Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Zombie High (1987)

When it comes to horror movies, I obviously don't tend to expect too much. Generally, I'm satisfied by a few unintentional laughs, a relatively high cheese factor and maybe a little gore. However, I did have some expectations when sitting down to watch Zombie High. Namely, if a movie has the word "zombie" in the title, I'll usually expect to see at least one zombie somewhere in the mix. Well, disappointment was awaiting with this one.

See, rather than y'know, actual zombies, we instead have spaced out, lobotomized teenagers who are very much alive. And just in case that wasn't lame enough, the movie doesn't even take place in a high school - it's a college. But hey, obviously the producers had a market in mind.

The setup for ZH is pretty straight-forward. An innocent, bookish type (Virginia Madsen) transfers to a new college where she ends up rooming with two loose, promiscuous types. Things seem fine at first, even though her long distance boyfriend is continually breaking her balls with his mistrust, until she begins to notice something is a little off about some of the students in the college - her first warning being that the guy serving her in the cafeteria is playing it fast and loose with the mash distribution, despite her CLEARLY STATING that she doesn't like mash.

Even though her two roommates will basically get on top of anything, the only man to really catch Virginia's eye is her handsome Biology lecturer Philo (not Phil Lynott unfortunately, but that was never likely really). Her new best friend Emerson (who is basically Ducky from Pretty In Pink, except possibly even more annoying) isn't too impressed, but she just can't resist. As Virginia gets more and more involved with her lecturer, she becomes embroiled a in fiendish mind-control plot which could threaten students across the land, or something.

To be fair, Zombie High is actually mildly entertaining, even if it is pretty dull. I think the main problem with this movie is that it doesn't really seem to stick to any single approach for very long - at times it tries to be spooky, and fails miserably, other times it goes for the comedy angle which works slightly better. Honestly, not a whole lot really happens in this movie, and it kind of limps along until a weird car chase comes out of nowhere and then it's over before you really know it. The fact that the movie is almost totally gore/violence/scare free doesn't really help either. It does have a fairly high cheese content which helps, and the cast is pretty good - Virginia Madsen and Sherilyn Fenn are always amazing, and I was into the crusty old dean, even though he doesn't get many lines... Kinda like a half-assed version of the Tall Man from the Phantasm movies in some ways. So it could be worse.

I can't write about this movie without finally mentioning the soundtrack though - in particular the closing song that appears over the credits, which is the most blatant rip off of the Beastie Boys' "Fight For Your Right" you will ever hear. However, instead of the Beasties' vocals, we have a bunch of awful rappers repeatedly yelling "kiss my butt". Pretty rebellious stuff guys. Yeesh.

You can watch the whole movie on youtube here, if that's what you're into:

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