A Few Thoughts on “They All Must Die!” (1998)

They All Must Die! (only properly spelled and pronounced with an exclamation mark) is an obscure, ultra-low-budget, black take on I Spit on Your Grave. It was shot with a digital camcorder in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, New York, by eighteen-year-old reformed gang member Sean Weathers. While its picture and sound are quite poor, they do give it a rawness.

It was nice to finally sit down with it. Not because it’s “good” or “fun” or in any way enjoyable. It’s a rape-revenge movie, after all. Those are innately unpleasant. This one especially seems to want to offend people. Sexual violence alone is hard enough to confront. They All Must Die! goes a step further and factors in racism — black on white, white on black, even black on black. I know a vocal few will say blacks can’t be racist because they’re not in a position to oppress people. I consider this a dangerous line of thinking. It encourages them and other minorities to embrace and act on their own prejudices as if there’s nothing wrong with it, no consequences. I mean, look what happens here. A woman is brutally gang-raped.

Credit: DVD

In 2012, Weathers told Indie Horror Films, “All of the characters on screen in the film are based on real people I knew growing up; real situations that happened, real feelings and emotions. Back then, black people in the inner city felt that whites had taken everything from them and all they had left was the ghetto. It didn’t matter if the white people who entered the ghetto were a part of interracial dating, coming to buy drugs, or even teachers that taught in local schools. They all got it in the end if they overstayed their welcome, or said or did the wrong thing to the wrong person.”[1]

The DVD cover is plastered with phrases that harken back to the ad campaigns of the 70s. For example, it proudly states it was “banned worldwide for 13 years”. I just take this to mean it was unable to find distribution for 13 years until the remakes of The Last House on the Left (2009) and I Spit on Your Grave (2010) re-popularized the rape-revenge genre. In my opinion, it’s no coincidence it finally came out the year after I Spit On Your Grave.

It also claims to be “unauthorized”. My question is, unauthorized by who? The MPAA? The police? Society? I must admit, if nothing else, Weathers has a good grasp of the carny marketing aspect of exploitation filmmaking. The part about it being a snuff film, however, is too much for me. The whole thing is very obviously staged and badly acted throughout.

Credit: IMDb

The first place I heard about They All Must Die! was the YouTube channel Unboxed, Watched, and Reviewed. The line that sold it for me was: “There’s one point where she’s being raped and the camera moves, and her pussy, if you pause it — I didn’t, I didn’t need to, I didn’t want to — if you pause it, her pussy is this fucking wide!” he says, motioning with a 2-liter of Diet Mountain Dew. “…so she’s obviously been fucked by everybody on that crew.”

I’d love for this to be true because a) his reaction is priceless, b) morbid curiosity, and c) it would make the film sleazier, but sadly it’s not. After some quick research, I came to conclude all he saw was her pube patch. It’s too high up to be anything else. I verified this by matching up the screams in the background of his video with those in the movie. I can see how he made the mistake, though. The image quality of the DVD is horrendous, and he’s gay. If you feel like conducting your own investigation, skip to the part where the rapists threaten to burn the protagonist with an iron.

Anyway, sounds crazy, right? I made a mental note of the movie and tucked it away in the back of my head. A few months ago, my brain decided to audit that note. I don’t know why. I pulled it up. The writing was smudged. I was having one of those frustrating tip-of-the-tongue moments trying to remember the title. The only detail I could recall was that it was a black rape-revenge movie. I was also fairly certain it came out in the 2010s, which it technically did, although IMDb lists it under its production year of 1998, so that worked against me. After playing around with the site’s advanced search function for longer than I care to admit (I’m talking days), I scored a hit. I was pleased to see it was still available on Amazon for a fair price and bought a copy. I had to watch it at that point.

Understand when I say it was “nice” to sit down with it, all I mean is it felt great to finally confront the thing I’d been racking my brain over. The movie itself is a whole ‘nother story. By the time it was done, I was shocked, disappointed, confused, slightly offended, and craving a Pepsi.

It starts off with three black friends playing dice on the sidewalk. Each of them displays one whole, complete character trait — Nissan is husky, Prince is scary, and Snag is hungry. They say the word “nigga” eight times in twenty-four seconds. That’s an average of once every three seconds. Does that mean they’re winning their game? I can’t tell. They look up and notice a white woman carrying bags across the street. They proceed to yell terms of endearment at her like Snowflake, Shorty, and Cracker. They later address her as Cunt, Honky, Carrot Crotch, Bitch, and White Slut.

Snag hollers Naughty By Nature lyrics, “If you ain’t never been to the ghetto, don’t ever come to the ghetto, cos you wouldn’t understand the ghetto, so stay the fuck out of the ghetto.”

Nissan walks up and politely introduces himself, despite having cat-called her mere moments earlier. The woman’s name is Wendy Baker. She says she’s renting an apartment for two months to write a book called “America Through the Eyes of the Black Man”. In a bitchy tone, she explains that she’s only in town to get work done and turns down his offer to hang out. On one hand, getting to know local black people seems like the first logical step in writing a book about black people, so this makes no sense and gives me the impression Wendy is there to exploit their situation and bullshit her story. On the other, Nissan and co. are exceedingly crass, so I totally get why she turns him down. Her parting words foreshadow the horrors to come, “I figured with a change of scenery, there’s a much better chance of something interesting happening to me here than anywhere else.”

She opens the door and is greeted by Stan Foster the landlord, who leans in for a kiss. Wendy pulls back. Foster shows her to her apartment. Wendy is stunned to see that it looks like her own. Foster explains how he saw a picture of her living room in an article she wrote for a magazine (?) and did his best to replicate it, so she could “feel at home”. He swears he’s her biggest fan and has read all her books, including Dancing With the Devil, A Woman in a Man’s World, and Nightfall. I’m assuming she’s a household name like Stephen King because otherwise Foster being a super-fan would be too much of a coincidence.

Foster’s wife Charmaine walks in and suggests Wendy get some rest. She leads Foster out by the hand. I can only imagine how much trouble he’s in.

Meanwhile, at Prince’s, the homeboys lift weights. Snag complains that he’s hungry. He and Prince start making fun of Nissan for enjoying orally stimulating female sex organs. “At least I got pussy before,” Nissan fires back at Snag. “You’s a virgin-ass nigga talkin’ shit.” Snag says he’d rather be a virgin than eat pussy, but admits he’d try it on a white woman because they have better hygiene, nicer hair, and don’t have pimples on their asses. Nissan decides Wendy came to the ghetto for one reason and one reason only — big black cock, or “British Broadcasting Corporation” as it’s known in England.

The next morning, Foster rolls over in bed to put his arm around Charmaine, but she’s still upset that he flirted with Wendy. Foster changes his tone. He tells Charmaine she’s a dime a dozen. “This is my one shot at gettin’ with blonde hair, blue eyes.” he says. He asks his wife to please understand and support his decision to upgrade to white. The man is completely insane. Charmaine threatens to leave. I don’t blame her.

Foster walks upstairs to woo Wendy and overhears her on the phone with her agent calling him a “loser… obsessed fan” and “creepy”, which breaks his heart. He slinks back downstairs. Wendy also complains about Snag, Prince, and Nissan being racist, then hypocritically calls them “spooks”. This movie’s unique in that none of its main characters are likeable, not even the victim. As such, the rape scene we all know is coming isn’t quite as effective as it should be. Charmaine is the only sane person, and she disappears halfway through.

Nissan shoots his shot again. He stands under Wendy’s window and romantically yells her name from the street.

Wendy comes down and says hell no she’s busy a second time. Nissan takes it personally. Wendy slams the door in his face.

Nissan and co. play basket-hoops later and see Wendy reading a book on a bench. They harass her through a fence. Wendy ignores them and walks away. This angers them. They start shouting obscenities.

Meanwhile, Foster makes up with Charmaine. Their reunion is short-lived, however. He pushes her off during sex and tells her to grab her shit and get out. I’ll miss her.

That night, the homeboys wait for Wendy in front of her steps. They block her from entering and go through her groceries. Foster interrupts and brings Wendy inside to his place. Then, he comes out and gives Nissan a key to Wendy’s apartment, as payback for calling him creepy, I guess. He goes back inside and confesses his love to his favorite author, who obviously rejects him on the grounds of barely knowing him.

Wendy heads to her own apartment. The trio is already inside. They grab her and march her upstairs, like army ants with a crumb. At some point, she’s knocked out or faints. They dump water on her face to ensure she’s awake when they rape her. But first, they force her to smoke marijuana, which takes effect instantly. Wendy giggles while they trash her apartment.

The rape scene that follows is graphic and shocking. Nissan licks and sucks Wendy’s nipples, and kisses her crotch through her panties. He slaps her, punches her thighs, and is fairly rough the whole time. Once he gets going, it looks like he’s fucking her. There are brief glimpses of Wendy’s asshole region where I couldn’t help but notice it looks red and irritated. That’s either good attention to detail, or the result of some “method acting”. When Nissan finally cums he screams “Bed-Stuy, bitch!!!” Snag crawls on top and takes sloppy seconds. Prince can’t perform, so he shoves the handle of an ab roller up Wendy’s ass while she screams.

Wendy limps to the bathroom and curls up in the tub. They further humiliate her by egging her, crumbling Ritz crackers on her body (cos she’s a “cracker”) and pissing in her face.

She doesn’t even look white. She looks mixed.
Credit: DVD

Weathers says of the scene, “I deliberately kept the actress away from the actors during rehearsals and the first time they met was during the rape… to increase the tension… There were many takes in which the actors got overzealous with the actress and blurred the line between acting and reality, from going too far with the ad-libbed racial slurs to getting much too physical with her. I would end up using a lot of these takes in the film, which is why her character doesn’t come off as likeable as she was written in the script. She ad-libbed some racial slurs of her own and a lot of very real punches and kicks in retaliation that made it to the final cut.”[2]

He claims the cops were called when they shot it, and after the film’s only screening at a Manhattan bar. What bar would play this, and how did Weathers get in? He was only 18.

As is the case with many low-budget rape-revenge movies, the revenge portion fails to live up to the rape. The perpetrators are killed off in rapid succession with little being shown of their deaths, whereas Wendy’s desecration lasts twenty agonizing minutes (roughly 36:57 to 56:33).

Snag is stabbed next to a swing set at night. Nothing is shown. Prince is hammered in the face and hung from a ceiling with what looks like a power cord, echoing Matthew’s death in I Spit on Your Grave. Lastly, Nissan is seduced and then stabbed, echoing Johnny’s death. Again, nothing is shown.

Worse yet, the underwhelming deaths are revealed to be dreams and/or fantasies. Wendy wakes up in the state she was left — bruised, bloodied, battered. Foster pops in, sexually assaults her, and basically says he’ll be holding her captive like Annie Wilkes does with Paul Sheldon in Misery.

The movie ends with the camera zooming in on graffiti that reads “Jesus Saves”. It’s only 74 minutes long, despite the case, disc, and internet claiming 85. There are no credits, for “legal reasons”[1]. The DVD plays on insertion. You can access a menu, but weirdly there’s only one option — “play movie”.

To me, the most shocking part of They All Must Die! isn’t the rape, it’s the final shot that appears to absolve the rapists of their crimes. Another low-key shocking part is a section of dialogue that shifts blame to porn. During the weight lifting scene, Nissan rants about how it’s given black men an unhealthy (and apparently uncontrollable) obsession with white women. He’s on some Ted Bundy shit.

Also, at random points, subliminal images flash across the screen. These images are historic photographs of black lynchings. According to blackpast.org, the image from the useless secret menu shows Elmer Clayton, Isaac McGhie, and Elmer Jackson being lynched in Duluth, Minnesota, circa 1920, for the rape of a white teenage woman who was later examined and found to have “no signs of any physical assault or rape”[3]. The funny thing is, these images aren’t in the same aspect ratio as the movie. The movie is widescreen. The images are fullscreen.

But why were they added, and what are they trying to tell us? That generations of mistreatment have turned black people violent? That white people’s fears have come true? That they deserve to be raped as revenge? Are the images comparing/contrasting the way inner-city blacks treat whites with the way they were lynched in the past? I have no answers, only suspicions.

In my opinion, they’re not telling us anything. I believe they were added to piss people off, to ruffle people’s feathers. I believe Sean Weathers wanted his movie to be as provocative as possible in the hopes word of mouth would drive sales and propel it to cult status. You know what they say, controversy creates cash. Or maybe he just wanted the infamy. Either way, I can’t fault him for that.

As evidence, I present the distributor’s website. They use “the most brutal gang rape in motion-picture history” as a “sale point”. They also mention it won “best taboo erotica” at a film festival. Yes, erotica. If I was Sean Weathers and I really, truly intended to comment on race relations or some other important topic and wanted those comments to be taken seriously, I would not have accepted such an award. But that’s just me 🤷‍♂️

According to Weathers, “The message is up for interpretation. I think one of the most detrimental things a filmmaker can do is tell a viewer how they should interpret their film.”[1]

People might call that a cop-out. I tend to agree with the sentiment, though. If there’s one thing I love about art, it’s that it’s always open to interpretation. I’d rather find my own meanings in things and be “wrong” than be told what the “answers” are. At the end of the day, I can’t say I like, understand, or agree with They All Must Die! (you’d better be screaming those words, by the way), but I think it deserves to be seen. If it had been filmed on actual filmstock, with better lighting, etc., I guarantee you it would be talked about more. As is, it’s virtually unknown.

1. Gary, Richard. “Interview with Brooklyn independent horror film director Sean Weathers” Indie Horror Films. May 15th, 2012. Web.

2. Haberfelner, Mike. “An Interview With Sean Weathers, Indie Director” (re)Search My Trash. February 2012. Web.

3. Nielsen, Euell. “The Duluth Lynchings (1920)” Black Past. October 31st, 2017. Web.

“Boy, that must have been one heck of a movie!” — “Astro-Zombies M3: Cloned” (2010)

Directed By
Ted V. Mikels

Version Reviewed
Tubi TV version

Total Runtime
~1 hour, 43 minutes, 50 seconds

A video package of clips from the first two movies reminds us what’s happened thus far. It’s established that Part 2 occurred twenty years after Part 1, placing it in 1988, instead of 2002, when it came out.

An astro-zombie sprints through a field, sidestepping laser blasts from above. A well-aimed explosion knocks it to the ground. A close-up of its moving hand lets us know it’s not dead.

Cut to: present day — twenty-two more years later. An old woman wearing a bathrobe and shower cap wanders around her backyard, calling out for a lost cat named Leo. While she does this, an astro-zombie (I think it’s supposed to be the same one — where was it for twenty-two years?) sneaks into her home through her sliding glass door. The old woman goes back inside. She finds her cat. She feeds it a can of Lotus brand cat food (the same brand from Ted Mikels’ second-longest-running series, The Corpse Grinders). The voiceless intruder comes up behind her and slits her throat with a big, fake machete.

So… what does “M3” stand for? Mark 3? Mach 3? Is it a play on top-secret government programs like MJ-12 and MKUltra?
Credit: Tubi TV

Next, we jump to a book signing in Las Vegas, Nevada, where an author summarizes his latest work about astro-zombies and reptilian aliens to an audience of one person. The author comes off as a typical, paranoid conspiracy theorist, but everything that he talks about happened last movie, so he’s actually some kind of genius investigator, I guess. Two MIBs (men in black) walk in and try to intimidate him. They insist that a copy of his book be made out to a Malvina Satana — not Malvira Satana from Part 2, Malvina, with an “n” — the leader of an international spy ring, who’s only ever shown in hologram form, and is played by repurposed footage of Tura Satana (Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!) from the cult classic original. This movie came out in 2010. Ms. Satana died in early 2011. It’s my assumption that she was supposed to appear, but had to pull out due to poor health. The awkward hologram workaround may have been Mikels’ way of keeping her involved in spirit without having to rewrite too much of the script.

Almost three hours Northwest of there, at a “bio-terrorism conference” being held in Area 51 ⁠— you know it’s legit because the word “bio-terrorism” was hastily scribbled on an otherwise blank whiteboard in the background ⁠— a General Ivan Mikacev (Ted Mikels himself) announces the reopening of the Astro-man Project to assist the United States military in some sort of ongoing war with a country or force that he never specifies. “I want thousands of these creatures, these monsters.” he commands. “I want tens of thousands. No! I want hundreds of thousands!”

Mikacev’s plan is to excavate astro-zombie remains from the desert, extract DNA from them, and make clones. I have two problems with this:

1) The astro-zombies disintegrated in urban areas, leaving only their shoes, gloves, and helmets behind.
2) They were made from human corpses. Therefore, their DNA will be human. Astro-zombies don’t become their own species til Part 4.

As the briefing comes to a close, secret agent WQ9 (Shanti, Owens from Part 2, now wearing a trench coat) and a guy who says one line all movie just kind of arbitrarily decide that a spy has infiltrated their ranks because they don’t recognize everyone who attended. WQ9 voices these concerns to a senator (Robert Southerland), who in turn calls the Doll Squad for assistance in weeding out the potential mole.

The Doll Squad is, for those of you in the dark, a highly trained group of Kung Fu-kicking females that first appeared in Mikels’ 1973 film of the same name, which, by the way, came out three years before the suspiciously similar Charlie’s Angels. Its leader, Sabrina (Francine York), calls and assigns the mission to a big-breasted woman named Queen, who is immediately betrayed by her best friend Peaches the drag queen. Peaches tranquilizes Queen from behind, hands her over to the Men in Black, and is promptly killed in return.

Hol’ up. What’s going on here?

[continued below]

Pictured left to right: Fake boobs, faker boobs.
Credit: Tubi TV

Thoughts (Possible Spoilers)
I don’t know either.

By this point, the Astro-man Project is well under way, though. A Sgt. Woolridge (Scott Blacksher, Zokar from Part 2) heads up a dig site where inmates are used to unearth the inexplicably undestroyed skeletons of our title creatures. Once a few have been found, Woolridge lines up the inmates and executes them while shouting stupid jokes: “Why’d the chicken-shit convict cross the master sergeant? To get to the other side. Maybe you won’t find things as funny in the next world!” BLAM! BLAM! BLAM!

General Mikacev’s unkempt, alcoholic twin brother Peter (also Ted Mikels) watches all this unfold from a distance, then digs up a leg bone and hobbles off to conduct his own research.

Meanwhile, inside the Experimental Wing of the government’s Bio-terrorism Department, the granddaughter of the man who invented the cybernetic assassins, one Stephanie DeMarco, looks through a microscope, shakes vials of green stuff, and performs other stereotypical scientific procedures. She has an intact astro-zombie on a hospital bed which is later explained to have come from the desert. It sits up and stares at her, which fills her with such excitement that she tells a nearby security guard to go look. “I’ve given life to a creature that’s been long deceased! Do you have any idea what it’s like to play God?”

The astro-zombie instinctively hacks the poor guy to pieces with a machete that was already in its hand for some reason. I wanna know who gave it a goddamn machete. We all know what they do with them. A man named Randy Peterson walks in. He’s all Yo, shit, let’s get this cleaned up.

“My bad.”
Credit: Tubi TV

That evening, Randy goes home to his wife, who just so happens to be a member of the Doll Squad, and breaches national security by telling her all the details of his day, including the unforeseen murder.

Over the next week or so, Dr. DeMarco spends most of her time and energy trying to civilize her test subject like Dr. Logan does with “Bub” in Day of the Dead by reading it children’s books and having it listen to classical music, all while struggling to pinpoint a mysterious defect in the central nervous system of the creatures.

Unbelievably, Crazy Peter cracks the code first. At thirty-six minutes, he discovers that astro-zombies can only understand backward talking (?), which is contradicted nine minutes later when Dr. DeMarco asks her pet zombie if it can understand what she’s saying and it nods yes.

Both scenes can’t be right. Is Crazy Peter supposed to be wrong, or did Mikels fumble this part of the plot? That’s for you to decide.

Around this same time, the mole mentioned back at the start is revealed to be some random old guy named Lancaster. He checks into Dr. DeMarco’s Cloning Room after hours and (accidentally?) activates the machine, causing it to spurt out several fully-formed astro-zombies in seconds.

Dude… no…

That’s not how cloning works whatsoever. It doesn’t just replicate matter.

Ehhh. You know what? Fine. It does.

The dozen or so death-dealing drones, which are exact copies of each other, yet come in all different shapes and/or sizes (!), break loose and rampage through town. The Doll Squad is sent in to eliminate them, equipped only with blowguns and darts that explode upon impact. Who will survive? I won’t ruin the ending, but I will say that it’s probably not one of the top hundred things you’ll see coming.


M3: Cloned is the second of three sequels to schlockstar Ted Mikels’ 1968 film The Astro-Zombies. It was preceded by Mark of… in 2002, and followed by M4: Invaders From Cyberspace in 2012.

While it’s not my favorite of the series, I do enjoy it immensely. I’ve watched it five or more times, and I’ll be the first to admit that it makes no damn sense. A lot of its hard-to-follow-ness stems from the fact that several key characters heel-turn, switching from “good” to “bad” for no reason besides further complicating an already incomprehensible narrative. There are swerves upon swerves, to the detriment of all logic and reason. Was this written by WCW booker Vince Russo? Because it feels like an episode of Monday Nitro from the late 90s or early 2000s.

Let’s look at WQ9, for example. She starts off working for a senator. Then, she’s revealed to be an MIB. The Men in Black are employed by the Department of Defense, and ⁠— in direct opposition to that ⁠— are also in Malvina Satana’s back pocket. As you’ll remember, the mole that WQ9 has investigated turns out to be someone named Lancaster. Well, the funny thing is, he reports to Satana too.

This means that a big chunk of the action is pointless and counterproductive for all those involved. When you break it down into even simpler terms, here’s what happens: the Men in Black (WQ9) have a chick from the Doll Squad (Queen) called in to identify one of their own (Lancaster), then kidnap her ass to prevent her from doing it. What fucking sense does that make? Government agencies thwarting themselves. That’s some next level bullshit. How deep does it go?

Credit: The Simpsons, 20th Century FOX

Of course, unnavigable stories are nothing new for those of you that have seen the first two astro-installments. Now that I think about it, M3: Cloned echoes them in a big way.

Its overall tone is that of the 1968 original in the sense that it’s boring and talky like that one. Between all its setup and pseudo-scientific mumbo-jargon, it fails to harness the manic energy of the 2002 followup. Plus, it doesn’t help that its action scenes are mostly clumped together at the end. To put it into perspective, the astro-zombies don’t even embark on their customary killing spree ’til the seventy-nine minute mark, or 76.8% of the way through the movie.

Visually, M3: Cloned resembles Mark of… Their production values are nearly identical, they share quite a few props and locations, and they seem to have been shot with the same low-grade digital camera. The most obvious carryover, though, is the cast, comprised of amateur actors, doctors who want to be actors, and Ted Mikels’ friends. In keeping with the confusion, everyone plays a new role, including

Credit: Tubi TV

That’s right, JOHN WAITE IS BACK! The man, the myth, the legend, who spake those immortal words, “By comparison, we are mentally retarded children.” has graced us once again with his presence — but this time, he’s not here to expand our consciousness with philosophical insight. He plays the part of a journalist, posing tough questions. “Do you consider [astro-zombies] to be human, and if not, are they at least as intelligent as humans?” he queries. I think the real question is, are any of us truly human in the face of such greatness, such… Waite-ness? You may find yourself pondering this while his segment transpires. Invariably, the answer comes back — a resounding fuck no.


As much as I love John Waite, I have to give the award for breakout performance to Volmar Franz as “MIB Enforcer” for the way that he shuts down the author, Leonard Bullock: “Roswell was a weather balloon. The alien autopsy ⁠— the work of a Hollywood charlatan. There has never been any kind of extraterrestrial testing at Area 51. And, just so it doesn’t screw up your day, Mr. Bullock, Sasquatch was a Kodiak bear, the chupacabra’s a mangy dog, the Loch Ness monster’s a fat sea otter, and we work for the Department of Defense in the Red Flag Division!”

“So watch your ass, fuckface.”
Credit: Tubi TV

Oh, and before I forget, big shout to the man who played “Convict Enforcer” for abandoning his Irish accent halfway through. Thanks for the laugh.

Another postive… the CGI has been greatly improved upon this time, which is good cos there’s quite a bit of it toward the end. Every time an astro-zombie gets hit with a dart, it blows up in a fiery blaze (that in one instance knocks out a car window, sending shards of computerized glass toward the screen). The effects still don’t land anywhere close to convincing, but they’re definitely better than Mark of…‘s Windows-95-game-found-in-a-cereal-box graphics.

One thing that sticks out to me as a negative is the relative unimportance of the premise. War just ain’t a big deal when extraterrestrials have already attempted to take over the planet. If I was Mikels, I would have switched the ideas for Parts 2 and 3 so the series progressed in this order:

1. Astro-zombies are created
3. Astro-zombies are re-created for war
2. Aliens invade Earth using astro-zombies
4. Astro-zombies themselves invade Earth

The only thing missing from this series is time travel…

5. Something involving time travel

You’re probably thinking: Ugh, there’s no way I’m watching this. He’s been telling me for the last however many paragraphs that it’s bad and boring, not to mention confusing. Yes! That’s precisely what I’m saying. It’s objectively awful in almost every way. But it’s also entertaining as Hell, and I still recommend that you watch it if you’re into weird movies like I am, which you probably are or you wouldn’t be here to begin with. Astro-Zombies M3: Cloned is available now on the free streaming app Tubi TV. You can’t beat the price.

I still have more Ted Mikels material to wade through, but I’m fairly confident this was his first and last crossover. By incorporating the Doll Squad and Lotus brand cat food, he established that his characters all coexist in a shared “cinematic universe” not unlike Full Moon’s, or Marvel’s. Kind of a shame that he passed away back in 2016 before having a chance to expand on that universe. The world could have used another mash-up where Astro-zombies have Blood Orgies with She-devils, or receive Text Messages From the Dead. Maybe some enterprising young filmmaker will take up the mantle.

‘Til next review, keep on slashin’.

A cartoon I done drew.

Body Count
30 humans, 16 astro-zombies.

Bod Count

Overall Enjoyability
4 Russo swerves out of 5.

I Got My Copy From


Further Reading
The Merits of Sin: The Astro-Zombies aka Space Zombies (1968) (USA)

Hilarious Moments in Horror: Captain Caruso

M4: Invaders From Cyberspace is the fourth and final installment in Ted Mikels’ Homeric Astro-Zombies saga. For me, it’s the silliest sequel of all. It changes so much, in regards to the story. Up until now, the astro-zombies have always been man-made or alien-made — human corpses brought back to life to be used as soldiers. Now, without explanation, they’re suddenly their own species, an extraterrestrial race that resides on a ringed planet known as Mozortsa V, which is doomed to collide with an asteroid.

The perfect killing machine.
Credit: Tubi TV

Their time running out, the astro-zombies decide to come colonize Earth. They do this by stepping out of computer screens, and blowing stuff up with eye beams — two powers they never displayed before. They arrive in, and lay siege to, in this order:

Miami Beach, Florida
Berlin, Germany
Sydney, Australia
Osaka, Japan
New York City, New York
San Francisco, California
London, England
Portland, Oregon
Barcelona, Spain

This graphic implies that Rio de Janeiro and Shanghai are also under attack.

Some of the ones that I listed are missing.
Credit: Tubi TV

Most of the action this go-around consists of astro-zombies green-screened into shots of national monuments, followed by CG explosions. At times, it seems like this movie was nothing more than a way for Mikels to make use of his old vacation footage. If he truly, honestly traveled to all these locations specifically for this film, then I’ve got to applaud him. That shows dedication. I don’t think that’s the case, though.

After a while, the astro-zombies stop coming out of computers and start magically materializing wherever they please.

At around the forty-four minute mark, two police officers seek help from a psychic named Madame Bovary. All three are incinerated.

The next scene ranks up there with the hallway goblin from Troll 2, as far as I’m concerned. It starts off with the most pointless phone call in history. An older guy introduces himself. “Ay, Mrs. Green, how are you today? Hi, this is, uh, Captain Caruso, with the detective squad.” Is it just me, or is squad the wrong word? I would say Bureau. It sounds more official.

Credit: Tubi TV

“So, anyway, alright, listen,” he goes on. “I have a couple questions. May I ask you some questions? Ok… the reason why I’m calling is, you happen to be a very lucky lady, because [you were] the only survivor in the house that day. Do you recall if, uh, Madame… (searching for a name) Buvré (throws his hand up like he knows he pronounced it badly) had, uh, said anything about, uh, whatever might be going on that can help this case?”

The woman on the other end of the line seems nervous. She’s holding a thermos. “All she said was to buy some lottery tickets. Everything was lookin’ good.”

“Well, anyway, listen, I, uh, I want to thank you very much. Uhm, if anything comes to mind that you might help us out, please give me a call, ok, whenever you get a chance, and let us know, cos we want to solve this problem. It’s pretty serious. Ok, thank you very much, Mrs. Green. You have a great day.”

Someone tell me what the point of this call is. He only asks her one question, then hangs up without learning anything. I love how he casually refers to the days-or-weeks-old triple homicide as a “problem”, then tries to recover with “It’s pretty serious.”

The master interrogator sets his phone down and turns to face his computer, where a menu of hyperlinks sits open in Microsoft Word.

Credit: Tubi TV

“That’s not what I want,” he says to himself while he clicks away with the mouse. “Come on. Well… maybe, maybe, maybe this could be it.” he continues, like he’s on the verge of some breakthrough, some huge, profound revelation.

The funny part is, he’s reacting to nothing. His screen looks the same. The pointer’s not moving.

“Whoa!” he exclaims. “What’s after this?!”

He hasn’t even scrolled down.

“Come on. Maybe, maybe, maybe this— WOW!” Whatever it is that he sees, or thinks he sees, is so mindbending he can’t wrap his head around it. “Wow.” he repeats. “Oh my gaahhd!”

Something finally does happen. Little black boxes flicker all over. There’s still no change to his page underneath. “Whoa, wait a minute, nah nah nah. Nah, that can’t be.” He’s very disturbed by the boxes. Most people would turn their monitor off and back on, or press ctrl+alt+del. He half-cocks his head; his body language reads get outta here. “What is this? he asks. “I never saw this before. This is… What’s… What’s going on? Oh my god.”

Credit: Tubi TV

The screen lights up. A surge of electricity shoots into his face. His last words — word, rather — is an Italian-sounding “Ayyyyyyy!” as his head explodes in a mess of computerized blood.

At least he’s no longer suffering. Let’s take solace in that.

His old age, combined with the stress of his job, had clearly taken a toll on his mental health. He was reading things that weren’t there. Having conversations with himself. He’d lost touch with reality. It was painful to watch. He’s in a better place now.

In all seriousness, I love this scene. The whole thing is so poorly acted and executed. It makes me laugh without fail. Wanna know what really gets me? It’s not that no one thought to scroll through Mr. Caruso’s page as to give the illusion that he in fact read it, it’s that someone edited this and went, “Yeah, that looks good.” This scene most likely cost zero dollars. They could have re-shot it so easily — in a matter of minutes, I’d bet. All they had to do was grab a new cutaway shot of the screen. Boom. Done. DVDs. But nobody gave a shit. Here we are.

That’s why this is my favorite moment from M4: Invaders From Cyberspace. The not giving a shit is off the charts. Check out Astro-Zombies 2, 3, & 4 if you haven’t.