I became fascinated by Zombie Nation after it ended up in the IMDBs Bottom 100 list where it has attracted claims such as The Worst Zombie Film Ever Made. I thought I had seen some of the worst zombie films ever made Redneck Zombies (1989), Santa Claus vs the Zombies (2010), Xombies 3D (2011), Bigfoot vs Zombies (2016), Range 15 (2016) and was intrigued to see how this would compare. Zombie Nation, which should not be confused with the zombie tv series Z Nation (2014 ) was made only a few months after Zack Snyders Dawn of the Dead (2004) remake, the success of which sparked a huge revival of the zombie genre over the next few years.
I suspect part of the dislike of Zombie Nation is that it is not what people expect of a zombie film. In fact, what we have is more a film about police brutality a psycho officer (Gunter Ziegler) who enjoys killing women after pulling them over on minor pretexts and a cover-up by his colleagues after his partner (Brandon Dean) stands up against this. There are no zombies in the film until the 50 minute mark (the film only has an 80 minute runtime). And even when they do appear, the zombies are not the stumbling, flesh-devouring hordes of Romero et al but talk, act seductively, drive cars and in the end coda are seen as having signed up as an all-female police force. Rather than any apocalyptic outbreak of flesh-eating zombies, what we have is a film about the murdered women returned from the dead (because a voodoo spell has been placed on one victim) seeking revenge against their murderer (although they do attack a couple of other men along the way).
Ulli Lommel has made Zombie Nation on the cheap. Like many of Lommels films of the 1990s and 2000s, it has the feel of being scraped together on next-to-minimal resources and the edges patched together with masking tape. The police precinct consists of no more than several cubicle dividers and desks placed around a warehouse there are even spotlights openly visible in some scenes. On the other hand, it is not completely unwatchable so doesnt get thrown down in the arena of worst zombie films ever in this authors book. There are more horrendous examples out there.
Ulli Lommel has directed a large number of genre films. These include:- Haytabo (1971), The Tenderness of the Wolves (1973), The Boogey Man (1980), Olivia/Double Jeopardy (1981), Boogey Man II (1982), BrainWaves (1983), The Devonsville Terror (1983), Strangers in Paradise (1984), Identified Flying Object (1985), Bloodsuckers (1998), The Raven (2006) and The Tomb (2007), as well as a subset of these that exploit often very loose connection to true life serial killers with B.T.K. Killer (2005), Green River Killer (2005), Killer Pickton (2005), The Zodiac Killer (2005), Black Dahlia (2006), Cannibal (2006), Borderline Cult (2007), Curse of the Zodiac (2007), Baseline Killer (2008), Dungeon Girl (2008), Killer Nurse (2008), Son of Sam (2008), Nightstalker (2009), D.C. Sniper (2010) and Manson Family Cult (2012).