Meat Market is a 2000 Canadian low-budget zombie horror comedy movie. It was directed by Brian Clement and produced by Frontline Films, and released on VHS and DVD in North America in 2001 by SRS Cinema.
Set in an unnamed North American city, the story follows a ragtag group of survivors as they attempt to discover the cause of the outbreak of a mysterious plague causing the infected to seemingly return from the dead and engage in acts of cannibalism.
Shot on video for a very low sum of money, the movie made back its cost within a year and has achieved a limited degree of notoriety and cult status.
The film opens with an attack on street youth by a group of shuffling zombies. The youths are rescued by a pair of mysterious gun-wielding strangers, Argenta and Shahrokh, who go on to seek out the source of the infection as it takes over the city, causing mass-panic, rioting, and scenes of chaos. Recruiting a Mexican wrestler known as El Diablo Azul, three lesbian vampires known as Tiamat, Valeria and Nemesis, and a wayward soldier, the group goes on to locate a scientist who claims he is responsible for the outbreak.
In a departure from standard explanations of zombie outbreaks in film, the scientist explains that what causes the infection is a type of nanotechnology that unintentionally transforms those susceptible to it into "decomposing cyborgs", in other words, they are cybernetic zombies.
Attempting to escape the city, the group of survivors gather at a secluded bunker, only to be assaulted by zombies laying in wait. The film concludes with a zombie uncharacteristically speaking and addressing the survivors by claiming "you cannot stop us".
Style & Inspiration
The director Brian Clement and co-writer Nick Sheehan openly admit on the DVD commentary the inspiration drawn from George A. Romero's original Dead trilogy as well as Lucio Fulci's Zombi 2. Additionally, the movie draws from several genre film archetypes: the Mexican wrestler, the lone gunslinger, lesbian vampires, soldiers, and "mad" scientists. Taking a comedic tone, the movie satirizes horror tropes as well as paying homage to them. It also features deliberately gratuitous nudity (including unexpected full-frontal male nudity) and graphic gore with a meandering plot playing into the thematic use of the name "Meat Market". Despite its seemingly low-brow use of lurid elements, characters quote classic literary works such as Frankenstein, Dracula, and Macbeth.
Meat Market was shot in the west-coast Canadian city of Victoria, British Columbia, over a period of several months on weekends and during time off while the director worked full-time and the co-writer attended university. A handful of shots were also taken within the city of Manhattan. Shot mostly guerilla-style without permits, the movie was recorded on S-VHS, before the widespread availability of the now more-popular format of mini-DV. During editing, the filmmakers paid close attention to sound design and chose to use over-the-top, exaggerated sound effects. The music score was composed by Justin Hagberg, who in later years went on to play in heavy metal band Three Inches of Blood. When the movie unexpectedly attained distribution through SRS Cinema, a sequel, Meat Market 2, was put into production.
While some critics and audiences praised Meat Market as "genre-blending exploitation elevated to high art while remaining 100% pure entertainment" others complained of its poor production values, amateurish acting, and incomprehensible story.
In 2001, Meat Market was named "Underground Film of the Year" by B-independent.com. 
Meat Market was followed in 2001 by the less-comedic and more post-apocalyptic themed Meat Market 2, and five years later by the British-financed and loosely-associated Meat Market 3 in 2006, both of which have been released on DVD. Both Meat Market and Meat Market 2 were re-released by distributor SRS Cinema in a 2-disc set in 2005.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Meat Market 2001 DVD director and writer audio commentary track
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 B-independent.com, 2001 review.
- ↑ Director interview, on The Video Graveyard.
- ↑ Fangoria Magazine, October 2003, Iss. 227, pg. 56-59, "Notes From the Underground: Eating Flesh & Getting Naked".
- ↑ Vancouver Island Insight Magazine, April 2005, Vol. One, Iss. One, pg. 10-12, by: J. Michael Dlugos, "Brian Clement: It's Not About Gore...Anymore"
- ↑ Monday Magazine, 17 October 2007, by: Amanda Farrell, "Zom-B-Gone"
- ↑ Times-Colonist, Victoria, 31 October 2007, pg. C11, by: Michael D. Reid, "Time for zombies to R.I.P."