The Video Dead (1987) Review

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When a TV destined for the Institute for the Study of the Occult is delivered by mistake to the home of a writer, a troupe of shambling zombies escape the set and kill the man. 3 months later, a family buy the writers house, with the cursed TV still in the attic. With the teenage kids moving in ahead of their parents (who are working abroad) it’s not long before the Video Dead start a killing-spree and the TV set’s old owner turns up to help fight them.

Despite (or perhaps because of) the remarkably poor acting and inconsistent plotting, The Video Dead is every inch an 80’s teen horror comedy. By no traditional measure a good movie it remains a fun one, not in an ironic “so bad it’s good way” but as a genuine fun time.

The makeup and gore effects are decent, in fact surprisingly-so given the rest of the movie’s (lack of) quality, and most of the (intentionally) funny moments hit home. The film even manages to stay endearing when it briefly becomes a Gremlins inspired bit of silliness, forgetting that the zombies are mindless in order to have them chuckle amongst themselves as they kill a woman using a top-loading washing machine.

Sure, there’s lots I could pull apart if the movie had left me in a cynical mood (such as the zombies apparently and inexplicably laying low for three months before suddenly resuming their killing ways once our heroes move into the writers house) but it really isn’t the type of movie to leave me feeling nit-picky. In fact the only problem I really had with the movie was a zombie-hunting segment in the third act, which went on a little longer than it needed to in a generally fast-paced movie; but it’s a small gripe to hold against an otherwise really enjoyable, if daft, film.

That said, the movie still holds a couple of genuinely shocking moments, and for all its silliness it isn’t afraid to get really dark – and not for laughs.

How well it would play to people much older or younger than myself, I’m not sure, but if you grew up with Monster Squad, The Gate, Gremlins, House, and their ilk, you’ll find a lot to like here.

He likes to chase skunks in the woods, and when he catches 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!

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