Beware: Spoilers below!
Forever proving that Syfy knows how to up the stakes on campy original programming, the boy band zombie western Dead 7 premiered last night. Featuring members of Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, 98 Degrees, and O Town—as well as some expertly placed pop culture cameos—Dead 7 created a mashup that took advantage of the growing '90s nostalgia movement, the zombie fascination amplified by The Walking Dead, and interest (we guess?) in Westerns.
The result was a movie that had us asking: is this a fever dream? It just might have been. Quickly, let's review the key boy band-related cast members:
- Nick Carter (BSB) as Jack, the hero
- Jeff Timmons (98 Degrees) as Billy, the, uh, other hero
- Joey Fatone (*NSYNC) as Whiskey Joe, the comic relief
- Howie Dorough (BSB) as Vaquero, the sharp-shooter
- Chris Kirkpatrick (*NSYNC) as Mayor Shelby, the guy who's lost all control
- Erik Michael Estrada (O-Town) as Komodo, the good-guy ninja
- AJ McLean (BSB) as Johnny Vermillion, the evil right-hand man of lead baddie, Apocalypta.
The story is simple. A group of seven "crazy" gunslingers come together in the post-apocalyptic West to get rid of a roving zombie cult of the undead (called "copperheads"), led by an expressive she-demon named Apocalypta. Some of the heroes and villians are dressed in old timey Western attire or steampunk accessories, while others are intriguingly styled in modern hunting threads. It's confusing and wonderful. Below, we've chosen our 13 favorite moments of the show. All we have to say is: please let there be a sequel.
1. Joey Fatone as Whiskey Joe
Let's get this out early: We love Joey Fatone. For many reasons, but mostly because it seems like he's just having a good time all the time. So the fact that he's playing a character called Whiskey Joe? We liked where this was going.
2. Kiss and Make up?
Just over ten minutes in, McLean's Johnny Vermillion and Kirkpatrick's Mayor Shelby's faces came millimeters away from touching during an across-the-bars argument. As in, so close, it seemed like they were maybe going to kiss.
3. Mayor Shelby Rounds Up Some Heroes
A quick shoutout to Mayor Shelby, who started the movie already down one eye. A caring guy just trying to hold down the fort (much like we imagine Kirkpatrick to be in real life), he urged his deputy to "find some of our finest, craziest men and get up there and kill him!" after Johnny Vermillion made his escape from prison.
4. Meet Whiskey Joe
OK, let's go through the play-by-play on our first introduction to the intoxicated, wonderful Whiskey Joe. His fight scene was choreographed as follows: Joe took a swig of whiskey, flipped a table, punched a gun out of a guy's hand, then took another swig, kicked someone, headbutted a guy, broke a bottle over a dude's head and then took a final swig... out of that same bottle.
5. Jon. Secada's. Sideburns.
We should also talk about some of the additional supporting players. If you're unfamiliar with singer Jon Secada, let us direct you to this gem. As Sheriff Cooper, the policeman who tried to maintain order and also care for his barely-explained foster son, he not only had some good lines, he had some impressively sizeable sideburns (that looked like they were starting to unstick from his face most of the time).
6. Hey, It's That Guy!
Adding to the fun of this movie is the Sharknado-esque 'Hey is that... [insert 90s actor/actress/musician]?' Of the many fun cameos we caught in last night's movie, our favorite was Art Alexakis, frontman of rock trio Everclear.
7. Post-Apocalyptic Delicates
For us, the top running gag in the movie was the scenic element of clothes drying on clotheslines. Was it intentional? We don't know. But we were impressed that in the middle of a zombie apocalypse, the women of the brothel would still be able keep their delicates so perfectly clean and bright!
8. More Clothes, This Time On Hangers
This scene follows the same theme... except in this case, whomever was air drying their shirt put it on a hanger and then put it on a clothesline. As you do.
9. Whiskey Joe Goes to Battle
If you're Whiskey Joe and you're gearing up to fight some zombies, how do you get their attention? By using your gun to ring a giant old-timey triangle. That's how.
10. Johnny Vermillion Loses His Head
Johnny Vermillion, after punctuating much of the show's soundtrack with his maniacal cackle, finally met his doom courtesy of Komodo's blades.
11. Seriously, Why So Many Clotheslines?
It's not just us, right? Just a lot of clothes hanging all over the place in this movie.
12. Meet Zombie Whiskey Joe
Oh Whiskey Joe, not you. Anyone but you! We were hoping our favorite character would make it to the end, un-zombified, but it was not to be. Thankfully, Joe's explosive plan to keep himself from going full-time copperhead works. Regretfully, that means he gets blown up.
13. It's Never The Ones You See Coming
After successfully defeating Apocalypta, our mild-mannered hero Jack was basking in his victory when—chomp—a little zombie girl came out of nowhere and bit his leg. A surprising way to go, we thought. Bless you, hero Jack!