|THE VIDEO DEAD
|Copyright 1987 Highlight Productions
| Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 18 November 2001
- Zoe Blair - A complete nutcase after her ordeal and presumed zombie kibble, unless insane people prove unpalatable.
- Jeff Blair - Zoe's clubfooted brother. His disorder seems to vanish just in time for him to take a chainsaw through the chest.
- Mr. Daniels - Texan (and boy is he ever) who is familiar with the zombies. Needed to shave that wispy patch of hair on his pate, hopefully the undertaker will do it before the viewing.
- April - Young woman with blonde hair and an obsessive-compulsive disorder. Disemboweled.
- The Garbageman - A vigilante entity that lives inside the demonic television set.
- Mr. Jordan - Previous owner of Zoe and Jeff's house. He is not so alive anymore.
- The Zombies - They escaped from the television set and now haunt the woods near the Blair's home. Just about everything sets them to giggling, which seems like strange behavior for the undead.
|When the other B-Masters decided that this roundtable would be based off of a sort of "Secret Santa" idea I had some reservations. Not least was that the phrase "Tyrannical and Sadistic Santa" would have been more accurate. You see, the truth of the matter is that we all jumped at the opportunity to inflict something God awful on each other. Ken Begg was threatened with "The Trial of Billy Jack" and Dr. Freex had the poor luck of being given "Jonathan Livingston Seagull." So, when the latter gentleman informed me that my particular torment would be "The Video Dead," I was more than a little relieved.
The film begins when Mr. Jordan is roused by two deliverymen (who need new brakes for their van). They insist on him signing for a large crate, though the sender and contents are unknown. Okay, I'm paranoid anyway; plus watching movies like this for years doesn't help, but I would politely refuse the consignment. "No, I will not sign my death certificate. Now leave, before both myself and Mr. Twelve Gauge Mossberg get angry." Unfortunately for Mr. Jordan, he accepts the crate and unpacks the B&W television inside. The set has a worrisome peculiarity; there is only one movie on: "Zombie Blood Nightmare." After the writer goes to sleep the TV turns itself on and the main characters crawl out. When the deliverymen come back, because they delivered death to the wrong address, they make a gruesome discovery.
Three months pass before the Blairs purchase the home. Mom and dad are out of the country, so Zoe and Jeff take on the responsibility of moving in. I have no idea if the parents even visited the house before making a down payment. The important facts are that the TV is in the attic and the zombies are still loose in the nearby woods. Oh, Jeff also meets April and they seem to hit it off.
Jeff finds the television when he investigates a sound in the attic. The young man brings the infernal thing downstairs to his room and plugs it in. Immediately "Zombie Blood Nightmare" comes on (sort of odd, since the zombies are already out), but then the picture fuzzes over. What replaces the low budget horror film is a seductress who tantalizes Jeff's libido. Something about her features set off warning bells in my head; they are reminiscent of a woman who used to be a man! Telling Jeff wouldn't have done much good. At that age, most young males just look for the major landmarks of womanhood (boobs) and he was entranced, even moreso when she suddenly materialized in his room. A briefly embarrassing necking scene ensued, but then the woman reappeared inside the TV.
Our frustrated hero starts doing what any red blooded American boy would do when suddenly cut off from a sexual experience. He starts whining. Lucky for him that the Garbageman pays a visit to the video temptress. Slitting her throat reveals the woman's true nature (an ugly, soulless monster) to the aghast boy. Then the Garbageman gives some brief instructions to Jeff, including how to prevent any more evil from escaping from the TV. Screw that buddy! You seem to know what you are doing; get your ass out here and help me! The mysterious monster hunter then disappears back into the static. The next morning Jeff thinks that it was all just a dream. That is, until he finds the woman's dress on his floor. The television set is soon sitting in the basement, unplugged and with a mirror (facing inward) taped over the screen.
The undead return that day and kill a number of people in the neighborhood, including April's father. Inexplicably, the bride zombie was inside of somebody's washing machine. She leaps out like a rotting jack-in-the-box and strangles the very surprised housewife, then stuffs the body into the machine before turning it on. The zombies find that incredibly funny. Har... ...de... ...har.
Mr. Daniels pays the frightened kids another visit, since Jeff rudely turned him away earlier. Convincing them that something is terribly wrong is a little easier this time, especially after the David Bowie zombie carries April away. After barricading the house, including attaching a number of mirrors to the front door, because the zombies cannot stand their own reflection, the planning starts.
Mirrors all over the front door? Where is Vincent Price?
The next day Mr. Daniels and Jeff go zombie hunting with a cheap fiberglass bow and some target arrows. Of all the stupid weapons! If that bow had more than twenty pounds of pull I'm a monkey's uncle. Why not a good rifle? Actually, why not a shotgun? Anyway, the Texan explains how to kill zombies. What one does is inflict enough damage on the loathsome things so that the zombies think they should be dead. Then you chop them up with a chainsaw and let decomposition do the rest. Definitely a long-range plan, but my chief concern was relying on a psychosomatic response to immobilize the undead. Would I? Heck no! If a grenade launcher was not handy then I'd depend on a shotgun, 00 buck, or maybe a big frigging axe. Do enough damage to the muscle and bone structure; then, psychosomatic or not, they're going down.
Finding the zombies in the thick woods proves difficult for the two. Dangling Jeff from a tree finally lures the creatures in and allows his partner to fill the lot with arrows. Unfortunately, the undead bride is only "wounded" and shuffles off with an arrow in her. In their haste to dispatch the last zombie, the two hunters forget to chop up the ones already fallen. This matters, since both are killed by the last zombie.
When lying around gets boring, the undead suddenly realize how stupid they are acting and get up. Poor Zoe is trapped in the house by a horde of zombies. Ah, but Mr. Daniels said the creatures would only attack if someone showed fear. The terrified girl puts on her best fake smile before inviting all the zombies inside for dinner. She also remembers that the zombies cannot stand being trapped in an enclosed space. Eventually the opportunity to lock them in the basement presents itself.
I sort of like the basic plot idea here. Things escaping from a diabolic television set, that only plays b-movies, works for me (I've been called "weird" from time to time). Some of the execution was poorly done, but not a film without redeeming qualities. A pity that the Garbageman was not explored further; he was an interesting bit part. Just imagine, jumping from horror movie to horror movie, killing the foul things you find. The only problem is that it never ends.
The Cabal decided to trade gifts early this year. Apparently we have all been naughty little boys and girls. Punish!
|Things I Learned From This Movie:|| |
- Cleaning the fishbowl every now and then is a necessary task, especially if the fish are dead.
- During the 80's you could get a degree in aerobics, with a minor in music videos.
- Skunks do not appreciate it when a dog tries to mate with them.
- Being splattered with blood and guts is a good reason to put on a fresh t-shirt.
- An awful lot of women die on their wedding day.
- Being strangled will make you bleed from your fingertips.
- Always remember where you set the bear trap.
- Zombies are claustrophobic.
- Opening Credits - Also featuring Dick James as "The Guy."
- 15 mins - Maybe you should start buying shorter jeans.
- 31 mins - I hate it when tape does that...
- 35 mins - David Bowie NOOOOO!
- 61 mins - This is going to be messy. Jeff should have let Mr. Daniels do the honors.
- 65 mins - The prospect of having zombies use your skinny butt as a piñata jumps to mind.
- 67 mins - Ouch! Well, I told you so...
- 73 mins - Who is this "Leff" character?
| ||Audio clips in wav format||SOUNDS||Starving actors speak out|| |
||Jeff: "Why don't you calm down? He can't have gotten far." |
April: "You don't understand. He likes to chase skunks in the woods and when he finds them, he tries to mate with them. Only, skunks don't like to mate with poodles. So they spray him and then he really gets turned on."
||Jeff talking to the Garbageman.
||Zoe: "She's upstairs, taking a bath, Jeff. I want him, and his video dead, out of here before she's through."
||Zoe: "We're going to call the police and we're going to get out of here, right now, tonight." |
Mr. Jordan: "Ahahahahahaha! Sure, go ahead, call the police! 'Hello officer, we got some dead people in my house. Yes sir, sure are still up and walking around.' Hahaha!"
Jeff: "He's got a point, Zoe."
| ||Click for a larger image||IMAGES||Scenes from the movie|| |
| ||Watch a scene||VIDEO||MPEG video files|| |
|And now for something completely different: a surprise zombie in the washer for this little lady, then a one-way trip to laundry hell! |
Notice that the zombies start giggling.
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