Sunday, June 14, 2009

In short: The Video Dead (1987)

The accidental delivery of a cursed TV set shortens the life span of a writer (Michael St. Michaels) considerably, when a bunch of zombies crawls out of the thing and kills him.

Three months later - during which time the zombies just stood around in the woods enjoying the scenic view - Jeff (Rocky Duvall) and Zoe Blair (Roxanna Augesen) move into the house to prepare it for the arrival of their business tripping parents. All too soon the two teenagers played by twens experience the awesome power of the evil TV machine and its zombie minions. Fortunately, a Texan expert (Sam David McClelland, wearing a very Texan cowboy hat and sometimes putting on an accent, well, kinda) comes to help the aerobic student(!?) and her brother.

This is 80s horror filmmaking from the bottom of the barrel, and therefore quite fun to watch, if one either has a high tolerance for boredom and stupidity or fast forwards through the slow and unexciting two thirds of the film that consist of people doing nothing of interest and just watches the awesomely stupid parts, like the scene in which bridal gown zombie kills a woman by putting her into the washing machine she herself just jumped out of. It goes round and round, you know.

There's also quite a bit of new zombie lore to enjoy: zombies are dead people who think they are alive, and they kill the living because the damn breathers remind the poor things of the fact that they are indeed dead. They also don't approve of mirrors (remind them of being dead and ugly), and only kill people who show fear of them (unless the "script" demands something else). The video dead can only be killed in two ways - you can either treat them as sims and lock them in somewhere they can't escape from until their bladders pop until they eat each other, or you can just kill them like you would do with any normal person (not that I recommend murder). The latter won't really kill them, of course, but since these here zombies think they are alive, they'll think that you've killed them and will some day just rot away - but only if you don't bury them and make sure (chainsaws are your friend!) they can't run away. Unless another zombie wakes them up again. And if you can laugh about that one, you'll probably have a decent amount of fun with The Video Dead.

If not, you'd better stay as far away as possible or you just might end up like poor Zoe, giggling in your comfy room in the Arkham Asylum.



Todd said...

Due to my bad habit of not returning phone calls at the time, I missed the opportunity to play one of the zombies in this film. (Believe me, had I known that that was what the call was about, I would have called back pronto!) It was shot around the San Francisco bar area, and there's some overlap between the personnel and the local music scene. Jennifer Miro, who played one of the female zombies, was in an early SF punk band called the Nuns. Perhaps as a result of my bitterness and regret, I have yet to see the movie. Maybe it's time to correct that.

Todd said...

Oops. I meant the "San Francisco bay area". But if you're familiar with San Francisco, you could also pretty accurately call most neighborhoods a "bar area".

houseinrlyeh said...

The punk connection explains some of the mysteries of the movie.

You could have been tweet-suit zombie! In your place, I wouldn't watch it, the disappointment would probably break my heart.