Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Video Dead (1987)

The Video Dead

Written & Directed by Robert Scott

Jeff Blair...Rocky Duvall
Zoe Blair...Roxanna Augesen
April...Victoria Bastel
Joshua Daniels...Sam David McClelland

Teenagers Jeff and Zoe Blair move into their new house early in the hopes of getting it ready before their expatriate parents arrive from Saudi Arabia.  Almost immediately, strange things begin to happen as Jeff is told that a famous author had been murdered in their house only a short time ago.  Then he  is warned by a traveling cowboy named Joshua Daniels that a cursed TV had been delivered there by mistake.  Jeff gives this "totally gnarly dude" the brush off...only to find the television in question stowed away in the attic.

Wasting no time, he carries it to his bedroom and plugs it in to watch some cheesy zombie movie, only to find out that his life is about to become a cheesy zombie movie.  Before Samara was even a glimmer in her daddy's eye, these undead bastards were creeping and crawling their way out of television screens to wreak havoc on unsuspecting viewers.

Soon, the whole street is under a silent but deadly attack as the reeking returners turn Shady Lane into a buffet of flesh, and no one is off the menu.

It's your typical, run-of-the-mill direct-to-video zombie flick, albeit with a few interesting elements that keep things enjoyable.  These zombies don't follow all the rules, as they chuckle like stoned college kids while chowing down, and have a pretty good working knowledge of power tools.  At one point, one of the zombies actually wields a chainsaw!  And they avoid mirrors, not because they don't cast reflections, but because they do.  As we're told by the zombie-hunting cowpoke, the undead can't stand to look at themselves.

The problems are obvious:  there's not much in the way of plot, and too much time is spent watching random strangers being assaulted by the undead.  There is an awful lot unexplained: where did the TV come from?  How did it pull zombies from the movie into the real world?  Who the hell was the Garbage Man, and what was his purpose?  How is it that Jeff could dispose of an entire zombie hand in his garbage disposal, but mine breaks if I try to do the same with potato peels?  And, does it only work on zombies, or could the television theoretically deposit, say, Veronica Mars into a man's bedroom?

Inquiring minds want to know.

It's definitely corny and dreadfully dated, but that's part of the appeal.  I had to laugh when Zoe said that she was attending college where she was majoring in aerobics and minoring in music video--too bad these days it's all P90X and daily marathons of Sixteen and Pregnant.  She's probably looking for work, if anyone is casting a new horror flick...

Rated R
90 Minutes
United States

"Skunks don't like to mate with poodles, so then they spray him, and then he really gets turned on!"


  1. Ha, great review. Brought back a lot of memories. This was definitely one of those big-box VHS flicks that you'd come across in the mom and pop video stores back in the day, and I remember quite liking it first time around. Just saw that its up for instant play on netflix, so I think I'll take a trip back in time and see if its as much fun 20-plus years on...

  2. Ive always wanted to see this movie, sadly, I've never been able to aquire it. I can probably check it out on you tube, but I detest watching movies that way! Nice review, seems appropriately dumb and cheesy, Im sure Id love it.

    Another cheesy dumb 80's zombie movie I recommend (if you havent seen it) its called The Dead Pit, its from the director of Lawnmower Man and Virtuosity.

  3. Tony & FC: Thanks for stopping by. Yeah, I definitely had a good time with this one, even if it wasn't technically a "good" movie. I watched it instantly on Netflix, which I know a lot of people don't like, but I love it. I hook my laptop up to my TV and watch it from there. Can barely tell the difference between an Instant Watch and a DVD, most of the time. I especially enjoy the choices that aren't available on DVD--it makes the whole Instant Watch thing seem...poignant, somehow.



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