Sunday, July 1, 2012

Stream a Little Stream: The Video Dead

Today I paid myself the courtesy of watching the 1987 direct-to-video horror film "The Video Dead", one of those underground splatterfests for which most of the cast and crew's functions should be in quotes. Don't let the badass VHS cover fool you:  Ineptitude and unintentional laughs run way thicker through this movie than its watery, transparent gore.

Roxanna Augesen, the only member of the cast who actually acts instead of recites lines with the dope-faced falseness of a high school drama club member, stars as Zoe Blair, a "teenager" (she is about to start her first semester of college - majoring in Aerobics and minoring in Music Videos, mind you - but appears to be a fresh-faced thirty-five-year-old) who moves into a house on Shady Lane with her pasty, joint-puffing brother Jeff (Rocky Duvall).  The siblings wait around for their parents to return from doing business in Saudi Arabia.  As Jeff half-assedly rakes leaves in the front yard one day, he is approached by a neighbor girl, April (Vicki Bastel) and the two of them begin a chaste, moronic "romance" before zombies emerge from the supernatural tv set in Jeff and Zoe's attic and commence to slaughtering in a series of embarrassingly incompetent sequences.

To get a decent picture of how much this movie hurt me, consider these nuggets:

  • Chocolate, the poodle April had been walking, is killed in the woods by a zombie. April and Jeff find him (after, of course, we are treated to roughly 17 minutes of the two of them walking through the underbrush and yelling "Chaahh-kuh-liiit!").  Bachelor, the poochie pie who stars as Chocolate, is seen resting on the ground, visibly breathing. "Looks like a heart attack," Jeff astutely observes.
  • April's maid (Libby Russler, affecting a ridiculous pseudo-Mexican accent) is brutally strangled by a zombie.  I use the term "strangled" loosely because the dubbing presents her as breathing heavily throughout the incident.
  • Jeff chainsaws a zombie in half, and two live mice are discovered amidst the grue. Because, as everyone knows from eighth grade biology class, mice have a propensity to traipse around in ambulatory bodies.
  • Joshua Daniels, a crass Texan who is an expert on the zombies and aids Zoe and Jeff in their fight, laughs heartily at Zoe's suggestion to call the police because AS IF the police would believe a story about the dead rising to attack people. Well, Mr. Daniels, why the f&$% would Zoe have to tell the police anything about the undead?  Could she not just say there was a group of people trespassing on her property and getting violent?  The zombies are so sluggish that Barney Fife could take them down on an off day.
  • April flashes back to her father's murder, which she was not present for.  This sequence, which I will call "Oral Hygeine Gone Wrong", is deeply hilarious and indicative of just how hard Robert Scott (as "writer/director") and Bob Sarles (as "editor") fail.
  • The "shocker" ending finally introduces Zoe and Jeff's parents, who have biological children of about 18 and 16 years of age and both appear to be in their late seventies.

All things considered, this movie is a huge waste of time; but for the yuks and Augesen's effort I give it an F+.

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