I was unsure what on earth this movie even was when I bought it, I bought the ShoutFactory aka ScreamFactory Blu-ray combo pack. I grabbed it for Terrorvision, which is a cheese favorite of mine, thinking that two for the price of one was a good deal even if I only enjoyed The Video Dead a little bit as a one-watch. Although it seems I give most movies great reviews around here, that’s mostly because I’ve been on a kick of watching and reviewing the movies I love. Don’t cast this one out because of it’s 3 star rating, it’s really an extremely enjoyable and unique take on zombies. The reason for only 3 stars is fully because of it’s silly story, I know a lot of people out there can be serious about dialogue and acting and this simply puts this movie in your ‘whenever I can turn my brain off’ pile. It’s great, but your expectations need to be in check for what you’re actually about to watch.
I actually love the story, I think it’s scripted plenty-well for this style of horror flick and the make-up and gore-effects are perfectly fine. I had no real qualms with anything in the movie, it was simply one I could stretch back in the recliner and watch and have a good time with. Back in the 80’s, zombies weren’t absolutely done to death (pun purely intended). There were no shortage of them either, but we got more quality than quantity which is something we definitely can’t say these days. The zombie sub-genre has been absolutely beaten but that’s another post for another day.
A few things in this movie were a bit of a stretch but I honestly can’t see a problem as it doesn’t try to take itself too seriously. This film isn’t trying to force you to take any heavy leaps in logic (aside that the dead come out of your television..) or really even think at all, it’s clearly aimed at giving you a horror fix and a good time. It’s extremely successful, I turned around and am ready to watch it again already. It’s one of those that feels nostalgic and you can turn to it when you need and brain-dead easy-going experience.
The opening instantly drops one of these zombie-ridden tv boxes in to the life of a man who ‘doesn’t even watch tv’. Television-addict or not, it’s in his house and will have its way with him. No spoilers as to how, but it’s the setup to show you how it operates and toss you a little more knowledgeably in to the main storyline.
Brother and sister Zoe and Jeff arrive home just before their parents do. They’re there to get moved in and ready but they have no idea what’s about to crawl in to their living room. A strange man, Joshua Daniels, stops by and asks that they return their new set to him, that it killed his wife and was mailed to the Paranormal Institute. Jeff turns him away pretty quickly, but would you give your TV up to some weirdo at the door?
After finally seeing why he wants the box back, Jeff and Joshua go together to try and take out the walking dead. With funny tactics and some tacky dialogue, it’s an entertaining watch. Meanwhile, Zoe who’s back at their new house becomes witness to these dead freaks herself. Learning that if you don’t fear them, they won’t hurt you, she plays it cool. One scene reminds me vaguely of Texas Chain Saw Massacre, which is referenced in the previous scenes of Jeff who said he’d, “seen it 6 times!”. It’d be disturbing if it weren’t so funny probably. My only gripe is that I would’ve liked to have seen these scenes a bit more fleshed out, they were a really fun concept and made watching it intriguing.
The basic outline there will get you started and should probably get you even just a little bit hungry to see it for yourself, it should go on your list of 80’s movies that might’ve slipped under your radar but are worth seeing. The acting is as good as you’d need it to be and the picture and audio quality are really solid. Don’t forget that if you buy the same version as I’m reviewing from, you’ll get the so campy, so cheesy Terrorvision. These two movies make this set well worth the price!