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Eclectic DVD presents
Geek Maggot Bingo (1983)

"It verges on the disgusting."
- Ann Loring, American Federation of TV and Radio Artists

Review By: Dan Lopez   
Published: November 17, 2002

Stars: Richard Hell, Brenda Bergman, Donna Death, Zacherle
Other Stars: Robert Andrews, Gumby Spangler, St. Rev. Jen Jon Vomit
Director: Nick Zedd

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (language, gore, violence, unusually heavy amounts of sex and nudity)
Run Time: 02h:27m:00s
Release Date: October 29, 2002
UPC: 022891102199
Genre: cult

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C+ CC+C- B-

DVD Review

Director Nick Zedd has already earned his place in film history, but where exactly that place is located remains a mystery. Since the late 1970s, Zedd has elevated the art of homemade, grade-Z cinema to an artform of sorts, constantly making purposefully inept, sleazy, bizarre films of questionable content. While most remember They Eat Scum, Geek Maggot Bingo is another one of Zedd's more recognizable efforts. For those unfamiliar with Zedd, he typically works with the lowest technical effort possible (even most sets are simply two-dimensional drawings or cardboard models), and populates his films with weirdo characters, strange monsters, and a healthy dose of nudity. While some of his work has gone far beyond being merely strange and entered the realm of wholly offensive material to many people, Geek Maggot Bingo is probably his most accessible work, if anything he creates can really be called that.

Generally stupid and trashy, the film is basically a mad-scientist story in the vein of 1950s, b-movie sci-fi. Dr. Frankenberry (Robert Andrews) wants to use humans in his experiments to resurrect dead organisms. He is denied and fired from his university (a familiar plot device), and so he sets out on his own to complete his experiments. From that idea springs a mostly-incomprehensible epic of anti-filmmaking that involves strange two-headed creatures, undead prostitutes, a spooky forest, and more. Richard Hell (from the band, Voivods) shows up as the "Rawhide Kid" who saves the day. With production values just a notch under your average high-school stage play, Geek Maggot Bingo is intentionally of poor quality with bad sound, bad lighting, and horrendous acting, including flubbed lines of dialogue and missed cues. It makes ANY movie by, say, Ed Wood Jr., look like a high-budget, intricately-tuned masterpiece.

Of course, that's the point. Zedd's work is supposed to be funny, silly, stupid and offensive. It's underground filmmaking that pretty much isn't concerned with how it will be classified or defined; it exists to provoke. I appreciate Zedd's guerilla movie-making, I really do, but I must say that Geek Maggot Bingo is probably his worst work. You might think a movie this colossally stupid would be a laugh riot and as fun as hell. It isn't. It's incredibly boring, actually. It has a snail's pace, and the awful audio and tedious scenes that go nowhere really get old after the first 25 minutes or so. For a man who's continually prodded at controversy with ridiculous movies like Whoregasm and War Is Menstrual Envy, this movie doesn't go in any direction that's particularly entertaining. I've enjoyed some of his other work, but this one just feels lifeless, as if Zedd went to so much effort to make a crappy movie (on purpose) that he really succeeded in every possible way.

Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: C


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Filmed on what seems to be 16mm, handheld negatives, Geek Maggot Bingo will obviously not blow anyone away with its quality. The transfer is solid, though, reducing artifacts and any other disc-related problems to a minimum by providing a high bitrate and not attempting to fix things digitally. It looks as good as possible and the colors are noticeably strong. The newer short films on the disc were filmed on modern home video, and so reflect that quality completely.

Image Transfer Grade: C+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes

Audio Transfer Review: The mono audio is a bit distorted and often hard to clearly make out; this is largely due to the lack of proper mics and such during the sequences. It functions well, but won't really impress anyone too much. The new shorts fare a bit better, using better equipment and overdubs on some dialogue.

Audio Transfer Grade: C-


Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 30 cues and remote access
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Three additional shorts.Three additional shorts
  2. Interview footagePhoto Gallery
  3. Interviews with the cast.
Extras Review: While Geek Maggot Bingo is something of a bust, the disc also contains three of Nick Zedd's newer (2001) shorts, which are more up his alley and, while not for everyone, are much better than Maggot. First up is Elf Panties (8 minutes), which is a relatively laughable jab at meaningful fantasy by simply having Reverend Jen (a Zedd film regular) recite terrible "elf" poetry whilst lounging around in her underwear reading Fellowship of the Ring, in what is obviously a normal, modern day apartment. The focus is on the number of times she must change her "magical panties." It's most certainly not for the kiddies, but it's charming in that just "plain ol' sleazy Zedd" way. Lord of the Cock Rings (25 minutes) is, well...pretty much what it sounds like. It's a juvenile, tawdry satire of the classic Lord of the Rings story that, I hate to admit, I really enjoyed. Why? Because it's so ludicrous, silly, and surprisingly well made (good comic timing) that it works wonderfully, poking fun at fantasy literature as well as the corporate marketing mentality that ruined some of the charm of the Peter Jackson motion picture. There's copious male and female nudity, an elf orgy, a baby-eating tree, and plenty of bathroom humor to go around. It's the least pretentious of Zedd's works, and feels more like an extended comedy sketch. The easily offended or squeamish should not watch, though; this is basically someone vomiting all over Tolkien's Middle Earth as an act of supreme desecration.
The final short is Thus Spake Zarathustra (20 minutes), which is supposed to be an adaptation of Nietzche's book of that title, but is really just a bizarre montage of all sorts of weird stuff. God is dead, and Ubermensch rules over....Goths in a nightclub? Despite using modern video technology, it's very much like Zedd's older work and tries hard to re-capture that garage aspect of the past. There is an underground talk show broadcast featured on the disc that features three members of the Maggot cast interviewed with Nick Zedd. Where and why this footage was filmed is unknown to me (I assume this was some New York-based underground program), but it's a mildly silly look at the feature, and sort of satires celebrity talk shows and interview programs.

Extras Grade: B-


Final Comments

Zedd's style of filmmaking is funny and, in its own John Waters-esque way, classic. Unfortunately, Geek Maggot Bingo just doesn't punch hard enough or fast enough to be as offensive or funny as some of his other work. Still, it's an eye-opener and an experience for the uninitiated.


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