Year of Release: 1987
Genre: Horror / Comedy
IMDB Rating: 4.9 / 10
Level of Awful: Medium – High
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
I’m rarely at a loss when it comes to deciding how bad a movie is, but this one had me stumped. Judging by its IMDB rating I was under the impression that this one was going to be good (because I have low standards and most things over 4 are quite watchable in my opinion). It wasn’t. I’m not sure if ‘good idea’ is quite what I’m looking for, but it certainly was an interesting idea. Where did it go wrong? Sometimes you get movies where the actors have all the acting capability of a plank of wood but in The Video Dead the planks of wood were outperforming the actors and sadly it wasn’t the kind of bad acting that you can make fun of. At the end of the day it’s not a good b-movie, but it’s not bad enough to make you squirm with discomfort.
When the dead come back to haunt the living there’s always an Institute for Studies in the Occult involved somehow. This time all these people have done is place their trust in a delivery company that haven’t the foggiest idea how to deliver a parcel, but when you’re dealing with zombies and demons and ghosts (oh my!) you really need to have your ducks properly in a row. The delivery company is currently in possession of a haunted TV that appears to be a portal to the dark side but, instead of delivering it to the Institute for Studies in the Occult they obviously read the address incorrectly and delivered the TV to an alcoholic writer in a leafy suburb instead. Now bear in mind we have travelled back to 1987, a time before coffee cups had to come with warnings that stated ‘contents of coffee cup are hot’, so the haunted TV certainly doesn’t carry any kind of warning sign or advisory label saying that it contains 6 or 7 cannibalistic zombies. Our dear writer is not amused with the TV because all it seems to play is this random black and white zombie movie that never wants to end so he turns it off and walks away. The TV’s persistent though and wants to play its movie, even if you pull the power cable out of the wall. Being the rather devilish TV that it is as soon as you turn your back it starts getting up to mischief, spewing out zombies left, right and centre who killing our poor writer.
3 months later and with all that murderous unpleasantness behind us we get to meet Jeff and Zoe, two young siblings who move into the old writer’s house to get ready for when their parents come back from overseas. Now, as a warning to all my readers, neither of these kids is particularly good-looking and this movie makes excessive use of close-ups so you might want to start looking away after the first 30 times. Jeff, being the younger and more inquisitive brother, discovers the TV in the attic when it whispers through the dark that it wants to do some terribly PG-13 things to him and moves it into his room. This time, instead of channeling zombies, it channels a demonic naked blonde woman who tantalises the young boy before disappearing right back inside. You see it can’t channel the zombies because the zombies never went back inside after they killed the writer, which means that they’re still out frolicking somewhere in the woods surrounding the house. When these undead hooligans start to make a nuisance of themselves a strange man named Joshua Daniels rocks up at Zoe and Jeff’s house to help them out before they land up becoming a light snack.
Now this is the point when you really have to put your concentration cap on and pay attention because you’re about to be schooled in zombie psychology. For a mobile decomposing corpse these zombies are remarkably complex creatures that experience a surprising array of complicated emotions. Jeff isn’t the brightest spark out there and Zoe, being a woman, shouldn’t be out chasing after zombies so to defeat this horde of the undead you need to know exactly what you’re dealing with. Firstly, put mirrors up everywhere. Zombies are very self-conscious and don’t like looking at their own reflection to the point that they’ll run away from it. Secondly, zombies don’t like it when you express any fear since they themselves cannot express emotions so keep a constant grin on your face. Thirdly, zombies like to think that they’re still alive so treat them in the same way you would treat any living member of the human race and they might be a little less inclined to eat you. Lastly, a zombie is very good with a stick so avoid dangling from a tree with a chainsaw that they can get hold of and use against you. Follow these simple rules and you might just survive an attack of the video dead!
Speaking of The Video Dead, as a technical point, at no point is there a video, be it Beta or VHS, anywhere in sight but, at the end of the day, that really is the least of your worries walking into this one.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Younger brothers often walk like the dead.
- Women take their degrees in aerobics and music videos very seriously.
- Skunks don’t like to mate with poodles.
- Poodles are kinky and like being sprayed on by skunks.
- Zombies have a very simple but strange sense of humour.
- Zombies can only die when they think they’re alive. In this way when you attack them they will think they are injured and convince themselves that they are actually dead when they really aren’t because they can’t experience pain. They will remain ‘dead’ because they’re fooling themselves into thinking that they are until someone points out to them that they’re not in which case they’ll get back up and try again.
THE VIDEO DEAD TRAILER