Archive for the 'B-movie Reviews' Category

Nov

posted by Barry Goodall | November 9, 2014 | 80's b-movies, 80's movies, B-movie Reviews, B-movies, Review by Barry Goodall

Comments Off on Troll

Seems you can’t swing a dead cat and not hit a dwarf in a b-movie these day….or toss a dwarf and hit a dead cat. It really depends on your upper body strength. Don’t get me wrong, I love the little people, the elves, dwarfs, those vertically-challenged and consider myself an outstanding midgetarian. I even know all the lyrics to the lollie-pop gang song and think Tom Cruise is actually quite statuesque. It only makes sense that I’d really dig the movie Troll which features not one but two midgets! It’s probably the most dwarf friendly movie since Return of the Jedi.

Troll is the story of a family that moves into an apartment where a devious troll name Torok has been co-leasing their laundry room. Torok  possesses the body of their their annoying daughter Wendy when she loses her toy ball in the basement. She starts acting like a overdosed crack head in front of her family and the parents just think she needs to ease off the Godzilla movies. They don’t realize she’s started a door-to-door campaign of turning everyone into giant avocados by stabbing them with her Green Lantern ring. Sonny Bono in his finest wife beater shirt ends up being the first victim when he gets turned into a potted plant. Then Julia Louis-Dreyfus morphs into a forrest nymph who runs around half naked in an ivy swimsuit (Jerry would be appauled.) Wendy’s brother “Harry Potter Jr.” becomes suspicious when she flings him against the wall like a rag doll. House of Slytherin may be involved until he learns from a neighbor witch, Eunice that his sister is actually a troll in disguise.

Meanwhile, Wendy becomes friends with a real dwarf, Malcolm, and invites him over for dinner to keep her company at the kid’s table. His refusal of chocolate milk confounds the parents who don’t seem to understand their daughter’s behavior or her choice in friends with mustaches. Wendy-Troll feels sorry for Malcolm who’s been dying of a bone disease and out of sympathy turns him into a frolicking Disney elf instead. Death would have been better. Meanwhile Harry Potter Jr. gets a magic spear from Eunice who has changed into a younger version of herself to go troll hunting but gets zapped into a talking tree stump instead. B-Movie violation…too many shapeshifter on the field! She tells Harry to find his sister deep inside the apartments which have now turned into a magical fairlyland.

Harry frees Wendy from an action figure display case with his Antique Roadshow spear when a giant winged troll shows up and attacks them. Torok has a change of heart and throws a steel pipe in the giant’s chest killing it instantly and helps them escape. Harry and Wendy find their parents and move from their greenhouse apartment complex to some place with fewer plants and much taller people. New Jersey probably. Turok takes a bit role in the Wolf of Wall Street and is currently living in Soho.

Troll isn’t a great movie, heck I’m not even sure you can classify it as a film but it sure grows on you. Check it out, and don’t forget to keep your Sonny Bono tree watered daily.

roadside attractions

  • Chia-pet apartment dwellers
  • Extreme Indoor plant growers
  • Epileptic seizure dancing
  • talking stumps
  • Spear-fu
  • Dwarf-fu
  • Troll puppets
  • mushroom table lamps
  • giant bean pods
  • Harry Potter copyright lawyers
totals

6

blood BLOOD
There’s about 2 quarts of the red stuff and lots of green fertilizer goo.

2

blood BREASTS
2 breasts, but only Jerry Senfield can see them.

9

beast BEASTS
plenty of icky sock puppets left over from the FX guys filming Ghoulies.
8.2 OVERALL
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Watch the trailer to “Troll”

trailers
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Nov

posted by deadman | November 5, 2014 | B-movie Reviews, B-movies, Comedy, New Releases, Reviews by Deadman

Comments Off on Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil

Tucker and Dale

What if all horror movie redneck killer stories were just big misunderstandings? I bet a lot of us would feel bad when the alleged antagonist bites it in the end, huh? No? Just me? Okay, then. However, it is a fun premise to think about. So fun, in fact, that someone made a movie out of it: “Tucker and Dale versus Evil.”

It begins like any other horror movie with drunken, stoned, idiot college kids heading into the woods with every intention of having sex, taking drugs, and….listening to whatever music college kids do nowadays. They meet EVERY SINGLE CLICHÉ of horror movies. There’s the strong woman, the bimbo, the token black guy, the stoner, the coward, and the “hero” of the group. Usually here’s where I’d say, “Let’s get to the murdering!” but there’s another aspect of the movie that comes along: actual characters we care about!

Tucker DaleEnter Tucker and Dale, two rednecks who just bought their dream summer home in the middle of the woods. Woods, according to the local police, that contain nothing but pain and death. Is that police department funded by Stephen King? I bet their motto is “To strike fear and forebode.” After a brief encounter at a gas station between Tucker, Dale, and the college kids, which includes a clever little jab at classism and stereotypes, both groups are off. One group to party, the other to fix up their new cabin in the woods. (Somebody pay Joss Whedon his 25 cents for that.)

After tons of attempted foreshadowing, each disarmed by the characters (some in hilarious fashion), the movie continues on while we smile smugly. My favorite moment is the newspaper clippings of killers in the woods, and disappearing folks completely overlooked for a “Buy one, get two free chili dogs” coupon with no expiration. But what’s this? A horror movie this far in and no murders? Hold on. That’ll get fixed.

The would-be hero of the college group is related to someone who survived a group of killer hillbillies in those very woods. And he went back into the woods! You could strangle these kids with a cordless phone! As I’ve said before: Going into the woods is a bad idea, no matter the scenario. Now that we’ve established the characters and scenarios, let’s get to the action! Tucker and Dale go night fishing, while the college kids go skinny dipping. We should turn this into a drinking game: For every cliché, take a drink!

One of the college girls knocks herself out, and the two rednecks save her, trying to reunite her with her friends, but there’s that misunderstanding. The college kids think they were attempting to kill her. For collegegoers they aren’t very bright. Michigan State must’ve lowered the entry standards, again. While the kids regroup and brainstorm ideas on how to get their friend back, Tucker and Dale are left with an unconscious girl, and have to take her back to their cabin in the woods to recover. Played-up dramatic music and camera shots lead into possibly the best confrontation between a would-be killer and their victim ever caught on film.

Now we delve into character development, that’s actually kind of sweet and funny, but not for too long. Begin the murders! Bees and a chainsaw combination send both Dale and the college kids running and screaming into the woods, which gives us our first death. Hey! The black guy doesn’t die first! More misunderstandings! More gore! This includes a woodchipper, a pointy stick, and gravity. The reactions of all the characters involved in these scenes are gold. Plus, let’s hear it for practical effects!

A few more deaths, a gun safety lesson, and a shootout with a nail gun later, Dale gets captured by the college kids. More misunderstandings lead to hijinks and…tea…and…a sit-down to discuss emotions? Can’t say I saw that coming. Quick! More gore and murder! Ah. That’s better. A showdown between Tucker and the last college kid gives us our wrap-up, save for a few minutes at the end of the movie. And even those are hilarious. Sorry, folks, no spoilers here.

“Tucker and Dale versus Evil” is a horror comedy with awesome practical effects, hilarious performances, and twists on old, favorite clichés that are fresh and appealing to a newer audience as well as an old horror hound like myself. Check it out and get ready for some fun. But not in the woods. Never go in the woods. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more reviews!

roadside attractions

  • Gore Money Shot
  • Nailed In The Face
  • Finger Sandwiches
  • Hatchet Physics
  • Tucker Explains It All
totals

0

blood

BLOOD

Gore, gore, everywhere.

1

blood

BREASTS

One pair exposed, two if you count Tucker’s

3

beast

BEASTS

There’s a dog. That’s it.

8.5 OVERALL
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Watch the trailer forTucker and Dale Vs. Evil

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Nov

posted by Blake | November 1, 2014 | 60's b-movies, 60's movies, B-movie Reviews, B-movies, Reviews by Blake

Comments Off on Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women

I was born in 1966, so growing up as a kid October always meant two things: Halloween and a yearly reminder of the genesis of the Red Menace.  Starting in October, 1917, the Soviets under Lenin’s leadership began seizing power in Russia and would not stop until they had control a year later.  While this had dire consequences for Russia and many other nations throughout the next 80 years, it did make for some pretty decent film-making, particularly in the realm of science fiction.

Unfortunately, some of the coolest sci-fi films to come out of the Soviet era only made it to U.S. markets in butchered form, with ludicrous dubs and hamfisted cuts perpetrated by bargain-basement distribution companies.  Even worse (from an artistic viewpoint, at any rate), they often added content by schlocky or inexperienced directors, further eroding the quality of what had originally been a good film.  Such was the fate of two Soviet films that fell into the hands of the great Roger Corman and his Filmgroup production and distribution company: Nebo Zovyot (1959) and Planeta Bur (1962).  Before moving on to the film at hand, a brief intro to these two efforts is necessary.

Nebo Zovyot was directed by Mikhail Karyukov and Aleksandr Kozyr and had some of the best modelling sequences of its era, as well as an honest and fairly successful attempt to pay lip service to the scientific realities of space travel.  “Sputnik I” had reached orbit the previous year, so in the Soviet Union the space program and its possibilities was on everyone’s mind and a film about the first manned trip to Mars was just the thing the average Ivan-in-the-street was looking for.  There are some really great sequences in the original, many of which are preserved in the U.S. release.  Unfortunately, the original Russian script was very heavy-handed and painted an unflattering portrait of the space program of the “American imperialists,” so when legendary schlock-film hucksters American International Pictures acquired the rights for U.S. distribution of the film in 1962, they hired Roger Corman and film student Francis Ford Coppola to gut and “re-envision” it.  Coppola re-wrote the script, “Americanized” all names in the credits, then slipped in some cheesy space-monster footage he and Jack Hill had shot on a sound-stage in Hollywood; apparently, Coppola wanted one monster to look like a penis, and the other a vagina (not touching that one…).  It was renamed Battle Beyond the Sun and released later that year.  Corman would use footage from the re-worked version in several films of his own on a cut-and-paste basis, including Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women.

Planeta Bur is a far better film and has stood the test of time quite well.  Directed by Pavel Klushantsev, the film was far ahead of its time when compared to Western fare, and a lot of the design work in it is still as cool as it was in ‘62 (including a “space car” that looks like many of the nuclear-powered concept vehicles that had been floating around since the late 50s).  The story was imaginative, paying quite a bit of attention to scientific reality, both in space and on the surface of Venus.  The film also features one of the coolest and most complex film robots—Robot John— ever designed.  Corman’s Filmgroup acquired the distribution rights to it in 1965, then proceeded to “re-envision” it as Corman/Coppola had done with Nebo Zovyot three years previously.  The film was given to director Curtis Harrington who would also do another film for Corman, the classic Queen of Blood.  Harrington added some newly-minted scenes starring the fading and obviously-desperate Basil Rathbone and Faith Domergue who had starred in the sci-fi classic This Island Earth ten years before, retitling the film Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet.  As with the earlier movie, most traces of the film’s Soviet origin were obscured or obliterated.  Thankfully, the film was not butchered as badly as it could have been (and certainly less than Nebo Zovyot had been), but it was never released theatrically, going straight to tv.  The majority of the cut-and-paste time in Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women is from Harrington’s movie.

The film at hand is actually a tremendous bargain matinee of a movie, comprised as it is of work from five different films.  In addition to the four listed above, Corman hired fledgeling director Peter Bogdanovich in 1968 to make what would be Filmgroup’s final effort.  Unfortunately, Corman had a problem: American International Pictures wouldn’t buy the film unless it had women in it.  Bogdanovich decided to film a bunch of “prehistoric women” cavorting on the beaches of Venus (it was actually Leo Carillo State Park in Malibu) and use it as an arc to tie the fragments of the other films together.  He cast former blonde bombshell Mamie Van Doren in the role of Moana, the leader of the group. Unfortunately, at age 37, Van Doren was looking less like a Hollywood Marilyn Monroe wannabe and more like a threadbare cocktail waitress shilling drinks to the hard-luck crowd at a casino in Winnemucca.  Her “career” was ten years past its peak and was already well into a long downward slide, and Bogdanovich surrounded her with younger no-names to cushion the effect, most of them looking like Malibu beach chicks he’d met at D-list parties.  He dressed them all in latex bell-bottoms, leis, and plastic sea-shells for bikini-tops, then gave them all peroxide-platinum hair and let them roam and swim Carillo in silence.  In one of his few good directorial decisions, Bogdanovich had no dialogue in his scenes, allowing the viewer to assume some wild, alien intelligence on the part of Van Doren and her posse, rather than having them speak and making such an illusion impossible to maintain.  Alas, he would later decide to add voiceovers (“telepathy”) as he thought his segments were otherwise incomprehensible, and we get the bimboesque voices of his Venusians in all of their glory.  To add to this dismal performance, Bogdanovich, himself provides a badly-written, poorly-read narration that runs from the beginning to the bitter end of the film. He was trying for some sort of Beat profundity, but he just ends up sounding like a drunken Berkeley sophomore spewing nonsense at a beach party.

To give his project some tie-in with the Americanized Soviet films, Bogdanovich constructed a papier-mache pteranodon “idol” to match one seen in Planeta Bur; this was “Ptera,” the god whom the Venusians kept close to their breasts (or their hearts…whatever), and had a large rubber Ptera made to match.  The rubber dino was a serious mistake; I had more convincing rubber dinosaurs in my toy box when I was a kid, and a couple of Bogdanovich’s amateurish close-up shots only make the effect worse (it’s no wonder that Bogdanovich would later flame out after Paper Moon, a film more notable for the profound cinematography of Laszlo Kovacs than for Boggie’s lackluster direction).

Mercifully, Bogdonovich’s segment was only about 15 minutes of total film time, lasting only long enough to prove that ‘his work was both good and original, but those parts which were good were not original, and those which were original were not good.’  And that paraphrase of Samuel Johnson best describes the entire film, with the only decent parts coming from the Soviet originals.  I found it telling that Corman’s Filmgroup folded soon after completing this dog, although Corman himself had many years of awesome projects afterwards.  Still, it’s worth an idle afternoon’s viewing, more for the value of seeing the Soviet bits or a late-career treat for Van Doren buffs than anything else.

roadside attractions

  • Five films in one
  • The sagging Mamie Van Doren
  • The People’s Committee for Science Fictionski
  • Vintage Corman/AIP
totals

0

blood

BLOOD

Bloodless combat

1

blood

BREASTS

seashells (sigh)

3

beast

BEASTS

“Ptera,” dinos, carnivorous plants

1.5 OVERALL
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Watch the FULL MOVIE of Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women

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Oct

Comments Off on NEKRomantik

NEKRomantik
“Death is just the Beginning.”

1988 – NR – 71 Minutes – Cult Epics
Starring Bernd Daktari Lorenz, Beatrice Manowski, Harald Lundt – Directed by Jorg Buttgeriet

Everyone has a fetish or a fear. Some are, to say the least, weird and that’s putting it lightly. Having sex with dead bodies? Yeah, that’s… that’s definitely weird. To center your movie around it? Yup, totally weird. So you can see why a movie called NEKRomantik, a title that implies romance with necrophilia, would be controversial. Now that I mention it, this is quite a controversial movie and rightfully so. It’s one of the few films that has earned it’s reputation and status alongside something like Salo. It’s a movie that starts with a crudely hand written warning and then on to something even more memorable…

And what better way to start off your film with an old woman pissing (talking about leaving an everlasting first impression, movie). To be fair, that’s lightly setting the tone for this film and things get a whole hell of a lot harder to watch. Shortly thereafter, she and her husband drive their car off the side of the road and die in a horrific accident. The next morning, Joe’s Cleaning Agency is called to the scene to clean up the grisly mangled bodies. Seems like something the police coroners would do, but then again this is Germany. Among these fellows is Rob, who really seems to love his job due to his ghastly obsession; necrophilia! This job allows Rob to take things from the scenes, like an organ here or there (you know, nothing that would clearly be missing…). He brings these home to add to his collection he and his girlfriend Betty have. Yes, even these two managed to find each. I wonder if there is a dating website for necrophiliacs?

nek_2While Betty baths in blood, Rob sits on the bed and plays with human organs while watching a program about overcoming phobias, which coincidentally enough does poetically tie into the film some way. While watching the program, Rob has a flashback of an older man who we assume is his father butchering his pet rabbit when he was a child. I have to admit I had trouble sitting through this scene since the rabbit was actually killed. I’m all for filmmaking, but I don’t believe an animal should have to die for your movie. This is intertwined with cuts of a man performing an autopsy on a human and I don’t know who either of them are or how or if it’s related to what’s going on or with Rob… let’s just move on. We could be here all day psychoanalyzing this film.

Luckily due to some drunk redneck taking popshots at birds with a rifle and accidentally killing a nearby gardener (and after ditching the body in a pond), Rob pulls off the ultimate score and brings home Betty their very own corpse! The two love birds rub the goopy cadaver all over, kiss it, then each other and then… oh no… why is Rob cutting a metal pipe that for some reason looks phallic like to size?! No, why are they attaching it to the dead body’s groin?! Well, at least they are safe about it. Betty slips a condom over the “instrument” and the two (or should I say three) go at it. The scene is shot with a blur effect making it dream like or almost like an outer body experience.

Ah, things seem to be going fine for the love birds and their new “toy” that they’ve hung on the wall with plates underneath to catch the dripping fluids (ew). Nothing could spoil this positive upswing. Or could it? Due to his constant tardiness and stinky overalls being left in his locker, Rob is fired from his job, but luckily he has kind, loving Betty there to emotionally support him. Once she stops straddling the corpse and reading love novels to it, she yells at Rob, calling him weak and that she doesn’t want to spend her better years with a loser. Shortly after, Rob returns home to find a note from Betty saying that she took the corpse and split. I know how you feel, man. My ex took the cat when she left. Harsh.

nek_3Rob spirals into depression and goes through all the things one goes through when they are down; heads to the theater to catch a slasher movie, kills the cat, tries to commit suicide with whiskey and pills, strangles a hooker and then defiles the corpse in a cemetery. You know, the classics. Upon being woken by a strange old man after killing the hooker, Rob decapitates the old man with a shovel, which results in a greatly grotesque effect (think Bad Taste) and after fleeing the scene, Rob realizes there is nothing left and there is only one way out as the film reaches its, dare I say, “climax”.

With the quotes around that word and given the nature of this film, I’m sure you realize what I’m talking about. But brother once you see it, you can’t unsee it.

There is an unclean feeling you’re left with after viewing NEKRomantik, which goes without saying. Rob has a pretty sick fetish that you would normally dislike a person for, but the way he is portrayed by Daktari Lorenz is more sympathetic, even when he is defiling a corpse or murdering a lady of the evening. He and Betty seem like that totally normal couple, except for, ya know, that one thing… Though the narrative and the uniquely striking way it’s shot, everything about it is like looking into something that on the surface appears normal, but there is something sad and tragic about it, even though we never truly learn what that may be.

There is quite a bit of shocking, and at time fortuitous, imagery. Perhaps even more strange about it is that it simultaneously takes you out of the moment, yet keeps you connected. As much as you want to look away, you can’t avert your gaze. You get where I’m going with this. For every negative about the film, there seems to be a positive that contradicts it. Writer/director Jorg Buttgereit found that balance between horrible and beautiful. Just about every little thing is this film is saying something about who we are as people. The scene where Rob goes to watch the slasher movie, for example. Everyone in the theater is groping their girlfriends, talking or drinking a beer while people are being tortured, sexually abused and slaughtered. Along with the entire tone of the film and what it’s about, is it saying we have become completely desensitized to sex and violence in media? Ow, my brain! Stop making me think, movie!

nek_4Of course it’s not all pretty. There are periods when the film does seem to drag during some of these scenes, but just as your about to get sick of watching it (if you haven’t already), the shot changes. Without a whole lot of dialogue in the film, your left to the imagery and what they are trying to connect to fully tell the story and some people may not be able to completely pay attention to this. It does require your full attention and once Betty leaves Rob during the second half of the film, it starts to feel like it’s beginning to drag as the story continues. This is most likely because we watch Rob literally putter around and slowly mentally deteriorate even further than he already is. The movie is only a short 71 minutes long, but it’s during this final part of the film where it feels like it’s breaking the two hour mark.

Given all the film’s content and how disgusting and morally corrupt you could claim it is, I have to say, the film is somehow beautifully artistic about it. Cult Epics has recently released NEKRomantik on Blu-ray and you certainly get a bang for your buck. Not only do you get an HD approved transfer from the original 8mm prints, but you also get a “Grindhouse” HD version taken from the 35mm theatrical print for a more gritty look, which adds that extra layer of filth to it. Make note, although it has been restored, this was an extremely low budget film, so there is still quite a bit of grain and dullness, but what do you expect? It’s not exactly IMAX here. You also get a few featurettes, including a ‘making of,’ Q & A with Jorg Buttgereit as well as an introduction to the film from him. He also provides an audio commentary to the film along with co-author Franz Rodenkirchen. Perhaps the “hottest” of all the bonus features is the never before released short Hot Love, which also includes a commentary and its very own featurette. Top it all off with the original motion picture soundtrack and you have yourself one hell of a Special Edition and since it’s limited to 10,000, you may wanna grab a copy real quick.

NEKRomantik
I know I’ve said this before, but it is more true here than it has ever been; NEKRomantik is NOT for everyone. Not even die hard horror fans. You have to be looking for a film that is beyond disgusting and sleazy, yet somehow mesmerizing. It embraces the moments of silence, only playing a fairly haunting soundtrack, depicting scenes of vile acts of weird perversion involving organs and gore, but tying it together with loneliness, the want for love and becoming completely lost in your life. Jorg Buttgereit tells an freakish and bemused story, while it may not be for everyone, those who do find an interest in it will adore it.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Road-killed.
  • Organ donors vs. organ collector.
  • Blood bathing Betty!
  • Necrophilia at it’s most artistic.
  • My baby left me for a man with no pulse.
  • Cat’s in the bag.
  • Cemetery “cream”ation.
  • Killer climax.
totals

7

blood

BLOOD

Blood baths, car crashes, organs, gunshots, a ghastly decapitation and a stabbing.

6

blood

BREASTS

Betty bears ’em but under such odd circumstances.

5

beast

BEASTS

Rob is Frank Zito crossed with Peter Parker.

6 OVERALL
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Watch the entire movie!

trailers

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Oct

Comments Off on The Video Dead

The Video Dead
“The living dead are here, and they’re lusting for blood – yours!”

1987 – R – 90 Minutes – Scream! Factory
Starring Michael St. Michaels, Thaddeus Golas, Douglas Bell – Directed by Robert Scott

Remember when everyone use to nag at you when you would come home and plop yourself in front of the boob tube that “Television will kill ya!” It’s meant quite literal in The Video Dead, an interesting little zombie flick from the 80’s. This was back when not every zombie movie had to take place after a virus had spread and it’s now a post apocalyptic world, back when zombies moaned and shambled instead of hissing and walking at a fast pace. Ah, the good ol’ days. But enough of my old man gripes, let’s see what this movie has to deliver.

Speaking of deliver, two delivery men bring an alcoholic writer (is there any other kind?) a mysterious crate, with no COD! Remember those days? When you someone would send you something and you would have to pay for it when it arrived? Gee, thanks for sending me something that I now have to pay a fee on. Anyhoo, I wonder what could be inside? The suspense is killing me and apparently the writer can’t wait either, sense he bashes the thing open with a crowbar to reveal… a weathered ol’ analog TV. Oh. Great.

vd_2But there is something strange about this TV. For starters, only one station seems to come in and it apparently only plays one scene from a low budget zombie movie, but here’s the kicker; the zombies come to life and crawl out of the TV! You think 3D is the next big thing, well think again! Although, I think this is only a gimmick and won’t last long, since these zombies seem to kill whatever they come across.

Oops! Seems those delivery drivers made a mistake and need to pick the TV back up for the senders, who happen to be the subtly named the Institute for the Studies of the Occult. I wonder what they do there, how they get their funding and what you do with your degree once you graduate. Can we see that movie instead? No, instead we see the writer, strung up in birthday decorations, dead as a doornail. Aw, nobody came to his party, poor guy.

Three months goes by, which apparently is enough time to allow a home that is the scene of an unsolved murder to be sold and the new tenants are moving in. Well, their daughter Zoe is, since her parents are still overseas. Zoe is also majoring in aerobics, which doesn’t come back into the movie in any way. I’m not being sarcastic there either. It pops up during conversation once and that’s it. Anyway, it isn’t long before something in dirty, ripped clothing is dragging a leg, scuffling toward the house. Upon entering, much to her surprise, it’s her brother Jeff. Wait, why was he dragging his leg? He doesn’t for the rest of the movie. Did someone punch his leg and cause the muscle to tense up? I’m going to assume that’s what happened otherwise this serves no purpose, other than to make you believe it was a zombie.

vd_2Jeff. How would you describe Jeff? Well, he’s your average radical 80’s kid with spiked blonde hair, tattered clothing and has a chill attitude. The actor’s performance however… oh boy. Do you remember that kid from Troll 2, the one most known for his line delivery of, “They’re eating her! And now they’re going to eat me! OH MY GAAAAAAWD!” Yeah, he gives that guy a run for his money.

The next morning, a chubby man in a cowboy hat named Joshua Daniels, who could very well double for Joe Don Baker, arrives at the house asking Jeff about the TV. Jeff thinks nothing of it and dismisses Joshua, but shortly after, the seductress on the TV begins to call out for Jeff, luring him into the attic. Now, most people would think to themselves, “Hey, didn’t someone just come around asking about a mysterious TV?” But not Jeff. He decides to bring it into his room, the dolt. And to think this idiot is a total babe magnet. The next day (still wearing the same clothes he arrived in), his neighbor April comes by to introduce herself and tells him all about the murder that occurred in his new home (umm… aren’t realtors required by law to tell you if someone has been killed in your new home?). Jeff falls for her immediately, so much so that he even takes the heat for accidentally killing a dog she watches for some rich folk. Ladies, what has your man done for you today?

That night while toking on a doobie (that’s what the kids say, right?), the seductress comes out from the TV to tease Jeff into thinking he will get “some” and then disappears back into the TV to laugh and giggle at him. Jeff, doesn’t get the hint and desperately seeks out how to get in contact with her, but before he can score a six digit phone number, someone named the Garbage Man comes from behind and slashes her throat, revealing her true, hideous identity. Jeff’s line delivery here is flawlessly executed, a nonchalant, “There’s someone in the room with you… no.” I’ve seen more emotion come from Gillian Anderson’s lips in The X-Files. The Garbage Man tells Jeff about the creatures and to put the shiny side of a mirror up against the TV, since the zombies don’t like to see themselves. Believe it or not, but Jeff almost manages to screw this up. I wouldn’t trust this kid to put his underwear on right, if he wears any.

vd_4It seems like it was all for nothing, or perhaps just poorly written as zombies devour April’s father and the maid, along with a few neighbors… while having some fun about it. Actually, I shouldn’t say devour. They sorta choke their victims to death and you rarely see them eating anyone. April takes refuge with Jeff and Zoe as Joshua reemerges and I’m going to assume this time Jeff will listen. He tells them of the terrible creatures that come out from the TV and kill everyone they encounter… you know, stuff you already know. A new bit of information is offered, however. You see, these zombies don’t die like traditional zombies by destroying their brain. These zombies can be tricked into thinking they are regular folk and be convinced they’re dead. It’s the only way to stop them. As they continue to bicker about what to do with the zombies, April gets her useless arse kidnapped, so Joshua and Jeff wait until morning (gee, don’t make it a priority or anything) to rescue you her. Oh, great. Any elderly, chubby old man and a kid who probably needs reminders how to blink are your heroes.

There is actually some good back and forth between Joshua and Jeff, as they tease each other and we get a little insight into who they are and see their more human sides, as they search for April by shouting her name as loudly as possibly. This is when the movie kinda turns goofy, almost as if they were running out of ideas, but they knew they had about thirty more minutes to pad out and that’s how it feels. Not to say they don’t make it entertaining. Jeff and Joshua hunt down the zombies, setting all kinds of traps and what happens next for an expose of gore and violence, I didn’t see coming.

The zombies are now closing in on the home where Zoe is by her lonesome self and she’s left to do the only thing she can. Remember when Joshua was talking about treating them like regular folk? Sounded stupid, right? Well guess what? It actually works. The zombies die and Zoe’s parents come to visit her in the hospital since she is all traumatized shortly after and bring her a little gift so she have something to watch.

Talk about a tonal shift in movie. This movie went from semi-hilarious with a ridiculous premise to semi-serious and dark, although it never feels like you are watching a different movie. Another thing that seems to bog it down from time to time is the pacing, most noticeably in the third act. It feels like it’s starting to drag, but never reaches a point where it feels unwatchable. The Video Dead is quite the opposite of unwatchable, actually. I picked myself up the Scream! Factory two pack with TerrorVision (is that not the most awesome double feature?) and the Blu-ray transfer presented here looks crisp and sharp… unfortunately, it makes the makeup job on some of the zombies look even more laughable than they already had. Don’t get me wrong, some of them look great, like our main zombie that is all rotted. But then there are others, like the rock-a-billy looking zombie crossed with Ryan Stiles where his appearance is something to the effect of putting Elmer’s glue all over someone’s face and painting it blue. You can even see where they should have blended it. Luckily because of the silly premise of the movie, it’s not an issue and when the film tosses blood and guts your way (or a melting, exploding zombie head), you won’t even think twice about it. Too bad the same can’t be said about the music. That short loop will get stuck in your brain, you’ll wish it were your head that was melting. The music sounds like a two note version of the Halloween theme stuck on repeat. You keep expecting in to change, but it never does. All the flaws are forgivable, since it’s low budget and the thing had to be shot on weekends whenever the cast and crew could find time off from their day jobs.

The Video Dead
While it’s not the finest example of a zombie film, it has enough cheese to keep you entertained. It’s one of those so-bad-it’s-good type of flicks and I don’t mean that in an ironic sense. There are quite a few things in the bad that make this an absurd film that you can enjoy. While it’s not quite up to Troll 2‘s high standards, I would certainly put it up there. I first discovered this little gem back on VHS when I was in highschool that an ex-girlfriend just so happened to have and I’ve watched it from time to time again ever since. Thankfully, it has found it’s way to Blu-ray and is much more available. If you’re looking for something to treat yourself with and have a good time, then tune in for The Video Dead!

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • TV will rot your brain or zombies will crawl out of it and kill you.
  • Jeff and Zoe, this fall on Disney Channel.
  • Joe Don Baker’s long lost brother, Joshua.
  • Dead dog walking.
  • Zombie hunters.
  • Um, I think your soundtrack is skipping.
totals

7

blood

BLOOD

The zombie classics eating limbs and guts, melting heads. S’all good.

2

blood

BREASTS

If this film were missing one thing, it’s this.

6

beast

BEASTS

Unfortunately, these zombies aren’t much of threat as long as you aren’t stupid.

5 OVERALL
dripper

Watch the entire movie!

trailers

dripper

About the Highway

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