The question you got to ask yourself in any good zombie movie is how do you kill the zombies? A bullet to the head usually does the trick, but it really lacks any pizzaz. If you have the upper body strength, you could try decapitation but that can get a little messy. Total body dismemberment? Sure, but who has the time? Then a movie like 1989’s “Night Life” comes along and throws the whole kitchen sink at them. They get burned, hit with a train, ran through a wood chipper, air drilled to the face, blown up, and have their noggin split with an axe. It’s a cornucopia of zombie killin’. Plus, you get a couple zombies shagging on a box spring mattress and you sure won’t see that in any Romero flick.
Archie (Scott Grimes) is your typical ginger headed geek. Cursed by his red hair, he’s been forced to work at the mortuary in hopes his uncle Vern (John Astin) will pay for his college. Unfortunately, his Uncle treats him like Chinese Slave labor and when he isn’t working he’s being tormented by a gang of bullies at school. The only hope for a normal life is his wrench monkey pseudo-girlfriend Charlie (Cheryl Pollak) but she just bailed on him to work on a Nascar pit crew down south. It’s really every young girl’s dream. Things are looking up when a prom queen wanna-bee tries to seduce Archie on his way back to the mortuary, but het gets distracted with his tight whities just long enough for her to sneak her trouble making friends in the back door. They play hide the corpse and Archie has to piggy back the body back downstairs where his uncle immediately fires him.
Later that night, Archie gets a frantic phone call from uncle Vern whose been up to his neck in stiffs. As luck would have it, all those trouble making kids were killed in a car accident with a chemical truck and there’s zumbas and leg warmers everywhere. Archie and Vern prep the bodies and store them in a deep freezer for later but a bolt of lightening brings then back as killer zombies. They attack a plumber but it’s not quite clear if they actually want to kill Archie or just stuff him in a locker. Archie heads back to the gas station to call the cops where he runs into Charlie who just got dumped by her pitcrew agent. Turns out the guy didn’t work for NASCAR despite driving a wicked 85 Camaro and drinking heavily.
The zombies show up and give Uncle Vern the full Jiffy Lube special inflating him way past his recommended tire pressure and Charlie and Archie escape to a nearby warehouse where they filet a couple in a easy bake giant oven. Pursued by the zombies in a patrol car, they narrowly escape a train collision and battle the remaining zombies in a graveyard with a woodchopper and a can of gasoline. No lost of irony on that one folks. Heads roll, zombies ‘plode but it’s basically just a teenage love story….and a valuable lesson in the importance of saving for college. Barry Goodall says dig up a copy and remember to always properly foil wrap your fresh corpses to avoid freezer burn.
Check out this trailer for “Night Life”