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Johnny Sunshine

3.0 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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(Aug 05, 2008)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In the year 2012, three years after the rise of zombies, a seedy underworld of exploitation and violence exists in a maze of alleyways and speakeasies just outside the city walls; where life is cheap and the drugs are cheaper. Surviving to a ripe old age has become an urban myth. At the center of it all is Johnny Sunshine, a porn-snuff star and killer for hire. She stalks the night like a tempest of sex and violence, much to the pleasure and profit of her producer, Max, and his entertainment empire. As the body count rises, Johnny becomes a victim of her own success. A secret plot is hatched to orchestrate her downfall and capture it all on camera to create the greatest snuff film ever made.

Review borrows from the best: SIN CITY, LAND OF THE DEAD, SAW, THE ROAD WARRIOR, AMERICAN PSYCHO, and others. Much of the dialogue seems to be channeled straight from the late Charles Bukowski. --CRYPT MAGAZINE by KEN KUPTIS

Fango heard from producer/writer Sean-Michael Argo and associate producer Eric Halsell, who passed on some pics (see more below) and info on their indie shocker JOHNNY SUNSHINE, which Brain Damage Films releases to DVD August 5. Directed by Matt Yeager (who also supervised the FX), the Arkansas-lensed movie is described by Argo as a grindhouse feature in every sense of the word, from the visual assault of sex and violence to the low-budget esprit de corps. I hate to use that word to describe the film, given the recent Tarantino/Rodriguez project, but it s the most accurate description I can muster. It s uniquely self-aware of both the story within and the audience it plays for. The project pulls from several film traditions, and is at once film noir, exploitation, and a zombie film homegrown in leather, flesh and steel. The story is set in an underworld called The Sprawl, inhabited by both the living and the undead, where mayhem is the order of the day. The title character (played by Shey Bland) is a porn star and assassin working for sleazy producer Max (Halsell), who exploits the world gone to hell by videotaping her deviant exploits. Unfortunately for Johnny, sales of her movies have started to falter, and Max decides to orchestrate her demise, capturing her death on camera to create what he hopes will be a huge-selling snuff movie. The cast also includes John Patrick McCauley, Casey Halsell and Argo himself. JOHNNY SUNSHINE was shot over 30 days in 2007 by Dissolve Pictures, a company formed by Argo (whose credits also include the supernatural features SUGAR CREEK and WINTER WOOD; see previous item here) and Halsell. The duo have also teamed with Yeager on a Lovecraft-themed pic called ARKANE that s currently in postproduction. Look for more on that project and the DVDetails on JOHNNY SUNSHINE at this site soon; in the meantime, check out JOHNNY s teaser trailer below the photos and see the movie s MySpace page here. --Fangoria Magazine

Johnny Sunshine: Maximum Violence - A zombie bum on the streetJohnny Sunshine: Maximum Violence takes a different approach to world-wide zombie infestation. What happens with those that are not granted access to the clear and gated communities? Will those poor souls left to fend for themselves huddle in their homes hiding from danger? Some might, and others would likely find a way to turn the situation to their advantage. In today s society there is a seedy underworld of drugs, prostitution, pornography and even snuff films. What becomes of those that walk in this world after the zombies arise? Johnny Sunshine: Maximum Violence - Max the Porn Producer's personal video logMax (Eric Halsell) is a porn producer. He seems to have been born at the right time because a zombie outbreak overtook the globe just as he was reaching the age of entrepreneurialism, and he has an eye for exploitation, murder and porn. So, asks Max, how can one turn a seemingly devastating global event into extreme profit potential? Give the survivors what they want bloody and sexy lawlessness in an age of few laws. Johnny Sunshine (Shey Bland) is just the ticket to propel Max to uber-riches. Johnny is a sexy and deviant zombie warrior with a taste for blood and a high libido. Since all forms of traditional values are completely lost and unattainable in a zombie-ridden world, all Johnny has to do is play out her deviance with a video camera rolling to make a bundle of money. Johnny Sunshine is a star and sex/death-starved people both inside and outside the gated communities buy her films with their every spare dollar. Life is good. The psychotic equilibrium is skewed a bit when Johnny s movie sales start to plateau and Max decides that betraying her to the sex and blood obsessed cop Stein (John Patrick McCauley) will allow him to profit even further as the fall of Johnny Sunshine is offered at the local blockbuster. Sex and blood abound. Johnny Sunshine: Maximum Violence is nothing short of brilliant. Although this is clearlyJohnny Sunshine: Maximum Violence - Bloody Face Plant a low budget film it makes such exceptional use of story, editing and flow that budget is completely a non-issue. The sets stink, and are extremely boring at some points, but as a viewer you just don t care. What is happening on the screen is so utterly captivating and engrossing that nothing else matters. The acting in this film is very good generally, and in the instances of Halsell, Bland and McCauley the performances are truly superb. Halsell is cheesy while being very direct about his duty to profit from an unfortunate situation while demonstrating his need for acceptance through his desperate attempts to gain entry to one of the walled-in cities. McCauley is obsessed and broken, a man whose inner demons are allowed to run free due to the world situation. Then there is Shey Bland as Johnny herself. Bland is tough, sexy and severely troubled in a way that makes her appear incredibly strong. Johnny Sunshine would be considered a death row inmate candidate in any normal societal situation, but in her current environment Bland s performance makes Sunshine appear to be one of the sane ones. I can t find evidence that Shey Bland has performed in any other films, but as soon as I do you can bet that I will be first in line to watch them. Shey Bland is a superstar in the making. Kudos must go to writer Sean-Michael Argo and director Matt Yeager for Johnny Sunshine: Maximum Violence. This is a story that could have gone so terribly wrong in the telling. Too much cheese, too much camp, too much seriousness any one of these elements might have derailed the real meaning; in a true zombie-infested world there would indeed be those who profit. Before watching this film I hadn t thought of that side of the equation much.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Shey Bland, John Patrick McCauley, Eric Halsell, Sean-Michael Argo
  • Directors: Matt Yeager
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Dissolve Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: August 5, 2008
  • Run Time: 80 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0019MG2XC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #240,238 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
It's beyond me how anyone could make a movie this awful. This could be one of the worse flicks I've ever seen, maybe the second, after "Lancelot de Luc". Even if one is into gore/slasher flicks, this movie still sucks. When I have to fast-forward in parts, I know something is really wrong. It's got some overdone, really stupid violent scenes that didn't really gross me out because they were so dumb. It's like this movie was made by undergrad college kids for either hardcore felons in prison, or extremely mentally dull persons. Not really much of a story, pieced together in a crude fashion, with long extended scenes that got to be so boring that I almost puked. There were zombies in it, but of the lowest order, just stupid zombies. I watched it via Netflex, and I would suggest that one should never rent nor buy it unless one wants to throw money away. It's really beyond me how anyone can even get a DVD as horrible as this one into the marketplace. I realize that they only spent a few bucks making it, but I can't see how they can recoup their money from this disaster. The producers/director should be locked up along with all the actors in it.
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Format: DVD
The only reason "Johnny Sunshine" runs 1:20 is because of all the needlessly long scenes of the lead character doing someone ("doing" meaning both killing and rutting with, and sometimes both at once). That time would have been better spent on developing the plot. Or A plot, I should say. The story is woefully threadbare and the characters aren't deep enough to qualify as one-dimensional. This is nearly an hour and a half of unimpressive set pieces meant to shock and titillate, and they fail to do either.

I understand that it's a no-budget film and I should perhaps expect only so much, but people have done a lot more with a lot less.
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Format: DVD
Hands down. I wish I could rate this on a negative scale. Look, I love terrible movies. Few things make me happier than settling down with a long-forgotten B-movie. But this.....this is an abomination. There is nothing redeeming here. The acting is godawful, the story seems to be the same three scenes playing over and over, and while it is clear that the makers of this trash (I won't disparage a century of film history by calling this a "film")thought they were shocking their audience by challenging conventions, they were really just indulging in the worst kind of ego stroking. This is supposedly a zombie flick, but that subplot is superfluous at best. It's really about torture porn, and even those scenes are so boring and devoid of anything resembling a human story that one can't help but yawn. If you are anywhere near this movie, run. Run far, and run fast. And never look back.
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Format: DVD
Johnny Sunshine: Maximum Violence (Matt Yeager, 2008)

Both director Matt Yeager and screenwriter Sean-Michael Argo were taking their first cracks at their respective jobs with Johnny Sunshine: Maximum Violence, and it shows, but that doesn't make it the painfully horrid piece of film that the thirty-two raters on IMDB--who have given the film a collective rating of 1.2--would have you believe. While the film was made with almost no budget, there's a lot to be liked here, as long as you're not expecting much when you dive into it.

In the post-apocalyptic world the film inhabits, zombies have basically taken over, and the humans who remained have learned to co-exist with them in an odd sort of way. (Zombies, after all, are slow and stupid.) Johnny Sunshine (the ferally beautiful Shey Bland) makes her living alternating between hunting zombies and making low-rent snuff porn. Her boss, Max (Eric Halsell), is trying to use the profits he's made from Johnny's various exploits to buy his way into the walled, high-security city where the rich live. (The framing device used in the movie is Max's video application for acceptance in the community, actually, and it's worth the price of admission by itself.) Problem is that Johnny has outlived her usefulness; her popularity has plateaued, and Max wants to get her out of the way to make room for his next star. (Oddly, that particular character never turns up; one would have thought the producers, given that they're lampooning cheap exploitation flicks even as they're making one, would have welcomed the chance to put another set of breasts in the movie.) Combine this with a few subplots and a random zombie attack or two, and you've got yourself a no-budget horror movie.

It's all a lot of fun if you take it in the proper manner.
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