’s not great but offers some odd duck characters and charmingly cheap special effects.


Vinnie Nicko ( Peter Iasillo JR who played the puppet loving Rich in Spookies) is excited for a planned camping trip with his family. His joy is not found in the chance to bond with his wife and nephew but in his plan to do away with his greedy wife. He’s hired a hitman to take out the young lady and the secluded woods are a perfect place to get that done. He’s also hired a Vietnam vet on as a guide and still plans on getting some fresh air (at least as much fresh air as one can get when you chain smoke cigars like they’re going out of style).

Vinnie: Portrait of a Putz

The no nonsense guide, Jim Readdick, is introduced taking care of some fat and drunk assholes at a local bar (by local bar I mean somebody’s basement). He meets up with Vinnie and his family the next day. Tagging along is Vinnie’s dickhead bodyguard Anthony and his nephew’s girlfriend. All ready, the group hikes out into the woods for some time away from the big city. Outside of the dick measuring male machismo and Vinnie’s philandering wife, the camping trip seems to be going about as good as it can. This all changes on the second day when a spaceship crash lands nearby.

Tony Toughness

Two aliens emerge from the downed vessel and one of them ends up dead after attacking the group of campers. They flee and when the other extraterrestrial discovers his now deceased buddy he gets pissed off. A conveniently placed cemetery allows the angry spaceman to reanimate the dead using some bat-like alien bugs that attach to the heads and use the corpses and their vessels of vengeance. The zombies attack and it’s up to Jim to save who he can or failing to do that, save his own ass and get out of the woods in one piece.

Wouldn’t have happened if we had built that damn space-wall

Fun Outer Limits style monster masks and cheap gore should bring a smile to your face but there is a lot of time wasted on inane dialogue and people wandering around not doing much of anything. It’s something you run into quite a bit in these low budget wonders. Usually the enthusiasm of the people involved makes it inconsequential but here it’s more than just a minor annoyance. It doesn’t sink the film but it holds it back from being a true oddball classic. There’s random characters thrown in (those two beat up buttheads from the bar show up looking to kill Jim and there’s also a painter looking for some inspiration) to get themselves murdered and a mafia subplot that sets up the main story then just kinda vanishes. Worth a watch but bring some beer or some friends to make it go down easier. 5/10

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