If there's one thing a writer like me doesn't get enough of, aside from getting to sleep at a reasonable hour, it's gotta be exercise. Sitting behind the computer, writing lengthy articles for hours on end, it may keep the marbles in the ol' noggin nice 'n fresh, but it does little for the rest of one's body. With our annual "Two Months of Halloween" celebration on I-Mockery, I knew I'd be working at an even more feverish pace, so some more exercise was definitely called for.
Enter one copy of Linnea Quigley's Horror Workout - the scariest exercise video ever made!
I learned of this old VHS tape when I saw it for rent at my local video store many years ago, but quickly forgot about it when I saw they also had a copy of The Video Dead. This past summer, I stopped by a merchant at the San Diego Comic-Con who was selling all kinds of old horror goodies and he had the tape for sale. I couldn't believe I had let this thing slip through the cracks of my memory for so long. So much for writing doing good for those marbles.
This, my friends, is a truly unique gem that any horror collector absolutely must own a copy of. If you take it seriously, you're going to hate it, but if you appreciate it as the ultra low budget piece of horror-comedy schlock that it is, you'll cherish it forever and force countless people to watch it over and over again with you. Jane Fonda, eat your heart out.
For those of you who aren't familiar with Linnea Quigley... where the hell have you been? Linnea is a the ultimate Scream Queen and has appeared in countless flicks such as "Spider" in Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama, "Samantha" in Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers, and "Bianca" in Creepozoids, "Denise" in Silent Night, Deadly Night, and her most famous role, "Trash" (the naked punk chick who dances in the graveyard) in The Return of the Living Dead. So yeah, as far as actresses in the horror / b-movie genres go, Linnea is the reigning champion in my book.
Of course, with such a busy schedule, it should come as no surprise that she wanted to stay physically fit. With her fame on the rise by the early 90s, it was time for Linnea to share her fitness secrets with the rest of the world, so she released an exercise video so amazing that nobody has dared to do anything like it since. So join me for an in-depth look at just why Linnea Quigley's Horror Workout is the greatest exercise video in the history of the world.
When the very first thing you see in a workout video is "accect no responsibility", you know it's gonna be good. Then when it's immediately followed by a shower scene, you know this exercise tape is gonna be amaaaazing. After the extremely gratuitous shower sequence, Linnea steps out and then realizes we've been watching her the entire time:
Hey, they don't call her the Scream Queen for nothing.
After the credits roll, it all starts outside of an eerie looking house illuminated by the blue moonlight, just like any respectable haunted house. We're soon taken inside where we see a random corpse statue (or perhaps it's a real corpse) along with Linnea Quigley sprawled out on a shag carpet in front of a fireplace. She's wearing a leather bikini outfit and has her poofy frizzed-out eighties rocker chick hairdo in full effect. She's lookin' through some old horror magazines and talking about how it's not easy being the Scream Queen. We're then treated to some clips of her dancing around the house at a very young age. Shockingly enough, she wasn't wearing spiked collars and high heels at age 3. We're also shown clips from a variety of films she's been in, showing how she's had to fight off monsters and co-stars for years, so she always needs to stay in shape. This, of course, results in a completely natural segue into her wanting to show you how to workout properly.
She starts off by doing a full split, stretching to the left and right, and then doing some punches. Doing a split while punching? Looks like somebody's a big Van Damme fan. As for why she's wearing the metal-studded leather outfit with fishnet stockings? "It's important to wear comfortable clothes when you exercise. A metal-studded leather bra and fishnet stockings may not be your first choice, but face it... would you want to watch me workout in a baggy sweatsuit?" I suppose she has a point.
I doubt the top-down shots of her cleavage did anything to exercise her own body, but I'm sure male viewers got a good cardio workout just by watching it. If some of the exercises look ridiculous, that's because they are. Even Linnea isn't sure what some of them actually do to benefit your body. "I'm don't exactly know what this one does, but it sure feels good." Thanks for the tip, Linnea! That's how people end up in the hospital.
For a while, I thought the phone on the floor was just a prop they forgot to move out of the frame, as it wouldn't be the first time something like that has happened in a low budget production, but it turns out it was there for a reason. Was it Richard Simmons calling to throw a fit about how she's not sweatin' to the oldies? No, it's some random guy blabbering incoherently on the other end of the line, and it's obviously meant to suggest that he's some kind of perverted caller. She's offended by what he says at first, then eventually becomes very interested in him and clearly turned on. That is, until she remembers she's in the middle of her workout video that we're all watching, so she abruptly hangs up the phone, saying it was a wrong number. Whatever you say Linnea, just keep working out your cleava... er... muscles.
Linnea goes on with some more moves including lying on her back and doing bicycle kicks and constantly adding in her own sexual innuendo to the routine. "Deep breathing will increase the lung capacity. As you can see, I'm a reeeeeal... deeeeep... breather." and "This one's great for the guys... I mean, thighs!" and "That's right, push yourself! Stretch those muscles! That's right, stretch 'em! Not THAT muscle!" as she rolls her eyes. Like a seasoned trainer, Linnea enlightens us about sit-ups too: "These are hard. A good rule of thumb is to do as many of these as you can before you throw up." Wait, I thought we're only supposed to throw up after we eat a meal? I'm so confused, Linnea!
After a solid 20 minutes of watching her stretch in front of the fireplace, seeing all the nooks and crannies of her body in the process as she continues to give poor advice, we finally cut to her outdoors jogging along a path in the woods. She's now changed into a tied off top that appears to have been shredded up in a blender, and she's wearing a skeleton earring too, because you gotta look fashionable no matter where you go. "There's nothing I like better than going for a run in the woods, past an old cemetery... alone." Don't look so shocked... I say things like that all the time too.
- "There's nothing I like better than going for a run in the zoo, through the lion cage... covered in blood."
- "There's nothing I like better than going for a run in Hawaii, into an active volcano... to appease the gods."
See? It's perfectly normal.
We soon see her running through Shady Oaks cemetery, oblivious to the fact that she's just awoken the undead. It's not the greatest zombie rising scene, but they pop out of their graves and make some pretty decent faces along the way.
Little known fact: Zombies always look terrifying at night, but absolutely adorable during the day.
As Linnea jogs past the graveyard, it definitely feels like an homage to (or blatant rip-off of) Michael Jackson's Thriller, when Michael Jackson walks by and all the zombies come to life while the music continues to play. Soon, the zombies all start following her as she continues to run down the path in the woods, completely unaware that they're behind her. At one point, she gets suspicious, so all the zombies comically dash off the side of the path before she turns around to see who's there. Bet you didn't know that zombies have a strategy when they stalk a helpless damsel, didja? Well now you do.
Linnea then goes through an iron gate and ends up at what is presumably her big swimming pool. I guess those b-movies actually do pay well sometimes, as long as you're not filming something for Troma Pictures. Guess they can't buy a decent lock for the gate, however, because the zombies easily make their way through it and corner Linnea by her pool. But it's not curtains for our showering fitness guru just yet, because the zombies are stopped in their tracks when she suddenly breaks into drill sargeant mode and tells them she's never seen such a sorry lot. "Straighten up! Look at that flab! Just because you're dead, do you think you can just let yourselves go? You guys are fallin' apart!" (she then rips off one of their arms) "See what I mean!?"
Now we all know that zombies by nature are in pretty bad shape, what with them being walking, rotting sacks of flesh 'n all. What I didn't know is that they actually had low self-esteem about it. The zombies all moan and groan to show Linnea that they don't want to be out of shape and lose their limbs. Cue the 80s synth music:
Yes, your eyes do not deceive you; the zombies are actually doing aerobics with Linnea Quigley. I didn't know they were even capable of doing aerobics. The official name for it, according to the VHS tape box is ZOMBIECISE! How many other exercise videos can you name that have mindless zombies doing a workout routine with no end in sight? Ok, that actually sounds like just about every exercise video, but those are totally different zombies.
Let's also take a moment to tip our collective hats to whomever was responsible for the fantastic lighting job of the full group during this workout scene. Half of their bodies are obscured in the shade, while the other halves are glowing in the late afternoon sun. Awesome.
As for their actual exercise performance, they sometimes reach for the sky with each arm for a good stretch, other times, they just kind of dance carelessly while raising their shoulders up and down. Unlike the ones in Thriller, these zombies clearly had no dance choreographer, as they're just kinda fumbling through the routine. This, of course, leads to some intriguing improvisation:
Some zombies appear to think they're bird-like creatures, flapping their arms about, while others do these weird, jarring chicken neck moves. It's gotta make you wonder what these people were like before they were turned into zombies. In these particular cases, I'm guessing being made one of the walking dead was probably for the best.
I also have to note that they all sound more like cavemen, grunting and mumbling in gibberish the entire time, rather than moaning and groaning like zombies. Slap a few dead animal skins on 'em, put a club or two in their hands, have a cheap pterodactyl model fly by occasionally and you'd have yourself Linnea Quigley's Prehistoric Workout.
One of the lady zombies even loses a shoe during the routine, but she keeps on going. Way to go, zombie lady! You may be self-conscious about your physical fitness, but you'll be damned if you're gonna let a wardrobe malfunction stop you from getting the exercise you need. And speaking of wardrobe malfunctions, Linnea doesn't even realize that one of her boobs has become exposed during the routine too, but that should come as no surprise as her shirt apparently tried to mate with a cheese grater. Well, that and she's obviously not exactly shy about showing a little skin.
After 12 minutes of solid zombie aerobics, which is actually far more agonizing to watch than it sounds, she shouts, "Okay! Everybody into the pool!" The zombies all look at each other and then dive in.
ZOMBIE POOL PARTY!!!
They honestly look so incredibly excited to be in the pool, splashing each other around 'n all, that I honestly wished I could be there with them. Then they eventually freak out, realizing that the water isn't good for their decaying bodies (or something scientific like that), and try climbing out of the pool while Linnea laughs and shouts, "Suckers!!!" I was hoping for some zombie water polo action, but alas, it's time to move on to the next part of the story... er... exercise routine. Trust me, you won't believe what happens next.
There's still plenty more of
Linnea Quigley's Horror Workout to see!
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