The Video Dead

10/28/2019 06:30

Film: The Video Dead

Year: 1987

Director: Robert Scott

Writer: Robert Scott

Starring: Michael St. Michaels, Thaddeus Golas and Douglass Bell

 

Review:

This was a film that I actually never heard of until I got into horror podcasts. A couple of my favorite people to listen to did episodes where they covered this film and I was intrigued to check it out. I got the chance when I was doing a horror movie challenge and this made my short list when I needed a Shot on Video film. The synopsis is when a television is actually delivered to the wrong house, they’re unaware that it actually is a gateway by which killer zombies enter our world.

We start this film with Henry Jordan (Michael St. Michaels) as he is woke up by two delivery men, Thaddeus Golas and Douglass Bell. We see that he’s a writer and that he doesn’t keep the tidiest house. He tells the men that he didn’t order anything, but it is bought and paid for so he takes it. He opens the box to a television set, to which he states he doesn’t even watch TV. While he’s trying to work, the TV keeps turning on to a horror film called ‘Zombie Blood Nightmare’. He keeps shutting the TV off and it keeps coming back on. He finally unplugs it and goes to bed. That still doesn’t stop it as electricity shoots from it and something comes from TV.

It then shifts to Zoe Blair (Roxanna Augesen) coming to the house in a taxi. She has never seen this place, but her parents were set up there from work. They aren’t in the country so Zoe is meeting up with her brother Jeff (Rocky Duvall) to get the place ready. The next morning, Jeff is woken up by a knock at the door. It is Joshua Daniels (Sam David McClelland). He asks about the TV that was delivered to the previous owner and he doesn’t know what he’s talking about

Jeff then meets April Ellison (Victoria Bastel) while she is walking her dog. He invites her in and the dog gets out. It ends up running into a zombie that kills it. Jeff comes up with a plan to keep her out of trouble. He then hears something from the attic and finds the TV there. He brings it to his room, realizing this is probably the one that Joshua was talking about.

Things take a turn though when the zombies come back to the neighborhood and start to kill. Jeff talks to a woman in the TV, Jennifer Miro, and she comes on to him. He thinks that is the marijuana he is smoking. That’s when The Garbageman (Cliff Watts) shows up and kills Miro. He tells Jeff that he needs to put a mirror in front of the TV to prevent anything else from getting out. When he does, he has to sever a hand that grabs him. With the deaths piling up, April stays with the Blairs and Joshua returns to help, but how do you stop these Video Dead?

Now the first thing I’m going to lead of stating is that if you decide to watch this, don’t come in expecting a well made movie, this was done on a shoe-string budget and meant to just enjoy it. With that disclaimer out of the way, this is a pretty fun film with a solid concept. I love the idea that this television, which is meant to be delivered to a group that investigates the occult, is actually a portal to another world. I even like that they had the where-with-all to actually have multiple groups that can come and go.

I do have to admit, the dialogue in this film is bad. The characters say things that are pretty cringe worthy and they also make bad decisions. What is confusing too is that in the end, Zoe remembers things that Joshua said that could defeat these creatures. My question is if he knew all of that, why did he go off on this half-baked plan with Jeff then? I’m fine with the humor that comes from it, but there are just some aspects that if they would have paid attention to, I think they could have still made this funny while a bit more coherent.

Going from the coherency, I love zombie films. I was raised on them, so I know quite a bit about the subgenre. On top of that, I’m a story guy so that needs to be tight or you’re going to lose me. The problem I have here is that the zombies don’t act like zombies. They don’t really eat flesh and they kind of just walk around like monsters. I will back down that they do kind of act like voodoo zombies, who were just controlled while looking like creatures that are back from the dead.

I’ll shift this to the pacing, which at first I thought was pretty good. It doesn’t waste any time introducing us to what is going to cause this and having creatures escape into our world. I even like introducing us to the real main characters and how the deaths escalate. The problem is that the film loses its way and then meanders. I don’t really care for how the creatures are defeated, but I did like the meta approach with the last image on the TV. It did the typical horror clinched ending which I could have done without as well. It still has a low running time which definitely works in its favor.

I wish I had something good to say about the acting, but it isn’t very good. I won’t harp on it too much though. They got a bunch of amateur actors and the script really didn’t help them. I did have to say that Miro was quite attractive and we see her nude, but we actually don’t see anything. The characters did make me chuckle a few times, but that’s really the extent of it.

Now something I was impressed with was the effects. They were done practically and I have to give them credit as they looked really good. The blood looked real. I like the look of the zombies. They strategically shot the film in a way that hides things as well. Most of the attacks are done off screen, but what we get to see that they could do in their budget was there. Being shot on video, I can’t give credit to how it was filmed, but I won’t hold that against them.

With that said, this film isn’t for everyone. If you like low-budget, horror comedies I think that you’ll get enjoyment here. I really had fun despite the story isn’t the most coherent, but the concept is great. I’m a big fan of films that use alternate worlds and I like that this TV is their portal here. As a zombie film, I wish they could have kept in line with the more commonly known lore. The writing though isn’t great and the acting doesn’t help there. It has a running time of around 90 minutes so that helps, but the film loses its way and ending I wasn’t a fan of. The effects though were really good for the budget and the soundtrack, even if it doesn’t stand out, doesn’t hurt the film either. I actually did enjoy this and I think this is above average. Again, it’s not great, but I definitely had fun.

 

My Rating: 6 out of 10