The Video Dead is one of those classic, low-budget, bad zombie movies that did really well in rental stores for one reason: Great Packaging. I'll admit, when I was younger and saw the box for the first time, I assumed that it had to be the greatest horror movie ever created. I mean just look at the box for chrissakes, it's beautiful!
It reminded me of the artwork from an Iron Maiden album cover and I was convinced that it would be nothing less than spectacular. So let's take a look at the movie and then you can decide whether or not, like Iron Maiden, it will make you run to the hills.
So some delivery guys show up at this sleepy man's (also see: "overacting boob") house with a big crate. The man swears he didn't order anything, but the delivery guys insist they have the correct address. He then asks them if they've got a smoke and...
YES! Not only do they not have any cigarettes, but one of the delivery guys says, "Sorry buddy, but I'm a chewer!" and then proceeds to spit a juicy wad of tobacco on the ground. Fantastic! Can the rest of the movie live up to scenes like this? Unlikely, but let's continue forth like troopers anyway. So the homeowner overactor guy opens up the crate and finds an old TV in it. Then he ponders out loud, "A TV? Who the hell would send me a TV? I don't even watch TV!" Man I'm glad he's gonna die. Oh did I ruin it for you? No I didn't, it's a zombie movie and this guy is annoying, so you know he's gonna die. Let's get on with it!
Later that night he's in the kitchen writing a book on his typewriter, probably about how bad of an actor he is, when the TV turns on. He walks in the room to find an old black & white zombie movie called "Zombie Blood Nightmare" playing on the TV. He turns the TV off and it turns itself back on seconds later. He shuts it off once more and it turns back on again. Finally he gets really annoyed and unplugs the thing.
Cut to him sound asleep in his bed upstairs later in the evening, and we see the TV turn on once more... even though it's unplugged! OMG!!! It starts shaking around with zaps of electricity and smoke billowing out of the screen. And that's when the zombies start crawling out of the TV. The Video Dead have arrived! I think the reason this scene made me so happy when I was younger because it was pretty much exactly what they showed on the cover of the box, as opposed to something that didn't even happen in the movie... like a zombie riding on a condor with a tattered American flag in its talons. Damn, that would be cool. Somebody please draw a picture of that for me so I can hang it up on my wall.
So the next day, the guys from Hi-Lite Delivery show up again to pick up their crate, realizing they delivered it to the wrong place. It was supposed to be delivered to "the institute for the studies of the occult." Oooooohhh! They decide to open the door to his house, like all delivery people do when nobody answers, and they discover the dead body of mister overactor himself. Unfortunately, we don't get to see the zombies kill him, we just see the end results. From what I can tell, they put a party hat on him, gave him a cigarette and a lamp, and then slashed his throat 'n chest?? Damn, sounds like we missed one hell of a party.
Anyway, cut to three months later and the house where he lived was sold to some people who naturally weren't informed about the fact that the previous owner was murdered. Real Estate agents will be the first to tell you, "Rule #1: Don't tell people about how the previous owners were brutally murdered." Rule number two is about not groping potential buyers or something...
So Zoe and Jeff Blair show up at the new home that their parents bought and are happy as can be to see each other. Mom and Dad get back sometime next week, so it sounds like there will be plenty of time for more zombie parties without any adult supervision! And speaking of adults, the next day a man from Texas (because who else would where a hat like that other than someone from Texas right guys?) by the name of Joshua Daniels shows up at their house. He's looking for a package that was accidentally delivered here. He tells Jeff about how the TV needs to be recovered before more lives are lost, and of course, Jeff doesn't believe a word of it. "YOU DAMNED FOOL!" shouts cowboy Josh. You tell him Joshua... you tell the world!
Sure enough, up in the attic is the old TV. And somehow there's a blonde woman on the TV is calling out to Jeff to come up and make love to her. What's he supposed to do, hump the set?
Later that afternoon, Jeff meets his neighbor April who introduces herself as follows: "I'm April. Don't you hate it? It sounds like the smell they put on Kleenex." No April, no it doesn't. But I'm already hating you if it's any consolation. Anyway, she decides to let her poodle "Chocolate" go running around on her own since keeping her on a leash has been killing April's arm... what with the immense pulling power of your average poodle 'n all. April gets upset after chocolate disappears in the woods. Why is she upset?
"You don't understand. He likes to chase skunks in the woods, and if 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." This April chick is just a fountain of intellect. She really knows how animals think. Hell, she's like the Horse Whisperer... but with poodles.
So Chocolate the poodle runs off into the woods and eventually he finds a new friend. A zombie friend. But the zombie doesn't want to be friends and kills Chocolate. Eh, I never liked poodles anyway, especially poodles named "chocolate," so score 1 for the zombie!
That night, Jeff decides to plug in his newly found TV and watch the zombie flick that's playing on it while he smokes some ganja. Then the freaky blonde woman from before appears from out of the TV and starts kissing Jeff and telling him about how she's been waiting a long time for him. That blonde woman by the way, is Jennifer Miro of the "legendary punk/new wave/goth band" The Nuns. So yeah, she's pretty much the only known person in the movie and practically the only one who went on to do a few more films afterwards. Anyway, Jeff thinks it's the pot causing him to see this woman... but being a horny teenage boy, he goes along with it anyway. She then appears back on the TV and Jeff wants to know how to get in touch with her. Some guy then sneaks up behind her and slits her throat and explains how she was a zombie trying to screw with his head. Who is he, let's listen.
"They call me the garbage man. I dispose of human garbage. Take the TV and lock it in the basement. And do one more thing, get a mirror and put the shiny side next to the screen. A mirrorrrrrrrrrrrrrr!"
And that, my friends, is the first and last we ever hear from the garbage man. I shit you not. No explanation. No telling of how he got into the TV so that he could kill the zombies. Nothing. Jeez, this movie has less character development than the old Pacman cartoons.
Jeff decides not to dismiss his experience as a strange reaction to the marijuana and totes the TV down to the basement. Just as he's about to tape a mirror to the TV, a zombie arm reaches out from it and grabs onto him. Fortunately, there's a hatchet within reaching distance which he uses to hack off the hand. Then when he tapes the mirror to the TV set, it starts to bleed. But wait! What about the zombie hand?
Egads, it's still moving! Well, it's time to live up to one of the big horror movie clichés that we've all seen a million times before. Important horror movie rule: Whenever you have a leftover limb or something that just won't die, jam it into the garbage disposal to get rid of it once and for all. Amazingly, this doesn't backfire on him, because the hand never does come back to haunt them or even cause them some major plumbing problems.
Elsewhere, April is leaving her house for school, but as she leaves, a bunch o' zombies enter her house and enter the kitchen. For some reason or another, the bride zombie appears to be fascinated with the blender. No, sadly she doesn't use it to kill anybody, she just gets a kick out of the noise it makes. So much of a kick in fact that it makes her and a fellow zombie laugh. No I'm serious, these zombies laugh it up!
Wondering what all the ruckus downstairs, the wife goes to check it out, only to be accosted by a zombie and strangled for like 3 minutes straight. Seriously, this is without a doubt one of the longest strangulation scenes I've ever witnessed. Either that zombie has a "death grip" equivalent to that of a fluffy bunny, or this girl simply refuses to die without a fight. Hmmm, maybe it's a little of both.
While being strangled, she manages to grab a nearby iron and smash it into the zombie's brain. Now, as you all know, the one way to kill a zombie is to cause them some major head trauma. Well, not in The Video Dead apparently, because this just makes him angrier and he finally chokes her to death. Poor zombie guy now has to walk around with an iron sticking out of his head for the rest of the movie.
Oh and April's dad? He somehow manages to sleep through all the load screams, but as soon as a few zombies quietly walk into his room, he wakes up. Makes perfect sense to me. Sadly, they cut away from it, but it's implied that he's killed as we hear him scream.
Next door to April's neighbors, some housewife is cooking up a storm and then decides to go check on the laundry. Silly housewife, don't you know that zombies live in washing machines? Yeah, neither did I, but apparently they do. One pops up from the washer and strangles her to death and then decides it's time for another good zombie laugh:
Perhaps they used too much starch?
The husband upstairs, once again doesn't hear any of the attacks taking place. I'm starting to think that all older men in this movie are completely deaf. Either that, or they simply don't care about zombies killing their wives. Well, I'm sure this guy cared about the fact that miss bride zombie twisted his neck around 360 degrees.
April cries on Jeff's shoulder about the death of her parents and talks about how she wishes she could make time fly forward 10 years from now so all of this could be a distant memory. Funny, I bet the actress said the same thing in real life as soon as the film was released. A few hours later, Joshua Daniels shows up again and tells them about how "The Video Dead" killed April's parents and neighbors. "That TV don't kill nobody! It's what comes out of the TV that does the killin! Listen sister, the slaughter's begun already! If you look the other way, you might just end up gettin' a nice size bite taken out of your rear end!" Preach on, Tex!
Too overwhelmed with everything, April goes upstairs to the bathroom to collect herself. I should mention there's also this hilarious sequence in the bathroom where you see April furiously brushing her teeth as they keep cutting to clips of her parents blood getting splattered everywhere. She brushes faster and faster and faster until her mouth begins to bleed. It's just way overdone and no moviegoer should have to stare so closely at somebody brushing their teeth for that long. Classic.
WILL APRIL FLOSS THROUGH HER SKULL?
WILL "CHOCOLATE" COME BACK TO LIFE AND
KILL THEM ALL IN A POODLEY RAGE?
CLICK TO CONTINUE TO PAGE 2 TO SEE!
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