WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Global warming: the great threat our generation faces. A number of possibilities have been given for what causes it: burning fossil fuels, deforestation, increased solar output, the list just goes on. The truth, however, lies in Heatstroke: aliens are the cause of global warming. This was a fantastic movie to watch; it goes back to the good old days of Syfy original movies where the special effects are so awful that they give you a great belly laugh while the endings aren’t anti climatic, a problem faced by so many recent Syfy movies. If you’re in the mood for a good laugh, some cheesy sci-fi goodness and indulging in an alien conspiracy theory then this is the movie for you!
It’s a beautiful day for the world to end in Hawaii. The sky is blue, the oceans are crystal clear and bikini models are frolicking gayly on the beaches during a photo shoot. Captain Steve O’Bannon is busy flying his ultralight around one of the islands, taking a relaxing afternoon to monitor any usual radiation levels that may exist in these here parts. Given that this is such a relaxing pursuit and the weather is absolutely gorgeous he doses off behind the wheel of his 1 man aircraft and begins a rapid decent towards a tree. Thankfully there’s something very similar to a velociraptor living in the tree and it leaps up to try and guide the aircraft away but, unfortunately, takes a giant bite out of the ultralight’s engine. Captain Steve awakes with a start and is forced to make an emergency landing in the middle of the bikini models’ photo shoot, much to their dismay.
Following Captain Steve’s emergency landing head bikini model Caroline comes over to read the man the riot act for interrupting this photo shoot of groundbreaking importance to mankind. When Captain Steve doesn’t seem very interested Caroline brings over her hired goons, who Captain Steve quickly dispenses with. He beats the crap out of them again later when he finds them at a bar, this time with the help of his team mates Jillian and Waters (first name unknown). Somehow between coming to the bar, having a boiling beer and beating the crap out of everyone the team (including final team-mate Romeo Romero) decides that there must be something on the island causing the strange radiation spikes and they’re determined to find out what it is.
The cause of the radiation, of course, is an alien invasion. The aliens look like some reject bunch of dinosaurs and have come to earth to heat up our climate to make it a little more hospitable for themselves. I don’t know about you, but personally I find it a little rude when guests drop in on your planet unannounced and then spend the whole time complaining about how you’ve chosen to do the place up. Captain Steve wasn’t about to tolerate this lack of manners in the first place and he certainly isn’t about to tolerate these rather rude invaders when they start melting the faces off his crew and the hapless bikini models that inhabit the island. Unfortunately, since he isn’t a rogue scientist and is contracted by the US military to study these creatures, he’s going to have to play things by the book, at least until he can discover just how big their plans are and how quickly they plan on turning our little Blue Marble into an alien cafeteria. Thankfully he’s not alone in his mission to save the planet; he’ll be accompanied by a rag-tag group of old Hawaiian natives, military grunts and a bikini model with a flower in her hair. God speed to you all!
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Models take great offence when people try to inspect their own crashed ultralights.
- The military isn’t ready to believe global warming is the result of aliens living on earth.
- Afghanistan is many things, but it’s certainly not a boring place to go on honeymoon.
- Models are intrigued by kung fu fighting special ops agents.
- Women are terrified when sounds come out of the woods.
- ‘Top Secret’ means giving broad enough hints that everyone figures out what you’re doing.
- Earth is a prime insect farming location for extraterrestrial life.
- Earth can go from temperate to Venus in less than 2 hours.
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